Can You Make Powdered Sugar at Home?

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

I don’t use powdered sugar that often, and when I do, it’s usually to dust a baked good just to make it look prettier. Since I use it so rarely, I was intrigued when I read that you could just make powdered sugar at home with stuff probably already in your kitchen. Curious, I just had to put this tip to the test!

The Original Tip

There are actually many websites that contain recipes for homemade powdered sugar. Powdered sugar is commonly made of cornstarch and sugar (the cornstarch acts as a binding agent), so most of these recipes just call for throwing these two ingredients into a blender or food processor.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

The Testing Method

I followed the most popular amounts I saw for making homemade powdered sugar and placed 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in my food processor. The recipes advise blending small amounts so that there’s plenty of space for the ingredients to move around.

I used a food processor because mine has a large capacity and is pretty powerful, but I’d also heard that high-speed blenders would work too. I processed everything on high speed for 1 minute and then took a look.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

The Results

I opened the food processor and ran my fingers through the sugar: still grainy, although not as grainy as the unprocessed sugar. Thinking I hadn’t processed it long enough, I let it go another 30 seconds: still not much better.

My next thought was to add more cornstarch to see if that would help, so I threw in another tablespoon of cornstarch and let it go. I placed the results on a plate next to some store-bought powdered sugar:

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

As you can see, the homemade powdered sugar on the right was nowhere as finely ground as the commercial stuff. It definitely did not have that snowy, fluffy effect of real powdered sugar.

Verdict: This is not a mind-blowing tip.

Final Notes

Sadly, this tip was a bust. My food processor, while plenty powerful, just couldn’t turn regular sugar into the delicate powdered sugar that I’ve come to expect. I wouldn’t use want to use this homemade powdered sugar in recipes because I think the coarseness of it would change the texture of what I’m making, especially in something delicate like a frosting or icing. It visually also doesn’t have the same effect when dusted onto foods like purchased powdered sugar. Guess I’ll just have to resort to buying it at the grocery store!