How to Make Powdered Sugar

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.

Homemade powdered sugar

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.

Granulated sugar and cornstarch in small bowls

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!

Confectioner's sugar in a blender

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:

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:

Yum!

Powdered sugar

More Easy Baking Basics

If you loved learning how to make powdered sugar, try making these baking basics next:

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How to Make Powdered Sugar

rate this recipe:
4.93 from 56 votes
Prep Time: 1 minute
This homemade powdered sugar recipe is SO easy - you'll never get the store bought kind again! Use it in any recipe that calls for powdered sugar, icing sugar, or confectioner's sugar. Find some of my favorites in the post above.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Yield: about 4 cups powdered sugar

71 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Gigi from gigicasero.com
    05.15.2024

    5 stars
    I made half the recipe in my nutribullet and it worked like magic! Amazing

  2. Brittney Heer
    04.28.2024

    We are trying to avoid processed sugar for the long term. Could I do this with Stevia or Coconut Sugars?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.29.2024

      Hi Brittney, I haven’t tried either, so I’m not sure.

    • Kimberly
      05.07.2024

      Have you tried raw sugar, it’s healthy for you.

    • Michele
      05.20.2024

      Hi Brittney, I’ve done this with coconut sugar when making frosting for a grain free cake. It worked beautifully. I have not tried it with stevia.

  3. Lisa
    04.19.2024

    5 stars
    I ran short of powdered sugar and used this recipe to make up the balance. Used my old blender and it worked perfectly. Saved the day!

  4. Rebecca
    03.19.2024

    5 stars
    I also had no result with the blender so I used a small spice grinder and it worked very well. Only thing is small amounts can be made at a time but it takes less than a minute each time. Good luck!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.21.2024

      Great tip, Rebecca!

  5. Michael
    02.06.2024

    So cornstarch cannot be eaten raw as it gives digestive issues to people UNLESS its cooked. How praytell do i make a filling for a cookie using this if it contains raw cornstarch and i cant cook it? For instance in this recipe the filling calls for powdered sugar and i would use this substitute but then id ve eating raw cornstarch. Any ideas/sokutions?

    https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/homemade-oreo-cookies/

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Michael, We have previously used this powdered sugar in frostings and glazes and haven’t had any issues since such a small amount of cornstarch ends up in the final dish. If you’d rather avoid it, I’d recommend using store-bought organic powdered sugar instead.

  6. Ashley
    02.04.2024

    30 seconds? I used Morena’s raw cane sugar which may be coarser than granulated sugar and take longer, so I feel like I let it go for more like a minute or two. I used my cuisinart food processor and when it wasn’t working, I poured the contents in a bowl and tried sifting the ingredients back in because I thought maybe the cornstarch was clumping or something. The cornstarch became almost smoke like and I thought it was working, but the sugar was still grainy. I was in a slight hurry and perhaps I could have let it go for longer and see what happened. Bummer.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2024

      Hi Ashley, Sorry for the disappointment! This recipe comes out best when it’s made with a blender, not a food processor. The S-blade isn’t able to finely grind the sugar in the same way that a blender’s blades can. I’d recommend trying this method with a blender in the future. Hope this helps!

    • Moriah
      03.07.2024

      I used the same sugar, tried with my.ninja blender, didn’t work and then tried the food processor and still nothing. Guess I’ll continue to buy for the few times we use it

  7. Sultana
    01.01.2024

    5 stars
    Can I use rice starch because I’m allergic to corn?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.01.2024

      Hi Sultana, I haven’t tried rice, but I use arrowroot starch interchangably.

    • MissyG
      01.11.2024

      Hi Sultana,

      I am also allergic to corn and have used potato starch, sweet potato starch, and tapioca starch/flour as well. They all have worked just fine for me. Use the same measurement as the corn starch in this recipe for any of the other starches you choose to use.

  8. Jodi
    11.14.2023

    Ninja users: place in cup attachment.
    Ultra blend button 3x.

    • Rebecca
      12.11.2023

      Thank you for this tip!

  9. Lea
    11.03.2023

    Do you know the purpose of the corn starch? I have found that if I am going to use my powdered sugar immediately, I do not need the corn starch. The corn starch is added only to keep the sugar from clumping. So, it is necessary for storage but not for immediate use.

    • Leonard Hatcher
      12.17.2023

      It thickens things like icing

  10. Dave
    09.01.2023

    5 stars
    Thank you soooo very much fer saving me bacon at 3am!! I’d been slammed awake as usual having to use my facilities as I was I got nailed by a massive sweet tooth!! Cream cheese frosting baby!! Yes!! Pulled up the recipe card, started gathering me supplies, an sadly realized I’d forgotten to re-up my frosting making goods earlier today, so I had NONE!! Now I thankfully always will!! Thank you x A Gazillion!!

  11. Hiday
    07.05.2023

    Could you use a baby bullet blender? It’s all I have

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.06.2023

      I haven’t tried it in one of those so I’m not sure. You’d definitely want to decrease the quantity.

  12. Aimee
    06.08.2023

    5 stars
    This was perfect! I was 1/2 cup short of powdered sugar when I was making my buttercream. I followed the directions using my Vitamix and it was perfect! Thanks for saving a trip to the store!

  13. Wendy
    05.28.2023

    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?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.30.2023

      Hi Wendy, I think arrowroot should be fine.

      • Lauren
        07.04.2023

        I just tried this in my Ninja IQ. Used 1 cup sugar and 1 tbsp corn starch. Used start for about 39-45 secs and came out fluffy and not gritty. I was impressed

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          07.06.2023

          I’m so happy to hear, thank you for leaving the feedback!

        • Rebecca
          12.11.2023

          I was just about to ask if my ninja pro would work! Thank you!

    • MissyG
      01.11.2024

      Hi Wendy,

      I am also allergic to corn and have used Tapioca starch and it worked well. I’m sure Arrowroot works equally well although I have not tried that one. I have also used Potato starch and Sweet Potato starch with just as much success.

  14. Sharon S
    04.29.2023

    3 stars
    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.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      05.01.2023

      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.

    • HB
      06.04.2023

      3 stars
      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!

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Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.