How to Substitute for Ingredients Containing Molasses

If you’ve enjoyed gingerbread or gingerbread cookies, then you are familiar with the full-bodied taste of molasses. The product of an arduous process of boiling down sugar cane and sugar beets, the thick, rich syrup is used to top pancakes or biscuits, and it is also incorporated into your favorite recipes. When you are in the middle of cooking and you realize that you are out of molasses, substitute common pantry ingredients, but be precise in your measuring or the finished product may not turn out properly.

A senior woman is baking with her granddaughter. (Image: JGI/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Step 1

Add 3/4 cup of sugar and 2 tsp. of baking powder when you are cooking recipes that don’t depend primarily on the piquant taste of molasses, such as cookies. According to Patricia Kendall with Colorado State University Extension, you will also need to adjust your recipe by increasing a liquid measurement by 5 tbsp. and decrease baking soda by 1/2 tsp.

Step 2

Alter your recipe by adding 3/4 cup of white sugar and 1 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar. You will also need to increase the liquid in the recipe by 5 tbsp.

Step 3

Substitute 1 cup of maple syrup for an equivalent measure of 1 cup of molasses when making gingerbread of gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread should be rich and heady with spices, so a white-sugar substitute will create a sweet taste that barely resembles gingerbread. The maple syrup will alter the taste of your bread, but you may enjoy the full maple flavoring.

Step 4

Replace 1 cup of molasses with ¾ cup of dark-brown sugar that’s been dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water for savory dishes. Typically, the ingredients in a dish that don’t depend wholly on a sweet addition are an ideal base for a sweet substitute. In certain recipes, the taste might be enhanced by the distinctive flavor of brown sugar.

Step 5

Add 1 cup of honey as a substitute for molasses when making crinkle cookies or dessert bars. The finished dessert will offer a varied, sweet taste from the original recipe, but you won’t have to abandon your cooking and run to the store covered in flour.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 cup maple syrup or dark corn syrup

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup hot water

  • 1 cup honey

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar


Before choosing a substitute, carefully consider the recipe you are creating and how the substitute ingredients will influence the overall taste of the dish. Ingredient substitutions offer an opportunity to try your creative bent in the kitchen. Follow the equivalents recommended, and then experiment with an increase or decrease of a certain ingredient until you find a flavor combination that your family enjoys.

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