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How to Make Powdered Sugar at Home in Under 30 Minutes

flower-shaped cookie on wooden table with powdered sugar sprinkled all around
How do you make homemade powdered sugar?

If there’s one item in the pantry that we quickly run out of regularly, it is definitely powdered sugar.

Since we bake a lot, powdered sugar is the one thing that is always on top of our grocery list. We use it every single day to make our coffee (yum!) and add to sweet recipes.

But since we’re so used to having it, there are times that we miss checking the cabinet before going to the grocery store and only find out we don’t have it when we need it the most. This situation is frustrating, especially if we do not have the luxury of time to run back out to the store to get some.

Does this sound like your house? Don’t worry —there is always a silver lining! Did you know that you can make powdered sugar at home?

Yes, you’ve read that right. It is easy, convenient, and economical without having to worry about making a lot because it can last for years! We will share with you how to make powdered sugar to save you time and money the next time you find yourself without it.

Is Powdered Sugar the Same as Confectioners Sugar or Icing Sugar?

The truth is, powdered sugar has different names, depending on which part of the world you live in. That is why we hear the terms confectioners sugar and icing sugar.

In reality, though, they are all the same. Powdered sugar, confectioners sugar, and icing sugar are usually made of white processed sugar paired with low-quality cornstarch.

However, when it comes to making powdered sugar, you have several options to choose from. Various granulated sugars, unrefined or less refined, can absorb minerals that enhance the flavor once added to your food recipe. Therefore, homemade powdered sugar is actually preferable to store-bought, because you can make it depending on your needs.

What Ingredients do I Need to Make Powdered Sugar at Home?

It’s so easy. To create the best homemade powdered sugar, you need only three things: cornstarch, granulated sugar, and a blender or food processor. Here’s why: 

  1. Cornstarch. If powdered sugar is the goal, cornstarch is a must. It not only keeps the overly-fine grain sugar from caking, but due to its non-Newtonian fluid formation, once water is added, it allows powdered sugar to make effective icing and glaze. Thus, having the right amount of cornstarch is essential to make your pastries or recipes all set. 
  2. Granulated Sugar. This ingredient is most commonly used in the making of homemade powdered sugar. Since there are several types of granulated sugar, you can choose any of the following options: raw turbinado sugar, maple sugar, coconut sugar, caster sugar, or white sugar. One sugar that does not work well in homemade powdered sugar is brown sugar due to the molasses that has been added to it. Brown sugar will just make your homemade powdered sugar sticky, which obviously will not work in your recipes. 
  3. High-Quality Blender or Food ProcessorEither of the two will help make your powdered sugar. They help you achieve whatever texture you prefer for your powdered sugar. You can make it fine and fluffy or less refined, depending on what you need. 

Don’t have a blender or food processor? Skip down to read How to Make Powdered Sugar at Home without a Blender.

How to Make Powdered Sugar at Home

Most of us believe that the process on how to make powdered sugar is complicated. Don’t worry: we share easy instructions on how to make powdered sugar in the comfort of your own kitchen.

This powdered sugar recipe is good for two servings. If you wish to make more of this recipe, you can adjust the ingredients accordingly. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of white sugar (450g) 
  • 2 tbsp of cornstarch 

Directions: 

  • Prepare your blender or food processor. A more powerful one will help you achieve the best results. 
  • Add the granulated sugar of your choice and the cornstarch. Remember how vital cornstarch is in keeping the powdered sugar dry and intact. 
  • Blend the ingredients until the mixture becomes fine. This will take around 4 to 5 minutes total. 
  • Stop the blender and hand mix the mixture using a spatula so that all ingredients are blended well. 
  • After a few minutes of hand mixing, feel the mixture with your fingers. If it is still gritty, then you need to continue blending in the blender or food processor. Stronger and smaller ones can help you achieve finer results. Don’t forget to wash your hands before doing this step! 
  • Once you achieve the desired texture for your powdered sugar, you can store it in an airtight container. There is no rush to use it because it does not really have an expiration date.

It’s amazing how simple this powdered sugar recipe is, right? We couldn’t believe it at first.

The best part is, you can make a large quantity to keep in an airtight storage container in your cupboard so that you won’t run out of powdered sugar for a long time. 

baked goods on tray with parchment paper covered in powdered sugar on towel on wooden table
Homemade powdered sugar is actually preferable to the store-bought kind. Make your homemade desserts even tastier by making your own topping.

How to Make Powdered Sugar at Home without a Blender

Of course, the question for those who do not have a food processor or blender is: is it possible to make powdered sugar without either? The answer is an absolute yes.

Believe it or not, you can make use of your coffee grinder instead!

To make powdered sugar using the coffee grinder in your kitchen, you just need to follow the same steps above with the same ingredients —sugar and cornstarch.

The only difference is that you will need to check the capacity of your coffee grinder before you begin. It will probably not hold as much of the ingredients as a blender or food processor, so you’ll have to make it a bit at a time. Don’t fret: a coffee grinder will still produce the same fine and fluffy powdered sugar that you need.

But what if you don’t have a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor? Don’t you worry, because you can make powdered sugar without a machine!

You can use an old-fashioned mortar and pestle (and some elbow grease) to make your powdered sugar. Although this method is not ideal because you need to exert more effort, making powdered sugar is still possible using as long as you have both the granulated sugar and cornstarch.

Tips for Making Powdered Sugar at Home

wooden bowl of powdered sugar being poured into another wooden bowl with black background
Making powdered sugar at home can be done in a blender, food processor, coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.

While making powdered sugar at home is extremely easy and stress-free, there are a few more tips and tricks that can help you obtain the perfect powdered sugar with every batch: 

  • We advise that you make small batches. While it is possible to make a large batch of powdered sugar, making powdered sugar in small quantities will help you achieve the best results. A good rule of the thumb? Make two cups at a time. 
  • Be mindful of the fact that granulated sugar can scratch your food processor or blender. During the process, granulated sugar can create sticky spots in your machine that may allow other food to get stuck, making for a challenging clean-up. It’s best to use a different blender bowl for powdered sugar to keep this from happening. 
  • It is okay to add a little cornstarch. Store-bought powdered sugar contains a bit of cornstarch to prevent it from caking, which is vital if you’re going to be making icing. You can add one or two tablespoons of cornstarch to achieve the same result. If you are allergic or avoiding corn due to health reasons, though, you can just skip this step without it being that much of a big deal.
  • A high-powered food processor or blender is essential to produce the best results. It makes the powdered sugar extra fine.
  • It is okay to use coconut sugar, brown sugar, raw cane sugar, or turbinado sugar. However, you must remember that when you use these to make powdered sugar, the results will include a color change for your baked treats and frostings–but the taste will remain the same.
  • The time to make powdered sugar successfully using a blender depends on the strength of your blender. Depending on which type you have, your total time of mixing can vary anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.

Conclusion

It may be time for all of us to say goodbye to store-bought powdered sugar, as making powdered sugar at home is so simple.

There’s no longer any need to worry when you run out of powdered sugar. Making powdered sugar is not complex at all. As long as you have granulated sugar and cornstarch, then you can make your own homemade powdered sugar! Just remember: using a high-powered blender or food processor is essential if you absolutely need finer and fluffier powdered sugar. That said, if you do not have a blender or a food processor, you can opt for a coffee grinder or even a mortar and pestle to make your homemade powdered sugar.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make homemade powdered sugar?

Since powdered sugar is one of the most commonly used items in the pantry, people often question how to make powdered sugar at home.

Powdered sugar made at home is both easy and practical. You only need two ingredients —granulated sugar and cornstarch— and you’re good to go! Using a high-quality food processor or blender is important, but in a pinch, you can use a coffee grinder or even a mortar and pestle instead.

All you need to do is blend the granulated sugar and cornstarch until you reach the consistency for the powdered sugar that you need.

Remember to keep any unused homemade powdered sugar in an airtight container.

What can I use if I don’t have powdered sugar?

If you run out of powdered sugar, don’t worry. You can easily make your own in the comfort of your own home.

Instead of using the time to complain and run to the grocery store, start making your own powdered sugar with these two ingredients: granulated sugar and cornstarch. Blend the two ingredients until the mixture becomes fine.

If you wish to make calorie-free powdered sugar, you can use a no-calorie sweetener to substitute for granulated sugar.

How do you make powdered sugar without a blender or food processor?

If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you can use a coffee grinder to make powdered sugar at home.

The steps in using a coffee grinder are similar to those using a blender or food processor. Place the granulated sugar and corn starch inside the grinder to achieve fine and fluffy results.

However, be careful. Your coffee grinder may not hold as much as a food processor or blender, so measure ingredients accordingly.

If you have no coffee grinder, you can still make powdered sugar at home without a machine. You need only a mortar and pestle–add the ingredients and get busy. It may take longer, but you’ll still end up with the powdered sugar you need.

What is equivalent to powdered sugar?

Icing sugar and confectioner’s sugar are both the equivalents of powdered sugar. The term varies depending on which country you live in. In reality, the three are the same. They are finely-ground sugars mixed with cornstarch to prevent caking. Powdered sugar, icing sugar, and confectioner’s sugar are used to make perfect icings, frostings, glazes, fillings, and a whole lot more.

Can you make powdered sugar without corn starch?

Yes, you can. It is possible to make powdered sugar using granulated sugar only. All you have to do is place the granulated sugar inside your blender or food processor, then blend it until it becomes fine and fluffy.

Corn starch is typically added to prevent the sugar from caking. If you are fine without that, then you can make powdered sugar without corn starch.

Can I use regular sugar instead of powdered sugar for icing?

Yes, you can. However, it can be challenging to achieve a smooth consistency with regular sugar or granulated sugar if you add only water.

The best thing for you is to add a certain amount of regular sugar mixed with water in a pan. Cook the sugar until it is dissolved and becomes a thick syrup.

If you have plenty of time, you can make your own powdered sugar by blending the regular sugar with cornstarch. This way, you can produce the perfect icing for your sweet treats.

Additional Resources

Kitchen Professor author

Doug Barrington is not a real professor but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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