I almost never use powdered sugar, partly because we eat sweets so infrequently, and partly because I dislike the way even the national brands of powdered sugar taste now. (Too much corn starch, perhaps?) I haven’t bought powdered sugar for a long time and haven’t really missed it because I only use it for the very occasional butter cream frosting. But today my husband asked if I would make cinnamon buns, and of course there was no powdered sugar in the house.

I had instructions for what they called “two easy methods” for making powdered sugar out of granulated sugar… one using a food processor and the other using a blender. I decided to try the food processor method first. It was definitely not a success. After an extremely long time of processing, I did eventually manage to get a powdery sugar, but there were still visible tiny sugar crystals, and the consistency was definitely not powdery enough. When I tried using a small amount of this sugar to make the icing, it was a rather gritty failure.


Johnny jump up (Viola tricolor)

Because of my poor results using the food processor, I almost didn’t try the blender method. I hadn’t added any corn starch to the first batch, so by this time I was thinking that perhaps that was the problem, and maybe something about the corn starch helped the sugar crystals to grind more completely. But since what I don’t like in the commercial powdered sugar is probably the taste of the corn starch, I decided that I would start by grinding just the sugar. Maybe my food processor just isn’t powerful enough, but what a difference that blender made! It was amazing how quickly the blender turned the granulated sugar into real powdered sugar with absolutely no visible sugar crystals. Best of all, the whole process probably took only three or four minutes. I never did add the corn starch, and the blender homemade powdered sugar made up into a wonderful icing for those cinnamon buns.

It’s always nice to find an idea like this that really works.

Note: If you are trying to avoid GMOs, look for the words “cane sugar” on the granulated sugar package. Sugar that is labeled only as “sugar” is almost always made from sugar beets… 95% of the sugar beets grown in the United States are genetically modified.

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Comments

kelly

i had no idea powdered sugar was that easy to make. so glad i started reading your blog. :)

Grace

I always learn the coolest things on your site! Thanks for sharing.

Kelly

Yay! Thank you for mentioning this, I hate the taste of cornstarch and so have been avoiding all types of frosting. I’ll try this the next time and see how it works for me.

Brenna

I used my coffee grinder to make powdered sugar and added a little bit of potato starch (we eat corn-free).

Sharon

I tried this in my food processor also with less than great results. And, like you, when I tried it in the blender…WOW..it’s worked great! Love your site! Lots of great information! Keep up the good work! :)

Sue

I thought I was the only “crazy” person that can not stand the taste of commercial powdered sugar! I have even stopped making some of my favorite recipes (strawberry soup, glazes) because they just taste “off”. I tried this method years ago when I ran out, but I think I will go this route from now on. Thanks for validating that I am not the only one that feels this way!

Z

I have one of those little blenders that they advertise endlessly on late-night TV (as well as a kitchen full of every cooking appliance you can name) and the little blender does the best job of powdering sugar.
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The problem with a full-sized food processor is that there is just too much room inside it and you the larger crystals don’t get circulated as much as you’d think. The little blender has a very small container, so all the sugar gets processed in less than 30 seconds. The downside is that if your recipe calls for four cups of powdered sugar, you’re going to have to do it two cups at a time.
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I can’t recommend the little blender for much else because it only has one speed but for a few select applications like this it can’t be beat. (It’s also great at smoothies, becuase fruits don’t have anywhere to hide
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The King Arthur Flor site recommends against making your own powdered sugar, but powdering sugar from regular granulated seems to work just fine in any recipe I’ve tried it in.

JoAnn

I’m allergic to corn starch so it was great to find a recipe for making my own powdered sugar! Thanks a bunch!

Debbie

I used my food processor to make powdered sugar today and it was awful. I will try a blender next time. Thanks for the tip.

Becca

I found this entry while specifically searching for a way to make my own powdered sugar for cinnamon roll icing. Can’t wait to try it!

Tracy

Thank you! I have issues with corn and find that powdered sugar tends to make me quite ill. This will make things so much easier for me and knowing you tried the food processor first and it didn’t work saves me the trouble.:)

Zoe

Wow!!! Thank you so very much! I cannot wait to. Try this! I thought I was the only one who thinks the taste of commercial confectioners sugar is, well, awful! I LOVE sweets, but have been unsatisfied with the flavors of my great great great aunt’s wonderful recipe for years! I clearly remember the full flavors of all her treats from my childhood, but everything now tastes awful.

After narrowing the culprit down to the powdered sugar, I went in search of a better quility and hopefully old fashioned tasting one. All I received was funny looks from owners and employees of many baking shoppes.

I just can’t thank you enough! Although, I think I may need to hide my bathroom scale for a while after this! :)

AS

I too dislike the taste of powdered sugar, and have used the blender method successfully. Years ago in an old cookbook I saw an article that said if you cook the icing in a double boiler for at least 15 minutes, it will cancel out the taste of the cornstarch. I have used this method ever since and it works beautifully.

Cheryl L. T.

Thanks for this information! For the past few years I haven’t made powdered sugar frosting because it always tasted like pencils. Yes, pencils – like when you hold a pencil with your teethe. I’m going to taste corn starch now to see if that’s where the pencil taste comes form. Thanks again!

Beryl Frances

I have very much enjoyed your site today, thankyou. I learned to cook on an open coal fire oven in the 50′s when I live with my grandmother in Yorkshire, England. Many folk had only this kind of oven then. Ours was large and had 2 ovens and a water heater with tap, plus a hot shelf above the fire, which was used for warming and re-heating food. We used to cook vegetables on a iron trivet over the coals, and I once burned a hole through the pan because I went out to play and forgot,never forgot the wrath of my Gran though…

Chantal C.B.

Dear Shirly.Thank you SO much i used my blender and MIRACLE, i love you you save my cake.C.B Winnipeg Manitoba Canada.

Alex

Helped immensely, complete life saver!!

April

Every time I taste my frostings and glazes I am never happy with that “off” flavor. And it’s a taste most others don’t notice! I am so glad I’m not the only one. I will definitely try this some time. Thanks!

Carolyn

Thank you so much for this article. A number a years ago I also started finding my recipes for frosting didn’t taste right. Finally figured out cornstarch was the problem–they didn’t used to put it in, and you often had to put it through the flour sifter before you used it. I’d do that anytime instead of having the crummy tasting frosting. Will try this tonight!!

Helena

I’ve been making my own powdered sugar since I came to USA in 1986!
In Europe we had it without cornstarch!
When I first bought powdered sugar here, I thought something was wrong with it! I hated it.
Back home the sugar got hard at times but it was easy to let it go through the sifter, break any hard pieces.
I still don’t understant why they don’t offer sugar without the starch.

Mandy

Very excited to try this. My husband is horribly allergic to Corn in all of it’s various uses, as it causes him to have seizures. Let me tell you it is very hard to stay away from corn in food! I’d just given up on making treats that involved powdered sugar, so it was downright wonderful to discover this! Thanks!

Olivia

thank you so much this saved my glazed doghnuts

Trevis

I just returned from a trip to New Orleans. My wife and I love beignets. (powered sugar covered french inspired fried fritters). We’ve been making them at home for years but haven’t had any real Cafe du Monde made ones since we started. I was very much looking forward to comparing ours to the real thing. Much to my amazement, their sugar tasted different. Not the beignets themselves, but the sugar! The stuff we get from the grocery store has a weird bitter after taste which i’ve just grown to associate with powered sugar but i couldn’t detect in theirs at all.

I started googling all over the place looking for the ‘ah ha’ and i eventually became suspicious that an additive is the culprit. All of the sugar that i can find has corn starch. This explains so much. With the sugar from cafe du monde if you pinch it in your fingers it wants to clump. If you get your hot beignets to go, some will clump a little in the bag. I’m certain that they are using a custom, perhaps self made, confectioners sugar that doesn’t have any corn starch. I’m so sure that that is the problem that i just ordered a new blender to prove it.

Thanks for confirming that a blender is the way to go over a food processor.

Victoria

I can’t wait to try this. Apparently not everyone can taste the cornstarch in retail powdered sugar. For the past several years I’ve hated making icings and glazes because I think they taste awful, but it seems only my mom and one of my daughters notice. None of the “guinea pigs” at work seem to. I think I’ll make some cupcakes with which to experiment. Thanks!

Iona

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been complaining for years that icing sugar tastes dusty now! My family thinks I’m nuts. Well, they’re probably right, but not about this. I’m going to dig out the blender for sure. I too haven’t been able to replicate “beignets.”

Lori

I also HATE store-bought powdered sugar. Why does it taste so different from what they use on doughnuts? Anyway, regular powdered sugar seems to ruin the taste of anything. I tried making glaze with it one time as a kid, and it was awful and I’ve never done it again.

I’m going to try using my coffee grinder and mini blender, and see which works best.

Eileen

Powdered sugar used to be made with wheat starch. That changed in the early 90s. I cannot have corn or products made with corn so I am grateful for the instructions for an alternative. The alternative has been no desserts with frosting.