Pomegranate Molasses Substitute: What Can You Use?

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Make your favorite Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dish that calls for pomegranate molasses but then you realize you used the last bit weeks ago. Now what?

What pomegranate molasses substitutes are available that are easy to find at your local grocer? Or what alternatives may you have in your pantry?

If you don’t have any pomegranate molasses, you can use cranberry juice concentrate, tamarind paste or concentrate, grenadine syrup, pomegranate juice or syrup, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice with maple syrup or honey, or red wine vinegar.

Other alternatives to pomegranate molasses include pomegranate seeds, cassis syrup, date syrup, or raspberry jam. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to the best pomegranate molasses substitutes so you can still enjoy your favorite meal. Let’s get into it.

What Are Pomegranate Molasses?

Pomegranate molasses is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cuisines. The dark brown thick syrup is typically used in drinks, salad dressings, dessert toppings, baked goods, stews, or marinades for meat.  

To make pomegranate molasses, you need to reduce fresh pomegranate seeds or pomegranate juice to a thick syrupy consistency. As it reduces, the condiment will change from a bright red to a dark brown that resembles balsamic vinegar.

If you buy pomegranate molasses from the store, expect that the manufacturers also add lemon juice and sugar. However, sugar-free pomegranate molasses is available.

Pomegranate molasses pairs well with:

  • Chicken
  • Eggplant
  • Capsicums or red bell peppers
  • Lamb
  • Tahini
  • Fish
  • Walnuts

What Does Pomegranate Molasses Taste Like?

Pomegranate molasses has a tart and tangy flavor with slightly sweet and deep musky notes. It’s quite a unique flavor. 

7+ Best Pomegranate Molasses Substitute

Ready to learn in detail about the best pomegranate molasses substitutes? Here they are!

1. Cranberry Juice Concentrate

Ratio: ½ cup of cranberry juice concentrate for every cup of pomegranate molasses

Cranberry juice concentrate is one of the best alternatives if you don’t have pomegranate molasses and you need that pop of tart-sweetness to your dish.

This substitute is also a thick syrup, so consistency-wise, cranberry juice concentrate and pomegranate molasses are similar.

Cranberry juice concentrate works best in drinks, salads, and marinades.

Taste your dish, as you may need to add some maple syrup, honey, or sugar for a sweeter flavor pop.

2. Tamarind Concentrate or Paste

Ratio: 1 cup tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate for 1 cup pomegranate molasses

Tamarind concentrate or paste is made from the tamarind tree’s fruit pulp. It also has a tangy flavor that’s reminiscent of pomegranate molasses, but you’ll be missing out on the sweet notes.

So it may be best to combine tamarind paste or concentrate with honey in a 1:1 ratio to better mimic the taste profile of pomegranate molasses.

3. DIY Pomegranate Syrup or Pomegranate Juice

Ratio: 1:1 pomegranate syrup to pomegranate molasses or ¾ cup pomegranate juice for 1 cup pomegranate molasses

You can easily make your own pomegranate syrup or molasses. You’ll need fresh pomegranate juice and some sweetener (if your recipe is on the sweeter side of life), and then simply reduce the juice until it thickens.

If you don’t have time to reduce pomegranate juice into syrup, you can also use the juice as is.

However, it’s more tangy than pomegranate molasses, so add sugar, honey, or maple syrup and adjust the other liquids (such as vinegar and water) in your recipe so you don’t have a too-liquid texture.

4. Grenadine Syrup

Ratio: ½ cup of grenadine syrup for every cup of pomegranate molasses

Grenadine syrup is made from sugar and pomegranate juice, so it’s similar to pomegranate molasses.

However, the main difference is that grenadine syrup is much sweeter, so taste your dish and reduce the sugar your recipe calls for so it isn’t overly sweet.

You can also add some lemon juice or tamarind paste to up the tanginess.

5. Red Wine Vinegar

Ratio: 1 cup of red wine vinegar for 1 cup of pomegranate molasses

Red wine vinegar is also tart-like pomegranate molasses, but it scores higher on the tart-o-meter.

You’ll need to add some maple syrup or sugar to balance out the tartness and make this substitute more like pomegranate molasses.

6. Lemon or Lime Juice and Maple Syrup

Ratio: 1 cup of lemon juice or lime juice with maple syrup for 1 cup of pomegranate molasses

You probably have lemon juice or lime juice in your fridge, or you can freshly squeeze some lemons or limes for their juice.

Simply add maple syrup, honey, or sugar until the sweetness balances the tartness, and you’ve got yourself a great pomegranate molasses substitute.

7. Balsamic Vinegar

Ratio: ¾ cup balsamic vinegar for 1 cup pomegranate molasses

Another condiment you probably have at home or can easily source is balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar is a dark vinegar made from reduced grape juice. It has a sweet and tangy taste, so it works well if you don’t have pomegranate molasses.

You can also dilute the balsamic vinegar with water and add some sugar, or use a balsamic reduction for a thicker consistency.

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet, and tangy vinegar that can be used as a substitute for pomegranate molasses. To use it, dilute it with water and sugar to achieve the desired sweetness.

For a thicker balsamic, try a balsamic reduction. It’s easy and tasty!

Bonus Pomegranate Molasses Substitutes

A few other ingredients you can use in your recipe instead of pomegranate molasses are:

  • Raspberry jam
  • Date syrup
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds or rubies
  • Cassis syrup

Is Pomegranate Molasses the Same as Regular Molasses?

Pomegranate molasses isn’t the same as regular molasses, even though you can substitute these ingredients in baked goods.

Standard molasses has a complex sweet and smoky flavor since it’s made from sugar beets or sugar cane, while pomegranate molasses has a tangy sweet taste.

Can I Use Honey Instead of Pomegranate Molasses?

You can use honey if you don’t have any pomegranate molasses, but you’ll be missing the tangy flavor that pomegranate molasses brings to the taste bud party.

Add some lemon or lime juice to introduce some tartness and bring the flavor profile more in line with the pomegranate molasses.

My Last Foodie Thoughts

There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your favorite vegan fesenjān, lentil pomegranate salad, Fattoush salad, or Persian chicken or eggplant stew, even when you’ve run out of pomegranate molasses.

You’ll likely have one of these alternatives in your pantry:

  • Cranberry juice concentrate
  • Pomegranate juice (and reduce it to a syrup consistency)
  • Tamarind paste
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon or lime juice and sugar
  • Grenadine syrup  

With the best pomegranate molasses substitutes you learned about today, your dish will be a success and it’ll be yummy.

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