Save Money By Making Your Own Powdered Sugar

Cut Your Powdered Sugar Cost in Half with a Little DIY

Icing being sprinkled over Christmas mince pies
Carl Pendle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Do your really need to buy powdered sugar? Unless you use a lot of it, not really. If you're working on a recipe that calls for powdered, confectioner's, or icing sugar (all names for the same ingredient), you can easily make your own at home. Just grab some granulated sugar from your pantry, and follow the steps below to turn it into powdered sugar.

How to Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

Making your own powdered sugar takes just a few minutes. To get the job done, you'll need granulated sugar and a blender or food processor. If you only need a small amount, you can also use a coffee or spice grinder. Just be sure to clean your grinder first. You don't want your sugar to come out tasting like coffee or spices!

What You Do:

  1. For each cup of powdered sugar needed, place one cup of granulated sugar in your blender or food processor.
  2. Blend at high speed, until the sugar reaches the consistency of a very fine powder.
  3. Use your homemade powdered sugar immediately, or store it in an air-tight container.

​How to Make Powdered Sugar From Other Sugars

While powdered sugar is typically made from granulated sugar, you can always make it from another type of sugar, if you have special dietary needs or preferences that you're trying to work around. Turbinado and coconut sugar are two possibilities. You can even use a sugar substitute, like Splenda, if you're trying to cut out sugar. Just replace the granulated sugar measure for measure for the best results.

Powdered Sugar Measurements and Conversions

Most frosting recipes call for one pound of powdered sugar. If you're making your own powdered sugar, and you don't have a scale to weigh it, that's the equivalent of 3-1/2 to 4 cups of unsifted sugar. Sifted sugar takes up more space in the cups, so if you're using sifted sugar, figure on around 4-1/2 cups per pound.

Tips for Making Powdered Sugar

While processing powdered sugar at home is very easy, and will save you some money, here are a few extra tricks that will help make each batch a success:

  • Make small batches. While it may be tempting to blend up a large batch of powdered sugar to have on hand, you'll get better results, if you keep your batches small. One to two cups at a time is a good rule of thumb.
  • Add a little cornstarch. Store-bought powdered sugar often contains a small amount of cornstarch. This prevents caking, and improves the sugar's thickening ability (important when you're making icing). Happily, you can achieve the same thing at home. Just add one to two tablespoons of cornstarch for each cup of sugar that you're making, and you should get good results. If you're trying to avoid corn for dietary reasons, you can leave it out. It's not a deal breaker.
  • Know that sugar can scratch. Granulated sugar may etch your blender bowl, particularly if it's made of plastic. This could result in unsightly scratches, and create spots where food could get stuck in the future. If you plan to make powdered sugar often, consider using a dedicated blender bowl for the job. You can usually order spare parts for your blender, either directly from the manufacturer, or from sites, like Ebay.

How Much Money Will You Save?

On average, you can cut the cost of powdered sugar in half, if you make it yourself. The basic four-pound bag of white granulated sugar costs between $2-3; that's the same price as a two-pound bag of powdered sugar.

Because the two sugars are almost cup-for-cup in yield, you'll cut your cost in half, if you make your own powdered sugar.

If you're making your own powdered sugar using a sugar substitute, you're likely to save even more.

More Sugars You Can Make Yourself

Free up some space in your pantry by making these specialty sugars yourself. This will allow you to make only as much as the recipe calls for, so there's nothing to store.