Often called Mediterranean syrup, pomegranate molasses is one of the most important ingredients in Middle Eastern cooking and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is juicy and consists of 3 main ingredients including pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, and sugar.
Since it possesses pomegranate seeds and lemon juice as two of the three main ingredients, you can easily conclude that its nutritional value is high and that it provides certain health benefits.
When it comes to the flavor of pomegranate molasses, its main flavor is tart since the main ingredients are tart pomegranate seeds. However, there are also tangy, and sour tastes, as well as the acidic flavor of lemon juice, and the sweet flavor of added sweeteners, mainly sugars.
You can use it as a condiment in drinks, desserts, cocktails, dressings, dips, and glazes, in both sweet and savory dishes.
But, what if you do not have any pomegranate molasses on hand at the moment you need to use it in those dishes, or you can’t find it in your local grocery store? Don’t worry, there are pomegranate molasses substitutes and you will find out what those are in the ultimate list below.
What Are The Best Pomegranate Molasses Substitutes?
Here is the list of 14 excellent pomegranate molasses substitutes you just have to know about.
1. Pomegranate Seeds
The first thing that probably comes to your mind when thinking about pomegranate molasses substitutes is definitely its main ingredient and that is pomegranate seeds, especially fresh pomegranate seeds.
Here I have to emphasize that neither the flavor nor the texture will be the same, of course, because, besides pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses also contains sugars and lemon juice.
If you eventually decide to substitute pomegranate molasses with seeds, it is best to add them to salads and avoid adding them to stews or marinades.
When substituting, consider the fact that 6-7 seeds are equal to 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.
2. Pomegranate Juice
The second very logical substitute for pomegranate molasses is pomegranate juice. It can be a perfect substitute since it is closest in flavor.
The main difference is in consistency since pomegranate molasses has a thick consistency and is more concentrated than juice. There can also be a difference in sweetness since there are sweetened and unsweetened pomegranate juices.
And there is also the organic pomegranate juice, and it is always better to use that version since it does not contain preservatives, flavorings, or food coloring.
But it is not that easy to find it, so you can freely choose to substitute one of the two non-organic alternatives.
If you want it to be thicker and to have a more concentrated flavor, then it is best to mix pomegranate juice and thick syrup, i.e. it is best to use the glucose that has a neutral flavor or just simple syrup.
That way you will come close to the consistency and taste of pomegranate molasses.
If you already know what grenadine is then I believe you might be confused to see it on the list. This is because most people think that pomegranate molasses, pomegranate syrup, and grenadine are the same.
The truth is that all three of them have the same main ingredients, but the difference is that they do not have the same concentration of sugar. And, actually, grenadine has the highest amount of added sugar.
So, it is full of sweetness and it does not contain that recognizable tart flavor that molasses does. It is mostly used in cocktails and mocktails.
If you decide to use this pomegranate molasses substitute then you should know that it is much sweeter and it is not a good idea to add any other sweeteners or sugar.
One tablespoon of pomegranate molasses is equal to about 1/2 tablespoon of grenadine.
4. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice can be a great substitute for pomegranate molasses since cranberries possess a similar bittersweet note as pomegranates do.
The problem is in texture because pomegranate has a thicker texture than cranberry juice and you will need to make some adjustments in order to have a good substitute.
So, what can you do? Well, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar to cranberry juice and then cook until it becomes thicker. You also need to be extra careful when doing that because of flavor.
If you add a lot of sugar then it will become very sweet and it will lose that tart taste, which is something that you don’t want to do.
When the process of adjusting is over, you can add the same amount of cranberry juice to your dish as the recipe suggests for the amount of pomegranate molasses.
5. Cranberry Juice Concentrate
Cranberry juice concentrate possesses a very similar tart-sweet taste. This means that, when it comes to flavor, it can be a great pomegranate substitute.
When it comes to consistency, it is thicker than pomegranate molasses so it is not a bad idea to add a little water to make its consistency more like that of pomegranate molasses.
Unlike cranberry juice, cranberry juice concentrate does not need to be cooked with sugar in order for it to get the consistency of pomegranate molasses.
And that is definitely a mitigating circumstance. All you have to do is add water according to your preference and then the substituting is simple.
The amount of cranberry juice concentrate is the same as the amount of pomegranate molasses that is required in the recipe.
6. Lemon Juice And Honey
The combination of lemon juice and honey can be a good pomegranate molasses substitute when it comes to texture. Also, lemon juice can add extra acidity to almost any dish and, combined with honey, it will give those sweet undertones that you are looking for.
But, the main problem is the loss of that amazing fruity flavor that pomegranate molasses provides. So, take that into consideration as well if you decide to substitute with this mix.
I also have to add that, if you don’t have any honey at hand, you can use maple syrup as a substitute, but you have to know that this mix will become slightly more liquid and you will lose consistency.
A half tablespoon of lemon juice-honey mix is equal to 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses.
7. Raspberry Jam
Raspberry jam can serve in the place of pomegranate molasses in some situations because it provides the same fruity and sweet flavor as pomegranate molasses.
But the problem is in volume. Raspberry jam is more thick and chunky than pomegranate molasses so you will need to “adjust” it properly. That is especially if you plan to add it to your drinks.
You will have to cook it, melt it, and strain it in order to get a smooth liquid. On the other hand, if you are planning to add it to your smoothie or salad dressing, then it is actually not necessary to do this.
8. Tamarind Paste And Honey
Tamarind paste is a thick and sticky paste that is derived from the tamarind fruit. It possesses a strong acidity. So, when adding some natural sweetener like honey to it, you get the perfect combination of these two flavors.
Also, the honey will contribute to a thicker texture that is similar to the texture of pomegranate molasses. Because of this, the combination of tamarind paste and honey can be an excellent alternative to pomegranate molasses in many dishes.
You can add the same amount of tamarind paste-honey mixture to your dish as pomegranate molasses.
9. Plum Sauce
Plum sauce is an interesting pomegranate molasses substitute. As the name suggests, plum sauce is made from fresh plums and it has a black color and thick texture that is similar to that of pomegranate molasses.
When it comes to the flavor profile, plum sauce has the perfect combination of sweetness and tanginess so it can provide you with a similar flavor to pomegranate sauce.
Plum sauce can be used as a dip for deep-fried dishes, including deep-fried chicken, or some dishes like noodles and spring rolls.
10. Balsamic Vinegar
If you want one very healthy alternative to pomegranate molasses, then balsamic vinegar is your best bet. It has many health benefits. It contributes to weight loss and lowers cholesterol.
This dark brown vinegar, which is made by fermenting grape juice, has a similar balance of sweetness and sourness as pomegranate molasses. So, when adding it to your dish, you can freely add the same amount as the recipe requires for pomegranate molasses.
The only drawback is consistency since balsamic vinegar has a much thinner consistency.
Just be careful if you boil vinegar because it can be dangerous in certain situations.
11. Cranberry Sauce
And there is another sauce on the list and that is cranberry sauce. As you can see, cranberries are a great alternative to pomegranate molasses in every possible form. This is actually the third form of cranberries on this list, after juice, and concentrate.
The reason for this is a well-balanced flavor profile, i.e. the perfect combo of tartness and sweetness, just like in the case of pomegranate molasses.
Also, the consistency of cranberry sauce is very similar to the consistency of pomegranate molasses since it is thick and much like jelly.
12. Grenadine Juice And Sugar Syrup
Some people want their dish to be very sweet. In that case, combining grenadine juice and sugar syrup and adding them to that dish instead of pomegranate molasses can be a great idea.
You will get your delicious syrup by combining a cup of water with a cup of honey or sugar and by boiling and simmering that mixture until it gets thicker.
You can then mix it with grenadine and that way you will get a combination of tart and sweet flavors which are similar flavors to those of pomegranate molasses, with some extra sweetness from the syrup.
13. Cassis Syrup
This type of syrup is made from blackcurrant berries and it originates in France. When it comes to the flavor profile, cassis syrup has a unique taste profile since it is a combination of earthy, tart, and sweet.
Because of its subtle bitter flavor, this syrup is often used in cocktails and drinks as a worthy pomegranate molasses substitute.
14. Homemade Pomegranate Molasses
The last one is for more experienced home cooks that want some adventure. If you have some pomegranate juice, lemon/lime juice, and some sugar, then there is nothing that can stop you from making your own pomegranate molasses.
You can freely adjust the flavor and texture to your own preferences and there won’t be any artificial ingredients or preservatives which is really great since you will have a healthier version of pomegranate molasses.
So, if you are up for some cooking and have the mentioned ingredients, then this is an ideal solution for you.
Pomegranate molasses, also called pomegranate concentrate, is a thick ingredient that possesses the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavor and is mostly used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
But, if you happen to find yourself making some sweet dessert that requires it in the recipe and you don’t have any at that moment, there are pomegranate molasses substitutes that can serve you very well.
And, in this list, there are the 14 best pomegranate molasses alternatives that certainly won’t disappoint you.