It's easy to find your best pomegranate molasses substitute with this handy list of our top favorites and ideas for finding the perfect alternative for this classic ingredient.
If you're a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, then you've come across pomegranate molasses. This thick, tangy, and slightly sweet syrup is a staple in many dishes, from salad dressings and dips to marinades and stews. It stars in recipes like vegan fesenjan, Fattoush salad, and lentil pomegranate salad. And if you have yet to try this delicious syrup with air fryer Brussels sprouts or in bean salad, you need to get on that stat!
But what do you do if you can't find pomegranate molasses at your local grocery store? Don't worry! We've got several of the best pomegranate molasses substitutes to achieve a similar flavor profile.
Our Favorite Pomegranate Molasses Substitutes
Tamarind Concentrate: Tamarind concentrate or tamarind paste is made from the fruit pulp of the tamarind tree. It has a sour and tangy flavor that is similar to pomegranate molasses. In fact, it's our number one favorite substitute for the sweet and sour taste of pomegranate molasses. To use it as a substitute:
- Dilute it with some water and add a bit of sweetness, if desired, to balance the tart taste.
- Use it in the same way you would use pomegranate molasses.
- Check out our tamarind lentils or Thai Brussels sprouts with noodles for more ideas.
Homemade Pomegranate Syrup: If you prefer, make your own pomegranate molasses by reducing pomegranate juice and additional sweetener, if desired, on the stove until it thickens into a syrup. This homemade version may have a different flavor than store-bought pomegranate molasses. Still, it's a great option if you need help finding it or prefer to make your own.
Grenadine Syrup: Grenadine syrup is a sweet syrup made from pomegranate juice and sugar. It has a similar flavor to pomegranate molasses but is much sweeter. Reduce the sugar in your recipe if you're using grenadine syrup as a substitute. You can also cut it with tamarind or lemon juice.
Cassis Syrup: A thick syrup made from currants, cassis syrup, is an excellent substitute. It has a distinct berry aroma and flavor.
Red Wine Vinegar: Red wine vinegar has a tart flavor similar to pomegranate molasses. To use it as a substitute, mix it with a bit of sugar or maple syrup to balance out the tartness. Use it in the same way you would use pomegranate molasses.
Lemon Juice or Lime Juice and Maple Syrup: If you don't have any of the above substitutes, mixing lemon juice or lime juice and maple syrup can still achieve a similar flavor profile. Start with a small amount of each and adjust to taste. The lemon juice provides tartness, while the honey adds sweetness.
Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet, and tangy vinegar that can substitute for pomegranate molasses. To use it, dilute it with water and sugar to achieve the desired sweetness. For thicker balsamic, try a balsamic reduction. It's easy and tasty!
Cranberry Juice Concentrate: Cranberry juice concentrate is a thick, tangy syrup from concentrated cranberry juice. It has a similar tartness and sweetness to pomegranate molasses and can be used similarly.
Raspberry Jam: Raspberry jam is a sweet, slightly tart jam that can serve as a good substitute for pomegranate molasses. Mix it with water and lemon juice to achieve a similar flavor profile.
Date Syrup: Date syrup or date paste is a sweet syrup with a thick texture made from dates that can be used as a substitute for pomegranate molasses. It has a similar consistency but a slightly different flavor profile and a sweet taste. Use it in the same way you would use pomegranate molasses. Get our simple date syrup (date paste) recipe and make your own.
Choose For Yourself
Ultimately the best substitutes for any ingredients are the best option for you, the home cook. It's also important to note that suitable alternatives always depend on how you'll use them.
No matter which substitutes you choose, remember that the flavor won't be the same as the unique taste of pomegranate molasses. But with some experimentation, you can still create delicious Middle Eastern dishes that are sure to please.
And don't forget, a smattering of fresh pomegranate seeds always lends a crunchy texture and a little magic of the sweet flavor of pomegranate molasses. Happy cooking!
Frequently Asked Questions
Pomegranate molasses can be found in specialty food stores, Middle Eastern markets, and larger grocery stores with international ingredients. If you're having trouble locating it and can't access a Middle Eastern grocery store, look for it online through retailers like Amazon or specialty food websites.
Although the names differ, pomegranate syrup and molasses are the same ingredients with the same sweet and sour flavor and thick consistency. Does all pomegranate molasses contain sugar? If you want the health benefits of pomegranate without the added sugar of many brands of pomegranate molasses, hope is on the way! You can find several varieties of pomegranate molasses or pomegranate sugar that contain little or no added sugar.