4 Amazing Blackstrap Molasses Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Blackstrap molasses substitutes can replace this unique ingredient, as it may not be found everywhere, but can be an essential part of certain recipes. These substitutes must share some key elements with this dark, viscous sweetener.

Blackstrap Molasses Substitutes

Like molasses and raw sugar, blackstrap molasses is made from sugar cane. It is what remains after sugar cane juice has been boiled three times, once the lighter cane molasses and sugar crystals are removed. Blackstrap molasses is bittersweet, sticky, and unlike refined white sugar or corn syrup, which have no nutritional value. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. [1]

A tablespoon each day offers many benefits, and while it can work in recipes for those who like a bit less sweetness, it’s becoming more popular for its health benefits. If you don’t have a bottle of this particular sweetener, there are plenty of substitutes available, such as maple syrup, honey, cocoa powder, mate tea, and orange marmalade among others.

Close-up image of molasses in a bowl

Molasses in a bowl Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Maple Syrup, Honey, Light Molasses, or Dark Corn Syrup

Any of these common sweeteners can be used to substitute for blackstrap molasses. Each is significantly sweeter, so you may want to use less in your recipe, and finding the right moisture level in baking could take some experimentation. Use any of these in baked beans, smoothies, or sauces. You can even use them to glaze meats. [2]

Instant Coffee or Instant Espresso Grounds

If you are replacing blackstrap molasses with another sweetener, you may miss the bitter flavors that balance the sweetness. Mixing a tablespoon of instant coffee – decaf or regular – into bread or cookies will give your cooking the aroma and flavor of coffee, which complements many spices. Coffee has plenty of health benefits too, such as preventing heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression.

The maple shaped glass bottles containing maple syrup

Maple syrup is made from the circulating fluid, or sap, of sugar maple trees. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cocoa Powder or Mate Tea

Like coffee, either of these will add back the bitterness that you’re missing from liquid sweeteners alone. Cocoa powder is packed with iron – just like blackstrap molasses – and the chocolate flavor is great in baking or as a rub for steaks.

Mate tea is packed with antioxidants but is an acquired taste. Expect flavors of the woods, grass, and even dirt! Subtler flavors of lemon and mint may be detected and enjoyed by adventurous cooks. [3]

Orange Marmalade

This sweet and bitter jelly can work well as a substitute for this sought-after type of molasses, as long as you don’t mind citrus flavors in your recipe. Coincidentally, marmalade is also a good source of iron and fiber, as well as vitamin C.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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