Treacle vs Molasses: What’s the Difference?


Molasses and treacle are both a byproduct of the sugar refining process. People are usually confusing the two, so it is good to know they are different, and why they are different.

In this article, we are going to explain the differences between treacle and molasses. How they are made, where they are used, and can you use them as each other’s substitute.



Treacle is uncrystallized syrup made during the process of refining sugar.

When the sugar cane juice is boiled sugar crystals are formed, leaving behind a sugar syrup that is highly concentrated and is known as refiner’s syrup.

This syrup is boiled three times, and the syrup left after the third boiling is the product known as molasses. To make a treacle molasses is filtered and mixed with refiner’s syrup.

There are two types of treacle, golden syrup, and black treacle.

Black treacle has a stronger, slightly bitter flavor and darker color than the golden syrup which is sweeter and has honey-like color. Black treacle is also known as British molasses.

It is made from molasses that contains more sucrose and inverted sugars. Therefore it is sweeter than molasses. Treacle is also a natural colorant and sweetener in various British dishes like pies, puddings, cakes, biscuits, sweet sauces, hot beverages, and cocktails. It is also used in marinades and glazes for meat and fish.

Black treacle provides moisture, dark color, and smoky flavor to various sweet and savory dishes. It has a thick and sticky texture like molasses and it can be used as its substitute in many dishes.



Molasses is also a byproduct of the sugar-making process. The juice that is extracted from the sugarcane is boiled until the sugars are crystalized.

Usually, the juice from the sugarcane is boiled 3 times, and each time the molasses contains less sugar.

The molasses leftover after the first boiling is known as light molasses. It has a light color and contains more sugar than the other two types of molasses.

The molasses that is left after the second boiling, dark molasses, has less sugar and darker color than the light molasses.

The molasses left after the third boiling is called blackstrap molasses. It contains a small amount of sugar and has a very thick texture, dark color, and deep, bitter flavor.

Depending on the type molasses can have different textures, colors, sugar, and nutritional content. Generally, molasses has a sweet, warm, and smoky flavor and is used as a sweetener in desserts, barbecue sauces, drinks, and baked goods.

Blackstrap molasses, on the other hand, is used in recipes that don’t mind the bitter flavor.

Different uses of Treacle and Molasses

Treacle and molasses are two different products and have different uses.

For instance, molasses has a bittersweet flavor and thick texture. It works well in rich savory food products and boosts the present flavors. It is often used as a natural colorant, preservative, and binding agent in barbecue sauces, marinades, and other savory sauces.

Treacle is sweeter, lighter, and slightly less thick. It is used more in sweet dishes such as fruit cakes, baked goods, puddings, and sweets. But it is also used to improve the flavor and texture of many savory dishes.

Darker and thicker treacle can be used as a substitute for molasses. But if you use molasses to substitute treacle you will get a baked good with thick texture and strong bittersweet flavor.

While treacle and molasses have some common characteristics, they also have many differences and are used in the recipes to improve their texture, flavor, and color.

Treacle contains molasses and can be used as its substitute, but you can also use molasses as a substitute for treacle in some recipes.

Are Treacle and Molasses the Same Thing?

Treacle and molasses are not the same things.

Black treacle, also known as the British counterpart to molasses, is made in North America. They both have similar viscosity and color and are used in many sweet and savory dishes.

Treacle is made with molasses and invert sugar syrup and has a slightly bitter burnt flavor. In fact, the black treacle is the bitter type of dark molasses.

Can I Substitute Black Treacle for Molasses?

You can substitute black treacle for molasses. However, it is better to use it as a substitute for dark molasses. They both have similar colors and flavors, so you can use them as a 1:1 substitute.

That means you can use a treacle as a substitute for molasses if you are using the right type of treacle as a substitution for the right type of molasses.

If you want to replace light molasses you can use light treacle or a 50/50 mixture of light treacle and black treacle.

You should not use blackstrap molasses as a replacement for treacle because it has a very bitter flavor and can easily ruin your dish. You can add sugar to the blackstrap molasses and use it as a substitute for black treacle if you don’t have any other sweetener on hand.

What is Molasses Called in Australia?

Molasses is called blackstrap molasses in Australia. It is used to give flavor, color, and sweetness to many dishes like cakes, cookies, puddings, marinades, and sauces.

Final Words

As byproducts of the sugar refining process, molasses and treacle share similar properties. Their properties depend on the type of molasses and the type of treacle.

Light treacle is a sweetener that is usually used in dishes that call for neutral sweetness and light color. Molasses, on the other hand, is used in different recipes that call for a deep caramel flavor like gingerbread, marinades, and barbeque sauces.

In the end, it all depends on your taste and what you want to use more American molasses or British treacle. Whatever you select you will be satisfied with the flavor and the color of the final product.

We hope that we helped you to understand the difference between treacle and molasses. Share your cooking tips and thoughts in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like