Learn how to make powdered sugar at home! Also known as confectioner's sugar, it's the secret to making gooey brownies, luscious frosting, and more.
Who else has a bag of powdered sugar in their pantry that they’ve been working through for years? Powdered sugar isn’t something I use often, but every once in a while, I need a cup to make perfect gooey brownies or luscious cream cheese frosting. When I add it to the grocery list, I dread watching another bag sit in the cupboard as I make my way through it at an agonizing pace.
But all that’s about to change! I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally learned how to make powdered sugar at home. Seriously, this recipe’s a game changer. Gone are the days of hauling an ancient sack of confectioner’s sugar (yes, they’re the same!) out of the pantry every time I make carrot cake. Now, I can make the exactly the amount of powdered sugar I need for a given recipe. And the best part? It only requires 2 ingredients and 1 minute.
How to Make Powdered Sugar
To make powdered sugar at home, you’ll need two ingredients: granulated sugar and cornstarch. Use 1 tablespoon cornstarch for every cup of sugar. My recipe below calls for 2 cups sugar, but feel free to scale it up or down depending on the size of your blender and the quantity of powdered sugar you need. Expect the amount of sugar you start with to double. For example, if you start with 2 cups granulated sugar, you’ll end up with 4 cups confectioner’s sugar.
Add the granulated sugar and cornstarch to a powerful blender or food processor, and blend for 30 seconds, until the sugar is white and fluffy.
Use it right away, or store it in an airtight container at room temperature for later use. If it’s lumpy, be sure to sift it before you use it. That’s it!
Favorite Powdered Sugar Recipes
So you learned how to make powdered sugar…now what do you do with it?
First and foremost, confectioner’s sugar is what makes icings and frostings thick and sweet. Find it in my vegan frosting recipe, or in the glazes and icings that accompany these baked goods:
- Cinnamon Rolls
- Best Carrot Cake
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Easy Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Raspberry Scones
It’s also a valuable ingredient in certain baked goods. For example, it enhances the chewy, fudgy texture of these homemade brownies and these vegan brownies.
Last but not least, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar adds a little extra something to any stack of pancakes or French toast. Sprinkle it over my classic French toast, this French toast bake, or any of these pancake recipes:
More Easy Baking Basics
If you loved learning how to make powdered sugar, try making these baking basics next:
How to Make Powdered Sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Place the sugar and cornstarch in a high speed blender and blend for 30 seconds or until fluffy.
- Store in an airtight container. If the powdered sugar gets lumpy, sift before using.
For the powdered sugar, my daughter has to eliminate corn so we dont use corn starch. Would tapioca or arrowroot start be possible substitutes for the cornstarch?
Hi Wendy, I think arrowroot should be fine.
I intended making banana bars with cream cheese frosting. But was surprised to learn that although I needed 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, I only had 1/2 cup left.
I found this recipe on Pinterest. But try as I might, I was not able to get this recipe to become fluffy and tasting like powdered sugar. Nor did it double in volume as suggested. The consistency was still very grainy no matter how long I blended it in my Ninja IQ blender. And I ended up with 1/2 cup, same as I started with. I ended up increasing the recipe to 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp corn starch and continued to blender so that I ended up with the extra 1 cup that I needed. Even with all the additional blending the consistency never did get fluffy. I ultimately doubled the cream cheese amount to make the frosting taste better.
In my opinion, this recipe would be OK in a pinch, but I would prefer to keep powdered sugar on hand.
Hi Sharon, for us, this method has always yielded really light and fluffy powdered sugar—so sorry it wasn’t the same for you. It could be the difference between blenders. In a Ninja blender, it might take several minutes to get really fine.
I had the same experience—still grainy, and didn’t increase the volume. My peanut butter cups were slightly grainy, but the kids didn’t complain as they inhaled them. I’m trying to empty my kitchen for a remodel, so I don’t want to open another bag of powdered sugar. This did the trick in a pinch. Thanks for the recipe!