Looking for the best substitute for pomegranate molasses? Here’s listing down some of the best for you to pick from.
Thick, tangy and delicious, pomegranate molasses is an absolute flavor bomb that you'll find being used in lots of Middle Eastern foods and culinary creations.
While you're most likely to find it in the specialty food section of your supermarket, there can be times when you're in the middle of a new recipe, realizing you don't have it at hand. And that's when you're looking for alternatives.
To help you out with just that, here's a quick list of some of the best substitutes for pomegranate molasses, and my favorite pick from among them!
The Best Substitutes For Pomegranate Molasses
Based on what your recipe calls for, you can choose from any of these swaps and substitutes that have the closest flavor profile or color, or even both.
Pomegranate juice has to be one of the most simple pomegranate molasses substitutes out there. The sweet and sour flavor profile of pomegranate syrup or juice is very similar to pomegranate molasses.
Homemade pomegranate syrup quite literally is the most perfect substitute there is in all those recipes when pomegranate molasses is used.
- All you need to do is start with the fresh fruit, peel it and extract the juice from it.
- To do this, you can use a high speed blender or a food processor.
- Then, you’ll need to pass it through a fine mesh sieve to discard any bits and pieces of the peel or the seeds.
If you have a few extra minutes, you can also whip up a quick pomegranate molasses dressing yourself!
I did it and it turned out amazing!
Tamarind paste is slightly sour, and when sweetened a bit, can be a good substitute for pomegranate molasses in many recipes.
If you’re planning to use tamarind paste as a way to substitute pomegranate molasses, you might want to consider sweetening it. It can be a good idea to add honey as a sweetener, but you can always opt for regular sugar if you want to.
Fresh raspberries, when turned into raspberry jam, can be a splendid swap in a lot of those recipes that use pomegranate molasses.
You can adjust the amount of sugar you’re adding in based on your preference. Generally, pomegranate syrup is more on the tart side, but if you want to make it sweeter, you can always add more sugar or sugar syrup.
Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
If you’re not just focused on using a syrup, fresh pomegranate arils can easily be used in place of pomegranate molasses. The seeds (arils) bring those little juicy bursts of flavor, and replicate the perfect sweet flavor of pomegranate molasses effortlessly.
You can use these in your salads or as a garnish for your cooking or baking experiments.
Grenadine syrup is again, a great substitute to consider using when you can’t find pomegranate molasses.
It is basically a simple non-alcoholic bar syrup known for its deep red color.
You can use grenadine in recipes that call for that bright red color, and isn’t too focused on the tart flavor that pomegranate has.
Plum sauce is again, a great substitute for pomegranate molasses when you’re looking for a closer balance between tart flavors and a rich, dark color.
To sweeten this, you can add sugar or molasses, but remember to only add as much as you need, making sure it nails the flavor and sweetness that pomegranate molasses has.
Cranberry syrup and cranberry juice both have a natural sweetness and a bright pink color that is very similar to that of pomegranate molasses, which is why they can be used in any Turkish recipe that calls for pomegranate molasses.
I would highly recommend using homemade cranberry juice concentrate for best results. Making it is actually pretty easy too. All you need to do is reduce cranberry juice and sugar on low heat, until it gets to the right, thick consistency.
Balsamic vinegar can also be used as a substitute in your Middle Eastern cooking experiments. That said, remember that if you’re trying to use it to replicate the taste of pomegranate molasses, you can add some simple syrup into it to get it to hit that sweet flavor.
To replace pomegranate molasses, I use a mixture of balsamic vinegar and sugar to get that nice sticky consistency.
Cassis syrup is crafted using berries, and has a natural intense tart flavor and fragrance that comes super close to that of pomegranate molasses. It can be a versatile substitute that you can put to use as an ingredient that gets into your salad dressings and marinades.
Maple Syrup + Lemon Juice
A mixture of honey or maple syrup with some lemon juice can be a great replacement for pomegranate molasses in many recipes where you don’t really need that pop of bright red color, and are mainly concerned about getting the flavor right.
You can also use lemon juice and sugar if you don’t have maple syrup or honey. The idea behind using sugar and lemon juice is to get a thick syrup that you can easily substitute in recipes that need that little sweetness.
Just remember not to add too much sugar - you don’t want it to end up sweeter than pomegranate molasses.
Date syrup has a natural sweetness and a dark, intense color, which makes it an excellent substitute you can opt for. I’ve always used date syrup instead of sugar or maple syrup when I’m looking for a natural sweetener.
While it doesn’t have that characteristic tart pomegranate molasses flavour, it can still be a great alternative to opt for when you don’t have any of the other alternatives in this list.
Which is the Best Pomegranate Molasses Substitute?
There’s actually no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, to be honest.
It all depends on what you personally prefer, and what kind of recipe you’re planning to use it for.
If you’re someone who loves experimenting in the kitchen and trying out different cuisines from around the world, I would highly recommend grabbing a bottle of the OG pomegranate molasses.
You’ll be amazed at how flavorful and rich it is, and how you can put it to use in so many different ways.
- You can drizzle it over your salads. Better yet, you can experiment and try out Fatoosh salad, which is a fantastic Middle Eastern specialty that's full of texture and bursting with flavor.
- Another great way to use it is to add it to your side dishes that need a bit of that flavor punch. I've always added it to my marinated olives and my homemade Turkish salsa.
- I also love the idea of using it as a marinade for my meats and grilled foods.
How to Make Homemade Pomegranate Molasses
Making your own pomegranate molasses is super easy.
All you need to do is reduce pomegranate juice and sugar with some lemon juice for some extra tart flavors.
You’ll find different types of pomegranate out there, so you might want to be mindful about the ones you’re picking to make pomegranate molasses.
I’ve actually worked on a detailed post about how to make pomegranate molasses from scratch in your kitchen- it’s actually pretty easy.