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Molasses vs. Syrup: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 18, 2023
Molasses is a thick, dark byproduct of sugar refining; syrup is a general term for thick liquids sweetened with various sugars.

Key Differences

Molasses is a dense, dark liquid created during the process of refining sugar cane or sugar beets into sugar. Syrup, on the other hand, is a broad term that refers to any concentrated liquid made from dissolving sugars in water, often flavored or used as a sweetener.
Molasses is commonly used in baking, as a sweetener in recipes, and in the production of rum. Syrup, such as maple syrup or corn syrup, is often used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and in various desserts and baking recipes.
Molasses typically has a robust, slightly bitter flavor, varying from light to dark with increasing intensity. Syrup, depending on its type (like maple or corn syrup), can range from delicately sweet to richly flavored.
Molasses is generally thicker and darker than most syrups, with a consistency that's more viscous. Syrups tend to be lighter and can range from clear to varying shades of amber.
Molasses contains some vitamins and minerals, like iron and calcium, especially in blackstrap molasses. Syrups, especially refined ones like corn syrup, are typically high in sugar content with minimal nutritional value.

Comparison Chart


Byproduct of sugar refining
Concentrated liquid of dissolved sugars


Robust, slightly bitter
Ranges from sweet to richly flavored


Thicker, more viscous
Generally lighter and less viscous


Dark, from amber to black
Varies from clear to amber

Nutritional Value

Contains minerals and vitamins (especially iron)
Often high in sugar, low in other nutrients

Molasses and Syrup Definitions


Molasses can vary in flavor intensity, from light to blackstrap.
For a richer taste, he opted for blackstrap molasses in the marinade.


Syrup is a thick, sweet liquid made by dissolving sugar in water.
She poured maple syrup over her pancakes for breakfast.


Molasses serves as a natural sweetener in baking.
The molasses added a unique, caramelized sweetness to the homemade cookies.


Syrup is used as a sweetener or flavor enhancer in various dishes.
The chef added a spoonful of syrup to the sauce for extra sweetness.


Molasses is used as a flavoring agent in various foods.
She drizzled molasses over the oatmeal for a natural sweetness.


Syrup can also be medicinal, used in cough syrups and elixirs.
The doctor prescribed a cough syrup to soothe her throat.


Molasses is a traditional ingredient in certain types of rum.
The distillery uses molasses as the primary fermentable ingredient in its rum.


Syrup comes in many forms, like maple, corn, and chocolate.
He preferred corn syrup for making candies due to its consistency.


Molasses is a dense, sweet byproduct of sugar production.
The recipe called for a cup of molasses to enrich the flavor of the gingerbread.


Syrup is a common topping for desserts and breakfast items.
Waffles are best served with a generous drizzle of syrup.


A thick syrup produced in refining raw sugar and ranging from light to dark brown in color.


A thick, sweet, sticky liquid, consisting of a sugar base, natural or artificial flavorings, and water.


Any of various thick syrups made from juice extracted from the fruits or stalks of certain plants
Pomegranate molasses.


A thick, sugary liquid made by boiling down or otherwise concentrating plant sap, juice, or grain extracts.


A thick, sweet syrup drained from sugarcane, especially (North America) the still thicker and sweeter syrup produced by boiling down raw molasses.


A concentrated solution of sugar in water, often used as a vehicle for medicine.


(US) Any similarly thick and sweet syrup produced by boiling down fruit juices, tree saps, etc., especially concentrated maple syrup.


Any thick liquid that has a high sugar content and which is added to or poured over food as a flavouring.
Maple syrup
Pancake syrup
Peaches in syrup


(figurative) Anything considered figuratively sweet, especially sweet words.
He really poured on the molasses, charming his audience and changing more than a few votes.


(by extension) Any viscous liquid.
Cough syrup


Plural of molass: whiskey made from molasses.


A wig.


Synonym of molass: whiskey made from molasses.


(transitive) To convert or process into syrup.


(geology) molasse


(transitive) To add syrup to.


(obsolete) molass: becomes drunk from molass.


(transitive) To sabotage (a vehicle) by pouring syrup into the gas tank.


The thick, brown or dark colored, viscid, uncrystallizable sirup which drains from sugar, in the process of manufacture; any thick, viscid, sweet sirup made from vegetable juice or sap, as of the sorghum or maple. See Treacle.


Same as Sirup, Sirupy.


Thick dark syrup produced by boiling down juice from sugar cane; especially during sugar refining


A thick sweet sticky liquid


What is molasses made from?

Molasses is made from sugar cane or sugar beet juice that is boiled down to a syrup and then crystallized to make sugar.

Are there different types of syrup?

Yes, there are many types, including maple syrup, corn syrup, and flavored syrups.

Is syrup gluten-free?

Most syrups are gluten-free, but it's always best to check the label for specific products.

Can molasses replace sugar in recipes?

Yes, molasses can replace sugar, though it will alter the flavor and color of the dish.

Can syrup be used in cooking?

Yes, syrup can be used in cooking, especially as a sweetener in baking and sauces.

What's the difference between light and dark syrup?

Light syrup is milder in flavor and less sweet compared to dark syrup.

Can syrup spoil or go bad?

Syrup can spoil if contaminated with bacteria or mold, though it has a long shelf life.

How is syrup typically used?

Syrup is commonly used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and in various desserts.

Does molasses have any health benefits?

Yes, especially blackstrap molasses, which is high in iron, calcium, and potassium.

Is molasses vegan?

Yes, molasses is a plant-based product and is considered vegan.

What's the shelf life of molasses?

Molasses can last up to 10 years when stored in a cool, dry place.

Can I make molasses at home?

Making molasses at home is challenging and requires processing sugar cane or beets.

Are there sugar-free syrups?

Yes, there are sugar-free syrups, often made with artificial sweeteners.

What's the difference between molasses and treacle?

Treacle is similar to molasses but is a byproduct of a different stage in sugar refining.

Does molasses contain any allergens?

Molasses is generally allergen-free, but it's always best to check for specific allergies.

Is syrup a healthy sweetener?

Syrup can be high in sugar, so it's best used in moderation.

Can syrup be used in savory dishes?

Yes, syrup can be used in savory dishes, often as a glaze or in marinades.

Why is molasses sometimes bitter?

The bitterness comes from the concentration of sugars and minerals, especially in darker varieties.

Is molasses good for baking?

Yes, molasses is great for baking, adding moisture and a rich flavor to baked goods.

Is organic syrup better than regular syrup?

Organic syrup is made without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, which some prefer for environmental or health reasons.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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