molasses powder: the best alternative to liquid molasses

powder molasses
Powder molasses is a popular alternative to sticky, liquid molasses. The free-flowing powder adds smoky sweetness, depth, and complexity to dishes, when used on a rack of ribs or baked beans.

What is powder molasses?

This molasses is a powdered form of liquid molasses
This molasses is a powdered form of liquid molasses

Powder or dehydrated molasses is the dry, soft powdered form of liquid molasses, a by-product of the sugar refining process. Dried molasses is more convenient to store and handle than its liquid counterpart.

OriginThe result of crystalizing sugarcane or beet juice during sugar refining
Appearancehas a fine, soft texture and light to dark brown color
Flavor profileHas a sweet, somewhat smoky taste with hints of bitterness


The name molasses is from the Latin “melaceres,” meaning “honey-like.” Molasses is the result of crystalizing sugarcane or beet juice during sugar refining. Powder molasses results from heating liquid molasses to remove most of its moisture and convert the liquid to molasses powder. 

In both forms, cane molasses is an essential sweetening and flavoring agent in cooking, baking, or alcoholic drink production and even in manufacturing tobacco products.

Molasses production can be traced as far back as 500 BC in India. The global spread of this versatile ingredient happened after Christopher Columbus shipped sugar cane to the West Indies. Molasses demand and production boomed when the English brought it to England via the slave trade triangles.

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Today, some of the biggest producers of molasses include Brazil, India, and Thailand.


Powder molasses has a fine, soft texture and light to dark brown color.

Flavor profile

Powder or dried molasses renders food a sweet, somewhat smoky taste with hints of bitterness. Light molasses come with the mildest flavor, while medium to dark powder molasses provide a robust flavor to dishes.

Meanwhile, blackstrap molasses, the sugarcane juice’s final boiling by-product, is less sweet and has a distinct bitterness.

Molasses tends to dominate, so it is best to layer it with other ingredients to achieve a good balance.

Nutritional Benefits of powder molasses

Either form of molasses should be consumed in moderation. Its micronutrient profile may provide certain health benefits.

Dried molasses powder has higher potassium content than white sugar. It may help lower your blood pressure and promote better heart health.

Molasses is also rich in antioxidants like zinc. Because of this, it may help boost your immunity and might aid in protecting cells from processes that may lead to cancers.

Likewise, it may lower your osteoporosis risk. This ingredient does not just make sweet blends but also contains calcium that keeps your bones strong.

Comparison of different types of powder molasses: light and dark

You can purchase dehydrated molasses in your local grocery or health food shops. When buying molasses, you should pick what’s best for your recipe.

There are two main options: light or dark:

Light molassesMedium/Dark Molasses
By-product during the first boiling of the sugarcane juiceBy-product of the second boiling of the sugarcane juice
Lightest colorDarker in color
Highest sugar content (sweetest)Contains less sugar
In liquid form, it is the least viscous in textureIn liquid form, it is more viscous compared to light molasses

What recipes call for powdered molasses?

Powder molasses is an all-natural, non-GMO, and gluten-free sweetener and flavoring. You can use it in a lot of recipes, including the following:

  • Gingerbread 
  • Cookies
  • Pies and puddings
  • Gluten-free cake
  • Bread rolls
  • Salad dressings
  • Marinade
  • Dry rubs
  • Baked Beans
  • Smoothies
  • And more
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What can I use instead of molasses?

The best substitute for molasses is brown sugar (demerara or turbinado), which contains molasses and granulated cane sugar. For a cup of molasses, you can instead use 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 part water.

Likewise, you can use honey, maple syrup, dark corny syrup, sorghum syrup, or golden syrup instead of molasses. You can use a 1:1 ratio for these molasses substitutes.


Randell loves experimenting in the kitchen (with his family and friends as willing victims). He sees cooking as a great adventure. To enjoy that, he believes this is the recipe: a tad of creativity, a dash of courage, a pinch of humility, and a ton of love.

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