Don’t get confused! Powdered sugar is one and the same as icing sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and 10X sugar. And while we may not all agree on a single name for this finely-textured mixture of milled granulated sugar and cornstarch, we can all accept that it isn’t the easiest baking ingredient to store at home.
If you’re an occasional baker, you may have grudgingly settled for the unenviable task of rushing down to the store each time you need to use it. Yes, it can be frustrating, I know. I have been in your shoes before.
If you are like me, then you want to know – can you freeze powdered sugar or not. The simple answer to this is yes. However, while it is true that you can freeze powdered sugar, there are better ways to store it.
Before deciding to freeze that powdered sugar, you need to ask yourself some questions. I have taken time to vet some commonly asked questions in this regard. If you’re looking for the best way to effectively preserve your icing sugar for a long time, keep reading this article.
How Long Does Powdered Sugar Last?
If you are an occasional baker, you might want to know how long icing sugar can last. I’d say there are many answers to this. Really, it depends on how well you store it.
Typically, powdered sugar should still be fine up to two years after production. In fact, if you can store it properly, its shelf life is indefinite. This means that you can buy powdered sugar and keep it for as long as possible.
Yes, the label on powdered sugar will usually indicate that it has a shorter lifespan. But the expiry date on the label is merely a guideline. It has nothing to do with the quality or safety of the icing sugar. You can use powdered sugar a long time after its expiry date.
Can Powdered Sugar be Frozen?
For what it’s worth, I’ll emphasize again here that you can freeze powdered sugar.
But why would you want to freeze it? Wait, do you even need to?
Freezing is to elongate the shelf life of the powdered sugar. But it already has a long shelf life. Besides, you need to defrost frozen sugar before you can use it.
The sugar can attract moisture in the process of defrosting, thereby becoming lumpy. I doubt you’d fancy using lumpy powdered sugar for your pastry!
How to Freeze Powdered Sugar
Nevertheless, freezing is not entirely bad. And it’s not difficult either. Simply put the powdered sugar inside a sealable freezer bag and press the sides to make sure there is no space for air inside. Extra protection isn’t bad. So, it’s advisable that you wrap the bag with a couple layers of food wraps.
Of course, you must also keep heavy objects or items with strong odor away from your powdered sugar.
The safest thing to do is to keep the powdered sugar in a separate compartment of its own in the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Powdered Sugar?
You can freeze powdered sugar for as long as you want. It will retain its quality for as long as stays moisture-free. Moisture will make your powdered sugar lumpy and this will ultimately have an impact on your baking. You don’t want that, do you?
Another thing you should be wary of while freezing powdered sugar is the odor. Powdered sugar is covetous and easily takes in the odor of items close to it. Now, you don’t want some strange odor ruining your baking. Keeping your powdered sugar in a separate compartment will go a long way in mitigating this problem.
Apart from the moisture and odor, there’s pretty much nothing else that can affect the quality of your powdered sugar. Also note that these can only affect the outcome of your baking. They don’t make powdered sugar unsafe to eat.
How to Defrost Powdered Sugar
Defrosting simply means making frozen powdered sugar soft again. After two, or three, or even six months in the freezer, it’s no longer ‘powdered’ sugar. Instead, it’s now just one big lump of frozen sugar… or whatever you may call it.
Just as it is with freezing, softening the hard lump isn’t difficult. There is more than one way to go about defrosting your frozen powdered sugar.
The simplest method is to put the lump in a cool, dry container and add a slice of bread (or two, if it’s a big lump) before covering the container.
Another common method is to just pop the sugar in a jar and cover it with a towel.
In each case, the bread and towel absorb the moisture content in the frozen powdered sugar. You may need to wait for two days before the frozen powdered sugar defrosts completely.
However, if you’re in a hurry and want to use the powdered sugar urgently, you can simply put the lump in the microwave and heat it for about 30 seconds. Then check to see whether it has defrosted or not. If it has not, repeat the process until the powdered sugar becomes soft.
What’s the Best Way to Store Powdered Sugar?
Freezing is not the best way to store powdered sugar. You’d have to be ultra-meticulous to prevent it from absorbing moisture.
So what’s the best way? How about getting a dry, airtight container in a cool place?
By storing powdered sugar this way, you eliminate any possibility of water getting into it. Powdered sugar can last several years if stored this way.
How to Tell if Powdered Sugar Has Gone Bad
Powdered sugar can go bad if you don’t store it properly. Sometimes, it could just be other factors out of your control. In any case, these are red flags for unhealthy powdered sugar;
Mold: As if causing lumps isn’t enough, moisture also supports the growth of mold in your powdered sugar. Mold can be unhealthy and you should not use that powdered sugar if you notice mold in it.
Odor: Powdered sugar, like other powdered products, absorbs sugar easily. And while smelly confectionery sugar isn’t always a sign of spoilage, it is a risk you don’t want to take. Besides, it can negatively impact your baking.
Insects: Bugs, ants, and insect eggs in your powdered sugar isn’t healthy. Trash that icing sugar if you find insects in it. Ordinarily, proper storage will prevent insects from getting into your powdered sugar.
Can You Refreeze Powdered Sugar?
No. Don’t try to refreeze powdered sugar after defrosting.
It would be difficult to keep the moisture away for the second round of preservation. Once you freeze powdered sugar, you know you’re using everything the next time you take it out of your freezer.