Blackstrap molasses was the go-to sweetener in the early twentieth century. A staple in your grandmother’s pantry for making savory baked beans and spicy gingerbread.
Cheaper refined sugar made it less popular, but it’s enjoying a renaissance as consumers demand more from their food.
If you’ve never tried molasses, you’re in for a treat. Rich in flavor and packed with vitamins and minerals, it’s more than empty calories. But brands differ in taste and micronutrient content.
Let’s take a closer look at the best blackstrap molasses — the sweetener you can feel good about.
Our recommendations for Best Blackstrap Molasses:
- Best Overall: Brer Rabbit Blackstrap Molasses
- Organic & Affordable: Plantation Blackstrap Molasses
- Buy in Bulk: Golden Barrel Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses
- Plenty of Iron: Wholesome Sweeteners Blackstrap Molasses
- Best Powder: Prescribed For Life Blackstrap Molasses
All You Need to Know About Blackstrap Molasses
How Blackstrap Molasses Are Produced
Molasses is a byproduct of sugar production.
Once harvested, sugar cane is crushed to produce juice which is then boiled three times to form crystals. The thick dark syrup that remains is called molasses — each boil creates a different type
Blackstrap molasses is literally the bottom of the barrel, the product of the third and final boil. It’s the thickest, richest, and the most nutritious variety.
What They Taste Like and How to Use Them
Blackstrap molasses has a complex flavor profile that’s difficult to describe.
While white sugar is popular because it’s neutral, molasses is equally valued for its distinctive taste. It’s sweet but pungent with a hint of spice and a slightly bitter aftertaste. A little goes a long way.
In baking, molasses is rarely the sole sweetener. It’s usually blended with sugar or sugar alternatives for a more balanced flavor.
How much you add is a matter of preference.
Popular recipes include gingerbread, Boston Baked Beans, and pumpkin pie. It’s also a key ingredient in most barbecue sauces, and it’s a nutritious sweetener for beverages.
Try a teaspoonful in your tea or make a kid-pleasing, depression-era favorite, molasses milk.
This video sums up the production process and benefits of blackstrap molasses:
Blackstrap Molasses Health Benefits
Blackstrap molasses contains sucrose, so it’s calorie-dense and should be used in moderation. But ounce for ounce, it contains as much potassium as a banana and as much iron as steak.
Health benefits of blackstrap molasses include:
Good for Bones: Calcium is essential for bone health, but magnesium plays an equally important role, converting vitamin D into its active form, so calcium can be properly absorbed. A tablespoon of Blackstrap molasses contains 8-percent or more of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium and 10-percent of magnesium. It’s a powerful ally for preventing osteoporosis.
May Lower Blood Pressure: Molasses is packed with phenols — natural compounds that reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, that are causes of hypertension. A significant source of potassium, it supports heart health and may help reduce blood pressure by preventing arterial calcification.
Treats Iron Deficiency: Iron is essential for the formation of red blood cells. A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains 3.6 mg of iron on average — 40-percent of an adult male’s RDA. Not only does it support the creation of red blood cells, but it also increases the body’s ability to absorb other forms of dietary iron. It’s an excellent source of hard-to-get minerals for vegetarians.
Mitigates Migraines: As many as 50 million Americans have debilitating migraine headaches. Research shows that for some, a magnesium deficiency plays a role. An excellent source of many minerals, a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses daily could help ease the pain.
Blackstrap vs Other Types of Molasses
Next, let’s take a quick look at other types of molasses available on the market and how they compare to blackstrap molasses.
Light Molasses: Light molasses is the syrup leftover from the first round of sugar production. Also called Barbados molasses, it’s light enough to use on pancakes and waffles and is popular among bakers for making crusty bread. Milder in flavor than Blackstrap molasses, it’s the least nutritious and contains the most sucrose, but it still has plenty of B-vitamins and minerals, including iron.
Dark Molasses: The second boiling of sugar cane produces dark molasses. It’s more nutritious than light varieties and has a stronger flavor. Used in baking, it gives gingerbread its trademark taste.
Treacle: Treacle is a pale molasses popularized in the Victorian age. Modern versions are a mellow blend of molasses and sugary syrup. Used as a pancake topping and in baking, it’s far less nutritious than Blackstrap and contains more sucrose. Treacle can be substituted in most recipes that call for light or dark molasses.
Sorghum Molasses: Sorghum molasses is better called sorghum syrup. Made from the drought-resistant sorghum plant, it was developed as a molasses alternative. Sorghum syrup is dark but thinner than molasses and has more of a sour than a bitter aftertaste. Nutritionally, it contains almost as much magnesium and iron but fewer B-vitamins. It’s found in products with a tang like salad dressings and barbecue sauces.
Sulphured or Unsulphured Molasses?
Sulphured molasses is made from green sugar cane treated with sulphur dioxide to prevent the growth of mold. It gives molasses an unpleasant chemical-like taste and can provoke allergy symptoms in people sensitive to sulfites.
Most molasses sold commercially are unsulphured.
5 Best Blackstrap Molasses Brands Reviewed
Whether you are looking for something to sweeten your tea or coffee, or the perfect product to be used in baking and barbecue sauces, you can find some great options below.
Best Overall: Brer Rabbit Blackstrap Molasses
Amount: 24 oz (2x12oz)
Type: Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses
- Rich and balanced taste
- Contains plenty of calcium, potassium and magnesium
- Great option for bone and heart health
Brer Rabbit is among our favorite molasses for its balanced taste. Unsulphured and additive-free, it’s rich but not bitter, enhancing food without overwhelming it.
It’s ideal for baking and sweetening beverages or for taking by the spoonful as a dietary supplement — some brands are too harsh to take straight.
Nutritionally, it contains more calcium, magnesium, and potassium than other brands — a plus for bone and heart health. Comparatively lower in iron, there are better choices for warding off anemia.
It comes in 12-ounce, easy-pour glass bottles but without a safety seal around the rim — a worry for some buyers. If the cap pops when you first open the bottle, you can be sure the vacuum was intact. But adding tamper-evident packaging would improve consumer confidence.
Still, this is one of the most nutritious, affordable, and reputable brands on the market. Parents, if you want your kids to love molasses, you won’t go wrong with Brer Rabbit.
Organic & Affordable: Plantation Blackstrap Molasses
Amount: 15 oz
Type: Organic Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses
- Intense flavor
- Rich in iron and magnesium
- Certified USDA Organic
Plantation brand is the molasses lovers’ favorite. Pungent, it has a distinct bite.
Available in two unsulphured varieties, regular and organic, the organic is our choice for its superior taste and nutrition.
Essential among health enthusiasts for its high iron and magnesium content, it’s a good choice for women with menstrual issues. A spoonful a day supports red blood cell production and may help ease cramps.
It’s delicious in hot and cold beverages, but use it in small amounts until you’re accustomed to the taste — the flavor is intense. Cooks swear by it for making the richest baked beans and for drizzling on sweet potatoes instead of marshmallow or caramel sauce.
Packed in 15-ounce glass bottles, you’ll pay a small premium for the organic version, but it’s worth the price.
Buy in Bulk: Golden Barrel Bulk Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses
Amount: 128 oz
Type: Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses
- Strong and slightly bitter taste
- Best price per ounce
- Ideal for baking and cooking
If the only thing better than molasses is more molasses, this gallon jug from Golden Barrel has you covered. Made in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, it’s sulfur-free, non-GMO, and has a 3-year shelf-life — no refrigeration necessary.
Dark and complex, it has a bitter edge. Tread lightly when using it in beverages, but it’s excellent for baking and for adding that special something to barbecue sauces. It’s the secret ingredient in more than one county fair award winner.
Taken as a supplement, it packs a punch of trace minerals and B-vitamins. Nutritionally balanced, it’s an excellent choice for someone seeking better overall health.
The jug is made of food-safe plastic — a necessary evil for a container this size. But its opacity prevents light degradation, so you can store it wherever it’s convenient. Properly sealed, it rarely crystallizes.
Bulk-packaged, it’s a bargain despite its premium quality. By the ounce, it’s less than half the cost of the Brer Rabbit and Plantation brands. If you use molasses daily, you won’t be disappointed in its flavor or price.
Plenty of Iron: Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blackstrap Molasses
Amount: 16 oz
Type: Organic Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses
- Complex taste
- Contains plenty of iron
- Organic and Fair Trade Certified
Unsulphured and unadulterated, Wholesome’s organic molasses are a welcomed addition to your pantry or medicine cabinet.
Flavorful but balanced, it’s more complex than Brer Rabbit but not as sharp as the Plantation brand. If you enjoy molasses but want something more nuanced and nutritious than what the supermarket offers, you’ve found it.
With 20-percent of your RDA for iron and more magnesium than most brands, it’s a healthy and full-bodied addition to your baked goods and beverages.
Available in a 16-ounce size or in multi-packs, we love the molasses but not the packaging. The bottles are made of recyclable but less resilient #1 plastic. Prone to cracking, it’s environmentally friendly but doesn’t ship well if it’s not properly packaged, so drop a note to the seller requesting careful handling.
Wholesome is committed to conservation and fair treatment for their suppliers — their molasses is Fair Trade Certified. As with most organic, socially responsible products, the marginally higher price is worth the benefits. The taste won’t let you down.
Best Powder: Prescribed For Life Blackstrap Molasses Powder
Amount: 12 oz
Type: Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses Powder
- Irresistible flavor
- Long shelf life
- Rich in iron and calcium
Prescribed For Life makes powdered pantry staples that are simple to order, ship, and store. Their molasses offer the same irresistible taste and nutrition as the best liquid versions but without the mess or limited shelf-life.
A 12-ounce bag contains 42.5 servings — four teaspoons of dry powder is equivalent to one tablespoon of liquid molasses. Add it directly to your beverages. It dissolves instantly.
Nutritionally, it’s iron-rich and contains 15-percent of your RDA of calcium. A serving a day is a boon for your blood and bones.
Non-GMO and gluten-free, the only additive is the rice maltodextrin necessary to keep it in powdered form.
Flavorful, it’s bitter enough to be interesting but stops short of being pungent — it has an old-time gingerbread taste.
Because it’s powdered, baking with it can be tricky. You can put it into cake and cookie batter dry, but it adds bulk, so include an extra tablespoon of liquid for every four teaspoons of powder.
At first glance, the price seems high for just 12 ounces. But serving for serving, it’s equal to a 20-ounce jar of liquid molasses, so it costs only pennies more than bottled.
If molasses is a must for sweetening your tea at the office, why lug a heavy container with you? This powdered version is a tasty and convenient solution.
Blackstrap Molasses FAQ
Where to buy unsulphured blackstrap molasses?
You can find unsulphured blackstrap molasses in most grocery stores. You can also order one of the products included in this guide as all of them are unsulphured.
Does blackstrap molasses go bad?
Yes, blackstrap molasses can go bad but they have a very long shelf life.
Unopened containers should be fine even after 10 years. Opened containers keep for about 1 to 5 years when stored properly.
You don’t need to store blackstrap molasses in the refrigerator. However, you can refrigerate them to extend the shelf life.
Does blackstrap molasses contain copper?
Blackstrap molasses contain a relatively high amount of copper.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of copper is about 900 micrograms per day. 2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contain approximately 14% of that amount. The exact amount depends on the brand.
Is blackstrap molasses vegan?
Blackstrap molasses is a plant-based product that is obtained as part of making white sugar. Thus, it is vegan unless bone char is used in the refining process of sugar.
If you want to be sure to have 100% vegan blackstrap molasses, choose an organic brand that makes sugar without using bone char.
Does blackstrap molasses help with getting rid of gray hair?
Blackstrap molasses is rich in vitamins and minerals that promote healthy skin and hair.
Copper plays an important role in pigment production. Hence, the relatively high copper content of blackstrap molasses makes it a popular natural treatment for gray hair.