How to Make Powdered Sugar for Any Baking Project

Let’s say you’ve just baked a loaf cake and put the pan in the oven. Halfway through baking, you suddenly realize you don’t have any powdered sugar for the glaze. Well, what if you don’t feel an ounce of stress in this scenario? Why? Because you know how to make powdered sugar—and all you need to make it is a few staples.

Homemade powdered sugar can save the day for lazy Saturday cinnamon rolls and impromptu baking projects (because no loaf should ever be without frosting). Luckily, it’s easy enough to make on a whim. But before we get to that, let’s cover a few basics.

What is powdered sugar?

Powdered sugar is made by grinding granulated sugar into a fine powder (hence the name, powdered Sugar). Most commercially made powdered sugars that you find at the grocery store also contain a small amount of starch (usually cornstarch, although some companies use tapioca starch or arrowroot powder) to prevent clumping. The number on the label (usually 10X or 12X) refers to the number of times the sugar has been ground – the more times it’s processed, the lighter and finer its texture.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of powdered sugar is its ability to dissolve easily, making it a popular sweetener for whipped cream and frosting recipes; It’s also a key ingredient in sweet frosting, royal frosting, homemade sprinkles, and classic cream cheese frosting. You’ll need it when frosting donuts or whipping together an American buttercream frosting to slosh on cupcakes. For a low-maintenance decoration, beat icing sugar through a sieve to give cakes or biscuits that serene snowy look.

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Give madeleines a snowy look with sifted powdered sugar.

Greg Vore

Powdered Sugar vs Powdered Sugar: What’s the Difference?

There is none. Powdered sugar goes by many names (icing sugar, powdered sugar, 10X), but they all mean the same thing. Powdered sugar is the same as powdered sugar, and they can be used interchangeably. But if you don’t have either and are already elbow-deep in a bowl of batter, you can easily make a batch with some regular sugar and a little ingenuity.

How to make powdered sugar:

You only need two ingredients — and some sturdy kitchen tools — to make DIY powdered sugar. Combine 1 cup of granulated sugar And 1 TBSP. cornstarch (or a cornstarch substitute like tapioca or potato starch) in a high speed blender like a Vitamix or food processor. You can also use a coffee grinder, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle, but processing may take a little longer. Grind for 1-2 minutes until the sugar turns into a fine white powder, then sift through a fine mesh sieve to remove any remaining large granules. This makes about 1¾ cups of homemade powdered sugar that you can use as powdered sugar 1:1 replacement for the store-bought stuff in all your baking recipes.

Any type of sugar can become powdered sugar. Light white sugar is most commonly used, but you could use unrefined cane sugar if you don’t mind a slightly darker shade. Avoid turbinado and other varieties with particularly large grains; These wear out your blender’s motor and take a lot longer to break. You could try turning coconut sugar, maple sugar, and other types into a powder for frosting, but don’t expect them to behave the same way when you bake them.

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