Pomegranate molasses is an ingredient that is best known for its use in Middle Eastern cooking.
Tangy and sweet, it is used in many dishes in Eastern cuisine – like Persian chicken stew or eggplant stew – and is a delicious syrup.
Pomegranate molasses is made from pomegranates with added sugar and lemon juice. It has a deep dark red color and can be made at home. However, since it is probably hard to find, are there any alternatives?
Of course, there are! We have provided you with a list of the 10 best substitutes, which will save your meal or cocktail. On our list, you’ll find Cranberry Juice Concentrate, Grenadine, Fresh Pomegranate Seeds, Pomegranate Juice with Sugar, Lemon or Lime juice with Honey, Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar, Raspberry Jam, Cassis Syrup and Tamarind Paste and Honey.
Also, find out how to make your own pomegranate molasses.
Substitutes for Pomegranate Molasses
Check out the list below and find out more about our 10 top substitutes for pomegranate molasses.
1. Cranberry juice concentrate
The first substitute on our list is cranberry juice concentrate. You can easily replace the taste and flavor of pomegranate molasses just by adding cranberry juice. It has a sour taste but you can always add sugar to make it sweeter – and this is what makes it similar to pomegranate molasses. It can be used in many dishes as a replacement, just adjust the sweetness according to taste.
Another good substitute for pomegranate molasses is grenadine. It is most often used when making drinks, and it’s sweeter than pomegranate molasses. It is actually a sweet-tart syrup that is made from pomegranate juice and sugar.
This product is commonly used to give color to cocktails. Remember that it is quite sweet, so just use a little to start with – you can always add more if necessary.
3. Fresh pomegranate seeds
The seeds from pomegranates are a good substitute for pomegranate molasses. All you have to do is cut the pomegranate into two pieces and take out the seeds (which are tiny and red). You can use them in salads, desserts or whichever recipe you’d like.
They have a sour taste just like the molasses, and this is why the fresh seeds can be used as a substitute. If a salad requires pomegranate molasses you can always add the seeds on top as a replacement – this will leave an even better, fresh taste in your mouth.
4. Pomegranate Juice with Sugar
Another substitute is to use pomegranate juice with added sugar. The flavor of the juice might not be as intense, so that’s why it’s good to add some sugar or even honey. You can make this at home easily and use it as and when required.
You can add more sweetness and adjust the acidity to achieve the desired flavor.
5. Lemon or Lime juice with Honey
Another option is to use either lime or lemon as a substitute. Their taste and flavor are of course unique, and they will bring the acidity that your recipe calls for. It may not be as sweet, but it will add a fresh touch to your meal.
You can always add honey to give more sweetness and imitate the taste of pomegranate molasses. Also, you can add sugar or maple syrup – these ingredients will help add sweetness as well.
6. Balsamic vinegar and sugar
Another way to substitute pomegranate molasses is to use a combination of balsamic vinegar and sugar. Vinegar brings an acidy taste, but the sugar will balance this, adding a sweetness which will resemble the taste of the pomegranate molasses. This option works well when you are making roasted vegetables or is excellent when added to a dipping sauce.
7. Raspberry Jam
Pomegranate molasses can be also replaced by reduced raspberry jam. Raspberry jam has a very fresh and fruity aroma, and it is very sweet. To get a similar taste to pomegranate molasses, you need to reduce the jam until the texture gets thick. You can use raspberry jam in salads or other recipes that need a deeper flavor.
8. Cassis Syrup
It has an intense, bitter flavor compared with pomegranate molasses. You can also use it in drinks or cocktails to bring out the best in your beverage.
9. Tamarind paste and Honey
Another combination that will be a good replacement for pomegranate molasses in recipes is tamarind paste with honey. If you are making a meaty dish and you want to add some more texture and flavor to your meal, this is a really good option.
Use 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste with 1 tablespoon of honey and you are good to go. Substitute according to taste – and do not add too much!
10. Home-made pomegranate molasses
The best substitution for shop-bought pomegranate molasses is to make it at home. If you don’t have it at home or if you have no way of finding it at the store, you always have the option for a home-made product. It’s really quick and most importantly it’s very easy to prepare it.
Use fresh pomegranates to squeeze out the juices, so you’ll have brightly colored molasses.
- Clean them up in a bowl of water and then drain.
- Put them in a blender and gently blend until they are all crushed.
- Remove the puree and try to squeeze out as much juice as you can.
- Bring it to the boil but be careful not to overcook it, add sugar and lemon juice and let it simmer for an hour.
- Reduce the heat 10-15 minutes before the end. Now you have home-made pomegranate molasses ready to use!
Is pomegranate molasses the same as syrup?
Pomegranate molasses is thick and sweet, the same as syrup. There is actually no difference between the two. It is a product that is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
What does pomegranate molasses taste like?
It is a syrup that is made out of boiled pomegranate juice and its flavor is very sweet and very sour. It is commonly compared with balsamic vinegar because of its taste. That’s why balsamic with added honey is an excellent substitution.
Where can I buy pomegranate molasses?
You can find this product in stores that sell ethnic food or any other Middle Eastern store. And of course, you can always find it online.