Pomegranate molasses, or pomegranate syrup, is a food condiment made of concentrated pomegranate juice. It is a native Middle Eastern food additive and is predominant in their cuisine. There are suitable alternatives if you’re looking for a substitute for pomegranate molasses.
The syrup can be used as a dressing, topping, marinade, or sauce. It is sought after for its robust flavors that enhance various dishes.
This article explores the best options for substituting pomegranate molasses in your recipes.
What is Pomegranate Molasses?
Pomegranate molasses is a condiment that is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is concentrated pomegranate juice that has been reduced to a thick red syrup. Other condiments like basil, cinnamon, and coriander can be added to the syrup for more flavor.
Pomegranate molasses is a versatile condiment as it can be used as a sauce, a dip, a marinade, or a dessert topping. It is predominately used in meat and fish dishes.
The flavor of pomegranate molasses is mostly tart. Still, some add sugar to counteract the sourness of the pomegranate fruit and enhance thickening. Lemon juice can be added for extra tanginess and to keep the syrup fresh.
Pomegranate Molasses Substitutes:
While it can be made at home, store-bought pomegranate molasses is pretty hard to find. But there are so many suitable alternatives for pomegranate molasses that will work for your recipe.
Grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup commonly used in bars. It is characterized by its distinct deep red color that gives a reddish or pink tint to cocktail drinks. Grenadine has both a sweet and sour flavor and adds a sweet fruity finish to mixed drinks.
Using grenadine instead of pomegranate molasses is a great substitution as they are both made from pomegranate. It is an excellent choice, especially for mixing drinks. Grenadine is sweeter than pomegranate molasses, so you may have to start with a little. Then add more if needed.
2. Lemon or Lime Juice with Honey
If your recipe calls for acidity, lemon or lime juice with honey is an excellent substitute for pomegranate molasses. It has a unique taste, and the lemon or lime adds freshness to the recipe.
Although this mix does not perfectly mimic the flavor of pomegranate molasses, the sweet and tart flavor is definitely reproduced. You can increase the honey component or add maple syrup or sugar for more sweetness.
3. Balsamic Vinegar and Sugar
Balsamic vinegar is a dark, concentrated vinegar made from grape must. Originating in Italy, balsamic vinegar has a very intense flavor, making it an excellent substitute for pomegranate molasses. It is used sparingly in dishes, so it doesn’t overwhelm the individual flavors of the dish.
The vinegar has a tart taste, but the sugar adds sweetness and balances it out. This substitute works well as a dressing for steaks, eggs, roasted vegetables, grilled fish, or as a dipping sauce.
4. Cranberry Juice Concentrate
Cranberry juice concentrate is made from pure cranberry juice. It is an ideal substitute for pomegranate molasses because they share the same flavor profile: tart but sweet. Adding cranberry juice can easily substitute the flavor of pomegranate molasses in your recipe.
Pomegranate molasses is sweeter than cranberry juice concentrate. Still, you can always add more sugar or maple syrup to adjust the level of sweetness to your preferred taste.
5. Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranate seeds can be easily obtained by slicing the pomegranate fruit into two pieces and taking out the seeds. This is a fantastic substitute for pomegranate molasses because it is fresh and has similar flavors to pomegranate molasses.
Pomegranate seeds can be used chiefly as toppings on salads or desserts, adding a welcome sour taste like molasses. While it may be a great option, some people may not like a grainy texture compared to the smooth, syrupy pomegranate molasses.
6. Pomegranate Juice with Sugar
Pomegranate juice is a simple and easy replacement for pomegranate molasses. Although the flavors are not as intense as the syrup, pomegranate juice with sugar has all the tartness and sweetness you’re looking for in pomegranate molasses.
It is easy to make at home and a great substitute in recipes that don’t need an intense pomegranate flavor.
7. Reduced Raspberry Jam
Reduced raspberry jam is made from fresh raspberries and then reduced to a more concentrated jam. It is a sweet and sour jam with a fresh fruity aroma.
Raspberry jam can easily replace pomegranate molasses in a recipe. Adding raspberry jam to recipes like salads and desserts gives them a much-needed deeper flavor.
Whether you’re all out or need a substitute for pomegranate molasses, there are great alternatives on this list that work perfectly for your recipe.