Pomegranate molasses is known for its bittersweet and tangy flavor. You’ll find it frequently employed in Middle Eastern recipes. However, you might not find it in the local market. So if your recipe asks for pomegranate molasses but you don’t have it, try out other options. Here are the best pomegranate molasses substitutes that you can use.
Top Pomegranate Molasses Substitute
Pomegranate molasses has a honey-like consistency so it also contributes to the texture of the food. Also, it imparts an intense red color to the recipe. Try out these alternatives to get similar results.
1. Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
Using fresh pomegranate seeds is the best option for flavoring. You can either core out the seeds at home or buy canned seeds. They have a naturally sweet and tangy flavor, albeit less intense than that of pomegranate molasses.
Sprinkle the fresh seeds on the salad or a dessert right before serving. In beverages, you can use ground seeds for both flavor and color. If you prefer a more fresh and complex flavor, pair the seeds with vinaigrette.
Grenadine is another pomegranate-based alternative. It is made by processing pomegranate juice and sugar. Sometimes, lemon is included as a part of the mix. This gives it a sweet-tart taste, very similar to pomegranate molasses.
However, it is not as intense in terms of flavor and color. Grenadine works best as a part of refreshment beverages or a coloring agent in cocktails. This delicious liquid is used as a staple in many families.
Since it has added sugar, you don’t need to add any sweetener. Use a small amount at first then add more if needed.
3. Cranberry Juice Concentrate
Cranberry juice concentrate resembles the taste and color of pomegranate molasses. Only, it is less sweet and has a thinner consistency. If your recipe requires a thick texture, you can add some molasses, sugar, or some other sweetener to the concentrate.
Its bittersweet, sharp, and tangy flavor make it a versatile ingredient. You can add it to soups, stews, and sauces. It is also used as a glaze on grilled meat and veggies, and syrup on desserts and ice-creams.
4. Raspberry Jam
Raspberry jam is another alternative with a sweet and tangy flavor. It is also made by reducing raspberry juice with sugar and lemon juice. This gives us a dark red jam with dense consistency.
Use it in recipes that require an intense color and taste. Along with that, it’ll also impart a fresh and fruity aroma to your meals. Try it when making pudding, soups, stews, pies, or ice creams.
The taste of raspberry jam is much stronger than that of pomegranate molasses. So mess is always more, especially in mild-flavored recipes.
This jam is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and C.
5. Blackcurrant Syrup
The flavorful blackcurrant syrup is a good addition for beverages. Its color and texture is quite similar to pomegranate molasses. Though the taste has a difference and this syrup can lean towards being bitter. Use it with caution and do taste tests with a drink first!
6. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is made by reducing unfermented grape juice. With grapes as the main ingredient, this vinegar has a prominent sweetness with hints of tanginess. However, the exact flavor depends on the brand and ingredients used during manufacturing. You may expect to taste cherries, molasses, and some sourness.
Although it has a similar taste to pomegranate molasses, you can add some sweetener if needed.
The most popular recipe that uses balsamic vinegar is risotto. You can also employ it in stews, soups, salad dressings, marinade sauces, or as a glaze. Due to its strong taste and hints of sourness, it’s not a popular choice for dessert.
Balsamic vinegar is known for aiding in good skin health and weight loss. It also helps to control blood sugar and cholesterol levels and improve digestion.
7. Tamarind Paste
Tamarind paste is one of the most accessible substitutes for pomegranate molasses. It is known for its intense sour and tangy flavor. That means you’ll need to pair it with a sweetener. Honey, molasses, maple syrup, and sugar are some of the options.
That said, it tastes best when used with honey. For a balanced flavor, mix equal amounts of tamarind paste and honey. It’ll also give the same texture as pomegranate molasses.
The paste is acidic and works best in meat, poultry, or fish-based recipes. You can also use it in grilled veggies, soups, or stews.
Both tamarind paste and honey are packed with antioxidants and strengthen our immunity.
8. Plum Sauce
This fruity replacement for pomegranate molasses is packed in flavor and taste. It’s a good match for the texture, color, and richness of pomegranate molasses. Plum sauce is a versatile ingredient with the skill to be sweet and tart at the same time. That makes its use as an alternative even more viable.
You can use it for plenty of purposes, including salads, sauces, meat glaze, garnish, etc.
9. Lemon Juice
If you have no time to go shopping, this is the alternative that you can use. Simply squeeze out the juice from a lemon or get a bottle of lemon juice.
Since lemon juice is a part of pomegranate molasses, it can be used as a substitute with some additions. You’ll need to pair up the juice with a sweetener. It could be honey, maple syrup, molasses, or regular sugar.
This helps tame down the sourness of lemon juice and make it taste more similar to pomegranate molasses. Although this alternative lacks a fruity flavor, it has a prominent fresh and citrusy ambiance. This can elevate the flavor of any recipe, be it sweet or savory.
Lemon juice is acidic. So you can use it in meat-based recipes as a marinade or while cooking. It helps tenderize the meat and removes the odor from it. You can also add it to stews, gravies, soups, and desserts. But remember to use less of it in sweet recipes.
Homemade Recipe For Pomegranate Molasses
Can’t find pomegranate molasses in the market and don’t want to use other alternatives? Prepare it at home! Although it takes some time, the procedure is pretty easy. Just follow these following steps.
- Take fresh pomegranate seeds and squeeze out the juice. This juice is sweet and light.
- Put the crushed seeds in a blender to make a puree. Now, squeeze and strain out the remaining juice from the puree using a cheesecloth. This juice has a sour taste which is needed for pomegranate molasses.
- Take the juice in a pan and add sugar and lemon juice. The amount depends on your preference. Let the mixture simmer for an hour at a low flame.
- The juice will thicken and attain an intense red color. Now increase the heat to medium and let the mixture boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Your homemade pomegranate molasses is ready. Use it in eggplant stew, Persian chicken stew, soups, desserts, or any other recipe.
Which Pomegranate Molasses Alternative Is The Best For You
We discussed several pomegranate molasses substitutes. If you want a similar flavor, go for cranberry juice concentrate, grenadine, or pomegranate seeds. But if the texture is an important factor, raspberry jam would be the best choice.
Tamarind paste works for strongly flavored meals. If you’re out of time, lemon juice is the quick fix. And if you’ve got time, prepare pomegranate molasses at home!