9 Molasses Substitutes In Baking

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Molasses, a byproduct of the sugar-making process, can spice up several baked goods, from infusing a subtle nuance to cookies to making cakes incredibly moisturizing.


But let’s face it, molasses runs out as quickly as we bakers use it! Been there, rummaged through the pantry searching for a sweet substitute within arm’s reach? Well, look no further! I have gathered the best replacements for molasses that can work in a pinch.

9 Substitutes For Molasses In Baking

1. Honey

Have some honey around in the pantry? Good news: You can substitute honey for molasses! In general, honey has a golden hue, a flowery taste, and a high sugar content. Thus, it is highly regarded as an excellent substitute. This natural sweetener is linked to numerous health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant qualities.

That said, you may choose from an infinite variety of honey to come closer to molasses. A richer-tasting, deeper-colored kind (such as buckwheat honey) might go well with it. You can try estimating a 1:1 substitution for molasses. But I usually add a little less honey to make up for its thinner consistency and higher sweetness than molasses.

2. Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

Worried about messing up the wet-to-dry balance in your recipe if you skip the molasses? No problem! You can use maple syrup as a handy alternative for molasses, as it is also in liquid form. As for me, I prefer this natural sweetener over other syrups and sugars.

It is not as flavorful as molasses but has a similar moisture and sweetness content. Who knows? This might be a godsend for people who dislike the taste of molasses. Anyway, just swap the two sweeteners at a 1:1 ratio.

3. Dark Corn Syrup

Similar to molasses, dark corn syrup is a seductively colored liquid sweetener. It tastes more neutrally sweet and has a less nuanced flavor than molasses. Since molasses is also an ingredient for making dark corn syrup, you can use it as a molasses alternative in baking.

A 1:1 substitution will do. Still, I have to make it clear that black corn syrup may potentially include sulfites for those who have sulfite allergy or asthma. Therefore, you might want to steer clear of it if you or any family members are allergic to it.

4. Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum may be used as a suitable sugar replacement in some of your favorite recipes due to its high sugar concentration. This substance has the same thick, black consistency as molasses. However, I noticed that it adds some extra moisture to my baked goods. After trial and error, I’ve learned that using sour flour for the recipes can balance it out.

I often use Sorghum syrup as a 1-to-1 substitute for molasses. While it isn’t used in baking as often as molasses, I still have wonderful results when using it as a sweetener for salad dressing, sauces, and other foods.

5. Golden Syrup

Golden Syrup

Golden syrup, sometimes known as light treacle, is a type of thick sugar syrup. The two have a comparable thickness, but I found its golden, amber tint a better stand-in for light molasses. To create it, sugarcane juice is evaporated until it thickens like corn syrup, giving it a toasted flavor and golden hue.

Because golden syrup has a distinct flavor, it could somewhat change the taste of your baked goods. In return, this sweetener introduces a subtle buttery taste to your recipes, making them more tantalizing. This might be a good alternative to molasses for folks who prefer not to consume sulfites. You may substitute it for molasses at a 1:1 ratio, but the flavor and color will be more subdued.

6. Brown Sugar

Brown and vanilla sugar on a background

Since brown sugar naturally includes molasses, it’s an easy replacement for dark molasses. Its dark color comes from the molasses and granulated sugar that go into its making. Similar to molasses, brown sugar comes in several varieties, often categorized based on how brown they are.

Although amounts may differ depending on the recipe, 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar may be substituted for 1 cup of molasses. In my experience, the molasses flavor in dark brown sugar is more intense than that of light brown sugar.

7. Black Treacle

Black treacle is a kind of condensed sugar syrup made from sugarcane molasses. This ingredient is sometimes compared to American molasses in the United Kingdom. They are somewhat similar in flavor and color, but black treacle is darker, more bitter, and has a slightly burned (but good) taste.

I have tried many brands before, and Lyle’s is among the most widely available brands of black treacle in shops, much like it is for light treacle. Notice that it comes in smaller quantities than molasses. This means you won’t have too much remaining. You may replace it at a 1:1 ratio with molasses.

8. Simple Syrup (AKA Granulated Sugar + Water)

Since regular sugar is the source of molasses, substituting it for molasses will be simple. Granulated sugar works well as a suitable molasses substitute without compromising sweetness. Still, this type of sugar doesn’t taste as good or have as much moisture as brown sugar since it doesn’t include molasses.

Here is my recommended ratio: Instead of using one cup of molasses, I substitute it with one cup of granulated white sugar and one-fourth cup of water. The result? A more liquid viscosity that adds more moisture to my cakes. 

Although the finished product won’t taste as rich and have the same roasty flavor profile as molasses, I still find it works well with most of my favorite recipes.

9. Mix-And-Match

Now, here is the fun part and also the reason I fell in love with cooking and baking. You can just be creative with it because substitutes are always a guessing game. Consider combining several ingredients to achieve the desired result rather than using just one to make molasses. All of the above replacements are interchangeable, meaning you can mix and match them.

For example, you may substitute one cup of molasses with one-half cup of honey and one-half cup of brown sugar (a molasses-flavored liquid sweetener); one-half cup of dark corn syrup and one-half cup of maple syrup (a thickened liquid sweetener with a thin, big taste). 

Keep in mind that each of these mixtures will taste slightly different. As my grandma used to tell me, a good cook always tastes! So, make sure you taste your mixture before adding it to your sweet recipes.

Have you found other substitutes for molasses in your kitchen? I’m eager to hear!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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