Are you thinking of creating Middle Eastern dishes for your next meal? This involves a lot of non-traditional ingredients, such as pomegranate molasses!
While we wish we had all the ethnic ingredients readily available in supermarkets, local stores don’t carry certain items. So, what can you do when you can’t find any pomegranate molasses anywhere?
Don’t give up your hopes of a unique dinner just yet! Check out our list of the best pomegranate molasses substitutes for capturing your recipes’ authentic flavors.
The Best Pomegranate Molasses Substitutes
As the name suggests, pomegranate molasses is made of pomegranate, sugar, and lemon juice. It’s a thick and honey-like syrup created through boiling pomegranate juice, a popular Lebanese and Persian cuisine ingredient.
You can usually find pomegranate molasses in stores selling ethnic food or Middle Eastern stores. Try finding it in your local supermarket or online stores.
If you can’t find it at all or have no time to do so, you can always try using any of these pomegranate substitutes:
1. Pomegranate Juice
If your goal is to get a refreshing and fruity flavor, then pomegranate juice is your best bet. It’s very easy to find, affordable, and easy to use, with numerous health benefits to reap! (*)
The main differences between juice and molasses are the consistency, and sometimes, the sweetness.
You can get sweetened or unsweetened pomegranate juice, depending on whether you want more sugar in your recipe or not.
You can opt for unprocessed pomegranate juice for a more authentic flavor, but it might not be easy to find as pomegranate molasses.
If you can only find sweetened versions of pomegranate juice, that’s totally fine! You can experiment with different kinds of pomegranate juices to see how it affects your dish.
Since pomegranate juice has a runny consistency than molasses, you may still need to adjust the ingredients to get the right texture.
2. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is another excellent option if you can’t find pomegranate juice. You can also go for cranberry juice, concentrate, syrup, or molasses.
Cranberry products are less sweet with a sourer taste, though they have the similar tart flavors pomegranate molasses have. You can just add sugar or other sweeteners if needed.
Grenadine is a pomegranate syrup, though the main difference is sugar concentration. Molasses has the lesser than Grenadine.
Fortunately, Grenadine is easier to find and used as a cocktail syrup, though you can also use it in other dishes. However, don’t add any more sugar if you use Grenadine, as this ingredient already has enough to sweeten a dish!
4. Raspberry Jam
Raspberry jam or reduction is an excellent substitute for pomegranate molasses, as raspberries are a naturally sweet fruit with flavors intensifying once reduced.
You can expect a sweet and tangy flavor if you use raspberry jam as a pomegranate molasses substitute. You can use this ingredient in drinks, salad dressings, marinades, or smoothies, though you may have to melt and strain it to get a smooth liquid consistency.
5. Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar
Pomegranate molasses taste very sweet and sour, commonly compared to balsamic vinegar in terms of taste. Add sugar to balsamic vinegar to get the right balance of sweet, tangy, and slightly acidic flavor, as you would with pomegranate molasses.
While you won’t have much fruity flavor, it’s a good pomegranate molasses substitute in a pinch. Simply mix a small amount of granulated sugar and balsamic vinegar in a pot, allowing it to simmer as you frequently stir, adding more sugar until you reach your desired taste.
We recommend this substitute for savory dishes, particularly sauces and salad dressings.
6. Lemon Juice and Honey
This is a similar pomegranate molasses substitute compared to balsamic vinegar and sugar. However, you’re more likely to have lemon juice and honey in the kitchen, making it more accessible!
Lemon juice has tartness and acidity similar to pomegranates, while the sweetness of honey will counteract the acidity, balancing everything out.
If you have no lemon juice, you can opt for lime juice with the same flavor and characteristics. You can also opt for granulated sugar over honey if none are around. Just melt the sugar or make a simple syrup with two parts sugar and one part water before mixing it with the juice.
Fun Facts on Pomegranate Molasses
What else is there to know about pomegranate molasses beyond what you can substitute it with? Here are some cool, fun facts about the ingredient!
- Pomegranate molasses is used in Middle Eastern cuisine, having the distinct sweet and sour taste many appreciate. We also call this pomegranate syrup or paste, which is now gaining popularity worldwide as it gives more flavor to non-traditional recipes.
- This ingredient is dark brown to almost black because while pomegranate juice cooks and thickens, it becomes darker.
- You can use pomegranate molasses on your favorite salad as a dressing, a meat glaze marinade, drizzled over your vegetable dishes and dips, or even poured in cocktails or mocktails for a fruity note!
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about pomegranate molasses and substituting it with certain ingredients from our frequently asked questions:
1. Can I make pomegranate molasses myself?
You can make homemade pomegranate molasses. Follow this recipe for your own pomegranate molasses!
- 4 cups of fresh pomegranate juice
- ½ cup sugar – you can adjust the amount to your liking or replace it with another sweetener
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, allowing it to cook on medium-high heat until all the sugar dissolves.
- Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for an hour or until you achieve the syrup consistency.
- Take the mixture off the heat and allow it to cool before storing it in a jar or using it for your recipe.
2. What’s the difference between pomegranate molasses and Grenadine?
Pomegranate molasses is as thick and sweet as syrup, and there’s not much difference between both ingredients. They are products used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
Those two ingredients are not the same! Don’t confuse pomegranate molasses with Grenadine.
Grenadine is a sweet and tart red pomegranate syrup for cocktails, while pomegranate molasses is a condiment used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The molasses is usually reduced to pomegranate juice but may have some added sugar. It has a rich, tangy, and slightly musky flavor without sugar.
3. How can I choose pomegranate molasses substitutes?
Follow this cheat sheet to get the proper substitution for pomegranate molasses in specific recipes:
- Homemade pomegranate molasses is the best choice, but if you can’t make your own, you can use raspberry jam, plum sauce, or cranberry sauce. These ingredients have a thick and rich consistency with an overbearing fruity flavor.
- Grenadine and pomegranate juice with simple syrup are great in cocktails or other refreshing beverages. You can’t use these in cooking, though.
- Pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice, and cranberry juice concentrates are great in beverages, salads, and other dishes. However, they don’t give the molasses texture you may want.
- Lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or pomegranate salad dressing works well on salads that require pomegranate molasses.
Wrapping It Up
We hope our list of substitutes for pomegranate molasses gave you an idea of what you can use for your recipes. Try any of these ingredients, and let us know which one worked best for your food and drinks in the comments section below.