Icing Sugar and Powdered Sugar. How Different Are They, Really?

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Icing sugar and powdered sugar – are there any differences between them? What are they good for? It can be quite the baker’s dilemma! So, let’s find out the truth once and for all!

Are you confused when scrolling on the Internet for all sort of dessert recipes and you just can’t figure out what’s the thing with icing sugar and powdered sugar? You’re not the only one, that’s for sure! Many people have trouble choosing the right sugar for their cakes, pastries, and other baked goods. For you and all of them, we want to make it clear once and for all.

Breaking the icing sugar and powdered sugar dilemma

The truth is icing sugar and powdered sugar are the same things. Powdered sugar, also called confectioners’ sugar, icing sugar, and icing cake is a finely ground sugar produced by milling granulated sugar into a powdered state. Powdered or icing sugar can have varying textures and degrees of fineness. It’s usually labeled with XXX, XXXX, etc., and the more X’s it has, the finer the sugar grains are.

So, icing sugar and powdered sugar are both a type of sugar very finely ground. If you don’t have a store-bought pack, you can actually make icing sugar and powdered sugar at home. All you have to do is to process the granulated sugar in a coffee grinder or to crush it by hand in a mortar and pestle.

Since there are no differences between icing sugar and powdered sugar, no matter the name on the pack, this type of sugar is used in icings and frostings for cakes, in cheesecakes, and also in certain pastries. In fact, icing or powdered sugar is mainly used in baking products such as bread and cakes.

You can also use it for decorating baked goods and sweets just by dusting it over them.

Here you can see how to make a sugar glaze. We used it to glaze gingerbread, but you can also use it for croissants, cinnamon rolls, bundt cakes, all kind of cookies, doughnuts, or cupcakes.

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2 thoughts on “Icing Sugar and Powdered Sugar. How Different Are They, Really?”

  1. Marianne Sarnecki

    My bag labeled Icing Sugar from Redpath says Pur Cane Sugar on the front of the bag but the ingredients listed are refined cane sugar and corn starch. It is not just powdered sugar, at least not in Canada.

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