Molasses Substitute

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Molasses Substitute

Molasses is expensive, and it’s not something you use everyday. So, if you’re out, or just don’t want to fork over the money for a bottle, use one of these substitutes instead.

Molasses Substitutes

Molasses has a complex, bittersweet flavor and a dark color that sets it apart from other sweeteners. It makes cookies moist and chewy; it thickens baked beans; it sweetens barbecue sauce; and it keeps sugar from crystallizing in sugar-heavy recipes. Finding another sweetener that can take it’s place is challenging, but not impossible. To make a successful substitution, consider the function of the molasses in the recipe you’re working on. Then, pick the substitute that does the best job of filling that role.

Here are several substitutes that can take the place of one cup of molasses. Scale them up or down to meet your needs.

1 cup dark corn syrup – Since dark corn syrup gets its color and flavor from molasses, this substitute will get a small amount of real molasses back into your recipe. And it’ll provide the moisture that’s essential to baked goods like, gingerbread cookies and pecan pie. Like molasses, corn syrup prevents sugar from crystallizing. Use this substitute, if you’re trying to maintain the dark color of whatever you’re making.

1 cup maple syrup – Maple syrup is lighter in color and flavor than molasses, but it’ll still contribute some caramel-y depth to the finished product. Since syrup tends to be a bit thinner than molasses, you may notice subtle changes in the texture of your baked goods. Maple syrup is already used in many recipes for baked beans, barbecue sauce, glazes and marinades, so it’s a no-brainer swap-out in these savory foods.

1 cup honey – If you’re trying to maintain the thickness of molasses in your recipe, honey is a good bet. It’s a lot sweeter than molasses, though. So, consider increasing the spices in your recipe to get back some of that smoky depth and color, that would otherwise be lacking. If you’re looking for a substitute because you don’t like the taste of molasses, this is a great option.

3/4 cup brown sugar – Brown sugar is nothing more than granulated sugar that’s had some of the molasses added back to it. So, this is another substitute that will get some real molasses back into your recipe. It’s a natural addition to baked beans and barbecue sauce, and can be used in baked goods, too. Just know that baked goods made with brown sugar won’t be as moist and chewy as those made with molasses. If you have both light and dark brown sugar in your pantry, use dark. It contains more molasses.

3/4 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup hot water – In a pinch, a mixture of sugar and water can be used as a substitute for molasses. This thick syrup will contribute sweetness to your recipe, but none of the color and flavor that you’d get with molasses. If you’re using this substitution in a baked good recipe, add 1-1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar, or a small amount of lemon juice. Molasses is mildly acidic, and is often used in conjunction with baking soda to make dough or batter rise. This will ensure your substitution continues to serve this purpose. Since cream of tartar also prevents sugar from crystallizing, it’s still worth adding to pie fillings and other sweets that don’t contain baking soda.

1 cup black treacle – If you live outside the U.S., use treacle in place of the molasses that’s called for. Black treacle will come the closest to replicating the flavor of molasses. If you only have golden syrup available, consider adding extra spices to ramp up the flavor.

Can You Use Blackstrap Molasses as a Substitute for Regular Molasses?

No, blackstrap molasses should only be used in recipes that call for it by name. It has an overpowering, bitter taste that’s likely to alter your recipe in ways you won’t be happy with.

How Long is Molasses Good For?

If you’re looking for a molasses substitute because you have a bottle that’s been sitting in your pantry for years, you may not need a substitute after all. As long as you’ve kept it stored in a cool, dry place, and there aren’t any signs of spoilage – i.e. mold, a strange scent or a change in flavor – it should be fine to use. Molasses will keep for five years, and even longer.

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Molasses Substitute

Here’s how to substitute the molasses in your favorite sweet and savory recipes.

  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup


  • Dark corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, granulated sugar or black treacle


To replace one cup of molasses, use:

  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup hot water (add 1-1/4 tsp cream of tartar to baked goods)
  • 1 cup black treacle


Nutrition facts are based on using dark corn syrup.

Keywords: molasses substitute, molasses substitute for cookies, molasses substitute for baked beans, molasses substitute uk

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