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Best Pomegranate Molasses Substitute


Wanting to add a sweet and sour taste to your salads but first, need to find the best pomegranate molasses substitute? This tasty thick syrupy condiment is not always easy to come by. Below, you’ll find twelve options to use as the best pomegranate molasses substitutes so you can recreate a similar flavor in your recipes.

small glass dish filled with brown syrup and glass bottle with red label "pomegranate molasses"

What Is Pomegranate Molasses?

Pomegranate molasses is a thick syrup popular in Middle Eastern cuisine and Mediterranean cooking. It is common to use it in salad dressings, meat marinades, drinks, baked goods, or topping for desserts.

This delicious syrup is created by reducing juice or fresh pomegranate seeds to a thick consistency. While standard molasses is used to sweeten foods, pomegranate molasses is a condiment used to flavor recipes.

You can expect a bold, sour, and sweet taste when using it in recipes. Its appearance is similar to that of balsamic vinegar- dark brown. As the molasses reduces, it changes from a bright red to its darker, almost black color.

This molasses is slowly becoming more popular in the US and finding its way to more and more stores. It may still be challenging to find at the local grocery store, depending on your location.

Pomegranate Molasses Types

Pomegranate Molasses is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean condiment that comes in different varieties based on its origin. Each country that produces pomegranate molasses offers a slightly different flavor. However, they generally use the same ingredients- sweetener, pomegranate juice (or seeds), and lemon juice that are simmered until a pomegranate concentrate forms.

You may come across options like Turkish pomegranate molasses or Cortas, a Lebanese company in the grocery store. You can use any variety for your recipe, as the flavor difference will only be noticeable to those with a sensitive palate.

Some stores also carry a sugar-free option, which uses artificial sweeteners to produce a diabetic-friendly syrup.

Best Substitutes For pomegranate Molasses

1. Homemade Pomegranate Molasses

The simplest way to substitute for pomegranate molasses is by making a homemade version. You can do this by using pomegranate juice or fresh pomegranate seeds, lemon or lime juice, and honey. The easiest option is only to use the juice.

Gentle boil it down until it becomes the correct syrup-like consistency and it’s ready to use. ,

Pros

The delicious taste will be nearly identical to the store-bought version that you’re looking to recreate. Use it for any recipes that call for pomegranate molasses.

It’s much easier to find pomegranate juice or seeds at the grocery store than pomegranate molasses.

Cons

Recreating a homemade version adds time to the recipe and additional steps.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace your homemade version with the store-bought variety.

2. Pomegranate Juice + Sugar

Pomegranate juice offers the best substitute for pomegranate molasses. It is typically sourer; however, it still provides a pomegranate flavor to recipes. Adding sugar into this juice mimics the taste of pomegranate molasses better. This option is also easier to find at the store.

Pros

Use this tangy replacement in salads, marinades, and drinks.

Cons

This swap’s consistency is much different from pomegranate molasses, so you will need to alter the additional liquids in the recipe (for example, other sauces, vinegar, etc.) to avoid a too-liquidy texture.

Cooking Tip:

Start with ¾ of the amount required and add more to create the desired flavor.

3. Raspberry Jam

Raspberry jam is an excellent replacement for pomegranate molasses in baked goods. It provides a similar fruity flavor and sweet taste. You will notice a lack of sour taste in this option, so avoid using it for savory foods as the sweetness may overpower the other flavors.

Pros

You can also find this option easily in grocery stores. It’s also quite affordable and offers a pretty red hue in dishes.

Cons

The thicker texture of raspberry jam is much different than that of pomegranate molasses. While you can use it as-is for baked goods, you’ll need to reduce it for other recipes like drinks or drizzle over desserts. This option is significantly sweeter and will add another step to the cooking process.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio.

4. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar works well as a pomegranate molasses substitute in savory dishes, baked goods, and most other recipes, except for drinks. It is made from reduced grape juice, so you’ll find a similar fruity aroma when using this option.

This swap will provide a sweet and acidy taste to dishes. The thick texture is also similar to that of pomegranate molasses.

Pros

This vinegar is another option that is easily found in grocery stores.

Cons

The color of balsamic vinegar is dark purple-black, creating a noticeable difference in appearance in specific recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use ¾ of the amount required and adjust as needed.

5. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is another substitution for pomegranate molasses that provides a similar tartness. The flavor mimics the taste of pomegranate molasses, and if you want a similar taste, opt for sweetened juice or add sugar into an unsweetened kind. Even when it’s sweetened, you can expect a sourer taste in recipes with this swap.

Pros

Use cranberry juice to substitute pomegranate molasses in marinades, dips, salads, and drinks.

Cons

Like pomegranate juice, this option has a much more liquid consistency. You will need to adjust the other liquids in the recipes to avoid an odd texture.

Cooking Tip:

Start with ½ the required amount and add more as needed.

6. Cranberry Juice Concentrate

Cranberry juice concentrate can also work well as a pomegranate molasses swap. Keep in mind this option will have a much stronger bitter taste compared to traditional diluted juice.

Pros

You can use this concentrate in marinades, salads, and drinks.

Cons

You’ll need to alter cranberry juice concentrate before using it in recipes. Mix equal parts of water and concentrate with sugar, honey, or maple syrup to better mimic the flavor of pomegranate molasses.

Cooking Tip:

Start with ½ the required amount and adjust as needed.

7. Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate seeds work well as a pomegranate molasses replacement as they provide the same tasty pomegranate flavor. This option is an excellent swap as a topping for salads or a garnish on baked goods/desserts.

Pros

These seeds provide a pretty pop of color to dishes. You can find pomegranate seeds in grocery stores year-round.

Cons

This swap can be on the pricier side, so it may not be a good option for all. It also offers a much different consistency. Some people do not like how crunchy the pomegranate seed is, so check with guests before using this swap.

Purchasing whole pomegranates will add time to your recipe to separate the seeds from the rind.

Cooking Tip:

Start with a small handful and add more if needed.

8. Lemon Juice + Honey

This is a perfect substitute if you’re looking to replace pomegranate molasses’ taste. Lemon juice and honey are staples in most kitchens, creating an easily accessible swap.

You can use this option in marinades, salad dressings, and baked goods. It may also work in drinks, though you’ll need to heat the mixture for it to dissolve properly.

Pros

This swap is great for those who don’t enjoy the taste of pomegranates.

Cons

Depending on personal preference, it will take some time to experiment with the quantity of ingredients. This option will add time to your recipe and may take longer than expected, so don’t use this swap if you’re in a hurry.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace pomegranate molasses with this lemon juice and honey mixture.

9. Pomegranate Syrup

Pomegranate syrup is an excellent option to use as a replacement for pomegranate molasses. This swap provides nearly an identical flavor – sweet and tart to recipes. It is also made from pomegranate, though it offers a pretty red color to dishes.

Pros

You can use this substitute in any recipe, whether sweet or savory. This option is easy to find at grocery stores and pretty affordable.

Cons

There is a slight difference in consistency since the syrup is slightly more liquid-like as it has not been boiled or simmered for as long.

If a recipe does not bode well with this consistency, you can simmer the syrup until it thickens more. This swap will add a step and time to your dish.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing pomegranate syrup with pomegranate molasses once you have simmered it.

10. Tamarind Paste

Tamarind paste is a pomegranate molasses alternative that works well in many recipes. It’s common for this ingredient to be in Middle Eastern food, so you know it will bode well with most recipes that call for pomegranate molasses.

This paste offers a sweet and tart flavor that mimics pomegranate molasses’ tanginess. However, since it is sourer, you’ll notice a flavor difference.

Pros

You can find this option more easily at grocery stores.

Cons

The consistency of this paste is much different than pomegranate molasses. There is also a color difference that may be more apparent in certain dishes. You’ll need to add some honey with this paste before cooking to mimic the flavor better.

Cooking Tip:

Combine the honey and tamarind in equal parts. Then, use this combination in a 1:1 ratio to replace pomegranate molasses.

11. Grenadine

Grenadine is another option that you can use to replace pomegranate molasses flavor – especially in drinks like lemonade. This option is made from pomegranate juice and sugar that has been concentrated to form a syrup.

Thus, the pomegranate flavor and its tanginess are present in this swap. There is no lemon juice in grenadine; this substitution is much sweeter than pomegranate molasses.

Pros

Grenadine is easy to find in grocery stores – it’s usually located in the syrup area or near the liquor aisle as it’s a common ingredient in cocktails. It provides a bright red color to recipes, unlike the darker brown of pomegranate molasses.

Cons

It is a syrup; it will have a slightly more liquid consistency than pomegranate molasses.

Cooking Tip:

Start with ½ the required amount and adjust as needed.

12. Cassis Syrup

Also known as blackcurrant syrup, Cassis syrup is another excellent choice to sub for pomegranate molasses.

There will be a similar fruity flavor found when using cassis syrup. However, the taste is bolder and incorporates a bitterness not found in pomegranate molasses.

Pros

Use blackcurrant syrup to create fruity cocktails or drinks.

Cons

This syrup is a much darker color, creating a noticeable difference in appearance in most recipes. It also is thinner, like the other syrup options.

Cooking Tip:

Start with ½ the required amount and adjust as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Tastes Like Pomegranate Molasses?

A few different items taste like pomegranate molasses, including homemade pomegranate molasses and pomegranate juice plus honey or sugar. These options will provide the closest flavor to pomegranate molasses. As both of these options have pomegranate in them, you’ll find that same tangy flavor provided by the pomegranate molasses.

Can I Substitute Balsamic Glaze for Pomegranate Molasses?

Yes, in some cases, you can substitute balsamic vinegar. This swap is an excellent pairing for savory dishes and sweet recipes. It offers a similar sweetness to pomegranate molasses. It also provides an acidic flavor that mimics the taste of pomegranate molasses.

Can I Use Regular Molasses Instead of Pomegranate Molasses?

You can use regular molasses in some recipes instead of pomegranate molasses. Standard molasses have a more complex smoky and sweet flavor, so there will be a taste difference. However, you can use this swap in sweet recipes – especially baked goods.

What’s the Difference Between Molasses and Pomegranate Molasses?

There are a few differences between molasses and pomegranate molasses. These differences include how each is processed and what ingredients are used. Molasses is made from sugar cane or sugar beets. Either of these ingredients is juiced and then simmered until a concentrate forms. The sugar crystals are removed, and that leaves molasses behind. Pomegranate molasses are made from pomegranate juice or pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, and honey boiled down. Both offer a different flavor in recipes, with pomegranate molasses presenting a tartness that standard molasses does not have.

Summary

Next time you need to substitute pomegranate molasses, reach for pomegranate juice and honey or pomegranate syrup as the top convenient options. These will provide a similar flavor in recipes.

If you have extra time, homemade pomegranate molasses is the closest swap flavorwise and consistency-wise. Each of the above substitutions will provide a delightful, fruity flavor to your dishes.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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