How to Get Hardened Sugar Out of a Canister: Tips and Tricks

If you’ve ever opened a container of sugar only to find it hardened into a solid block, you know how frustrating it can be. Hardened sugar is not only difficult to measure, but it can also ruin your favorite recipes. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips and tricks for getting hardened sugar out of the canister and back into its original granular form. In this article, we will share with you some effective methods for getting hardened sugar out of a canister, as well as some tips for preventing sugar from hardening in the first place.

Why Does Sugar in a Can Get Hard?

Before we get into methods for removing caked-on sugar from a canister, it’s important to understand why sugar cooks in the first place. Sugar is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the air. If sugar absorbs too much moisture, it can clump together and harden into a solid block. This can happen in humid environments or when sugar is stored in a container that is not airtight.

Methods for Removing Hardened Sugar from a Canister

There are several methods for removing cooled sugar from a canister. Here are some of the most effective methods:

Microwave Method

  1. Pour the cooled sugar into a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Place a damp paper towel over the sugar to absorb moisture.
  3. Microwave the sugar on high for 30 second intervals until it becomes loose and granular.
  4. Stir the sugar between each interval to ensure even heating.

Oven Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  2. Pour the cooled sugar into an ovenproof dish.
  3. Place the dish in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove the dish from the oven and stir the sugar to break up any lumps.
  5. Allow the sugar to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Food Processor Method

Pour the hardened sugar into a food processor.
Pulse the sugar in short bursts until it becomes loose and granulated.
Stop the food processor and stir the sugar between each burst to ensure it grinds evenly.

Grater Method

Use a cheese grater to grate the hardened sugar into small pieces.
Continue grating until the sugar becomes loose and granulated.
Store the sugar in an airtight container.

Tips for Preventing Sugar from Hardening in a Canister

Preventing sugar from hardening in a canister is easier than trying to fix it once it has already hardened. Here are a few tips for keeping sugar soft and fluffy:

Store Sugar in an Airtight Container

The best way to prevent sugar from hardening is to store it in an airtight container. This will keep moisture out and ensure that the sugar stays dry and granulated.

Keep Sugar Away from Moisture

Sugar should be kept away from moisture, so avoid storing it near the stove or sink. Moisture can also come from the sugar itself, so make sure to measure sugar with dry measuring cups and spoons and avoid using damp utensils.

Add a Piece of Bread or a Terra Cotta Disc

Adding a piece of bread or a terra cotta disc to a canister of sugar can help absorb any excess moisture and prevent the sugar from hardening. Simply place the bread or disc in the canister and replace it every few weeks.

Freeze Sugar

If you live in a particularly humid environment or want to store sugar for a long time, consider freezing it. Freezing sugar will keep it dry and prevent it from absorbing moisture. Simply store sugar in a freezer-safe container and allow it to thaw before using it.


Getting hard sugar out of a jar is a frustrating problem, but with the right methods and precautions, it’s easy to avoid. By storing sugar in an airtight container, keeping it away from moisture, and using bread or terracotta disks to absorb excess moisture, you can keep your sugar soft and fluffy for all your baking needs. And if your sugar does harden, try one of these methods to restore it to its original form. Happy baking!


How do you get hardened sugar out of a canister?

Simply grab a moistened piece of paper towel (it should be damp, not dripping) and place it inside the container that holds the hardened sugar. Leave it in there overnight in a cool, dry place and in the morning, remove the paper towel and crush the sugar with a spoon or fork until it becomes soft again.

How do you remove hardened sugar from plastic containers?

Try adding a few slices of bread or apples to your canister, put the lid back on and wait at least overnight, if not a day or two, then change pieces until your sugar is soft again.

How do you get old sugar out of a container?

The Microwave Method for Softening Brown Sugar

Put the hard brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl or container and place a dampened paper towel on top of it. Then, microwave for about 20 seconds and break it up with a fork as you go. The moisture from the paper towel should help get the brown sugar soft.

How do you soften sugar without a microwave?

Quote from video: Going through your pantry. And find completely solid brown sugar don’t throw it out instead place the brown sugar into a plastic ziploc bag and grab a hot dog bun or a slice of bread.

How do you dissolve hard brown sugar?

For the quickest results, place a lump of hardened sugar in a small microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a moist paper towel. Zap the sugar in the microwave on high in 20-second increments, breaking up any large clumps with a fork as you go.

Is hard sugar still good?

Answers: Granulated sugar does not spoil, but if it gets damp it will likely cake up or get lumpy. If it does, it can simply be pulverized again until it regains its granulated texture.