How To Make Powdered Sugar Without A Machine?

Many bakers keep powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, in their pantry. It’s used in everything from icings and frostings to delicate pastries. But what if you run out of powdered sugar or don’t have the necessary equipment, such as a blender or food processor, to make it from granulated sugar? 

Don’t worry; you can create powdered sugar without a machine at home. In this article, we’ll show you how to make powdered sugar using simple kitchen utensils and a little elbow work.

How To Make Powdered Sugar Without A Machine?

Making powdered sugar without a machine can be a bit challenging, but it’s not impossible. The goal is to get granulated sugar to a finer, powdery consistency. Here are some methods you can try:

Mortar and Pestle Method

  • Measure Sugar: Measure the quantity of granulated sugar necessary to make powdered sugar.
  • Use a Mortar and Pestle: Place a small measure of sugar in the mortar and grind it into a finer powder using the pestle. This method will require some elbow grease and perseverance.
  • Sift: After grinding the sugar, filter it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove larger particles. It may be necessary to re-grind these larger particulates.
  • Optional Cornstarch: If you intend to preserve the powdered sugar, add a small amount of cornstarch (approximately 1 tablespoon per cup) to prevent clumping. Combine it with granulated sugar.

Rolling Pin Method

  • Measure Sugar: Using a rolling pin, measure the granulated sugar that will be used.
  • Place in a Bag: Place the sugar in a resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible prior to closing the bag.
  • Crush with Rolling Pin: Place the container of sugar on a flat surface and use a rolling pin to crush it into a finer consistency. This method will require effort, and the sugar may not be as finely ground as other methods.
  • Sift: Sift the pulverized sugar through a sieve with a fine mesh to separate the finer from the larger particles. To obtain a fine powder, it may be necessary to repeat the crushing and sifting procedure multiple times.
  • Optional Cornstarch: Add a small amount of cornstarch if you intend to store the powdered sugar.

Spoon and Bowl Method

  • Measure Sugar: Measure the granulated sugar you’ll be using.
  • Use a Bowl: Place the sugar in a large, deep bowl.
  • Crush with a Spoon: Use the back of a large spoon to crush the sugar against the sides of the bowl. This method is labor-intensive and may not yield very fine sugar.
  • Sift: Sift the sugar to separate the finer particles.
  • Optional Cornstarch: Add cornstarch if you plan to store the powdered sugar.

Remember, these methods will require a lot of effort and may not produce sugar as fine as what you’d get using a machine like a blender or food processor. However, they can work in a pinch when you need powdered sugar for a recipe.

Can You Make Powdered Sugar By Hand?

Yes, powdered sugar can be made manually using granulated sugar, mortar, and pestle. Place the sugar in the mortar and pulverize it with the pestle until it has the consistency of a fine powder. 

This method requires some elbow grease and time, and the result may not be as fine as granulated sugar sold commercially. Add one teaspoon of cornstarch per cup of sugar to prevent clustering for improved results.

What If I Don’t Have Powdered Sugar?

If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can create it by pulverizing granulated sugar in a high-speed blender or food processor until it becomes fine and powdery. Adding one teaspoon of cornstarch per cup of sugar can prevent the formation of clumps. 

Instead of powdered sugar, you can use honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar in recipes without powdery consistency. Consider that liquid sweeteners may modify the dish’s texture and sweetness level.

Bottom Line

Making powdered sugar without a machine is absolutely possible and shockingly simple. To ground and sift granulated sugar into a fine powder, use a mortar and pestle, a hand-cranked coffee grinder, or simply two spoons and a sieve. 

While these methods may take a little more time and work than using a machine, they can be lifesavers in a pinch. 

Learn More: How To Fix Food That’s Too Spicy?

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