Molasses is a dark, viscous syrup produced by refining sugarcane or sugar beets. It's used as an ingredient in cookies, breads, and soups. Unless you love to bake, you may not have any hiding in your pantry, or you may have bought some years ago that has since crystallized. Here are some substitutes you may use in lieu of molasses to keep your baking game on par.

Note: When measuring sticky items like molasses, syrup, and honey, it is a good idea to spray your measuring cup with a cooking spray. This will allow you to easily remove the substance and will result in a more accurate measurement.

Maple Syrup

syrup in a bottle

Substitute one cup of maple syrup for one cup of molasses.

Maple syrup closely resembles molasses and is the best substitute for it. However, because molasses tends to be a bit more bitter than maple syrup, consider decreasing the amount of refined sugar you add when substituting maple syrup for molasses. This will help balance the sweetness of your recipe. Also, because molasses is more viscous than maple syrup, consider increasing the thickening agent and/or flour when substituting maple syrup for molasses. This will keep the texture and consistency of your recipe the same.


honey in jars

Substitute one cup of honey for one cup of molasses.

Honey is another great substitute for molasses because of its thick, syrupy texture. Honey is sweeter than molasses, though, so when using it as a substitute, you may want to use less refined sugar. Because honey and molasses have similar viscosities, the consistency of your recipe should remain the same.

Dark Corn Syrup

dark corn syrup

Substitute one cup of dark corn syrup for one cup of molasses.

Dark corn syrup is made from refiner's sugar, a type of molasses. It is thick and dark like molasses, so it will give you the same consistency. However, because it derives from corn and not sugarcane or sugar beets, it does have a slightly different flavor. This difference in flavor is minimal, though, so dark corn syrup is still a good substitute.

Brown Sugar

brown sugar

Substitute three-fourths of a cup of brown sugar for one cup of molasses.

Like dark corn syrup, brown sugar has molasses in it. Specifically, it is granulated sugar with molasses added to it. However, the sugar content is higher than the sugar content in molasses, so when you substitute brown sugar for molasses, you won't need as much brown sugar.

If your recipe is a bit too dry because you aren't using a syrup, you can offset the dryness by adding a bit of water.

Simple Syrup

simple syrup homemade

Substitute three-fourths of a cup of granulated sugar dissolved in one-fourth of a cup of boiling water for one cup of molasses. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons of cream of tartar if you'd like.

Simple syrup is just plain old granulated sugar dissolved in boiling water. It is used in a myriad of items from cocktails to cookies. It can serve as a substitute for molasses in a pinch, but it has a much thinner consistency than molasses. You can add cream of tartar to it to achieve the viscosity of molasses.


chunky applesauce

Substitute one-half of a cup of applesauce for one cup of molasses. Add more applesauce as needed.

Applesauce is a great substitute for refined sugars in many recipes. While applesauce can be used in place of molasses, you will need to add spices and sugars to your dish.

For every one cup of molasses, substitute one-half of a cup of applesauce, adding more to achieve your desired consistency.

A Substitute You Shouldn't Use

Do not use black strap molasses as a substitute for molasses. Although it is derived from the same plants, it is much more intense and bitter. It will ruin your recipe.

How To Salvage Crystallized Molasses

black strap molasses

Molasses that sits in your pantry for a couple of years will crystallize. (Honey does the same thing.) That doesn't mean you can't use it, however! You can salvage it by heating it either in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven. Heat will liquify the crystals and return the molasses to its original viscosity.

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