What Is Pomegranate Molasses?

Pomegranate molasses is a Middle Eastern staple that brings sweet and sour flavor to everything from stews to cocktails. Here’s how to use this unique ingredient.

Pomegranate Molasses Drizzled from a Spoon to a Small Bowl with More Pomegranate Molasses, and in the Background, a Bottle of Cortas Pomegranate Molasses

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

I picked up my first bottle of pomegranate molasses many years ago, when I was working at a Lebanese cafe and market and wanted to take full advantage of my employee discount. It sat in the back of a kitchen cabinet for years before I had the courage to play around with it. Once I did, I never looked back. Sweet-and-sour pomegranate molasses is a bewitching ingredient that’s unlike anything else in your pantry.

While pomegranate molasses has long been a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, it has only recently gained popularity elsewhere. It’s a thick syrup that lends tang and gentle sweetness to everything from stews to cocktails. Here’s everything you need to know about this special ingredient.

Pomegranate Molasses

  • Shelf Life: Indefinitely when stored in the fridge
  • Main Components: Pomegranate juice
  • Flavor: Tart, sweet, and musky
  • Most Common Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Most Common Dishes: Muhammara, Fesenjan

What to Know About Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is simply pomegranate juice that’s been boiled down and reduced to a thick, dark brown, molasses-like syrup. It’s a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking and can also sometimes be called pomegranate syrup. Despite it having “molasses” in its name, it’s more sour than sweet. Pomegranate molasses is tart and tangy, with an underlying caramelized sweetness and almost musky depth. It’s an ingredient that’s totally unique. 

If you’ve sipped pomegranate juice or popped a handful of ruby pomegranate seeds into your mouth, then you’re familiar with the fruit’s sweet-tart pop of flavor. Pomegranate molasses is an intensely concentrated form of that. Its sweetness is much more caramelized and earthy, while its pleasantly sour tang is still front and center. 

Pomegranate Molasses Drizzled from a Spoon to a Small Bowl with More Pomegranate Molasses

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

Where to Buy

While it was once hard to find a bottle of pomegranate molasses outside of Middle Eastern markets, the ingredient is now making appearances in many spice shops and at Whole Foods, too. It’s also readily available at online retailers like Amazon. Cortas is perhaps the most available imported brand but domestic brands are now also popping up, such as Just Pomegranate Syrup.

Since the ingredient is simply boiled down pomegranate juice, you can also try making it yourself!

How to Store

There is a lot of conflicting information on the best way to store pomegranate molasses since many bottles don’t provide storage instructions. Unopened, pomegranate molasses can be kept at room temperature. Once open, some say it’s fine to continue to store it at room temperature, while others recommend keeping it in the fridge. After a deep dive researching storage for my own personal bottle, I’ve taken to keeping it in the fridge, where it will stay fresh indefinitely. If you plan to use up the bottle in 6 months or less, the pantry is fine. Know that pomegranate molasses might thicken up in the fridge, but will return to its normal consistency if you leave it out on the counter for 10 minutes or so before using.

Pomegranate Molasses Poured into a Small Bowl from a Bottle

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

How to Cook With Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is traditionally used as a condiment that lends brightness, tang, and a touch of sweetness. Since it's strong in flavor, you typically don’t need to add much to things like salads and stews to reap the ingredient’s benefits. It can be added before, during, or after cooking, depending on the recipe. 

Recipe That Use Pomegranate Molasses

There are a handful of iconic Middle Eastern dishes that wouldn’t be the same without pomegranate molasses, such as muhammara, a roasted red pepper and walnut dip, and Fesenjan, a Persian chicken stew. 

Beyond its classic application, pomegranate molasses holds a world of potential. It can be whisked into marinades for meat and fish, used in a salad dressing, brushed on roasted vegetables as a glaze, stirred into cocktails or mocktails, or even just drizzled on yogurt or oatmeal as a less-sweet swap for honey or maple syrup.