Bead molasses has a distinct flavor that you probably already know well, you just didn’t realize it.
For example, Asian staples like chow mein and chop suey feature this delectably sweet ingredient. While it’s commonplace to find it as an ingredient at your favorite Chinese take out spot, it’s not always so readily on hand in most homes.
Maybe you’ve got a craving for some Asian flair for dinner tonight but that scrumptious looking recipe you’ve found calls for bead molasses.
If you’re reading this article, the chances are good that you don’t have any so you’re left wondering is there a substitute for bead molasses?
While there aren’t any perfect solutions to this problem, we’ve rounded up some ideas you could try. The thing to remember is that while they might come close, the texture and of course, the taste won’t be the same.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
1. Dark Honey (Recommended 1:1 substitution ratio)
When using honey as a substitute for bead molasses, the darker the better so if possible, opt for the darkest kind you have on hand. The reason for this that lighter types of honey lack the pungent intensity of darker varieties. Since molasses can be pungent as well, deeper colored honey more closely matches the flavor profile of molasses.
Some good types of dark honey you could try are:
- Avocado Honey
- Beechwood Honey
- Blackbutt Honey
- Buckwheat Honey
- Chestnut Honey
- Dandelion Honey
- Jarrah Honey
- Manuka Honey
- Pumpkin Blossom Honey
- Red Gum Honey
- Rewarewa Honey
- Wildflower Honey
2. Sorghum Syrup (Recommended 1:1 substitution ratio)
Sorghum syrup is a unique by-product of the sweet sorghum stalk. Sorghum itself takes a variety of forms including whole grain sorghum, pearled grain sorghum, whole grain sorghum flour, white sorghum flour and popped sorghum which believe it or not, makes a good popcorn substitute.
The syrup is sometimes referred to as sorghum molasses which is an indicator of how close of a substitute it can be. Like regular molasses, it’s darkly colored but with a less intense taste.
3. Dark Maple Syrup (Recommended 1:1 substitution ratio)
As with honey, when you want to substitute maple syrup for bead molasses, you’re better off opting for the darkest varieties you can. The two darkest types of maple syrup are, curiously, both termed as Grade A. There’s Grade A Dark Color with Robust Flavor and Grade A Very Dark Color with Strong Flavor.
Grade A Dark Color with Robust Flavor is used in a wide variety of recipes as a glaze for meats or as a topping over fruits (like apples) or veggies (such as squash).
Grade A Very Dark Color with Strong Flavor is the syrup produced at the tail of the season. Because of this, it has the most intense maple flavor of any syrup.
The last benefit of opting for dark syrup over a lighter variety is that the consistency will thicker. Of course, it’s nothing like the consistency of bead molasses, so keep that in mind when using dark syrup.
4. Dark Corn Syrup (Recommended 1:1 substitution ratio)
Corn syrups have a simple but sweet taste profile. What differentiates dark corn syrup from its lighter counterpart is the inclusion of refiner’s sugar. Refiner’s sugar is a kind of molasses and because of this, dark corn syrup comes close to the appearance of bead molasses and also the flavor.
5. Brown Sugar
Of the substitutions we’ve listed so far, brown sugar is the only one that is a dry ingredient. Because of this, you will need to make adjustments.
But, aside from being dry, brown sugar could be a great option because molasses is one of the ingredients in it. As the sugar is processed into its granulated form, manufacturers will add molasses back to increase the darkness of the finished product.
A good rule of thumb is to estimate 3/4 cup to 1 cup when using brown sugar as a substitute for bead molasses. If you’re finding the recipe still too dry, then adjust with liquid until the desired consistency is achieved. This can be tricky after the fact, especially with baked goods so there might be trial and error involved until you can dial it in perfectly.
I’m Griffin and I make my living as a freelance writer and wannabe sci fi author. Besides my obsession with words, I have a few others which may or may not include craft beer, backcountry hikes and spending time with loved ones – preferably in that order. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope you enjoy it!