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Molasses Substitution

How to Make A Molasses Substitute

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Made with 4 things you most likely have in your cupboard, my Homemade Molasses Substitute is a full bodied, full flavored, thick syrup that can replace molasses in any recipe!

Hi Bold Bakers!

One of my goals when creating any recipe is to create things that you can easily make your own. By providing you with tools like my Egg Substitute Chart and my Corn Syrup Substitute recipe, I am hoping I’m giving you the go-ahead to take my recipes and make them meet your dietary needs, likes, and dislikes.

As many of you either can’t find molasses or might not want to use it, I created this super simple Homemade Molasses Substitute. Made with 4 things you most likely have in your cupboard, this is a full bodied, full flavored, thick syrup that can replace molasses in any recipe!

What is Molasses?

Molasses is that thick, dark brown syrup somewhere between the texture of real maple syrup and golden syrup. Molasses is made as a by-product of the refined sugar making process. Molasses is what’s left over after boiling down the cane juice.

There are a few different kinds of molasses: dark, light, and blackstrap. What differentiates them is how many times they have been boiled down to be made into sugar. Light molasses was extracted from the first batch of boiled cane juice, and blackstrap has been boiled down several more times. This process is what creates that unique flavor that goes beyond sweetness and really has a bit of a spiced kick. The kick is why molasses pairs so well with rich spiced desserts.

[ Find out how to make your own Brown Sugar at home with my How to Make Brown Sugar recipe! ]

What Types of Desserts Need Molasses?

Some of my favorite desserts like gingerbread cookies and sticky toffee pudding often include molasses. The texture and deep color you get from molasses adds a really unique texture and flavor, but guess what, this can be achieved by combining brown sugar, cream of tartar, water, and lemon.

What’s the Difference Between the Substitute and Real Molasses?

There is a slight flavor difference between molasses and my Homemade Molasses Substitute, as the flavor cannot be exactly replicated. The purpose of this substitute is to provide whatever you’re baking with the same texture as molasses, that moist dense chew.

This molasses substitute adds just the right toothy bite and is made by adding all the ingredients into one pot and simmering for just 3-4 minutes. It’s how quickly and easily this substitute comes together — and you’ll never worry about not being able to find molasses again!

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Why Did My Molasses Harden?

Over time, sugar crystals can form in your homemade molasses — but fear not, because you can still use it. Simply heat it gently in the microwave or on the stove until the sugar granules dissolve. Once it cools down, use as directed in your recipe.

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4.73 from 11 votes
Molasses Substitution
How to Make A Molasses Substitute Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Made with 4 things you most likely have in your cupboard, my Homemade Molasses Substitute recipe is a full bodied, full flavored, thick syrup that can replace molasses in any recipe!

Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Dessert
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Gemma Stafford
  • 2 cups (16oz/450g) dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups (6floz/170ml) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, add the sugar, water, cream of tartar, and lemon juice.

  2. Once the sugar dissolves, turn down the heat and let the syrup simmer steadily until it becomes a slightly thick syrup that drips off your spatula slowly. This will takes just 3 to 4 minutes. Don't worry if you think it is a bit runny at this stage because as it cools it will get thicker. 

  3. Use this molasses substitute in any recipe in place of molasses. It will last 3-4 months in an airtight container at room temperature. After a while, if you notice it hardens, heat it back up again to dissolve the granules. It makes 1 1/2 cups of molasses substitute.

  4. Check out my recipes like crockpot gingerbread, soft and chewy molasses, homemade bran flakes, and my ginger crinkle cookies that call for molasses. 

Watch the Recipe Video!

Recipe Notes
  •  For more precise instruction I suggest you watch my video


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Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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Write a Comment and Review

  1. Beth on April 28, 2019 at 6:56 am

    My husband is intolerant to molasses and brown sugar. I use coconut sugar to replace the latter. Would that work in this recipe?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 28, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      Yes Beth, I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Good idea.


  2. Sarah Emmanuel on February 1, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Molasses and cream together has an amazing flavour and is an amazing topping ..add on to pancakes , toast..almost anything.. try it ..u will b amazed

    • Gemma Stafford on February 1, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      WOW, that’s a great idea, thank you!

  3. Lindsey Pegg on January 30, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Hi Gemma I made your pumpkin loaf and it is a real winner. We don’t have canned pumpkin here in Australia so I used roasted fresh instead.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 30, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      YUM, i like to us fresh too if i can find it!

  4. Lorna on January 29, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I just love your recipes and so easy to make.

    Do you have a recipe for carrot cake or loaf.

  5. Jacqueline O on January 28, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Can you use this to replace dark brown sugar once it is made?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 29, 2019 at 1:09 am

      Hi Jacqueline,
      As this recipe starts with dark brown sugar, then you will not need this as a replacement. It is also a liquid sugar, rich in molasses, so is best used in place of a liquid sugar.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. jim on January 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    What can you sub for the brown sugar I can not do sugar

    • Gemma Stafford on January 29, 2019 at 12:57 am

      Hi Jim,
      Molasses in its ‘natural’ state is what is removed from sugar in the processing to make white sugar. It is a nutritious thing. In making this sub we are utilizing the molasses remaining in the brown sugar, and giving it a little help. So, you cannot really make it with anything else, I am sorry.
      If you have a health food store where you live take a look at the black strap molasses and ask about its’ properties. That may be a better idea for you.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Jodi on January 27, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Thankyou Gemma is exactly what I needed since it’s so hard to find here in the Netherlands 😊

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2019 at 8:34 am

      That is great Jodi, thank you for telling us,
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Raymond Doctor on January 27, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Much easier to replace the brown sugar with Jaggery which you can find at Indian stores. I always make molasses that way.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2019 at 8:21 am

      Hi Raymond,
      Yes, perfection! This lovely sugar is not generally available here in the US, but ethnic stores can be a good place to seek this out. Thank you for letting us know,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Suzi Mathison on January 27, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    What does the cream of tartar add to this substitute? I only ask because I can’t stand cream of tartar. My understanding is some people can taste it and some can’t. Sadly I can. It’s a horrible metallic taste. Can it be left out?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2019 at 6:56 am

      Hi Suzi,
      Yes, you can add a little more lemon juice. Cream of tartar is an acid, a by product of the wine making industry. this is what combines with bicarbonate of soda, which is an alkaline salt, to make baking powder, a leavening/raising agent. How they discovered that is a mystery to me!
      Its’ purpose is to prevent the sugars from crystallizing.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Linda on January 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Thank you Gemma. This is something that I just wouldn’t buy at the store because I only hardly need it.
    You are the best!

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2019 at 2:23 am

      Hi Linda,
      That is what I am all about! Use what you have, and limit what you have in your store cupboard. Fresh is always best, and the less we hold the fresher it will be. This is true of flour too, and it is why I suggest all purpose/plain flour for almost all of my baking. Then you need only have baking powder/baking soda/yeast to accomplish most of the recipes. Thank you for reminding me of this,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Deborah on January 27, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Thank you for this. I made some tomato-less BBQ sauce for my FIL using Molasses, vinegar, and mustard. It was awesome. I should have added some liquid smoke to it.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 28, 2019 at 2:08 am

      Hi Deborah,
      wow! I never thought of that idea! well done you, I am delighted to hear this,
      Gemma 🙂

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