How to Cut Butternut Squash

Use this quick step by step tutorial to learn how to cut butternut squash the easy way! Including storage tips, recipes, and more.

The post How to Cut Butternut Squash appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall ingredients, but if you’re new to cooking with it, peeling and chopping this oddly shaped vegetable can be a bit intimidating. But don’t fret! Here’s a quick tutorial so you can see just how easy it is to cut butternut squash. I promise it’s painless! And then you can use that delicious and beautiful butternut squash in soups, salads, casseroles, pasta, and more.

Two whole butter nut squashes on a blue background.

How to Choose A Butternut Squash

When choosing a butternut squash, look for a squash with smooth, light flesh-colored skin. The interior of the butternut squash will be much more vibrantly colored than its skin. Inspect the squash for soft spots, dings, or other damaged areas. The squash should feel firm to touch and heavy for its size.

Do You Need to Peel Butternut Squash?

If you’re planning to cube or slice your butternut squash, you’ll want to peel it first. If you plan to roast your squash whole or halved, you can leave the skin on during roasting and then just scoop the soft flesh out of the skin after roasting.

What About the Seeds?

You’ll want to scoop the seeds out of the squash before chopping or roasting because they’re much easier to remove when the squash flesh is still raw and firm. But don’t toss those seeds! You can clean them and roast them just like you would roast pumpkin seeds.

How to Use Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is so versatile and can be added to salads, casseroles, pasta, sauces, and more! Butternut squash is also very similar in texture and flavor to sweet potatoes, so it can often be used in place of sweet potatoes in recipes. Here are some of our recipes that use butternut squash (more to come!):

A butternut squash cut in half lengthwise with the insides exposed.

How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash – Step by Step Photos

The end of a butternut squash being sliced off.

Begin by creating a flat, stable surface on the squash so it doesn’t roll around when you try to peel it. Slice off the top and the bottom of the squash to create flat surfaces.

Butternut squash being peeled with a vegetable peeler.

Set the squash on the wide, flat bottom and use a vegetable peeler to peel straight down toward the cutting board. Peel all the way around the squash until all of the peel has been removed and the vibrant squash flesh is visible.

Seeds scooped out of butternut squash with a spoon.

While the squash is still standing up on the base, slice it in half lengthwise from top to bottom. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from the center.

Butternut squash sliced and cubed on a cutting board.

To cut the butternut squash into cubes, first cut it into slices horizontally, then cut each slice into cubes. To make this step faster, you can stack two or three slices at a time and then cut them into cubes together.

Butternut squash cubes in a freezer bag.

If you have too much butternut squash to use in your recipe, you can freeze the rest of the cubes for later! Simply place the cubed butternut squash in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to three months. The frozen cubes can be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before use, dropped right into boiling water from the freezer, or popped right into a hot oven for roasting! Super easy peasy!

Two butternut squashes on a blue background.

What is your favorite way to use butternut squash? Let us know in the comments!!

The post How to Cut Butternut Squash appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract is simple to make and is a great gift for all of the bakers in your life! Read on for details on how to make and store your own vanilla extract, as well as a free printable label template. This post contains affiliate links. I would guess that since you are reading …

The post Homemade Vanilla Extract appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Homemade vanilla extract is simple to make and is a great gift for all of the bakers in your life! Read on for details on how to make and store your own vanilla extract, as well as a free printable label template.

Four small, labeled bottles of homemade vanilla extract with a large jar of the extract visible in the background.

This post contains affiliate links.

I would guess that since you are reading My Baking Addiction, you probably have some form of vanilla extract in your pantry. 

Some of you may use imitation vanilla, while others may fork over the money for higher quality pure vanilla extract.

Regardless of your vanilla choice, I wanted to share an effortless “recipe” for homemade vanilla extract using two easy ingredients: alcohol and vanilla beans.

This is one of those kitchen how-tos that sticks in my brain right along with my buttermilk substitute and knowing how to make powdered sugar. It’s so simple and is sure to be a trick you’ll be happy to have up your sleeve!

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Cake Flour Substitute

Making a cake but don’t have any cake flour on hand? Use your all-purpose flour to make this cake flour substitute and save yourself a trip to the grocery store. This post contains affiliate links. It’s no secret that I love a good baking substitution hack. Whether it’s knowing how to whip up a buttermilk …

The post Cake Flour Substitute appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Making a cake but don’t have any cake flour on hand? Use your all-purpose flour to make this cake flour substitute and save yourself a trip to the grocery store.

Cake flour substitute in a glass mixing bowl next to a tea towel.

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s no secret that I love a good baking substitution hack.

Whether it’s knowing how to whip up a buttermilk substitute, how to make powdered sugar, or how to make self-rising flour, these tricks save me from having to go to the grocery store on a regular basis.

Today we’re going to talk about cake flour: what it is, why you use it, and how to make a simple cake-flour substitute using all-purpose flour.

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Roasted Spaghetti Squash

There’s a hard way and an easy way to roast spaghetti squash. Here’s the easiest way to get roasted strands of squash on your table fast.

The post Roasted Spaghetti Squash appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you’ve never roasted spaghetti squash, the first time you stare at it on your kitchen counter can be intimidating. I mean, how in the world does a hard-skinned gourd transform into tender strands that look like angel hair? Well, dear reader, with one of my favorite kitchen hacks up your sleeve, it’s actually really easy.

Overhead shot of hand holding cooked spaghetti squash dressed with butter and Italian Parsley. with a fork in it

What Is Spaghetti Squash?

Surprisingly, considering all of its savory preparations, spaghetti squash is a fruit, just like every other squash. Its bright canary yellow and football-like shape makes it easy to recognize among its more famous cousins, butternut and acorn. No matter, as Spaghetti is the unicorn of winter squashes. Once it’s cooked, its neutral-flavored flesh separates into long, translucent strings that resemble angel hair pasta. Try that with butternut squash! (Spoiler alert: you will fail miserably.) PS, spaghetti squash seeds are edible, so don’t throw them out.

HOW TO Make Cutting Easy

If you think you need super-human strength and wolverine-like blades to cut through this hard-skinned squash, you would be correct. But as I mentioned, I have tricks that will help you keep all of your digits on your hands where they belong. After a nice little rinse in your sink, pierce your squash about a dozen times with a fork. Then pop it in your microwave and cook it for five minutes. The heat transforms its hard shell into something a bit more manageable. This trick works with all hard-skinned squashes.

How To Cut Spaghetti Squash

  • While it’s getting nuked into submission, prepare your work surface. First, place a damp paper towel under your cutting board, so it doesn’t slip. Then place a thick dish towel on your cutting board so the squash doesn’t slip.
  • Place the softened squash long side down on the dish towel on top of your cutting board. Slice off both ends, and create a flat surface to help stabilize the squash on your board.
  • Next, set it upright on its newly trimmed bottom and cut straight down the middle from tip to end. Alternatively, you can set it on its side and slice it into rounds. Yes, that will take longer than counting out $20 in nickels and dimes. But you do you.

How To Get SEEDS OUT OF Squash

Once the squash has been cut open, use a soup spoon to scrape out the fifty thousand seeds in its cavity. Don’t go crazy here, as it’s easy to scrape a ton of flesh out along with the seeds. If you want, clean the seeds and reserve them for roasting. Boom! You’re ready to go! Check out my simple recipe below for Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

What can you serve with Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash has a very neutral flavor, which makes it a perfect canvas for All. Of. The. Things. You can separate its strands and dress them simply in salted butter (my fave!) or go all out:

Overhead shot of roasted spaghetti squash dressed with butter and chopped Italian parsley with a fork in it.
Print

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

There's a hard way and an easy way to roast spaghetti squash. Here's the easiest way to get buttery roasted strands of squash on your table fast.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost ($2.15 recipe / $0.54 serving)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 156kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, (1 and 1/3 lbs) $0.79
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.15
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.01
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter $1.20

Instructions

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Place a dish towel on your cutting board to stabilize the squash, and then trim off 1/4 inch from both ends.
  • Place the cut bottom of the squash on your cutting board with the stem side facing up. Cut down the center of the squash, from the top to the bottom.
  • Use a soup spoon to scrape out all of the seeds in the cavity of the squash. If you wish, reserve them for roasting.
  • Brush olive oil on both halves of the squash and sprinkle salt on them.
  • Place the halves cut side down on the sheet pan. Roast your squash for 30 to 45 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin.*
  • Allow the squash to cool until it's comfortable to hold. Use a fork to scrape the squash halves in one direction, creating spaghetti-like strands.
  • Dress with butter and serve.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the squash.

Nutrition

Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 377mg | Fiber: 4g
Overhead shot of roasted spaghetti squash dressed with butter and chopped Italian parsley.

How to Make Roasted Spaghetti Squash – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of knife cutting into spaghetti squash.

Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place a dish towel on your cutting board and put the spaghetti squash on top of it. Use a chef’s knife to cut 1/4 inch off both ends.

Overhead shot of knife cutting through spaghetti squash.

Place the bottom of the squash on the board, with the tip facing up. Hold the squash with one hand and slice it down the middle with the other.

Overhead shot of hands holding a cut squash half and using a spoon to scrape it.

Use a soup spoon to scrape out the seeds in the cavity of the squash, taking care not to remove the flesh. If you wish, reserve the seeds for roasting.

Overhead shot of hands holding a cut squash half and brushing oil on it.

Place the spaghetti squash halves on a sheet pan, cut side up. Brush one tablespoon of olive oil on the squash halves. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Overhead shot of roasted spaghetti squash cut side down on a sheet pan.

Turn the spaghetti squash halves face down on the sheet pan and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a fork pierces the skin with no resistance.

Overhead shot of fork scraping cooked Spaghetti Squash.
All the spaghetti squash to cool until you can hold it comfortably. Use a fork to scrape the flesh in one direction, separating it into strands.
Overhead shot of roasted spaghetti squash dressed with butter and chopped Italian parsley with a fork in it.
Dress each squash half with a tablespoon of butter. If you wish, you can add a touch of pepper and fresh chopped Italian Parsley, though that is completely optional.

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How to Roast Garlic

Roasted garlic makes your kitchen smell heavenly and is incredible in everything from mashed potatoes to aioli. Learn how to roast garlic so you can add it to all of your favorite dishes. There are a lot of baking tips and tricks out there that are helpful for beginner and advanced bakers alike. Some of …

The post How to Roast Garlic appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Roasted garlic makes your kitchen smell heavenly and is incredible in everything from mashed potatoes to aioli. Learn how to roast garlic so you can add it to all of your favorite dishes.

Roasted heads of garlic on a plate next to plates of garlic mashed potatoes and roasted garlic butter and toasted baguette.

There are a lot of baking tips and tricks out there that are helpful for beginner and advanced bakers alike. Some of my favorites are making a simple buttermilk substitute and knowing how to make powdered sugar.

But there are just as many cooking tips and tricks out there for those of you who love making savory dishes.

We’ve talked in the past about how to brown butter and how to bake potatoes

Today, we’re going to talk about a simple method for amping up the flavor in just about any dish you make: how to roast garlic.

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Roasted Garlic

Deeply savory and subtly sweet, roasted garlic is a quick and easy way to take the flavor of your food to the next level.

The post Roasted Garlic appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I talk a lot about how oven-roasting magically makes everything taste better, and garlic is no exception! Fresh garlic has a spicy flavor punch, but roasted garlic has a deep, mellow, and slightly sweet flavor. It tastes great on its own or you can add it to just about anything you cook to give it that extra special flavor. It’s a really easy and inexpensive way to take your food to the next level.

close up overhead view of several heads of roasted garlic.

Why roast Garlic?

Not only is the flavor of roasted garlic phenomenal, but it also tends to be a bit easier on your stomach than fresh garlic. 😅 The flavor of roasted garlic is much more mellow and deep than fresh garlic, and it has a beautiful sweetness from the natural sugars that caramelize during the roasting process. Plus, you can roast several cloves at once while you’ve already got the oven going for something else, then you can store that roasted garlic in the freezer for later use!

How to Use Roasted Garlic

If you’re a garlic lover, like me, you’ll love just smearing this soft, spreadable roasted garlic on a piece of crusty bread. If you want to extend that garlic flavor a little more, you can whip it into some butter, cream cheese, or mayo for a delicious caramelized garlic butter spread. But really, it’s great in anything that would normally call for regular garlic. Try using roasted garlic in these recipes:

Roasted garlic being squeezed out of the skin.

How to Store Roasted Garlic

The easiest and most cost-effective way to make roasted garlic is to make several heads of garlic at once and to do so while you’ve already got the oven going for something else. Just pop them in the oven as you cook your meat, vegetables, or whatever else you might be roasting. But then what do you do with six or seven bulbs of roasted garlic??

Simply squeeze the soft roasted garlic out of the papery skin (that part is kind of fun, if you ask me), then measure out the roasted garlic paste into one teaspoon or one tablespoon portions. Place the potions on a parchment or plastic lined plate or baking sheet, freeze until solid, then transfer to an air-tight freezer bag for longer storage.

Roasted garlic will last about 4-5 days in the fridge and 3 months or more in the freezer.

Several heads of roasted garlic scattered on a surface.
Close up overhead view of bulbs of roasted garlic.
Print

Roasted Garlic

Deeply savory and subtly sweet, roasted garlic is a quick and easy way to take the flavor of your food to the next level.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.16 per batch / $0.69 per head
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 heads
Calories 83kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 6* heads garlic $3.84
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Remove any loose outer pieces of papery skin from the heads of garlic. Slice off the top ⅓ of each head to expose the cloves inside (save the pieces of garlic cloves that have been cut off to use in other recipes).
  • Place the garlic in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the cut surfaces of the garlic, making sure they're coated in oil.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with a lid or foil and transfer to the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then check the garlic. Add more time in the oven, 10-15 minutes at a time, until the garlic is deeply golden brown. Total roasting time will vary with the size and number of garlic heads you're roasting, as well as the type of dish you're roasting in.
  • Let the garlic cool. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft roasted garlic out of the heads. Use immediately, store in the refrigerator, or freezer for later use.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*You can roast one or several heads of garlic at one time. If roasting one head, simply wrap the head tightly in foil rather than using a baking dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1head | Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g
Roasted garlic being spread on a toasted piece of bread.

How to Make Roasted Garlic – Step by Step Photos

Prepped garlic with outer skins removed.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Remove any extra loose pieces of the papery skin from the heads of garlic before you begin. It will be much easier to remove the roasted garlic if the loose skins have been removed.

Tops removed from garlic heads.

Slice off about ⅓ of the top of the garlic heads to expose all of the cloves. Make sure to save the garlic bits that are cut off and remove them from the skin. You can use the pieces that you cut off in other recipes later–it’s already partially chopped! :)

Oil being drizzled over garlic cloves in a glass dish.

If you’re only doing one head of garlic at a time, you can wrap the garlic in foil to create an enclosed space. If you’re doing several heads at a time, place them in a baking dish that either has an oven-safe lid or that can be tightly covered with foil. Drizzle the tops of the garlic with oil to help prevent them from drying out as they roast.

Dish covered with foil.

Cover the baking dish tightly (with a lid or foil), then transfer to the preheated 400ºF oven.

Roasted garlic in the dish with the foil pulled back.

Roasting time can vary a lot depending on the size of your garlic heads, how many you’re roasting at once, or if you’re roasting in a glass or ceramic dish as opposed to just wrapping with foil. Check the garlic at 30 minutes, then add more time, 10-15 minutes at a time, until they reach this deep golden brown color.

Roasted garlic in the baking dish with foil removed.

These beauties took just over 60 minutes to achieve that delicious golden color. Let the garlic cool until they can be easily handled, then squeeze the garlic out of the skins.

Roasted garlic heads scattered on a surface next to tomatoes.
Spread that delicious roasted garlic onto some toast, stir it into your broth or soup, or spread it right onto some bread to make a sandwich! Whatever you do with it, it will be SO DELICIOUS!

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How to Brown Butter

What is brown butter and why is it used in recipes? Learn about the magic of this simple yet flavorful ingredient and learn how to brown butter to add a nutty flavor to so many of your recipes. Brown butter is one of those ingredients that sounds so fancy and posh. Before I knew how …

The post How to Brown Butter appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

What is brown butter and why is it used in recipes? Learn about the magic of this simple yet flavorful ingredient and learn how to brown butter to add a nutty flavor to so many of your recipes.

Gold spoon set next to a jar of brown butter on a marble countertop.

Brown butter is one of those ingredients that sounds so fancy and posh. Before I knew how to brown butter, I assumed it had to be really hard to do.

I mean, it’s used a lot in French cooking, so it had to be complicated, right?

WRONG!

Browning butter is actually really easy. You just have to have a few minutes of time and a bit of patience and you’re on your way to elevating nearly any recipe.

This is a trick you’ll add to your arsenal right alongside my buttermilk substitute that you’ll be coming back to again and again. 

If this is your first time browning butter, don’t panic. I’m going to walk you through exactly what it is, how to make it, and how to use it!

(more…)

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How To Make Sour Cream

If you’ve run out of sour cream and don’t want to run to the store for more- you can make it at home with just two ingredients and a little upper body strength!

The post How To Make Sour Cream appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a recipe that calls for sour cream and opening up the tub only to find it’s almost empty or worse- there’s mold all over it. Luckily, if you’re out of sour cream, you can make your own! All you need is two ingredients and a lot of upper body strength. (I’m exaggerating about the need for muscle tone. I can do it, and I haven’t worked out since the 90s.)

What is sour cream?

First things first- there are two types of sour cream: cultured and acidified. Without getting too sciency, cultured sour cream is made with bacteria, while acidified sour cream is made with an acid. Fun fact: many store-bought sour creams aren’t made from cream at all. They’re made with milk that’s thickened with artificial ingredients. Homemade sour cream doesn’t have artificial thickeners so it will be a little runnier than what you’re used to, but the flavor will be spectacular!

Making Sour Cream From Scratch

Since you probably don’t have a vial of lactic bacteria in your pantry, you’ll need heavy cream and an acid. I like using vinegar, but you can also use lemon juice or buttermilk. You’ll also need a mason jar or another air-tight container. To make sure the container is squeaky clean, boil it for a few minutes, let it cool, and then add your cream and acid. Then cover and shake it (or blend it) until it thickens. That’s it. You’ve made sour cream.

To Ferment Or Not To Ferment

I’m a pretty impatient person, so if I’m using the sour cream for a batter or a dip, I add it a few minutes after I’ve made it because its primary purpose is to add creaminess and flavor. It’s not the star of the show; it’s a background singer. (Like the one chick in Destiny’s Child whose name no one ever remembers.) Now, if it’s the Beyonce of your dish, you’ll want to let it sit for a day on your counter to let the cream ferment and thicken and then refrigerate. To keep it 100, I usually skip fermenting it and just put it in the fridge to thicken overnight. It still tastes great.

How long does it last?

That depends on you. It’s best to store the sour cream in the back of your fridge, not the fridge door, where temperatures fluctuate. If you clean your container well and keep the sour cream at 40 degrees, it should last about two weeks. To keep it fresher longer, store it upside down so it isn’t affected by air. When the cream falls to the lid of the jar, it creates a vacuum, which slows down mold and bacteria growth. You can use this nifty trick on all dairy products that come in a container or a jar. I’m looking at you, cottage cheese.

Some of the things you can make with sour cream

Don’t limit your sour cream to just a topping for baked potatoes or a heap of nachos. It works magic in all sorts of dishes. You can use it in sweet and savory preparations to add tang, moisture, and tenderize. It’s the little cream that could.

Overhead shot of a wooden bowl with sour cream in it that's topped with chives and is surrounded by potato chips.

How To Make Sour Cream

If you've run out of sour cream and don't want to run to the store for more—you can make it at home with just two ingredients: heavy cream and vinegar!
Course condiment
Total Cost $1.42 recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 812kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream $1.40
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar $0.02

Instructions

  • Add the cream to a mason jar or other airtight container.
  • Add the vinegar to the cream.
  • Close the container and shake it for a minute or two, until the cream thickens.
  • Use the cream right away or leave the jar on your counter overnight to ferment and thicken.*

Notes

*Leave it out on your counter overnight if you want tangier, thicker sour cream. I usually shake it and pop it in the fridge, where it will thicken in a few hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 812kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 86g | Sodium: 65mg

How to Make Sour Cream – Step by Step Photos

Add the cream to a mason jar or other airtight container.

Add the vinegar (or lemon juice) to the cream.

Close the container and shake it for a minute or two until the cream thickens.

Use the cream right away or leave the jar (with the mouth covered in cheesecloth or other lightweight cloth and secured with a rubberband) on your counter overnight to ferment and thicken.

Overhead shot of a wooden bowl with sour cream in it that's topped with chives and is surrounded by potato chips.

Now your deliciously fresh homemade sour cream is ready to use in your favorite recipe!

Here are some great recipes to use up your sour cream:

Looking for more easy how-to’s? Check these out:

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How to Soften Brown Sugar

Excited to make a recipe only to discover that your brown sugar is hard as a rock? Learn how to soften brown sugar with 4 simple methods, plus a tip for keeping your brown sugar soft so this never happens again. This post contains affiliate links. If you think that being a full-time baking blogger …

The post How to Soften Brown Sugar appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

Excited to make a recipe only to discover that your brown sugar is hard as a rock? Learn how to soften brown sugar with 4 simple methods, plus a tip for keeping your brown sugar soft so this never happens again.

Several white bowls on a marble countertop filled with soft brown sugar and hard brown sugar clumps.

This post contains affiliate links.

If you think that being a full-time baking blogger means that I always have things together in the kitchen, please think again.

I can’t tell you how often I have to throw together a buttermilk substitute because I forgot to pick up buttermilk at the store, or how often I need to reference my own post on how to make self-rising flour.

Knowing some simple baking tips and tricks has saved me a trip to the store more times than I can count.

I recently used my brown sugar substitute to throw together a batch of brown sugar after forgetting to buy some. As I was mixing it together, I realized that I’ve never shared with you how to soften brown sugar.

Give these tricks a try next time you find yourself staring at a bag of rock-hard brown sugar.

White bowl filled with hard clumps of brown sugar.

BAKING PREDICAMENT: HARDENED BROWN SUGAR

I think we’ve all probably been in this situation. You are excited to be making banana oat muffins or grilled peaches, but when you open up your container of brown sugar, you find that it is lumpy and hard as a rock.

Brown sugar needs moisture to stay often. It hardens when the moisture in the sugar evaporates.

I used to think that was it, end of story. Time to throw it out and buy a new bag of brown sugar.

But not only is that a waste of money, it’s also totally not true! 

Not only is it possible to soften brown sugar, there are multiple ways to do it using things you probably already have in your kitchen.

So next time you’re making brown sugar simple syrup or  overnight cinnamon rolls (or the famous TikTok cinnamon rolls with heavy cream), don’t stress if your brown sugar has hardened. 

Hand stirring soft brown sugar in a white bowl with a fork.

HOW TO SOFTEN BROWN SUGAR

There are 4 methods for softening brown sugar that I really love, plus a bonus 5th method that works with some caveats.

All of these methods bring moisture back into the sugar. Some do so quickly, while others take a bit of time. They all work well, so pick the one that works best based on what you have available and how much time you have to work with.

While there are other methods out there, these are my favorites and the ones I think work best.

Hand placing a damp paper towel over the top of a white bowl.

The microwave method

If you need to know how to soften brown sugar quickly, the microwave method is for you. This is definitely the fastest method, so it’s great if you need soft brown sugar right now.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Place the hard brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Wet a paper towel and wring it out so it’s slightly damp.
  3. Cover the bowl with the damp paper towel and microwave in 10-second increments until the brown sugar is crumbly again, using a fork between intervals to help break up the sugar.
Hand using a fork to break up clumps of brown sugar in a white bowl.

How long will this take? Well, it’ll depend on how much brown sugar you’re trying to soften and just how hard and dry it is.

Be patient and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see much progress after the first couple of intervals. Keep going – all of a sudden, you’ll find yourself stirring beautifully soft brown sugar again.

Hand placing a lid on an airtight container. Through the lid you can see a slice of bread inside.

The bread method

This next trick sounds weird, but I promise that it works. 

For this one, all you have to do is place a slice of fresh bread in an airtight container with the hardened brown sugar.

Let the bread sit in the sugar container for about a day. At that point, the sugar will have absorbed enough moisture from the bread to become soft again.

Use a fork to break up any remaining clumps of sugar and remove the bread so it doesn’t mold.

Clumps of hard brown sugar on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

The oven method

The oven method isn’t as quick as the microwave method, but it is still a good trick for softening brown sugar pretty quickly. And it works well if you don’t have a microwave handy.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Place the hard brown sugar on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking sheet in a 250°F oven.
  3. Check on the brown sugar every few minutes and break it up with a fork. Return it to the oven and repeat until the brown sugar is soft.
  4. Let the brown sugar cool slightly before using in your recipe.

DO NOT try to speed up this process by raising the oven temperature! Just like with the microwave method, it’s hard to predict how long it will take, so be patient and keep at it.

Fork stirring soft brown sugar on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

The terra cotta method

This method is the only trick that might require you to buy some special equipment, since it uses a piece of terra cotta.

You can purchase special terra cotta brown sugar savers – disks of terra cotta that are the right size to pop into a container of brown sugar. You can also purchase special brown sugar storage containers that have a spot in the lid made to hold a terra cotta disk.

If you have a small, clean terra cotta plant saucer, you could use that instead, but you want to make sure that it has never been used for plants and that it will fit in your brown sugar container. 

I think it’s easier to buy the disks made for this purpose, since the size is better and you know they’re nice and clean.

Hand placing a disk of terra cotta in a bowl of water next to a container with hard brown sugar lumps in it.

To use terra cotta to soften your brown sugar:

  1. Soak the terra cotta disk in water for 20 minutes.
  2. Pat the terra cotta dry with a clean towel to remove excess water.
  3. Place the dry disk in an airtight container with the brown sugar. The terra cotta will revive the sugar in about a day, or keep new brown sugar from drying out.

BONUS! The apple method

I promised you 4 methods, but here’s a bonus 5th method!

I am listing it as a bonus method because it does come with some caveats.

Use the same instructions as the bread method, but use a few apple slices instead of a slice of bread. 

Place the apple slices in an airtight container with the brown sugar and give it about a day to do its job. Make sure you remove the apples after the brown sugar has softened.

Here are the caveats: The apples can get pretty mushy and it can transfer some of its flavor to the brown sugar. (So it would be fine for making apple coffee cake but maybe not in other recipes.)

Definitely keep all of that in mind if you plan to give the apple method a try!

Soft brown sugar inside of a closed airtight container.

HOW TO KEEP BROWN SUGAR SOFT

It’s helpful to know how to soften brown sugar, but it’s even more helpful to know how to keep it soft so it never hardens to begin with!

Always store brown sugar in an airtight container, rather than the bag or box it came in. That will help extend its shelf life quite a bit.

Some people will keep a slice of bread in their brown sugar container to keep it soft, but that’s a mold situation waiting to happen if you ask me.

In my opinion, the best way to keep brown sugar soft is to use the terra cotta method. The soaked terra cotta kept in an airtight container will help maintain the correct moisture level for your brown sugar.

The terra cotta will keep your brown sugar soft for 3-6 months. Make sure you re-soak it as needed according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

That way, you never have to worry about rock-hard brown sugar again and you always have perfectly soft brown sugar for all of your favorite recipes!

White bowls on a marble countertop. One is filled with soft brown sugar, another is filled with hard brown sugar clumps.

How to Soften Brown Sugar

Excited to make a recipe only to discover that your brown sugar is hard as a rock? Soften your hardened brown sugar with these 4 simple methods.

Materials

  • Hardened brown sugar

Tools

Instructions

Microwave method

  1. Place the hard brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Wet a paper towel and wring it out so it’s slightly damp.
  3. Cover the bowl with the damp paper towel and microwave in 10-second increments until the brown sugar is crumbly again, using a fork between intervals to help break up the sugar.

Bread method

  1. Place a slice of fresh bread in an airtight container with the hardened brown sugar.
  2. Let bread sit for about a day. Use a fork to break up any remaining clumps of sugar and remove the bread so it doesn’t mold.

Oven method

  1. Place the hard brown sugar on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Place the baking sheet in a 250°F oven.
  3. Check on the brown sugar every few minutes and break it up with a fork. Return it to the oven and repeat until the brown sugar is soft.
  4. Let the brown sugar cool slightly before using in your recipe.

Terra cotta method

  1. Soak a terra cotta disk in water for 20 minutes.
  2. Pat the terra cotta dry with a clean towel to remove excess water.
  3. Place the dry disk in an airtight container with the brown sugar. The terra cotta will revive the sugar in about a day, or keep new brown sugar from drying out.

Did you make this project?

Show me! Tag me on social. @jamiemba

The post How to Soften Brown Sugar appeared first on My Baking Addiction.

How to Marble Candy Apples for Halloween

This is the best marble candy apple recipe! If you’re looking to make fun candy apples for Halloween, try this super easy method. Make different colors using a sweet candy coating. They’re perfect the perfect Halloween party snack and look …

This is the best marble candy apple recipe! If you’re looking to make fun candy apples for Halloween, try this super easy method. Make different colors using a sweet candy coating. They’re perfect the perfect Halloween party snack and look gorgeous served on a cake stand. Halloween is just around the corner, and that means […]

The post How to Marble Candy Apples for Halloween appeared first on Sugar and Charm.