Browning sugar creates this wonderful browning sauce that colors and flavors many Caribbean dishes. The flavor is smoky and molasses-like. So, it is the perfect addition to stews, fried rice dishes, and the ever-popular fruit cake.

While browning is an essential ingredient in these Caribbean recipes, you won’t find a bottle in my pantry… or in my mom’s.

Why? Because we make it from scratch right before we use it. It is so quick and easy. Here’s how to make it.

Browning Sugar: Ingredients

You only need two ingredients: brown sugar and boiling water.

I prefer to use brown sugar because it undergoes less processing and bleaching and the sauce develops a richer, more molasses-like taste. But you can also use white sugar for this recipe.

Boiling water is very important to create the sauce. Cold water will cause your heated sugar to clump and make it much harder to work with.

You can make any amount of the sauce using a two to one ratio: two parts sugar to one part water.

Browning sugar: Ingredients


Add brown sugar to a heavy pot on low heat. Stir occasionally. The sugar will begin to melt and caramelize.

Melting sugar for browning sauce

When the sugar is fully melted, it’s time to stir more often to ensure even heating. The sugar will bubble and develop darker and darker shades of brown. If it begins to smoke, remove from the heat for a couple moments until it stops.

Melted sugar for browning
Darker brown sugar

Very quickly thereafter, the sugar will become very dark brown to almost black. At this point, remove from the heat.

Making browning

Add a tablespoon of boiling water. Be very careful! Sugar will splutter and can give a nasty burn. Continue to stir while adding more water.

If your water is cool, the sugar will clump together. If this happens, heat the sauce until the clumps dissolve.

Finished browning sugar

Once your browning is the desired consistency you are finished. You can leave to cool before bottling.

Browning sugar

Or you can cook with it immediately. Add in raw meat – like chicken – to make stews (yummy stewed chicken!) or pour the browning over stir fried veggies before adding rice to make vegetable fried rice. Or leave it to cool before adding to fruit cake batter. There are so many uses for browning sugar!

If you don’t have the time, then pick up your bottle of browning on Amazon:


Browning sugar recipe

Browning Sugar (or browning sauce)

This browning sugar recipe creates a rich, flavorful browning sauce that adds a molasses-like, smoky taste to many Caribbean dishes. It also acts like a natural food coloring (it’s brown though!)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Caribbean
Keyword browning sauce
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup boiling water


  • Add sugar to heavy pot on low heat.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • When the sugar completely melts, stir more often to ensure even heating.
  • When the sugar develops a dark brown to almost black color, remove from heat.
  • Add a tablespoon of boiling water CAREFULLY and stir.
  • Continue adding water until the browning sauce reaches the desired consistency.
  • Cool and bottle. Or use immediately in Caribbean dishes.


  • If the sugar begins to smoke before it develops its dark color, remove from heat until it stops. Then, place on stove and continue the steps.
  • If the sugar clumps when water is added, heat the sauce until the clumps dissolve.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. See disclosures for more info.

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How to make browning sugar

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