brownsugar_type-01Why on this earth would you make your own brown sugar?? Are you insane and have nothing better to do? Actually, I have plenty to do. Even though many people would like to imagine I have tons of free time, that is quite the opposite. This year we moved into a bigger house, I started freelancing full time, and I’ve been working on my food blogging and photography with my serious face on (i.e.: I’m working harder at it then ever). So again, why spend time making brown sugar when there is a perfectly good store that has it already made? 

I’ll tell you. 

1. Quality. When Joel and I were living in Corvallis, we got a certain organic and natural grocery store brand new to our area. I was checking out the bulk baking aisle and low and behold! The BEST looking dark brown sugar I had ever seen. I didn’t know brown sugar could be this luxurious! It was a far cry from the bland and clumpy stuff that comes in a bag. I bought some at 2.00/lb and promptly when home to make amazing cookies. When you start with quality, you get better results! 

2. Time. This may be counter-intuitive, but in the time it would take me to (a) get dressed and (b) drive to the store, I could have my very own batch of luscious organic brown sugar already made! Both light and dark. 

3. Price. Organic homemade anything is cheaper then organic store-bought anything. It’s also way fresher! My homemade brown sugar never hardens up or gets clumpy on me, which makes me wonder how long that other stuff in the plastic bags has been sitting around….? So I use organic, fair trade sugar and mix in a little organic molasses, and I’m in brown sugar heaven for less time, less gas, and less packaging then the conventional store bought version.*


I love to use a shallow dish for this, a pie pan or bowl with a flat bottom and short sides works really well. A fork is also essential. You could use a mixer to do this work for you, but I found it actually took longer to come together and it was noisy, so I prefer to do it by hand. 

diy brown sugar

diy brown sugar

diy brown sugar

Overall, this project takes about 10 minutes. A little longer if you are making both light and dark brown sugar.

diy dark and light brown sugar 

*confession: During the holidays when my baking is in high gear and butter and brown sugar are flying around my kitchen daily, I go ahead and buy brown sugar. But the rest of the year, making it at home is my move.)

This recipe is roughly from The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila

Alana describes the early process of mixing together the sugar and molasses as “tense” and almost like it looks like the two things will never come together. She’s right, but you must move past it, it only lasts for a little while. 

I’m hoping to turn Sundays into “Sweet Sundays” around here! Where every Sunday I post something sweet for you. Stay tuned for more. 

dark and light brown sugar

DIY Brown Sugar
Recipe Type: DIY Pantry
Author: Sugar Pickles
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 3 cups
  • 3 cups organic white sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons organic molasses
  • Equipment:
  • fork
  • low sided bowl or pie plate
  • Mixer (optional)
  1. In the bowl or pie plate, measure out the sugar. For light bown sugar, add 1 tablespoon of molasses. Start to mix together with the fork. I’ve found it’s easier to first mix in a tablespoon, then after that is mixed, add more molasses for a darker brown sugar if desired.
  2. As you start to mix, the sugar will start out clumpy. Keep mixing. After about 5 minutes it will start to be absorbed by the white sugar and it will be increasingly easier to mix the rest of the molasses in.
  3. When the sugar is homogenized and the color you are looking for (light, dark, or super dark) then you are done. I like to mix up a bigger batch, remove some for light brown sugar, then add more molasses and mix until I have dark brown sugar as well. Makes the best brown sugar you ever laid eyes on!
  4. Note: You can put everything in a mixer and let it do your work, but it does take longer and it’s noisy. Just put everything in a stand mixer and blend on medium until combined.