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This pomegranate molasses recipe is a homemade syrup that uses fresh or bottled juice to create a thick, tangy and sweet condiment. Glaze savory vegetables and meats or drizzle it over desserts for a rich topping.
Sometimes a single ingredient can take you on such a journey. Pomegranate has been one of those for me. The many, many buckets I’ve harvested and seeded from my grandparents and mom’s trees have challenged me to get creative, or have pounds of seeds go to waste instead.
We’ve made pomegranate jelly, pomegranate and cranberry jam, pomegranate syrup, sprinkled the arils on salads and desserts, and eaten some of course. Today I bring the continuation of those recipes – homemade pomegranate molasses.
It’s a condiment you might have seen called for in middle eastern cuisines. It’s delicious, but sometimes hard to find. Thankfully making it from scratch is super easy, and then you can enjoy experimenting with it on savory dishes like roast chicken or veggies, or drizzled on top of cheesecakes, olive oil cakes, chocolate tarts, and much more.
The Difference Between Syrup and Molasses
The question is totally understandable. What is the big difference between pomegranate molasses and pomegranate syrup? Not much!
They’re both made by concentrating pomegranate juice down with sugar. Usually some lemon juice is added to extend the shelf life.
The difference is the sugar level and the level of reduction. Pomegranate syrup uses more sugar per juice, and is cooked less, resulting in a light, flowing liquid. Molasses on the other hand uses less sugar and is reduced over a long period of time to create a very thick, rich, and dark syrup instead.
It only takes 3 super simple ingredients to make pomegranate molasses at home. Pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice.
I recommend fresh for both juices if possible. I have a guide on how to cut and seed pomegranates that I wrote for Mashed which is super helpful to beginners to the fresh fruit. You can expect to get about ½ cup of juice per large pomegranate, so you’ll need 6-7 for this recipe. However bottled pomegranate juice will work as well.
I use plain white sugar and it works beautifully. Cane sugar would also work. I haven’t tried brown, turbinado, or coconut sugar so I can’t recommend them to you.
The level of sugar I used creates the perfect balance of sweetness and tang, but if you prefer sweeter molasses, add up to double the amount.
How to Tell When It’s Done Cooking
The process to make molasses from pomegranate juice is as simple as the ingredient list. Put it all in the pot over medium high heat, bring to a boil, then drop the temp to medium low and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Easy right? The trick is knowing what the signs are for when it’s done, and pulling it from the heat at the right moment.
The last 15 minutes are crucial. It’ll be cooking along and seem like it’s doing nothing for a long time, then suddenly it cooks down fast. If it goes too far you’ll end up with a tough, thick pomegranate caramel instead, and trust me that’s no fun.
Instead, keep an eye on it from about the 30 minute mark. Here are my best tips for knowing when it’s done.
- The syrup will change from rapid to thick, viscous bubbling.
- Place a spoon in the freezer for 10 minutes then drizzle the syrup onto it. It should thicken and flow, but very slowly, like honey.
- Use a candy thermometer. It should read between 220 and 230°F. Anything past that point will take it into a candy stage that will make it hard, anything less and it won’t be thick enough,
- When in doubt, kill the heat. It can be cooked more, but once overcooked it’s done. If you’re unsure, pull it from the heat and spoon some into a bowl and place it in the fridge. Check the viscosity 10-15 minutes later. It should be thick and flow slowly like honey or molasses. If it’s not thick, put it back on the heat and cook it down further.
Keep it in a jar or airtight container in the fridge.
You can store this for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
You can use it for so many things! It’s great with middle eastern spices on roasted meats and veggies. Or it can be added on top of, or worked into, cakes, pies, ice creams, panna cotta, and other desserts.
I’m no health expert but pomegranates are known for their rich vitamin and mineral content. Since this is cooked with sugar, it’s not the healthiest way to consume pomegranate, but it’s also used in such a small amount that it’s not terrible either.
I hope you find many delicious uses for this amazing homemade pomegranate molasses. It’s just one of many fruits that are delicious when cooked with sugar, so be sure to check out the other options on my site while you’re here.
Homemade Pomegranate Molasses
- 750 milliliters pomegranate juice 3 cups
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 67 grams granulated sugar 1/3 cup
- Combine the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium low and maintain a simmer. Stir every 5-10 minutes for the first 30 minutes.
- Continue reducing but watch closely for the last 15 minutes. When the syrup has become deep red, viscous, and reduced by 2/3 it's done.
- Pour into a jar and allow to cool completely. Then seal and store up to 6 months refrigerated.
Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.