Make Your Own Brown Sugar

Bowl of brown sugar

Brian Yarvin / Getty Images

  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 16 servings
  • Yield: 1 cup
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
52 Calories
0g Fat
13g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 52
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 3mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In case you ever find yourself out of brown sugar for a recipe and wonder if it's possible to make your own, the answer is yes. All you need to do is combine the correct ratio of white sugar and molasses. Brown sugar, in general, will impart more moisture to a baked good, but also consider that the darker the color, the stronger the flavor.

So what is brown sugar, exactly? Brown sugar is a less-refined stage of ordinary granulated white sugar, and molasses is a byproduct of the refining process. Molasses contains protein, minerals, and vitamins; it's high in manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, and more. The thick syrup acts as a sweetener and comes in various forms, including light, dark, and blackstrap. Learning how to make brown sugar is simply a matter of adding the molasses back into the white sugar—sort of like refining it in reverse.

What's great about making your own is that if you don't go through a lot of brown sugar, you can just make what you need as you need it. This way, it won't get dried out in your pantry and turn to hard clumps.

If for some reason you're totally out of granulated sugar and you've only got specialty sugars such as muscovado or demerara in the pantry, you can absolutely use those instead. The moisture content is similar to brown sugar.


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the white sugar and molasses in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon or mixer until thoroughly blended.

  3. Store the brown sugar in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.


This recipe uses just 1 tablespoon of molasses for each cup of white sugar, but you can adjust the amount of molasses depending on whether you want your brown sugar lighter or darker:

  • Dark brown sugar from white sugar: Increase the molasses to 2 tablespoons per 1 cup of granulated sugar for the sweeter taste of dark brown sugar.
  • Dark brown sugar from light brown sugar: Measure 1 cup of light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses in a bowl and stir with a fork.

Recipe Variations

Don't have molasses or just want to try something different? Try these other methods of making brown sugar:

  • Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to a cup of granulated sugar. It will result in a slightly different flavor. Real maple syrup works best, but maple-flavored syrup could be used in a pinch.
  • Agave nectar also can be used, mixing a tablespoon with a cup of granulated sugar. The flavor will be milder and the color lighter.
  • Buckwheat honey is darker than orange blossom or wildflower honey and has a strong flavor much like molasses. Mix a tablespoon of it into a cup of white granulated sugar.