Treacle Vs. Molasses

Treacle and molasses are byproducts of sugar cane or sugar beets with similar properties. Treacle is an uncrystallized syrup that is thick, light, sweet, and with a smoky flavor. Molasses, on the other hand, is darker, more bitter, and has an intense burnt flavor. Treacle is used in sweet recipes, while molasses is used in sweet and savory recipes. At a glance, the two look similar. This article looks at the differences and similarities in appearance, use, and benefits between treacle and molasses. 

Treacle Vs. Molasses: Overview



Treacle, also referred to as British molasses, was used in the 17th century as an antidote against snake bites, poison, and several other ailments. It is mostly used in British cuisine as a condiment and sweetener. It is derived by treating raw sugar through a process known as affination to form a liquor. The non-sugars in the resulting product are removed with activated carbon and char. The dark-colored washings are then boiled in a vacuum pan to create grains that are brown sugar and a liquid product that is the treacle. It takes a shorter boiling time than molasses. 


Molasses is a term derived from the Latin word mel, meaning honey. It was first imported into the United States in the 17th century by slaves for the brewing of rum. It was primarily used for sweetening drinks and making rum. It is processed similarly to treacle but is allowed to boil for longer. It is thick and slow to run. 



Its features are; 

  • It is thin and flows easily.
  • It takes a shorter boiling time.
  • It is sweet and less bitter.
  • It is used for sweet recipes.
  • It has a rich, smoky flavor. 
  • Treacle has two versions; the light or golden brown version, which is sweeter and less flavorful, and the dark/ black version, which is more bitter and flavorful. 


  • It is thick and slow to flow.
  • It boils for a longer time during production.
  • It is less sweet and more bitter.
  • It is used for sweet and savory recipes that don’t require a lot of sweetness. 
  • It can be sulfured or not. Sulfuring is the addition of sulfur dioxide to a product to increase its shelf life. 
  • There are three versions of molasses; the light version, which is the sweetest molasses. The second version is black, characterized by darker color and more bitterness. The final one is bootstrap which is the darkest and the most bitter among the molasses. 

Culinary Uses

Treacle is used as a sweetener for dishes and drinks that don’t require lots of sweetness including; cakes, sticky toffee pudding, and treacle tarts. Molasses is used in beers, bread, rum, candies, barbeque sauce, sauces, marinades, and sweetening herbal teas. These two products can substitute refined sugar.

Beauty And Skin Care

Treacle and molasses have similar properties and are used in almost ways including; 

  • Hair conditioning. These two sugarcane byproducts can reverse graying of hair. Mix a tablespoon or two in water and apply on hair, leaving for 15 minutes before rinsing. 
  • Face wash. Add a tablespoon of molasses to water and leave it on the face for five minutes. The skin cleansing properties will leave the skin cleaner and softer. 

Health Benefits

Treacle and molasses have significant amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Their health benefits include; 

  • They might help in relieving menstrual cramps. 
  • Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, they might help in fighting inflammation conditions such as arthritis. 
  • They contain antioxidants, helpful in fighting diseases and infections. 
  • They could promote electrolyte balance.
  • They could help in the speedy healing of wounds due to their antiseptic properties. 
  • They contain a reasonable amount of iron that could help promote healthy hemoglobin levels. 
  • Treacle and molasses contain phytochemicals that are useful in boosting the nervous system. 
  • High energy levels might help relieve stress and symptoms of depression such as anxiety, the feeling of worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts. 
  • They act as a laxative and may help in treating constipation.
  • They might help in the control of blood sugars.

Side Effects

Overconsumption of treacle and molasses could have adverse side effects including; 

  • Excessive weight gain due to high calories. 
  • Digestive disorders.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Sugar cravings.
  • An increase in mucus production can complicate upper respiratory tract disorders. 
  • Spike in blood sugars.
  • Abdominal crampings.
  • Worsen irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.
  • Allergic reactions; characterized by vomiting, hives, rashes, irritation, itchiness, dizziness, and convulsions. 

Contra-indications And Precautions

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Molasses and treacle are passed through breast milk and could affect an infant. A nursing mother should minimize her consumption of these products or eliminate them if she notices any changes in her baby after consuming them. 


Persons suffering from diabetes type 1 and 2 should avoid excessive consumption of sugarcane byproducts as they contain a high glycemic index, which can lead to a sudden rise in blood sugars. 

Digestive Disorders

Persons with digestive disorders such as IBS, diarrhea, and dysentery should avoid these products as they can worsen the symptoms.


If you have known allergies to sugarcane, you should avoid treacle and molasses.

Storage Of Treacle And Molasses

The best storage condition for these two products is in a cool, dry place, free from direct sunlight. When properly stored, they could last for six months after opening the can and much longer before opening. When stored at room temperature, you can continue using the products for a few more months after the best before date without losing flavor or quality. You could refrigerate your treacle and molasses, but it is not advisable. 

In conclusion, treacle and molasses are byproducts of sugarcane and sugar beets used as sweeteners and confinement. Treacle is thin, sweet with mild bitterness, while molasses is thick, dark, and more bitter. They are safe and beneficial when consumed moderately, but overconsumption could lead to unwanted side effects. 

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