How to Make Powdered Sugar: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Make Powdered Sugar: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Make Powdered Sugar: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
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Your cookies are almost ready, but there is only a small amount of powdered sugar left in the package. Before you buy it at the store, check your kitchen first. You can make your own powdered sugar from just two ingredients, namely granulated sugar and corn starch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) corn starch (recommended)

Step

Part 1 of 2: Refining Sugar

Make Powdered Sugar Step 1
Make Powdered Sugar Step 1

Step 1. Use a blender or spice grinder

Keep in mind that sugar can scratch fragile plastic or glass. A high-power blender is the quickest and most effective option, but you can use any blender or spice grinder.

  • A spice grinder or coffee grinder--which is basically the same thing--can absorb the flavors of the ingredients being ground. So, clean it first before using it to refine sugar.
  • Many food processors will not grind sugar, possibly because of their large size. You can try using the tools you have, but it might end up being too fine, or very fine powder and powdered sugar will mix.
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Step 2. Dry the tool

Wipe the inside of the blender with a dry cloth. Moisture remaining on the appliance after washing can cause sugar to stick to the sides.

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Step 3. Measure white granulated sugar

Puree at most 1 to 1½ cups (200–300 g) of granulated sugar in a regular blender, or 2 cups (400 g) in a high-powered blender. Any higher amount can block the finer blades in the blender. If using a spice grinder, add it to its ideal load, leaving a little free space.

When you first try it, assume that 1 cup of granulated sugar will yield 1 cup of powdered sugar. A high-power blender may be able to halve the granulated sugar, but it's easier to grind larger amounts of sugar if you're having this "problem" with the powdered sugar that's produced

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Step 4. Add corn starch (recommended)

This step is a must when making spreads and toppings, as it will thicken the sugar into a suitable paste. Even in other recipes, the starch will help prevent the powdered sugar from clumping as it absorbs moisture. Add 1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) of cornstarch to every 1 cup (200 grams) of granulated sugar.

  • This ratio is very close to the 3% content used in commercial powdered sugar. While most powdered sugar guides on the internet suggest a higher amount, the results may differ in the recipe, or the taste may be less delicious.
  • You can use arrowroot flour to replace corn starch for people who avoid consuming processed corn products.
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Step 5. Puree or blender until smooth

Puree or blender for 30–40 seconds, then watch the results. Repeat until the powder has returned to the blender and no more sugar crystals are visible (overall time is usually 1-3 minutes). Close the spice grinder or blender until the powdered sugar settles.

Refining the sugar without pausing for too long can burn the sugar

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Step 6. Sift powdered sugar

Sift through a tight sieve to remove lumps of sugar. This step is especially important if you are making sugar sprinkles or spreads.

If you're not using the sugar right away, sift it right before you use it in a recipe

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Step 7. Store powdered sugar in an airtight container

Theoretically, powdered sugar has no expiration date. However, in practice, powdered sugar can absorb moisture quickly. Store in a tightly closed container in a dry pan or cupboard to slow down the clumping of powdered sugar. Keep it away from heat sources too, which tend to increase the humidity of the air.

If the powdered sugar clumps, sift it again before you use it in the recipe

Part 2 of 2: Variations

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Step 1. Puree the brown sugar

While it's possible to do this, it won't be as soft and white as if you used granulated sugar. Brown sugar has a higher moisture content, so it's hard to grind. Look for "free-flowing" brown sugar or add teaspoon (2.5 ml) cornstarch.

Don't use less powdered sugar for sprinkling, as it will taste grainy and dark in color

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Step 2. Color the sugar

Make colorful powdered sugar by mixing in the special "garnishing" powder available at the grocery store. Avoid using regular food coloring, as it can dissolve powdered sugar.

If you're using powdered sugar as a sprinkling or spread, add regular food coloring to the finish

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Step 3. Add the spices

If you're using powdered sugar as a cake garnish or a drink sweetener, add a little garnish or flavor. Place the cinnamon or your favorite seasoning in a bowl, cover tightly, and shake until well combined. For a more luxurious finish, look for specialty extract powders at a pastry grocery store.

Tips

If you are patient, you can also grind the sugar with a mortar

Warning

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