I assume this question generalizes to items such as flour.

I kept brown sugar in the plastic bag it came in, in the refrigerator. Due to frequent use, it has built up clumps due to moisture. I've just recently gotten a glass container to store it in. Solutions I have considered to now remove the moisture are:

  1. Use a little uncooked rice to pull the moisture out
    • but then I think I should use a mesh bag to keep the rice in, where would I find something like this?
      • coffee filter, too slow/cumbersome?
  2. Give it a little heat to dry it out, such as:
    • place the glass on top of the oven with the oven on, as my oven top gets quite warm when the oven is on.

Any ideas?

  • 2
    Flour and brown sugar have completely different properties. Brown sugar normally has some moisture in it, or it turns quite hard. Why do you think these lumps are due to moisture? Can you press them apart with light finger pressure?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 22:11
  • @SAJ14SAJ, yes, they crumble to some degree. There are some dark clumps here and there, which seem to suggest moisture. Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 22:42
  • I'm going to experiment with the rice in coffee filter and stovetop as above, and keep my eye out for overdrying, as is mentioned in related thread "cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/8902/…" Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 22:45
  • 2
    as @SAJ14SAJ pointed out, brown sugar usually has quite a bit of moisture in it. When brown sugar clumps, it's usually due to the sugar drying out. Most of the answers in the link you posted are regarding adding moisture back into the sugar. (and usually rice or the ceramic "sugar bears" work by absorbing moisture initially and then releasing it back into the sugar over time)
    – SourDoh
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 21:12
  • @sourd'oh, so my problem may not yet necessarily be excess or lack of moisture, but inconsistency/non-uniform-ness? Would the rice or ceramic help to make the brown sugar more uniform? Or perhaps vigorous shaking or folding? Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


Refrigerating things usually dries stuff out in modern refrigerators, which tend to remove moisture, rather than retain them. I agree with sourd'oh that drying is likely your issue.

It sounds like you are asking how to remove clumps. I use a sifter, or try to move the grains through a strainer with a fork. What are you using the brown sugar for? Will it dissolve during mixing anyway, removing clumps (as in when beating cake batter)?

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