How to Measure Sugar

Measuring sugar is a basic skill of baking. Do it wrong and you'll be facing a kitchen disaster, but when you know how to measure sugar of all varieties—granulated sugar, confectioners' or powdered sugar, and brown sugar—you'll get your recipes off to a great start.

When it comes to measuring sugar for baking and cooking, one size does not fit all. Follow along as we show you how to measure confectioners sugar (aka powdered sugar), how to measure brown sugar, and cover which measuring tools you should use.

Tools to Measure Sugar

First things first: When it comes to how to measure sugar, you need the right measuring tools. All sugar varieties are considered a dry ingredient so use dry measuring cups and measuring spoons.

Granulated, Brown, or Powdered Sugar?
If your recipe simply calls for sugar, use white granulated sugar. Powdered sugar, also called confectioners' sugar, refers to granulated sugar that has been pulverized; cornstarch is often added to powdered sugar to prevent clumping. If your recipe requires brown sugar, it will be noted as such. Brown sugar is a mix of granulated sugar and molasses; the amount of molasses determines whether the sugar is classified as light or dark.

How to Store Sugar
Boxed or bagged sugar needs to be transferred to a sealed plastic bag or airtight container to avoid hardening. When sugars are stored in a cool, dry place in proper food storage containers, they will keep indefinitely.

How to Measure Powdered Sugar and Granulated Sugar

Powdered sugar and granulated sugar are measured the same way. Granulated and powdered sugar should be spooned into a dry measuring cup and leveled off with a straight edge.

How to Measure Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is measured a little differently. Brown sugar should be pressed firmly into a dry measure until it is level with the rim of the measuring cup. Brown sugar should hold the shape of the measuring cup when it is turned out.

The granular nature and moistness of brown sugar make it a little sticky to accurately measure. It's really just a matter of packing it properly: See how here.

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