Beyond Sweetness: The Nutrient-Packed Power of Molasses

Richie Santucci

by | Updated: December 6th, 2023 | Read time: 4 minutes

If you’re a fan of baked beans, barbecue sauce or gingerbread cookies, you’ve likely experienced the distinctive sweet and rich taste of molasses. This unique flavor comes from a concentrated juice obtained by boiling sugar cane or beet juice.  Molasses is more than just a flavorful sweetener, however. It’s also nutrient-rich, offering a range of vitamins and minerals. Read on to explore the extensive benefits and diverse uses of this nutrient-rich powerhouse.

What Is MolassesWhat is molasses? Let’s start with the types

The different types of molasses – light, dark and blackstrap – are distinguished by the number of times the sugar syrup is boiled. Light molasses, from the first boiling, is the sweetest and mildest. Dark molasses, a result of the second boiling, offers a more robust flavor. Blackstrap molasses, produced from the third boiling, is the most concentrated and nutrient-rich, known for its strong taste and health benefits.

Light molasses

  • Made from the first boiling
  • Tends to be lighter in color and sweet with mild flavor
  • Often used in sauces and marinades

Dark molasses

  • Made from the second boiling
  • Darker, thicker and less sweet with a stronger flavor than light molasses
  • Can be a substitute for light molasses, giving gingerbread cookies their unique color and flavor

Blackstrap molasses

  • Made from the third boiling
  • Highest in vitamins and minerals
  • Thickest, darkest and least sweet of the molasses types with a mildly bitter flavor
  • Used often in baked beans and barbecue dishes like pulled pork because of its rich flavor.

What are the health benefits of molasses?

Supports healthy iron levels

Blackstrap molasses contains a of iron and has cofactors including sulfur, copper and fructose that help with iron absorption like and may help manage iron deficiency.

Healthy hair support

A recent study highlighting the role of vitamins and minerals in hair health emphasizes the significance of iron in preventing early hair loss. Incorporating a bit of molasses into your diet could be a tasty way to help keep your hair looking full and healthy.

Helps ease constipation

Research suggests blackstrap molasses may be effective for increasing the frequency of bowel movements and reducing abdominal pain.

Supports bone health

With its impressive calcium content at 10% of the daily value in just one tablespoon, it’s no wonder this sweetener can help support bone health. Blackstrap molasses has six vitamins and minerals that are essential for bone health including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and vitamin B6.

May help prevent chronic disease

Molasses is packed with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant known for its role in shielding cells from oxidative stress. Polyphenols have been linked to a lower risk of several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and certain types of cancer. The antioxidants in molasses play a vital part in maintaining cellular health and preventing the damage that can lead to these serious health conditions.

Blackstrap molasses nutrition facts

One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains:

  • 60 calories
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 30 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 14 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Iron: 3.6 mg, 20% DV
  • Calcium: 100 mg, 10% DV
  • Potassium: 400 mg, 10% DV
  • Magnesium: 40 mg, 10% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg, 10% DV
  • Manganese: 0.7 mg, 7% DV
  • Selenium: 5 mcg, 7% DV
  • Zinc: 0.15 mg, 1% DV

How to use molasses throughout the day

Have a little molasses left in the jar? Here are a few ways to add some molasses to your day!

  • Drizzle it over warm biscuits, cornbread, muffins or scones
  • Add a little to your oatmeal along with some holiday spices for a little holiday flare
  • Sweeten up your homemade bread recipes
  • Add to waffle or pancake batters
  • Give your smoothie a vitamin and mineral boost
  • Add to baked beans for a richer flavor
  • Mix into chilis, sauces, meat glazes and barbecue sauces
  • Try some in your next coffee or latte

Recipes with molasses

Experience the magic of molasses in your kitchen with these recipes, each designed to highlight the syrup’s unique sweetness and rich, robust flavor.

For more recipe ideas, or any other nutrition concerns, schedule an appointment with a Kroger Health Dietitian todaey.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Featured Products

Wholesome Organic Molasses Unsulphured
Wholesome Organic Fair Trade Molasses
Plantation Blackstrap Molasses Unsulphured