Does Brown Sugar Go Bad? (How to Know When to Throw it Away)

While brown sugar is quite cheap and can be thrown away when bad, you still want to make sure that it has really gone bad before throwing it away. This attitude can save you a lot of money in the long run – and really, you don’t want to waste food, right?

Of course, food safety is also one of our main concerns. There’s no point to saving money if your health is going to be placed in jeopardy. It’s simply not worth it.

Today you’re going to learn about brown sugar as I will focus on it in this pa​​​rticular article. You will learn how to tell if brown sugar is already bad and if you really must get rid of it. And to further help you preserve the quality of brown sugar, I will also touch on the topic of proper storage.


Can Brown Sugar Spoil?

As to the question on whether brown sugar can go bad, here’s the answer: No. Generally, no, that is.

You see, brown sugar is a type of preservative – and as such, it really has a long shelf life. It can stay good (safe and edible) for many MANY years. Yes, indefinitely – as long as it’s stored properly.

Brown Sugar

Brown Suga​​​​r

Well, that’s good to know, right? If you’re like me, I hate it when food expires quickly. The good news about brown sugar, however, is that it can be restored to its original texture and quality most of the time. And if not, it can be recreated into another type of condiment (I’ll tell you more about that later).

For now, just be assured that brown sugar very rarely goes bad (that it requires to be thrown away and discarded). Even if its texture goes bad, it can still be saved and reused.

How to Store Brown Sugar

Store Brown Sugar

Store Brown Sugar

Like I said, keeping brown sugar in perfect condition will very much depend on proper storage. Keep the following points in mind when storing this type of condiment in your kitchen.

Brown sugar should be kept in a dry, cool environment such as:

  • check
  • check
  • check

The storage area for your brown sugar should be away from sources of heat (to avoid melting) like the following:

Once open, transfer your brown sugar to an airtight container to keep it from hardening up.

Unopened and sealed packages of brown sugar can be kept in their original packaging.

How to Soften Hard Brown Sugar

Brown sugar can harden up and form clumps if it’s not properly stored. When it’s not kept in an airtight container, for example, air and moisture can get in and affect its overall texture.

But don’t worry, as this is not a big problem – it’s not spoiled or ruined, but is simply more difficult to use. In fact, you can even restore hard brown sugar to its original soft texture by doing the methods listed below.

  • tags
    Place an apple wedge inside the sugar container overnight. This will regulate the moisture inside the container and soften the sugar back to its original state. If the brown sugar is not that hard and lumpy, this technique can work and bring it back to its original texture in just a few hours.
  • tags
    Put the brown sugar in a microwave oven safe container and heat it on low to medium high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. This method will make hardened sugar break up and become softer and more manageable. You can then use a fork or a spoon to crush it back to its original form.
  • tags
    For brown sugar that has lumped-up and stuck together but is not that hard, you can pound on it to break it. The broken clumps can then be pounded more to bring the sugar back to its normal condition.
  • tags
    If you have already broken down hardened sugar into manageable pieces, you can further break it up by putting it in the blender or food processor.

How to Tell if Brown Sugar is Bad

For brown sugar to be considered bad, it means that its already contaminated and spoiled (and therefore, no longer eatable). If you observe the following things I listed below, throw your brown sugar away.

  • magic
    Presence of dead bugs or other types of insects – If there are dead insects in your brown sugar, simply removing them will not save the food. Keep in mind that these are very small insects – and you wouldn’t be able to tell if some of their body parts are left in the sugar or have already deteriorated in the mixture. (Yuckk!)
  • magic
    There are live insects in the sugar container – If there are live insects (bugs, ants, etc.) found in your brown sugar, it would be best to just throw it away. A lot of people don’t consider ants to be dirty, and would still eat food they’ve been on. If you’re like me, however, I always like to play it safe when it comes to food. Therefore, to avoid food contamination by ants and other insects, it would be better to discard any type of food (including brown sugar) that has been exposed to them.
  • magic
    Brown sugar smells bad – Brown sugar has a distinct smell – it smells sweet, for one (and it’s a pleasant smell). Should you find that your brown sugar smells funny – or worse, smells really bad – don’t use it. Having a bad smell means that there’s something wrong with it (even if you can’t see it) – so, just discard it.
Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar


Q: Can brown sugar mold?

Q: If brown sugar is hard, is it bad?

Q: Why does my brown sugar have bugs in it?

Q: What should I do if my brown sugar smells bad?

Q: What should I do if there are black spots in my brown sugar?

Q: How can I restore brown sugar back to its normal texture?

Q: What are the white spots in brown sugar?

Q: Is there another way to use hardened brown sugar?

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

You Can Prevent Brown Sugar from Going Bad

Now that you know that brown sugar can’t really go bad, I hope you’ll take the time to save it and restore it should you find that it has already hardened up.

It would really be wasteful to just throw it away if you can still save it (or at least use it in some other way), right?

If you have other concerns about brown sugar, just drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.

Also, if you found this article to be useful, feel free to share it with your friends. Perhaps, they need to save their brown sugar, too.

Lita Watson

Hi there! I’m Lita, and I’m absolutely in love with cooking blogs. I’m a beginner in cooking and i try my best to make it quick and easy. Even though, it’s not always quick and easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so i keep learning and blogging about quick and easy ways to create delicious and yummy foods for my two kids and a wonderful husband.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
John L Smith

When I was very young in the late 1940s and 50s,our septugeneian neighbor’s wife always put the heal of bread in the brown sugar the night before using it. Amazing how it softened the sugar just overnight.


Leave a Reply: