Making Your Own Powdered Sugar Is Easier Than You Might Have Thought

If you've ever scarfed down a slice of birthday cake with buttercream frosting, you may have tasted powdered sugar's light, soft goodness. Although it can be used to dust brownies, lemon bars, and more, powdered sugar is most commonly found in icings, frostings, and fudge — anything with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, according to The Spruce Eats. Also called confectioners' sugar, icing sugar, and 10X, powdered sugar goes by many names, but they all mean the same thing and can be used in the same way.

If you're out of powdered sugar but looking for the perfect dusting for your lemon bars, don't panic — you may be able to make it at home with just a few simple ingredients. However, you shouldn't turn to other sugars as direct powdered sugar substitutes. Regular white sugar has a larger crystal size and a grainier texture than powdered, which wouldn't dissolve well in frostings and would make your lemon bar topping more crunchy than fluffy, notes Southern Living. Brown sugar, while sometimes a good substitute for white, also is a different type of sugar that can't successfully replace the lightness of powdered sugar.

So what should you do if powdered sugar is nowhere to be found in your cupboard? As it turns out, you might be able to quickly whip up a replacement using only two pantry ingredients.

Granulated sugar and cornstarch are all you need

According to Love and Lemons, if you have granulated sugar and cornstarch at home, you can make a fantastic replacement for powdered sugar. You'll need to combine those two ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor, and voilà! The resulting mixture should resemble powdered sugar. If you want to ensure your homemade powdered sugar is as fluffy as possible, Completely Delicious recommends sifting it to remove any remaining clumps. While this easy recipe should work in a pinch, Bon Appétit notes that it's probably best to buy a box of powdered sugar if you need more than a few tablespoons, such as making large quantities of it yourself can quickly get messy. Although if you don't mind your kitchen looking a little snowy, please feel free to blend away.

This recipe works because it's essentially the same way powdered sugar is made in bulk. According to the Food Network, powdered sugar is just granulated white sugar and cornstarch combined and crushed into a powder — the cornstarch is added to prevent clumping. In stores, however, you may see different types of powdered sugar according to their particle size, ranging from 10X to XXX (via The Spruce Eats). 

Store-bought may be best if you're looking for specific types of powdered sugar like these. But if you're desperate and need an easy fix, we're betting no one will be able to taste the difference in your homemade powdered sugar.