Learn all about the best alternatives for pomegranate juice to use in recipes, smoothies and more below.
About Pomegranate Juice
What Is Pomegranate Juice?
Due to its juicy texture, many people believe that pomegranates belong to citrus fruits (mangoes, lemons).
However, it is an edible fruit of the Lythraceae family. Fruits similar to pomegranate are coco plum or mammee apple.
This juice of this fruit is made by grinding fresh pomegranate seeds and filtering out the residue using a mesh sieve.
If you bring it to simmer for about an hour with sugar, you get the red syrupy liquid called molasses.
Molasses is a concentrated form of juice. Its thicker-and-dense texture is more versatile when used in drinks like cocktails or teas. Pomegranate molasses are very popular in Mediterranean cuisine.
Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Juice
1. Lower Cholesterol
According to some research, the fruit contains polyphenolic compounds that reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Thereby, it helps you lose weight and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, or stroke.
2. Improve Immune System
Not only with heart diseases but studies also show that active antioxidants in this fruit reduce the effects of free radicals. This can protect the body from the risk of cancer.
Besides antioxidants, there is a great amount of vitamin C in this fruit that helps stimulate the production of white blood cells. White blood cells play a key role in boosting the body’s immune system.
3. Skin & Hair Care
The content of vitamin C and polyphenolic antioxidants in pomegranate is also a great factor in improving the inflammatory conditions of the skin. By this, it helps to slow down the aging process.
Also, your hair will also become shinier and stronger thanks to the diverse minerals found in this precious food.
What Can I Substitute For Pomegranate Molasses?
Cranberry Juice Concentrate & Syrup
To replace its flavor, the top priority should be the exact delightful sweetness with a bit of acidity. And thankfully, cranberry juice can do that.
Cranberry is the same as blueberry, which belongs to the genus Vaccinium. Like its cousin, cranberry has a sweet-and-sour taste, and so it is perfect if you’ve run out of molasses.
What’s more interesting is that dried or fresh cranberries can function as a substitute for pomegranate seeds, especially as salad dressing or toppings sprinkled on top.
In terms of versatility, cranberry deserves to be at the top.
The only noticeable thing here is that cranberries boast a much more tangy taste. For that very reason, to adjust its sweet taste, you can add a little sugar or honey, depending on your preference.
And of course, remember to adjust it slightly if you don’t want your dish to be overly sweetened!
1 tbsp of pomegranate syrup = 1 tbsp of cranberry juice.
Raspberry Jam & Juice
A flexible alternative to pomegranate molasses that you can find at any store for salad dressing is raspberry jam. If you prefer sweetness over tartness, raspberry jams can satisfy your craving.
Raspberries are by nature very high in sugar, and when reduced, their sweetness is enhanced. Thus, this substitution for pomegranate molasses deserves the top choice, thanks to the similarity in flavor.
If you’re concerned about the chunkiness of raspberry jam, you can dilute and strain the pulp left in the jam for an easier-to-use liquid. Or, more simply, you can consider its related products like syrup or juice.
To turn raspberry juice into syrup is similar to how the molasses are done above. All you need to do is slurry it on the stove to help the liquid evaporate less water and create a more concentrated consistency.
1 tbsp of pomegranate syrup = 1 tbsp of raspberry juice.
Another pomegranate molasses replacement that might surprise you is grenadine. Because grenadine, pomegranate syrup, and molasses are all extracted from the same fruit.
The only difference is that grenadine contains the most sugar. Therefore, it is very popular in drinks and cocktails.
Although both are made from the same ingredients, grenadine is easier to search for than its counterpart.
If you do not care too much about sweetness, or you want to find a substitute for pomegranate juice to make drinks or desserts, then grenadine is the right solution.
Since the taste is already too sweet, it is advised not to add any sugar or sweeteners when using grenadine.
A reasonable ratio might be as follows:
1 tbsp of pomegranate syrup = ½ tbsp of grenadine.
On the other hand, to reduce it, a basic way is to dilute the grenadine with plenty of water and only adjust gradually until the desired level is reached.
Lemon Juice & Honey
You don’t always have grenadine, raspberry jam, or cranberry concentrate available at home to make it into the mixture you want. What if only lemon and honey?
Do not worry! Lemon juice with honey is a friendly and adjustable combination for a perfect replacement. While lemon juice acts as an acidic compound that creates tartness, honey helps balance its sweetness.
If you prefer a mixture with more acidity, add more lemon juice and vice versa. You can also replace lemon juice with lime juice if you have one at home.
With honey, you can also try using granulated sugar instead.
Not only well-adjustable in taste, lemon juice with honey is also a colorless mixture. Thus, you can adjust the color of the sauce by adding food coloring.
You should not squeeze the lemon juice into boiled water when making the mixture. Hot water will make the juice bitter. Besides, if you want to dissolve granulated sugar easier, melt it before pouring in the juice.
The ideal amount you can keep in mind:
1 tbsp of pomegranate syrup = ½ tbsp of the lemon-honey mix.
Balsamic Vinegar & Sugar
The options above seem suitable for salad dressing or cocktails. Suppose you don’t mind the distinctive fruity flavor but need a blend of adequate acidity and sweetness within a short period.
In that case, a temporary pomegranate syrup substitute is balsamic vinegar and sugar.
Balsamic vinegar has the same acidity as lemon juice. With the addition of sugar, you can use it to make sauces or even salads.
To make this, you need to simmer them together in the pot over medium heat until a brownish mixture is formed. Then, turn off the heat.
Depending on your requirements, you can increase or decrease the thickness by adjusting the simmering time on the pan. The longer you stir, the more concentrated the mixture will be, and vice versa.
The brown color of the mixture will make it difficult to prepare drinks or decorate dessert items. Hence, it will be more appropriate if you use it for savory dishes such as dipping sauce or dressings.
Suggested proportions for the pomegranate substitute:
1 tbsp of pomegranate syrup = 1 tbsp of the balsamic-sugar mix.
Tamarind Paste & Honey
The last pomegranate molasses alternative you may be interested in is tamarind paste with honey.
Tamarind paste is a signature sauce made from tamarind, which is popular in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Like lemon juice or balsamic, people often use tamarind paste to create a slight acidity.
The paste is quite sticky and thick. If you want to reduce the tartness and increase the fluidity, then honey will be a great companion for this ingredient.
If there is no honey, you can also replace it with agave. Tamarind paste and agave mixed in a 1:1 ratio will create a smooth golden mixture suitable for meat dishes.
It would help if you used this substitute for savory, marinated, and grilled dishes to achieve absolute deliciousness. The sourness of tamarind fruits will help sublimate their flavor more than with sweet dishes.
The suggested ratio for the mixture:
1 tbsp of pomegranate syrup = 1 tbsp of tamarind paste-honey mix.
How To Choose A Pomegranate Juice Substitute?
There are two aspects that cooks need to pay attention to when substituting:
Pomegranate molasses combine sweetness and sourness, interwoven with characteristic fruit flavors. Therefore, the recommended ideas above all use acidic ingredients and contain sugar.
To make it acidic, solutions such as vinegar and lemon juice will be suitable. Use popular sweeteners like honey, granulated sugar, or maple juice to reduce acidity.
The basic principle of food processing is that heat will evaporate water. You can use the heat and simmer the mixtures over medium temperature until they thicken to get the thick consistency.
Remember to stir well, so it doesn’t burn. In contrast, to loosen it, add more water, you will be able to adjust the texture to your liking.