7 Other Useful Things Your Brown Sugar Saver Can Do

smiling blond woman placing brown sugar saver into canister of brown sugar/woman's hands spooning soft brown sugar out of canister

Those Little Terracotta Sugar Savers Are Surprisingly Versatile

While keeping brown sugar on hand certainly comes in handy when a chocolate chip cookie craving strikes, it isn’t the easiest ingredient to store! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve reached for a bag of brown sugar in my pantry, only to discover it had become a rock-solid sugar brick.

But once I started storing my pantry ingredients in airtight storage containers, I discovered a brilliantly simple and extremely inexpensive solution to my problem: a brown sugar saver! I’ve been a big fan of these little discs ever since, but recently, I learned about several alternative uses for brown sugar savers that made me love them even more! :-)

Related: Love Caramel Sauce? You’ll Want To Put This On Everything

In today’s post, I’ll be sharing 7 surprising uses for brown sugar savers (apart from saving brown sugar, of course.) But before we jump in, here’s a quick refresher on what they actually are, and how they work to keep things fresh.

close up of woman's hands putting a brown sugar saver into a canister of brown sugar

A brown sugar saver is a small piece of terracotta that you can store in a container of brown sugar (or other foods) to keep it soft and pliable. But contrary to what its name suggests, brown sugar savers are surprisingly versatile, and there’s a number of ways you can put them to good use around the house!

How To Use Brown Sugar Savers

Method #1: Use It Wet

If you’re using a brown sugar saver to keep something moist or prevent staleness (such as brown sugar), you need to load it up with moisture first! To do this, simply soak the terracotta piece in water overnight, then pat it dry before using.

Method #2: Use It Dry

You can also use a brown sugar saver to keep things dry! Dry terracotta is very absorbent, making it highly useful for absorbing excess or unwanted moisture.

To use a brown sugar saver in this fashion, just bake it in your oven at 200°F for 5-10 minutes to ensure it’s bone-dry. Allow it cool completely before using.

Related: Uses For Silica Gel Packets

smiling blond woman putting a brown sugar saver into a canister of brown sugar

7 Practical Uses For Brown Sugar Savers

Note: For items #1-4 in the list below, follow the instructions from “Use It Wet” above. For items #5-7, follow the instructions under “Use It Dry.”

1. Marshmallows

Stumped as to how to keep marshmallows fresh, or tired of tossing them out when they’re hard as a rock? Store marshmallows in an airtight container with a brown sugar saver to keep them soft and pillowy!

woman's hand putting brown sugar saver onto a tray of cookies/tray of cookies wrapped in plastic wrap with brown sugar saver inside

2. Baked Goods

Keep your favorite baked goods fresh with the help of a brown sugar saver. Store one with cookies, bread, and muffins to keep them soft and moist for much longer.

3. Dried Fruit

Want to keep your dried fruit stash chewy, instead of hard and tough? Put a brown sugar saver in with your favorite dried fruits like apricots, mango, and more to keep them from going stale.

4. Fresh Herbs

Keep a brown sugar saver with herbs in your fridge to keep them fresh! This works particularly well for hardier herbs like rosemary, thyme, etc.

woman's hand putting brown sugar saver between spice bottles on a shelf

5. Spices

Buying whole spices and grinding them at home can take the flavor of your favorite recipes to the next level! Store ground spices with a dry brown sugar saver to prevent clumps and keep them fresh.

woman's hand putting a brown sugar saver on the shelf with vitamin bottles

6. Supplements & Medications

If you keep supplements or medications in your bathroom, stash a brown sugar saver alongside them. The humid environment of your bathroom can cause pills to break down or even dissolve, but the brown sugar saver will draw moisture away from them to help keep them dry.

7. Pet Food

If you live in a humid area, then you probably already know how tricky it can be to keep things dry! This is especially true of dry pet foods, which can quickly go from dry to soggy in humid conditions.

The best way to keep your pet’s food dry is to transfer it to an airtight container ASAP. Then add a brown sugar saver as an added layer of protection against sogginess!

close up of woman's hands spooning soft brown sugar out of a canister containing a brown sugar saver

Brown Sugar Saver Placement Tips

  • Depending on what you’re storing it with, the placement of your brown sugar saver can make a difference.
  • A good, general rule of thumb: Placing your sugar saver at the center of the substance will help it release moisture (or absorb it) more evenly.
  • Keep in mind that some food items, including marshmallows, cookies, and dried fruit, will fare better if they don’t make direct contact with the terracotta.

Here are some more ways to use other cool kitchen tools:

Have you ever used a brown sugar saver in your kitchen?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Goodness. have NEVER in my 85 years, had a problem with hard sugar or hard brown sugar and have live all over the country..don’t know what I’m doing right!! Or marshmallows either. Enjoy your baking!!!

    • Alethea, here is a good rule to follow with the discs… Soak in water for 20-minutes and place in brown sugar, baked goods, cakes, cookies, marshmallows, even dried fruit to soften and maintain moistness. Use dry, without soaking, to absorb moisture and keep spices, salt, crackers, pretzels and chips dry and crispy.

  • I use a very small saucer from a mini planter/pot. It works GREAT!!!
    Only paid about 50 cents for it at a Thrift store.
    Question… Does anyone know if using terra-cotta dry will keep raw/uncooked rice fresh for long periods of time?

  • Well, dang! I never heard of a “brown sugar saver.” I’ve heard about bread, apples, and marshmallows–none of which worked satisfactorily–so I’m off to find one. Enlightening as always, Jillee

  • If I find my brown sugar has gotten hard, I just put a slice of bread in the container with the sugar. It is soft again by the next day. I usually use the heel since that is the last slice to get eaten.

  • I have had one of these in my brown sugar for many years. But why? My brown sugar still got hard. Well thanks to your article I now know that I needed to soak it first. It did not come with any instructions. I just figured you dropped it in the brown sugar and it did it’s job. Thanks for the tip.

  • My sister in law bought me one. It made my brown sugar hard. I have never had a problem with brown sugar going hard before until I used it. So I’ll stick to my way. I may try it with some of your other ideas.

  • Thanks for ideas. I had to laugh because I love my terra-cotta bear but I use 2 large marshmallow to keep brown sugar soft and you use bear to keep marshmallows fresh.

  • I too thought the article would be about the container itself as I have never heard of a brown sugar saver before. What a wonderful idea and thank you for letting us know about it, we really appreciate the helpful ideas. I live in the Republic of Panamá so humidity is high and keeping things fresh and dry can be a challenge.

  • When I read the article title I thought you were referring to the container rather than the little terra cotta bear…I have two brown sugar containers that my MIL gave me for Christmas a few years back, one for dark brown sugar, one for light, and each with its own built-in terra cotta disk…and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I don’t use “brown sugar” anymore but sucanat (which is basically granulated molasses) which for the most part doesn’t dry out or get hard. I still have the containers but didn’t know what to do with them; but this list gives me some ideas – especially marshmallows as I make my own on occasion and it’s too much work to throw them away if they get dry and hard. The herbs and spices ideas are interesting too, so I’ll have to see if I can make use of those.

  • I keep my brown sugar in a Tupperware container made just for that purpose, holds a one pound box. Never gets hard, have two of them, one for the brown sugar and one for powdered sugar. Have had them for years. Love them.

    • Martha, there are terra cotta watering spikes you can place on the end of a used wine bottle that’s been filled with water and invert in your planters. The spikes absorb the water from the bottle and release it gradually into the soil. They work!

    • Jillee suggested, several months ago, to recycle and reuse silica gels that are found in various packaging. Silica gel packs may be ideal for your situation.

    • I keep a container of AirBoss closet dehumidifier in my safe and replace it when needed. Write the date on the top so you know how long it lasts before it fills up with the water it removes. ALL SAFES should use dehumidifiers. And, it says this on the install instructions, albeit in small print.

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