14 Best Substitutes for Molasses

Substitutes for Molasses
By Badagnani via Wikimedia

Molasses adds a slightly bitter, sweet taste to baked goods. Sometimes molasses flavor is too intense or not what you want in your recipe. Luckily, there are several excellent options to use as substitutes for molasses.

It doesn’t matter if they are substitutes, and they will fit whatever need you to have for them.

Let’s look at some common substitutes for molasses and when you might want to use them. We’ve provided a list of reserves instead of molasses in your recipes.

Table of Contents

  1. Maple Syrup
  2. Brown Rice Syrup
  3. Stevia Extract
  4. Honey
  5. Agave Nectar
  6. Molasses Flakes
  7. Sorghum Syrup
  8. Dark Corn Syrup  
  9. Treacle
  10.  Date syrup
  11.  Sugar
  12. Barley malt syrup
  13. Applesauce
  14. Yogurt

Maple Syrup

They are not as rich in mineral content as molasses, and Maple syrup offers a robust and clean flavor and is also less bitter. In addition to being delicious and versatile, maple syrup is a natural anti-inflammatory and one of the best substitutes for molasses.

Try subbing a little bit of organic maple syrup for some of the sugar in any recipe to give it more depth and complexity. I think you’ll like what you taste.

Tip: Always use Grade B when baking. It has a more robust flavor than Grade A but less dark syrups. You can find it at most health food stores or online here.

This sweetener is best used on cooked items such as baked goods or pancakes, and it’s more preferred on these than raw savory dishes due to its strong flavor.

Brown Rice Syrup

With a similar flavor to molasses, brown rice syrup is an excellent substitute for sweet and savory dishes. With a longer shelf life than molasses (brown rice syrup can be stored at room temperature); it’s also much easier to keep on hand when swapping it into one of your favorite recipes. 

Since it’s made from rice, it’s gluten-free! Just ensure you choose an organic version that would suit you—for example, wild Harvest Brown Rice Syrup or Central Market Organic Brown Rice Syrup. Add to coffee or smoothies instead of sugar.

Finally, use it as a marinade for meats or sprinkle it on hot cereal. It’s one of the fantastic substitutes for molasses you need for your next baking occasion!

Stevia Extract

When making cakes, cookies, or brownies, it is essential to add sweetening and flavor to keep your dessert tasting unique. One of our favorite substitutes for molasses is Stevia extract. 

Stevia is a sweetener derived from plants that can be used in desserts. The good thing is it doesn’t add extra calories, sodium, or fat. We use Stevia in place of sugar when making our gingerbread spice cake.

It tastes as good as if we were using sugar without sacrificing nutritional value, and it’s your best healthy choice for a substitute.


With its thick texture and rich flavor, honey is a suitable substitute for molasses. When using honey instead of molasses, you’ll need to reduce or eliminate other liquids in your recipe. Since honey is so much sweeter than most varieties of molasses, use half as much when substituting.

However, these reductions may not be necessary if you use milder varietal honey like clover or wildflower. Start by covering one-quarter honey per cup of molasses called for in your recipe.

Finally, remember to taste before adding more sweetener. Do this to ensure you don’t ruin a perfect baking experience!

Agave Nectar

In place of molasses, you can use agave nectar, and the flavor is much lighter than honey or syrup, which mainly works well in a quick bread. Agave also has a low glycemic index so that it won’t cause blood sugar to spike.

This is an advantage if you have diabetes. It’s sweeter than molasses (although less flavorful). So start with 3⁄4 cup of agave syrup and then taste-test. 

Moreover, you can add more in 1⁄4 cup increments until it tastes right to you. Agave nectar is one of the best substitutes for molasses, and it’s excellent and keeps your glucose level in check.

Molasses Flakes

These thin, flat, dark-brown chips are made from evaporated cane juice. They retain a rich maple flavor with a hint of smokiness, and I use them in place of brown sugar to sweeten everything from hot cocoa to pancakes. 

Molasses chips can be found at natural food stores, grocery stores, and online retailers. Substitute 3 tablespoons of molasses chips for every one tablespoon of brown sugar called for in your recipe.
Cut back on the liquid by two tablespoons per cup for a more considerable substitution.

If you’re substituting dark brown sugar or light brown sugar, swap it out in equal amounts. You don’t need to adjust the liquid. Are you finding any of these substitutes for molasses helpful? We hope so!

Sorghum Syrup

You’ve heard of agave nectar, but what about sorghum syrup? This sweetener is one that you may not have tried yet. Used as one of the substitutes for molasses in some recipes, it has a more pungent taste and a deeper color. 

In some cases, it can also be used to replace honey or maple syrup because of its distinct flavor profile. One significant benefit of sorghum syrup is that it contains iron and calcium.

I’m sure you’ll want to keep a bottle on hand. You’ll need it when making recipes like gingerbread cookies or muffins that call for molasses.

Dark Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is available in light and dark varieties. Unlike molasses, corn syrup is manufactured from corn starch. For use as a substitute for molasses, dark corn syrup is perfect, and this is because it has a flavor similar to unsulfured blackstrap molasses. 

Additionally, it’s also a bit sweeter than blackstrap, and this helps reduce your other sweeteners when using it as a substitute for molasses in recipes like gingerbread or cookies.


It might seem strange to be recommending treacle when looking for molasses substitutes. However, it’s a great choice if you cut back on sugar, and its mild, sweet flavor makes it work well in cakes and biscuits. 

Bakers often use treacle as a substitute in gingerbread recipes, and it is easier to replace black treacle with golden syrup or light corn syrup. However, the golden syrup may not do what you need if you want a smoother texture. 

Golden syrup has tiny grains, which some people find unpleasant, so that light corn syrup might be more suitable. It’s always important to remember that each sugar has its properties when used in cooking.

Date syrup

What’s in a name? In date syrup’s case, quite a lot. Date syrup is as simple as its name. Made from dates (duh), these plump little gems of carbohydrate are sweetened and put into bottles.

You can enjoy it on toast, pancakes, or perhaps my favorite use, as an ice cream topper. Dates contain several minerals and vitamins that help with digestion and boost metabolism. So not only does date syrup taste delicious, but it’s also good for you! 

Therefore, It’s important to note that date syrup is darker than molasses and has a distinct flavor, and its flavor is what makes it one of the best substitutes for molasses. Some might say it tastes like prunes or figs, but primarily dates, which may or may not agree with you.


A common ingredient in American baking, sugar provides sweetness and tenderness to baked goods. However, some people consider it processed food and avoid using it when possible.

If you’re looking to cut down on refined sugars (even natural sugars), there are plenty of easy-to-find, healthy options. 

Some suitable substitutes include agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup. You can also swap refined white sugar with an all-natural sweetener like Stevia or xylitol.

They both have zero calories per serving and provide similar taste and texture in recipes. Experiment with different sweeteners until you find one you love; the flavor is essential! Sugar is just one out of many substitutes for molasses you can try. We’ve put this together to help you choose which one best suits you.

Barley malt syrup

Also known as malted barley, barley malt syrup is an excellent substitute for light and dark molasses. It gives baked goods a complex, nutty flavor and contains much more fiber than its counterparts. Barley malt syrup is one of the great substitutes for molasses you’d ever come across.

In addition to its versatility (it can be used on sweet or savory dishes). It’s also considered less processed and is often preferred by vegans and vegetarians.

You can find it at specialty grocery stores or online. Substitute 1 cup of barley malt syrup with 3/4 cup light or dark molasses.


One of the easy substitutes for molasses in recipes is applesauce. Substitute one cup of sugar with a half cup of unsweetened applesauce and reduce the liquid by a fourth. Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees and bake longer to compensate. 

Applesauce works best in cookies, cake, brownies, muffins, and bread. The slight cinnamon flavor adds depth while allowing other flavors to shine through. You can also add vanilla extract or a hint of fresh lemon zest. 

In addition, these extracts are needed to give a great taste to increase intensity without overpowering other flavors! This substitution works exceptionally well in gingerbread cookies, highlighting spicy notes.


Lastly, on our list of substitutes for molasses is yogurt. Substitute yogurt for some of the butter or oil in a recipe, or add to recipes as you would flour. Yogurt works exceptionally well when making bread and other baked goods.

It gives a smooth texture and a soft crumb without being too heavy. It’s also an effective way to reduce gluten content. To replace butter, use 1/4 cup yogurt to 2 sticks of butter. Use 1/2 cup yogurt to 1 cup flour (or one-third cup honey) to replace all-purpose flour.


Molasses adds a distinctive flavor to many recipes, especially when it comes to American classics like gingerbread, carrot cake, and baked beans. If you don’t want any calories from sugar, who does? We can help! There are a few suitable substitutes for molasses you can use. 

Dates and prunes are naturally sweet and pair well with savory dishes. Try using blackstrap molasses if you want more texture and depth of flavor in your baked goods. It has a distinct bitter taste. 

Also, it isn’t lovely, so ensure you have enough other flavors in whatever recipe you’re working with. The key is experimenting with ingredients to find which combinations work best in different recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is unsulfured molasses?

Molasses comes from sugar cane or sugar beets and is a byproduct of making either refined or raw sugar. It has a distinctive flavor and is super-rich in minerals and vitamins. You can find unsulfured molasses in any grocery store, but it’s not as common as other types of molasses. Some others are treated with sulfur dioxide (SO2) to preserve color and act as antioxidants. SO2 maintains color but may also cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Once off-gassed, it can also create an unpleasant smell and taste. In conclusion, look for unsulfured molasses on labels if you’re trying to avoid added SO2 during processing. Knowing more about uncultured molasses will help you choose substitutes for molasses.

Can you use pomegranate molasses as a molasses substitute?

Pomegranate molasses are an alternative to traditional blackstrap molasses, boiled down sugar cane juice. Pomegranate molasses, which contains much less sugar, is extracted from pomegranates, and its tartness can add a fruity flavor to some recipes. However, if you’re trying to bake something with a sweet tooth, it might not be enough of a substitute. For example, one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses contains 31 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates, and they have more compared to 25 calories and 9 grams of carbohydrates in blackstrap molasses. Try using honey or maple syrup instead if you’re aiming for more natural sweetness without refined sugars. Do you think of pomegranates as part of substitutes for molasses you’d like to try? Let us know!

What’s the difference between light, dark, and blackstrap molasses?

There are three types of molasses that you’ll typically find on grocery store shelves. Light and dark are often used interchangeably by home cooks, and each is a bit different in its own right. The main difference between light and dark is how much sugar has been removed from them. Blackstrap molasses is also made from sugar cane, but it undergoes a few extra steps in processing. It has been stripped of most of its natural sugars and some vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This leaves only small amounts of vitamins B6 and B12 and potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. You can also find trace amounts of zinc, and all varieties can be found at health food stores. Baking is fun when you know all there is about substitutes for molasses, and you’re not left in the dark!

Can you make molasses at home?

This might sound like a strange question, but it’s worth asking. Technically, no, you can’t make molasses at home. Commercial molasses is a byproduct of sugar refining, and it involves boiling down sugar syrup until its flavor is strong enough to suit your purposes. You can purchase refined cane or beet sugars and follow a similar process at home. That’s if you want to create natural cane or beet syrups. They aren’t technically molasses but identical, and some folks swear by them. You might need this list of excellent molasses substitutes for a friend. Don’t forget to share your ideas!

What can I substitute for one tablespoon of molasses?

Table sugar (white sugar), confectioners’ sugar, honey, and fruit preserves (such as apple butter) are great substitutes for molasses. Using one tablespoon of each should provide similar results in baked goods. Some recipes may call for more than one tablespoon of molasses; adjust accordingly if you use something other than molasses.

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