If you’re ever in a pinch, you can easily make your own homemade brown sugar with only 2 ingredients!

Measuring cup filled with homemade brown sugar spilling out

What is brown sugar?

Brown sugar is a very common baking ingredient made up of white granulated sugar with molasses mixed in. In baking, its use is to not only to make baked goods sweet but it also creates chewiness, holds onto moisture, and promotes browning. Brown sugar specifically has a deeper flavor than white sugar due to the molasses.

Light vs. dark brown sugar

Light brown sugar has a smaller ratio of molasses to granulated sugar while dark brown sugar has a higher ratio of molasses to granulated sugar. Brown sugar should be used in baked goods where chewiness is desirable, such as for chocolate chip cookies. Use dark brown sugar for even more chewiness and more caramel flavors.

What to Use as a Substitute

The best brown sugar substitute is to combine granulated sugar with molasses to make homemade brown sugar. A small amount of molasses added to the brown sugar will be a good substitute for light brown sugar, while a large amount will be a good substitute for dark brown sugar. See the recipe card below for the ratios.

If you do not have molasses on hand, plain white granulated sugar can often work well as a 1:1 substitute for brown sugar by weight. This works well in things like cookies, quick breads (such as muffins, batter breads, and pancakes), as well as in pie fillings. However, be aware that the flavor and texture will be different do to the lack of molasses in the granulated sugar.

Homemade Brown Sugar
Yield: 1 cup

Homemade Brown Sugar

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

You can easily make your own brown sugar in a pinch with 2 simple ingredients!


  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons molasses (1 tablespoon for light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons for dark brown sugar)


  1. Mix the molasses with the granulated sugar with a spatula or mixer until evenly combined.
  2. Store unused brown sugar in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.