Blackstrap Molasses Benefits (+ Cooking and Beauty Uses)

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The benefits of molasses
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In many cases, the byproduct of a refining process is bad news. This is the case with petroleum jellyvegetable oils, and many other substances. However, one exception to this rule is blackstrap molasses.

My only childhood memories of this strongly flavored syrup involved making cookies or ornaments once a year, but it turns out that molasses is great for much more than gingerbread cookies.

What is Molasses?

Technically, molasses is the byproduct of the sugarcane refining process. When sugar cane is mashed and boiled, cane syrup is created. A second boiling yields molasses and a third leaves blackstrap molasses.

It is important to note the distinction that the “refining” process refers to just boiling and not any other chemical process which is needed in many types of refining. Refining often removes beneficial parts of a substance, but in this case, the beneficial parts of the plant are retained and some sources would even consider it a superfood, high in Iron, B-vitamins, Magnesium and other nutrients.

Different Types of Molasses

There are several different types to choose from:

  • Light– Produced by the first boiling of the sugar cane (or sugar beet). This type is lighter in color and can be sulphured or un-sulphured. Sulphured Molasses treated with sulphur dioxide acts as a preservative. Typically this type is extracted from young sugar cane, and the preservative is needed. Some people have gene mutations that make them react negatively to sulphur, so this is typically not the best type to use. Un-sulphured is extracted from ripe sugarcane that does not need a preservative. It is also sometimes referred to as “Barbados” or “mild” molasses.
  • Dark– This is the product of the second boiling after more sugar has been extracted. It is less sweet than light molasses and is often used in cooking and baking. This is the type that most people are familiar with as it is often used in gingerbread cookies.
  • Blackstrap– The healthiest form that is produced by the third boiling. It contains the most vitamins and nutrients, but is also the least sweet and does not work well in many recipes. Blackstrap molasses is the highest in Iron, Manganese, Copper, Magnesium, Calcium and other nutrients and is the type I use most often.

Blackstrap Molasses Benefits

Personally, I’ve been making a molasses based switchel recipe that has helped keep my energy levels, digestion, and iron levels great during pregnancy, but there are many additional benefits to blackstrap molasses as well:

Iron Boost

Blackstrap molasses is one of the few great non-animal sources of iron. Many doctors and midwives recommend 1-2 tablespoons a day for those with anemia or related disorders. The high iron content and presence of minerals like magnesium make it helpful for menstrual troubles and pregnant women. There are many accounts of people who used molasses to help remedy anemia and also noticed improved skin and new hair growth from the additional minerals.

TIP: I don’t love the taste by itself, so I mix it into coffee, tea, or switchel to consume it daily. I always monitor my blood sugar during pregnancy (instead of consuming the glucose drink) and molasses does not negatively affect my blood sugar at all.

For Digestion

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese also make molasses beneficial for digestion. Some people who suffer from constipation notice relief from consuming 1-2 tablespoons in warm water each day. It is also a natural stool softener and is exceptionally beneficial after pregnancy to help return digestion to normal and boost iron levels.

For Hair

Blackstrap molasses contains copper which is important for hair growth. Used internally and externally it may help improve hair growth and some people even report that it helped reverse graying hair and brought back their natural hair color when used regularly.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend pouring it directly on hair, but I like diluting it with equal parts water and pouring on hair as a 20-minute nourishing hair mask. (Note: It will darken hair slightly for a short time!)

Low-Sugar Sweetener

Though blackstrap molasses isn’t exceptionally sweet, it can be a substitute for sugar or syrup in some recipes or can be added to baked goods to boost the nutritional profile. I like using a 50:50 mixture with maple syrup as a sweetener in many of my recipes.

How to Use Blackstrap Molasses

Molasses is naturally not overly sweet, but it has an amazingly rich flavor that can add depth to many dishes. I enjoy using it mixed with another natural sweetener (like honey or maple syrup) in recipes or as a stand alone sweetener, and have also experimented with using it in the following:

  • Marinades: A couple tablespoons of blackstrap is a great addition to a meat marinade and adds a tiny hint of sweetness and a warm flavor.
  • Dressings: In vinaigrettes and dressings, a tablespoon or two adds great flavor.
  • Sauces: A delicious addition to barbecue sauces and other homemade sauces.
  • Smoothies: A tablespoon or more doesn’t usually change the taste of smoothies and is a great way to add nutrients.

Molasses also has a place in natural beauty remedies as it is great for skin and hair. It can be used to make an intensive moisturizing hair conditioning mask or directly on the face as a natural tightening face wash.

Best Kind of Molasses Use

Blackstrap molasses has the highest nutrient content and the lowest amount of natural sugar, so it is the preferred type of molasses to use in many cases. I personally like this un-sulphured organic blackstrap molasses which is naturally sweet and not bitter.

Do you ever use molasses? What is your favorite way to use it?


Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


94 responses to “Blackstrap Molasses Benefits (+ Cooking and Beauty Uses)”

  1. Jenny Avatar

    I’m wondering if this will help me maintain my iron at a healthy level seeing as I’m anemic and hopefully pregnant. Another thing I wonder is will it help darken my hair, seeing as I dye it black and I’m looking for natural alternatives to make my blond roots less obvious.

  2. Abbey Avatar

    Have you ever heard of/researched molasses made from other sources besides sugar cane? I live overseas and the only types of molasses I can find are made of fruits like carob, grape, etc. the consistency is also a lot thinner….I’m wondering if they have similar health benefits or not?

  3. Rebecca Avatar

    I use black strap molasses in my kids morning smoothie before school. It consists of raw cows milk, two pastured raw egg yolks, a few tablespoons of collagen powder, B complex liquid, a few squirts of Concentrace minerals, a couple spoonfuls of molasses, and a touch of organic chocolate syrup for flavor, divided between two kids. They love it and think they are lucky enough to get chocolate milk everyday!

  4. Donna Avatar

    I use molasses to curb restless legs. Yes, i take magnesium, but the molasses really helps.

  5. Kristen Avatar

    I’ve been using it in my coffee for quite a while. I like just a hint of sweet, and molasses is perfect for that. Plus, it has a great flavor when added to it.

  6. patti Avatar

    I make a molasses hot chocolate every day. 1 TBSP cocoa powder, 2 TSBP molasses, cinnamon, vanilla, almond milk and sometimes I throw in a piece of dark chocolate if I want to have it extra rich. This cuts some of the bitter taste, which you do get used to after a while.

    1. Kristen Avatar

      Ooh, that’s a great idea! I’m writing down your hot chocolate recipe right now.

  7. Jenni Avatar

    Does anyone know if molasses would affect an inr level if you are taking warfarin? I’m anemic and want to try the molasses. I’m finding conflicting info. Seems maybe if it’s not unsulfered it could affect levels because sulphur is a natural anticoagulant??

  8. lizzy Avatar

    Thanks for the info! I have a bottle of molasses and wasn’t sure what to do with it, but now I’ll use it in my breakfast! I’m 6 months pregnant, so its a good addition!

    Molasses is great in home-made granola, and I added some to the granola bars I made this morning. I also tried coconut oil in my coffee this morning instead of milk & sugar, it wasn’t bad at all!

    Do you have a recipe for sugar free oatmeal cookies?

  9. Jamie Avatar

    Any thoughts on adding it to baby’s diet for extra iron? I have a 5 month old that we will be adding solid food to breast milk diet soon and want to avoid processed, iron fortified baby foods. Would rather he gets his iron from real food?

  10. Robert Humphreys Avatar
    Robert Humphreys

    I put a very small amount on my gum when I have an abscess. The pain goes pretty fast and the abscess clears up in a few days. I rub it into the gum 3 times a day. I use just enough to cover the tip of my index finger.

  11. ann marie Avatar
    ann marie

    I came across a recipe a while ago (I think it was Christmas time – when I was looking at cookie recipes) that stated specifically “NOT” to use blackstrap – would there be a reason or an instance where blackstrap would yield poor or unwanted results? Thank you!

    1. Karen Avatar

      Yes, I just bought some blackstrap for the first time, and although I like it, it has almost a slight bitter flavor while being sweet at the same time. Hard to describe.

  12. Robert Humphreys Avatar
    Robert Humphreys

    If you smear some blackstrap molasses on a tooth abscess it clears up very fast. The pain stops within a day.

  13. Morgan Reynolds Avatar
    Morgan Reynolds

    I just started adding molasses to my coffee in the morning! I am a female runner and molasses help with iron levels. I’ve also noticed better digestion since I began using it. Thank for this very useful tip!

  14. Rebecca S. Avatar
    Rebecca S.

    I met my girlfriend Elva when she was 94. She lived to 103 and was in good health and relatively independent until the last three years of her life. She liked to make a morning drink made with 1 spoonful blackstrap, 1 spoonful olive oil, and 1 spoonful Apple cider vinegar stirred into a cup of hot water. I sometimes add coconut oil instead. It looks like coffee and has a zingy taste.

  15. Katy Ribadulla Avatar
    Katy Ribadulla

    When my monthly is approaching I will drink a glass of molasses and milk, warmed up, in the evening. It’s calming and I believe it helps build my nutrients up before shedding my lining. I’ve read quite a bit about the benefits of molasses and the menstrual cycle. Whether it’s helping or not, I do enjoy the milk/molasses drink, either way. I do not agree with one of your points about blackstrap, in that it does not work well in many recipes. I think it works just fine. I’ve used it plenty of times to make brown sugar, and use for other recipes and I quite like the more intense flavor. Of course, this is my opinion and we’re all entitled to one 🙂

  16. Dora Avatar

    When I was growing up in the 60’s we grew sugar cane and took it to the mill to make molasses , they used mules to spin the wheel to mash the sugar cane and it was really interesting. My favorite recipe was to boil the molasses to make popcorn balls, when it got close to getting ready to pour over the popcorn we put a pinch of arm of hammer in it and it would give it a white looking color, when we pour it over the popcorn after we have greased our hands, we stir the popcorn and form’s wonderful….

  17. Jon Avatar

    To get the blood boosting benefits of molasses, there are a few more things you need.

    1) organic peanut butter or almond butter (protein) Peanut butter may pose a fungal risk.

    2) Vitamin B6-9-12

    3) Vitamin C

    This is the basic blood building protocol that we used in the hospitals where I worked as a case manager of people with anemia and those wanting to refuse blood transfusions. This worked wonders, even when things like Procrit alone did not. We eventually found this worked without the Procrit.

    1. Jenni Avatar

      Can you tell me which brands of these are the best? I’m trying to recover from anemia.

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