Making confectioners' sugar at home is an easy way to boost your DIY baking cred (and maybe save a trip to the grocery store). Best of all, it takes about a minute.
Confectioners' sugar (aka powdered sugar or icing sugar) is granulated sugar that's been ground to a powder. There are different levels of fineness, but the kind you're most likely to see at the store is ground ten times, which explains why the label sometimes says "10x." This sugar dissolves easily into toppings and fillings where granulated sugar would create a grainy texture.
Note: Superfine sugar (sometimes labeled caster sugar) is not as fine as confectioners' sugar, but finer than granulated. It creams smoothly into butter and dissolves easily into delicate mixtures, such as meringue. Some recipes for really delicate baked goods, like meringues or angel food cake , work best with superfine sugar.
You can use the method described here to make either confectioners' or superfine sugar. It's just a matter of how long you grind it!
Equipment You'll Need
A blender or food processor is ideal for making confectioners' sugar, but a spice grinder or coffee grinder will also work (as long as it's clean). Warning: If your blender has a plastic jar, sugar crystals might scratch it. This isn't likely, but it's possible!
When to Use Cornstarch
Store-bought confectioners' sugar typically contains cornstarch to prevent caking and clumping. You'll see cornstarch listed as optional in this recipe. If you plan to use the confectioners' sugar right away, skip the cornstarch. Otherwise, add 1 teaspoon to the sugar before blending.
Homemade Confectioners' Sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
1. Place granulated sugar and cornstarch (if using) into a blender or food processor.
2. Use the "pulse" or "blend" setting. For superfine sugar, pulse for about 30 seconds. For confectioners' sugar, continue blending until the consistency is powdery.
3. Whether you're making superfine or confectioners' sugar, sift the sugar through a strainer and you're done!
If you're not using the sugar right away, store in an airtight container.