How To Soften Hard White Sugar? Your Ultimate White Sugar Guides

If you have read most of our posts, you know that we are crazy about baking. We have already shared several tips and recipes about making sweet treats, cakes, and ingredient substitutes. To fulfill our love for baking, we tend to stock a lot of baking powder and granulated sugar in the house for long term usage.

Granulated sugar is a great ingredient for baking because its sugar crystal does not cake together. However, it can easily dry out and harden over time if you don’t store them properly. Sometimes, they can even become rock-like, and you cannot use them for mixing batter. But does it mean hard white sugar is unusable?

Fortunately, they can be usable again if you learn how to soften hard white sugar in this post.

Why Does White Sugar Get Hard?

how to soften hard white sugar

Before going through softened sugar methods, let’s find out why white sugar can get hard in the first place.

White sugar or granulated sugar is a type of sugar used popularly in baking because its crystals don’t attach, giving a smooth texture for cakes. Unfortunately, like powdered sugar, coarse sugar, or brown sugar, white sugar can get clumpy and hard if exposed to moisture.

The reason is moisture can wet the sugar crystals and make them stick together. When the air dries out all the humidity, the white sugar will form a dense structure and become hardened.

Normally, in supermarkets, the sugar comes with a plastic package that can become torn easily, creating a higher risk for the air to penetrate inside. Therefore, whenever we go shopping for white sugar, we always secure it by pouring it into an air-tight jar.

How To Soften Hard White Sugar?

Sugar perhaps is one of the best discoveries of human kinds. Without sugar, baking and cooking will never be the same. However, it also requires proper storage so it can be usable overtime.

As we have learned, white sugar can get hardened if it exposes to moisture and humidity. Some people tend to leave those sugar clumps there, but it is a waste as sugar is unusable for years.

If you encounter those hard white sugar clumps, you can learn how to remove moisture from white sugar with these methods.

Microwave Method

Microwave or oven is possibly the easiest solution to the question of how to unclump white sugar. Microwaves can heat your hard sugar clumps and break the hard structure like melting Kraft caramels.

The key to using a microwave for softening hard white sugar is not to overheat and melt it. Here are the steps you can do for the microwave method:

Step 1. Put your white sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.

Step 2. Wet the white sugar with water mist.

Step 3. Put the bowl in the microwave and set a high temperature.

Step 4. Take the bowl out after 5 minutes and check the white sugar status. If the hard white sugar is easy to get broken, use a spoon to tap on clumps to even it out.

If the white sugar is still hard, let it cool off first before putting it in the microwave again. Repeat this until the hard sugar is easy for you to break.

Food Processor Method

A food processor is a cooking tool for chopping and mincing food into small pieces. That’s why it is perfect for breaking hard white sugar clumps that are not as hard as a rock.

Step 1. Fill up 50% of the food processor capacity.

Step 2. Switch the device on a few times. However, you need to avoid using too-strong mode and turn the white sugar into a powdered type.

Wet Paper Towel Method

Wet tower may sound out of topic to you, but trust us, it is quite effective for softening hard white sugar. This method will help bring the moisture to chunks of hard sugar so its structure can be broken down naturally.

Step 1. Spray a bit of water on the paper towel

Step 2. Pour the hard sugar chunks into a jar

Step 3. Cover the hard sugar surface with the wet paper and close the jar. Leave the jar overnight so the moisture from the wet paper can penetrate the hard white sugar texture.

Step 4. In the morning, open the jar and remove the wet paper.

Step 5. Use a spoon to crack those hard sugar to the texture that you want.

Apple Method

Using apples for softening hard white sugar is a method that functions similarly to the wet paper method. However, this approach is more natural and healthier for those who don’t like wet paper towels.

With the natural juice from apples, the hard white sugar can absorb the moisture and recover its stage.

Step 1. Slice an apple and remove its core.

Step 2. Place the apple slices on top of the white sugar surface. Normally it only takes four slices of apple to moisten a small amount of sugar clumps.

Step 3. Close the jar and leave it overnight at a dry place.

Step 4. In the morning, remove the apple slices in the jar.

Step 5. Use a spoon to break the granules in your sugar.

Food Steamer Method

Food steamer is a perfect answer to the question “how to soften white sugar without a microwave?”. The heat from steaming will help soften any stubborn sugar texture and allow the sugar to diversify its form.

Step 1. Pour the hardened sugar into a microwaveable bowl.

Step 2. Fill a pot with half a liter of water. Then put the pot on high heat.

Step 3. Insert the sugar bowl in the pot and ensure the water level doesn’t reach half of the bowl’s height.

Step 4. Cover your pot to let the steam focus on your sugar bowl.

Step 5. Boil the water for 5-7 minutes. Check on the water from time to time and add more water if the pot is drained.

Step 6. Use the spoon to test the texture of sugar.

Step 7. When the sugar becomes easier to break down, turn off the heat, and remove the bowl out.

Pestle Method

Pestle is another method that uses force to break down the hardened sugar. However, it can leave some mess, so you might need to do this in a kitchen. If you prefer your sugar ready for your hot tea, this is a good way to soften hard white sugar.

Step 1. Pour the hard sugar in a large bowl.

Step 2. Sprinkle some water on your sugar.

Step 3. Use a dishcloth to cover the sugar surface. This helps avoid excessive sugar plunging outside the bowl.

Step 4. Use the pestle to hit constantly to break the sugar.

Step 5. Pound it until the sugar is evenly broken into a crumbly and creamy texture.

Coffee Grinder Method

You might think a coffee grinder is just for coffee beans, but it can help in this situation. There are many types of coffee grinder, but their function is mostly the same.

Once the coffee beans are inside, the sharp cutting blades oppositely cut the beans until they become coarsely ground. That’s why using a coffee grinder to soften the hard-white sugar is so effective.

Step 1. Pour the white sugar into the coffee grinder.

Step 2. Take into account the capacity of the grinder. If you overload it, the machine cannot handle and may break down.

Step 3. Switch on the machine and pay attention to the sugar. If you leave the machine running long enough, the sugar might become powdered.

What are the tips to prevent white sugar from getting hard?

Hardened sugar is a common phenomenon if you get it exposed to moisture for too long. Even though there are many ways you can restore your granulated white sugar stage, it is better to learn how to store white sugar properly as a prevention. So, how to keep the sugar soft? 

The best way to keep your sugar texture is to put them in an airtight container. The container is perfect protection preventing the air from touching your sugar and damaging it. You can even use a dark container to keep the heat out if you need extra protection.

Another way to keep your sugar from hardened is by placing it in a refrigerator. The cool temperature will keep it from the heat of the sun and the moisture.

However, once you have placed sugar in the fridge, you should consider it a permanent storage place. If you put the sugar inside the fridge and then leave it outside for a long time, the temperature change might alter the sugar’s normal moisture.

Lastly, a slice of bread can also help your sugar remain in its form. No matter where you store your sugar, you can prevent the rise in humidity inside by placing a slice of bread in your sugar jar or container. The bread will absorb all the excess moisture from the sugar.

However, the shelf life of bread is definite, and thus, it needs replacing after a few days.


We love baking sweet cakes and treats for our family. But baking is not only about making cakes but also preserving the materials and ingredients for future use. White sugar is a great ingredient for baking and cooking.

Thus, it is important to learn how to soften hard white sugar and how to keep white sugar from hardening so you can continue to use it for a long period.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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