How long can you keep brown sugar?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep brown sugar?”, and how to tell if the brown sugar is bad?

How long can you keep brown sugar?

Sugar pretty much lasts indefinitely. The same goes for brown sugar unless It has been exposed to moisture or bugs. 

If the package comes with a best-by date, It means the sugar won’t be of peak quality past the printed date. However, the changes are minimal in most cases. But brown sugar is best consumed within 2 years of the printed date.

Can brown sugar go bad?

Yes, brown sugar can go bad. It lasts indefinitely unless exposed to water. Hardened brown sugar is not bad sugar. Read on If you want to know how to soften clumpy brown sugar.

How to tell If brown sugar is bad?

  1. If you have seen even a single dead or alive insect, larvae, or eggs in the sugar, the sugar belongs in the bin. It is no longer safe for consumption.
  1. If the brown sugar has been in contact with moisture, It will have mold growth in which case the sugar must be discarded immediately.

How to store brown sugar?

  • Just like white sugar, brown sugar should also be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from heat sources like sunlight and stovetop. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet would work fine. 
  • Keeping the sugar away from moisture is very important to avoid spoilage because sugar is hygroscopic.
  • If the package of sugar is unopened, leave it in its original packaging. Once opened, keep the sugar tightly sealed at all times. A tight seal protects the sugar against bugs and unwanted odors.
  • Over time, brown sugar loses moisture and becomes hard and clumpy. To solve this problem, a lifesaver gadget, sugar saver, can be used.

How to soften hard brown sugar?

Brown sugar forms clumps due to the lack of mixture over time. This is particularly problematic If the in baking. Clumped and hardened brown sugar can be softened in two ways. 

The following manual methods to do the job are recommended If you are in a hurry. Otherwise, It is better to add a source of moisture in the brown sugar.

  • Use a fork to break down the clumps
  • Put the lumpy sugar  into a bag and smash it against a wall or counter
  • Use an electric mixer or a blender to dissolve the clumps

The second method to soften the brown sugar is by providing a moisture source for the molasses in the brown sugar. You can do that by trying the following options.

  • Keep an apple wedge into the sugar container for a few hours.
  • Take a slice of bread and put it into the sugar container.
  • Put the orange peels into the container overnight 
  • Cover the sugar with a damp paper towel and microwave it at low-medium heat for about 30 seconds.

How to cook with brown sugar?

If you have plenty of sugar that you want to use up within a quite short period, you can try the following recipes. Besides, brown sugar can be used as a leg scrub, face scrub, body scrub, scalp scrub, foot scrub, lip exfoliator, and face mask.

Brown sugar cookies


  • 6 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 spoon salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 spoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 spoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 spoon ground nutmeg

To enhance the sweetness level, add a tsp of pure honey or glaze with melted chocolate. The nutmeg and ginger in the ingredients will make your homemade cookies taste like the store-bought ones.


  1. Preheat the oven at 375℉.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar by beating them with an electric mixer.
  3. Add egg and beat again.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients and fold them into the wet mixture.
  5. Scoop out the cookie batter onto the baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.

Brown sugar caramels 


  • 1 cup butter 
  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 can sweeten condensed milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a large saucepan, mix all the ingredients except vanilla extract on low-medium heat.
  2. Bring it to a rolling boil and stir for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and add vanilla extract.
  4. Grease a 9 by 13 baking pan using butter.
  5. Pour the caramel mixture into the greased pan.
  6. Let the caramel cool at room temperature or refrigerate for a quicker process.
  7. Then cut the caramel into any shape and size.
  8. Wrap each cut piece of caramel in cellophane or wax paper.

Check out if Can Caramels go bad?


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep brown sugar?”, and how to tell if the brown sugar is bad?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.