You’ll see in this collection of pomegranate molasses recipes, that pomegranate molasses’ tart and tangy flavor enhances so many dishes — from cocktails to salad dressings, from meats to desserts. Though it’s widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, this pucker-worthy ingredient plays so well in dishes that reach beyond the Eastern Mediterranean borders.
Pomegranates are abundant in the fall. Their gorgeous seeds, also called arils, tease us with their jewel-like beauty and crunchy burst of tart juice. Though fresh pomegranates are only available for a short while, you can enjoy their essence all year long by using pomegranate molasses.
What is Pomegranate Molasses?
Intensely sweet-tart pomegranate molasses is essentially the boiled down essence of pomegranate juice. Its origin is in the Middle East where it’s called dibs rumman in Arabic and rob-e anar in Persian. But if you think of pomegranate molasses as akin to balsamic vinegar which is perhaps a bit more familiar, you’ll begin to realize its versatility. Its complex fruity flavor can accent a dish or the main flavor profile.
Are Pomegranate Molasses and Syrup the Same?
Pomegranate molasses and syrup are the same thing – just a matter of terminology. If you choose to make your own, you’ll see that the thickness of the end product can be adjusted to be more syrup-like than molasses-like by how long you reduce the juice. Importantly, pomegranate molasses/syrup is not the same as grenadine. Grenadine contains pomegranate juice but also has a much higher ratio of added sugar.
What’s in Pomegranate Molasses?
Many recipes for or brands of pomegranate molasses include a small amount of sugar and lemon. My preference, whether I make it or buy it, is no added sugar or lemon. Experiment and see what pleases your taste buds. But there is natural sugar in pomegranate juice that is intensified when the juice reduces. I find the resulting flavor from just plain juice to be very satisfying.
Where can I Buy this Pomegranate Condiment?
If you have an international market or Middle Eastern market locally, they will stock many brands. I have yet to see this on the shelves of big brand grocers. I’ve seen pomegranate vinegar at Trader Joe’s but never pomegranate molasses. You can also order it online very easily. Here are some of my favorite brands:
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Can I Make it Myself?
Absolutely. I have a whole post about making it yourself including a video but honestly, if you can boil water, you can do this at home. And even big brand grocers have pomegranate juice on their shelves which is all you need to make your own molasses.
Are there Substitutes for Pomegranate Molasses?
- Balsamic vinegar, boiled down, results in a similar consistency with a comparable flavor profile.
- Another option might be cranberry juice but pay attention to the sugar content and opt for an unsweetened juice if possible.
- Less widely available, but if you see grape molasses at the farmers market or on the store shelf, it will be a fine substitute.
- And finally, date syrup might be able to stand in. But since date syrup is available in a Middle Eastern market, you might as well buy the pomegranate molasses while you are there. But grab a jar of date syrup (also known as silan) too – it’s a wonderful pairing with pomegranate molasses or as an alternative sweetener in other recipes.