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How To Substitute Molasses for Any Sweetener

Molasses is a healthy, gluten-free sweetener that more and more people are taking advantage of. However, it can be confusing on how much of it to use and how exactly to substitute it for traditional sweeteners. The good news is that it isn’t that complicated.

Molasses can be added to recipes in much the same way as regular sweeteners. The quantity needed to substitute the sugary taste depends on the recipe and the specific ingredient you intend to substitute with molasses. Molasses will somewhat alter the taste as it imparts an earthy flavor to any recipe. 

While molasses can be added to pancakes, coffee, or any other preparation that typically uses sweeteners, there is a specific way to go about it. In this article, I will explain how to use molasses in place of regular sweeteners and go over a few benefits of this syrupy substance.

How To Use Molasses Instead of White Sugar

While molasses can be replaced with sugar, this black liquid isn’t as sweet as regular table sugar, and you’ll need to increase the proportion of molasses added to replicate the taste you’re wanting. 

To replace sugar in any recipe, you’ll need to use roughly 1⅓ cups of molasses for every one cup of sugar.

Pro Tip: Molasses is a liquid and it’s sure to make your recipe more watery than usual. Therefore, you may want to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe by at least five tablespoons when substituting molasses for white sugar. This is especially important in gingerbread cookies, cakes, or any type of dough, reducing the amount of liquid will help preserve the texture of your dish.

Molasses is also a more acidic sweetener than sugar, and it’s best to add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to your recipe to balance the acidity.

How To Use Molasses Instead of Brown Sugar

Brown sugar obtains its distinctive color due to the presence of molasses. It is often the result of partially-refined sugar crystals with residual molasses. In some cases, brown sugar is made by simply adding molasses to refined white sugar.

The best way to use molasses in place of brown sugar is to mix it with white sugar to replicate the taste you need. Molasses isn’t as sweet as sugar and imparts a distinct earthy flavor. Adding white sugar balances out the flavor while enhancing the sweetness.

However, it is still possible to entirely replace brown sugar with molasses in any recipe. Just like with white sugar, you’ll need to use at least 1⅓ cups of molasses for each cup of brown sugar.

You will also need to reduce the amount of liquid used in the recipe and add a pinch of baking soda to balance out the acidity.

How To Use Molasses Instead of Corn Syrup

Using corn syrup as a sweetener will increase the calorie count in any recipe. The good news is that molasses works really well as a replacement in many recipes. It’ll also shave off a few of those unnecessary calories.

To replace corn syrup with molasses, you need to mix three portions of honey with one part molasses. This mixture will give you a darker and sweeter version of corn syrup with a similar thickness.

You can use this concoction in place of corn syrup in any recipe. However, the molasses-honey mix is often much sweeter than regular corn syrup, and you’ll have to make adjustments to your recipe accordingly.

Pro Tip: You may want to add a bit of citrus juice as this can help make the result a bit more balanced and reduce the sweetness a bit. Also, anything bitter or spicy can reduce the sweetness. When it makes sense, try adding ingredients such as arugula, kale, cocoa, chili powder, any type of peppers, or cayenne pepper.

How To Use Molasses Instead of Honey

Honey is similar to molasses in consistency and sweetness, making these ingredients almost interchangeable in any recipe.

To use molasses instead of honey, replace the quantity of honey with a similar amount of molasses at a 1:1 ratio.

Of course, molasses has a much stronger flavor than honey, so you want to be a little prudent about how much you’re adding. You may want to add it in small amounts and taste as you go until the desired sweetness is achieved.

Molasses as a Replacement for Syrup

Molasses Pouring Into a Mixing Bowl

How To Use Molasses Instead of Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is often regarded as the more popular cousin of molasses as it is used extensively in various recipes.

To replace maple syrup with molasses, swap out the desired quantity of maple syrup with a similar amount of molasses at a 1:1 ratio.

Adding molasses will alter the flavor of your dish, but its consistency is similar to maple syrup, making it a convenient substitute.

How To Use Molasses Instead of Dark Corn Syrup

There are two varieties of corn syrup – dark and light. Dark corn syrup is made with the help of a specific type of molasses, and the resultant mix is pretty similar to the color, consistency, and taste of regular molasses. 

Replacing dark corn syrup with molasses is simple due to the similarity between these sweeteners. All you have to do is use one cup of molasses for every cup of dark corn syrup in the recipe at a 1:1 ratio.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a lighter, less earthy flavor, you can even mix ¼ cups molasses with ¾ cup light corn syrup to create a flavor that’s closer to dark corn syrup.

How To Use Molasses Instead of Malt Syrup

Malt syrup is a sweetener created using malted barley grain and is often considered a healthy substitute for regular sweeteners. Malt syrup and molasses are similar in viscosity and the kind of sweetness they add to the dish. 

You can use blackstrap molasses as it possesses a similar taste and is less sweet than the other types.

To substitute molasses for malt syrup, you will need to tone down the quantity since molasses is sweeter than malt syrup. Therefore, substitute at a 1:2 ratio or slowly add and to taste.

How To Use Molasses Instead of Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado sugar is a partially-refined cane sugar made with the help of molasses. While you may use muscovado and molasses interchangeably, the final taste will differ significantly unless a few adjustments are made.

To replace muscovado sugar with molasses, you’ll need to mix in some granulated sugar. Mix one cup of granulated sugar with ¼ cups molasses for every cup of muscovado sugar to recreate the right flavor.

The best part about replacing muscovado with molasses is that the resultant recipe will have the same brownish color that is often associated with muscovado.

Can I Use Molasses Instead of Vanilla Extract?

As mentioned already, molasses can be used in various sweeteners to replicate the taste and flavor you’re hoping to get.

However, there is a limit to the tastes that molasses can recreate.

Molasses cannot be used as a substitute for vanilla extract as it does not provide the same mellow flavor offered by vanilla extract. Instead, molasses provides a robust and earthy flavor and is not ideal as a substitute.

Health Benefits of Molasses

When consumed in the proper quantity, molasses can be beneficial to our long-term health. And unlike most other sweeteners, molasses is usually free from the extra calories. Here are a few health benefits of molasses you can take advantage of by using it as a substitute sweetener.

1. Rich Source of Antioxidants

Molasses contain the highest amount of antioxidants when compared to any other sweetener. Antioxidants can help protect the cells by fighting free radicals and repairing oxidative damage.

A regular supply of antioxidants can help keep your skin looking healthy and young while maintaining the health and function of your entire system.

2. Improved Bone Health

Calcium is one of the primary compounds that make up healthy bones. A calcium deficiency can degrade the skeletal structure, even leading to severe bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Molasses is rich in calcium, and replacing your sweeteners with this thick syrup can give you that extra dose of daily calcium.

But aside from the presence of calcium, molasses contains selenium, copper, and iron: three ingredients that are integral to bone health.

The combination of all these nutrients makes molasses an excellent supplement to help fortify your bones.

3. May Alleviate Menstrual Cramps

As mentioned earlier, molasses contains iron, a compound that can alleviate the painful symptoms during menstruation. The iron in molasses helps replace the large quantities of iron lost during menstruation while also helping to regulate blood flow.

Menstruation also leads to lethargy and having enough iron can help give you that much-needed boost of energy.

Molasses also provides a steady supply of magnesium, a compound known to help alleviate the pain of menstrual cramps. The contraction of the uterine muscles causes menstrual cramps,

and magnesium helps relax these muscles, easing the pain during menstruation and relieving 

its symptoms. 

Magnesium also helps fight other menstrual cycle symptoms, like headaches, cravings, and mood swings. So a healthy dose of molasses regularly might be what you need during your next period.

4. Maintains Cardiovascular Health

Often, cardiovascular diseases are caused by a lack of potassium in the body. Luckily, molasses offer an abundance of potassium, a nutrient essential in muscle and nerve contraction.

This role of potassium helps to maintain a healthy heart and ensures all cardiovascular functions are optimal. Adequate intake of potassium also helps regulate blood pressure, which is crucial to maintaining a well-functioning heart.

Studies have shown that molasses help increase the levels of good cholesterol in the body, linked with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

5. Can Regulate Blood Sugar 

Those with diabetes need to regulate their sugar intake, and molasses can help make the process a lot easier. Of course, molasses is still a sweetener and can contribute to higher blood sugar levels if consumed indiscriminately.

However, researchers have proven that when consumed with other foods containing carbs, molasses can help lower both glucose and insulin levels. This regulation of glucose in the blood can help reduce the harmful effects of diabetes and improve health.

6. Increased Energy Levels

As mentioned earlier, molasses is rich in iron and copper, two nutrients that can help boost athletic performance by increasing the body’s energy output.

Iron helps in the production of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying compound in the cell. Increased hemoglobin in the body makes oxygen circulation a lot more effective, allowing your blood to carry increased oxygen from the lungs to various parts of the body.

The increased flow of oxygen gives your muscles and brain more fuel to work with, increasing the levels of energy in the body.

Molasses also provide copper, which helps regulate nerve and muscle function.

7. Can Cure Headaches 

Molasses is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and B5. Both nutrients are responsible for the mental functions and regulation of certain hormones in the body.

It has been found that a lack of vitamin B5 can lead to headaches and migraines. This problem can be quickly resolved by introducing molasses into your diet and ensuring a regular supply of both B5 and B6.


Can molasses be used as a sugar substitute?

Molasses can be used in place of sugar and various other sweeteners when mixed into your recipes in the correct quantity.

Is molasses healthy?

Molasses is known as a natural healthy sweetener. It contains various nutrients, including iron, selenium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6 and B5, calcium, and a few other significant compounds. 

Molasses is also a rich source of antioxidants and can help fight oxidative stress in the body, speeding up the healing process.

To enjoy the health benefits of molasses, you’ll need to consume it in moderation. Like other sweeteners, molasses also have a high glycemic index and lead to blood sugar issues if consumed in excess.

How much molasses should you have in a day?

If you’re planning on switching to molasses instead of sugar, your health is probably a big concern. But even molasses consumed in excess can be detrimental to your long-term health. 

Molasses is a healthier alternative to processed sweeteners but that does not mean you can consume higher quantities of it. It’s best to reduce your sugar intake to as little as possible and substitute it with molasses in moderation.

Final Thoughts

Molasses is a viscous substance obtained as a by-product of refining sugarcane or sugar beets. Also known as black treacle, molasses is a brown, sticky, syrup-like substance regarded as a healthy substitute for sugar as it contains minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. As such, it is used in some recipes as a sweetener and flavor enhancer.

Molasses effectively replace various sweeteners and can serve as a healthy sweet alternative in specific recipes. The only difficulty in cooking with it is the earthy flavor it offers, which may be undesirable in some dishes.

But with the right tweaks, you can ensure that the earthy flavor of molasses doesn’t overpower the natural flavor of a recipe, making this sweetener an effective way to a healthier lifestyle.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, check out The 9 Best Substitutes For Sugar in Jam or Jelly Making.

Photo courtesy of ParentingPatch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons