How to Keep Brown Sugar from Clumping in Rub?

Sometimes, your brown sugar can get clumpy. It can be a problem if you find it just when you are using the rub. Hence, you might need to make the rub all over again.

This will make your cooking process lengthy. And it could be frustrating and might ruin your cooking mood. So, how to keep brown sugar from clumping in rub?  

Brown sugar usually gets hardened when not stored properly. Humidity and moisture affect the texture. You can try using moisture retainers,  Drying the brown sugar or Refrigeration also help. Use cornstarch or try layering the rub in small jars. 

Well, this is just a gist. You’ll get to know about the process more. We have everything in detail on how you can get rid of this simple problem. 

So keep reading to have a smoother cooking experience!  

Methods of Keeping Brown Sugar From Clumping in Rub 

Before we jump into the process, we must first know why brown sugar clumps?

Brown sugar usually contains more moisture than regular granulated sugar. When they are exposed to the air, the moisture evaporates.

As a result, the sugar gets dense and hardens. This results in hard clumps which you might find if the container is not airtight.

So you must know what to put in brown sugar to keep it from clumping.

However, there are different ways to do that. One common hack is to keep a marshmallow in the container. The marshmallow helps in keeping the sugar soft and it eats up all the moisture.

marshmallow in the container
Source: wikihow. com 

Make sure you are using an airtight container to store the sugar. Also, don’t keep the sugar in larger buckets. Because as you go low with the amount, the air is trapped inside.

As a result, excessive moisture gets in and clumps the sugar. So, try using small spice bottles to store the sugar.

However, the best way to store the brown sugar is in resealable plastic bags. As there is no chance of air getting in.

Now as it’s a negative side of brown sugar. You must be careful in using brown sugar to make a rub. Usually, people use different types of sugar according to their preferences.

But brownulated sugar is mostly used as they accelerate a browning texture. So, there’s a high chance of the sugar clumping in the processed rub.

The clumpy brown sugar also affects the skin of the meat. It can damage it. And we all know a clumpy sugar mix will not spread evenly. 

So let’s get to know how you can keep the brown sugar from clumping in a rub.

Method 1: Use of Moisture Retainers

Often we see different types of moisture-retaining elements used in food packages. We can also use them for storing brown sugar.

As brown sugar gets clumped due to being exposed to air. The moisture has evaporated.

So to prevent that, you can use some moisture-locking ingredients in the container. The most common ones are silica gel pads or popcorn.

You can easily find silica gel pads in different packaged foods. Which you can reuse for storing your rub or other spices.

Sometimes, it is hard to find silica gel pads. For this reason, we have suggested some good ones which you can easily get.

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However, often a lot of people don’t prefer using silica gel pads. As they are not edible and harmful.

So, you can try using kernel popcorn. This is a very rare ingredient to use for capturing moisture. But works fine like silica gel pads.

Other alternatives could be the use of dry rice, marshmallows, a slice of bread, or an apple.

Method 2: Drying the Brown Sugar

The most effective method to keep the brown sugar from clumping is to dry them before using it.Drying the brown sugar helps in both mixing the sugar well in the rub as well as it won’t clump.

In order to dry the sugar, you need to use an oven and a baking pan.

First, take the pan and put a baking sheet on it. Then spread the brown sugar in the pan evenly. Put the oven at the lowest heat.

Put the pan in the oven and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Stir the sugar one or two times while it is drying.  You might have to break some crumbs of sugar after it is done drying.

And with that, the drying process is completed. Now you can use this dried brown sugar with your rub. And the brown sugar won’t clump anymore.

Method 3: Refrigeration

The core reason for brown sugar clumping is its contact with moisture or humidity. Refrigerating brown sugar is another effective way to prevent clumping.

The temperature in the refrigerator is very low. As a result, this helps to limit the moisture. Hence, the sugar remains soft and granulated.

Method 4: Use of Cornstarch

Corn starch is excellent for capturing moisture or humidity. So you can use cornstarch with your brown sugar to keep it soft and fresh.

The ratio of cornstarch and sugar varies depending on the type of sugar. For brown sugar, you can mix one tsp of cornstarch. 

Don’t add too much as cornstarch can make the sugar gooey. 

Method 5: Layering

It is a very simple and easy method to store your rub without brown sugar clumping.

For this, you can store the rub in layers without mixing. And label with instructions to mix them before using.

brown sugar clumping
Source : bbq-heroes. com

This method will also give out a fresh batch of rub every time. And it looks very presentable too. You can use small jars to store the rub in batches. 

Alternatives of Brown Sugar in Rub

Well everything always has some alternative. And in cooking using alternatives is the biggest plus point. 

You can always find something in your kitchen to get that perfect taste without using the exact ingredients. Well, that’s the magic of cooking!

You might want to avoid the hassle of drying out the brown sugar or using moisture retainers. Which will lead to clumpy brown sugar in the rub. 

Well, worry not. We have got some alternative sweeteners which you can use in the mixture instead of brown sugar. 

White Sugar

The first one would be normal white sugar. It’s the same, it just tastes a bit sweeter. So what you can do is use a smaller portion of white sugar and balance the taste. 

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is also a great alternative as it doesn’t clump. Turbinado sugar contains a lesser amount of molasses. It is a great alternative as a sweetener. However, it doesn’t add any nutritional value and it is quite expensive.

Honey Powder

Another alternative to brown sugar is honey powder. Honey powder is commonly used as a sweetener. It’s not cakey and sticky at all. And honey also has a great nutritional value.

Honey powder
Source : foodrepublic .com 

Brownulated Sugar

Last but not least, you can use brownulated sugar too.

Brownulated sugar is basically brown sugar without any moisture. It is also known as clump-free sugar. But it tastes a bit different.

All these alternatives can be used in rub. However, the coffee-like toasted texture is only possible with brown sugar.

How to Mix Brown Sugar in the Rub?

Now that you know how to keep the brown sugar from clumping. You might be wondering how to mix it in the rub? Well, we have got that covered too! 

Your rub will be perfect only when you get the spice and sugar perfectly.

Sugar is added to sweeten the rub and give a chili-honey taste. For brown sugar, add 3 portions of sugar to 10 portions of salt. This is the ideal ratio for balancing the taste.


Where to keep brown sugar soft and fresh?

You must use an airtight container to store brown sugar. This will keep the sugar fresh and soft. You can also go for resealable moisture-proof plastic bags to store. Keeping the brown sugar in the refrigerator will also help to retain the moisture.

How to add brown sugar to ribs?

First, pat dry the rib with a paper towel after taking it out from the package. Then, place the rib on a baking sheet and cover it with olive oil. Then sprinkle some brown sugar on top of it according to your preferred taste.

Do we need to keep brown sugar in a humidity-free environment?

Yes, humidity affects the brown sugar to clump. The brown sugar gets clumpy when there is more moisture. As we all know the more the humidity, the more the moisture. 


So that’s all for how to keep brown sugar from clumping in rub. Hope we solved your problem. And now you know how to use rub without clumpy brown sugar. 

Stay well, and happy cooking!