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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Molasses Substitutes in Baked Beans

Are you looking for a delicious baked beans recipe minus the molasses? You’re in luck.

This article gives you an alternative to molasses and other helpful ingredient swaps, so you can enjoy a scrumptious dish with fewer worries.

Get ready to discover five substitutes that provide your traditional baked beans an exciting twist.

Why is Molasses Used in Baked Beans?

Molasses is often used in recipes for baked beans because it helps achieve a rich, deep flavor that is unmatched when using other ingredients.

In addition to its unique flavor, molasses also adds sweetness, as well as its distinct reddish-brown hue.

Molasses is made from sugarcane or sugar beets.

The juice of these plants is boiled and the syrup remaining after the evaporation of water and sedimentation of impurities is called molasses.

It’s important to note that different types of molasses are available with varying levels of sweetness and flavor profiles.

Darker colored molasses typically have a more intense flavor and higher amount of sugar than light colored varieties.

The way molasses adds richness to baked beans relies on its two main components — sugars and proteins — which interact with each other during the baking process and provide texture as well as color to your final dish.

Additionally, lighter colored sugars or dark sugars can both be used for added sweetness depending on your desired taste profile.

By adding just the right amount of molasses to a pot of baked beans you can obtain perfectly balanced flavors without compromising the classic taste you know and love.

5 Best Molasses Substitutes in Baked Beans

If you are out of molasses or need an alternative due to dietary restrictions, there are some good substitutes.

Here is a list of five different ingredient swaps for molasses that can be used in your favorite baked beans recipe:

1 – Brown Sugar and a Bit of Balsamic Vinegar

Brown sugar and a small amount of balsamic vinegar can be an excellent substitute for molasses in baked beans.

The brown sugar will add the sweetness needed to balance out the bean’s savory flavor, while the balsamic vinegar will add a subtle flavor and tannic acidity.

Be sure to only use a few teaspoons of vinegar, as too much can make your beans overly tangy.

If desired, you can also adjust the type of brown sugar used to subtly change the flavor profile – try raw sugar or coconut palm sugar for example.

2 – Ketchup-Based BBQ Sauce and a Bit of Brown Sugar

A combination of ketchup and a bit of brown sugar can make for a great molasses substitute in baked beans.

Ketchup contains some natural sweetness, but it will still need a bit of extra help from the added sugar.

This mixture works especially well when the beans you’re making are intended to incorporate flavors from a particular region, such as the characteristic sweet and slightly spicy flavor of Carolina-style BBQ sauce.

All you need is 1/3 cup ketchup per 1/4 cup molasses.

You can also adjust the amount to suit your tastes.

The amount of brown sugar that you add should be equal to twice the amount of ketchup used so that you end up with half the sweetness compared to molasses.

Just remember not to overdo it with either ingredient.

3 – Honey, Soy Sauce, and Worcester Sauce

This unique combination may sound strange but the results are surprisingly good.

For the sweetness of molasses, use honey and combine it with Soy Sauce and Worcester Sauce for a tasty alternative.

Honey is slightly milder than molasses, so you need more of it in order to make up for its lack of sweetness.

Combined with the salty flavors of soy sauce and Worcester sauce, this mixture can be used as a great substitute for molasses in baked beans.

When using this substitute, measure out 2/3 cup of honey, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce – or in other words replace every one cup of molasses with two thirds cup honey plus one half cup of each soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

4 – Maple Syrup

Sweet, sticky and uniquely flavored molasses is a common ingredient in many recipes, especially baked beans.

Its distinctive flavor adds the perfect level of sweetness to the dish, enhancing all aromas that come from it.

So why is molasses used in baked beans? It’s because of its ability to provide a strong, complex sweetness that can’t be replicated by any other ingredient.

Molasses is a syrup produced from the processing of sugarcane or sugar beets, which are rich in sucrose, making it sweet and dark in color.

This syrup has been used for centuries in various cuisines around the world and it can also be used as a substitute for other syrups such as honey or maple syrup.

However, if you don’t have molasses handy or you are looking for alternatives to suit your taste buds better – there are plenty of options available.

This natural sweetener has long been appreciated in North American cuisine – maple syrup is made by boiling down maple tree sap until it thickens into a concentrated viscous liquid which has an unmistakable rich caramel-like flavor that goes perfectly with baked beans.

In addition to tasting delicious – Maple Syrup is packed full of antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and promote healthy digestion.

If you don’t have access to molasses you can use this sweet substitute as an alternative.

5 – Dark Corn Syrup

Dark corn syrup is a viable substitute for molasses in baked beans, but it has a very different flavor profile.

It’s milder and less complex than molasses and has a pronounced sweetness.

To substitute dark corn syrup for molasses, use ½ cup of syrup for each cup of molasses called for in the recipe.

Additionally, you can add 1 teaspoon of blackstrap or regular molasses per half cup of dark corn syrup to approximate the flavor more closely.


In summary, molasses is an essential ingredient when it comes to making delicious baked beans.

Not only does it add unique and complex flavors, but it also provides a depth of sweetness that is hard to replicate with other sweeteners.

No matter which substitute you choose, be sure to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe accordingly so that your beans don’t become overly dry during cooking.

5 Best Molasses Substitutes in Baked Beans

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine Classic


  • 1 – Brown Sugar and a Bit of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 – Ketchup-Based BBQ Sauce and a Bit of Brown Sugar
  • 3 – Honey Soy Sauce, and Worcester Sauce
  • 4 – Maple Syrup
  • 5 – Dark Corn Syrup


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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