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Pomegranate molasses

Updated: Thu, 23 February, 2023

Homemade pomegranate molasses, thick syrupy elixir you cannot be without when cooking Middle Eastern meats, sauces, dressings and desserts.

pomegranate molasses

Syrup or molasses?

What we call various dishes and foodstuffs is just a matter of fashion.

Before Yotam Ottolenghi came to reign the culinary world of aubergine and pomegranate, we’d call this concoction syrup.

But now it sounds completely wrong, like what the great granny would make from garden redcurrants, in quaint bottles covered with squares of muslin secured with a ribbon tied around the bottle’s neck. Or Hercule Poirot’s tipple of choice. Or a cough medicine. Or maple.

But I have to disappoint Yotam’s fans (though I have nothing against the chef, au contraire: I adore the guy): molasses is the by-product of cane sugar and has nothing to do with fruit.

homemade pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate treacle

Molasses is actually exactly the same thing as treacle which is the British expression (Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie lived in the treacle well, not molasses) but ‘treacle’ doesn’t sound quite as sexy, does it?

Molasses then it will have to be since, if truth be told, it is technically not a syrup as that means a concentrated sugar solution in water. Mine features very little added sugar, though obviously naturally occurring sugars in fruit are very potent.

What it – technically, scientifically and semantically – should be called is pomegranate concentrate, reduction, cordial or squash. But would anyone know what I was talking about if I started saying ‘pomegranate cordial’ all the time? Would they now.

It is gorgeous stuff though and it works a treat as a meat glaze, acidity provider in dressings and sauces, a drizzle on cereal and a zing dribbled over ice cream. Even if calling it molasses is a thorough misnomer.

pomegranate molasses from fresh fruit

How to juice pomegranates?

Making the syrup (molasses) is a doddle: it’s the getting out of those pesky seeds (arils) from the pomegranates that is a challenge.

Or rather it used to be: now everyone on YouTube shows you how to bang the fruit halves with a wooden mallet to collect them in a large bowl. The downside is that a lot of the juice will end up on the kitchen worktops, but that is the nature of the crimson beast.

I sometimes juice poms like oranges, using a basic, manual citrus juicer. It works pretty well. But if you’d like to bang the fruit (ahem) with a spoon, it’s an effective method to let out steam, if not so much the arils.

juicing pomegranates

How to make the pomegranate molasses?

If you end up with a bowlful of seeds (arils), you can either pass them through a blender then a sieve which is quite laborious.

A food mill is a handy tool – it also works extremely well for pureeing raspberries when you want to remove the pips. But if necessary equipment is scarce, resort to the citrus juicer.

Either way, once you’ve collected at least half a litre strained, beautiful juice, the rest is easy: just cook it down with not a lot of sugar and a little lemon juice, to retain the vibrant crimson hue. It’s ready to decant when thick and - you guessed – syrupy.

It best be kept in a fridge and it will be good for a few weeks there, in a clean bottle or container.

cooking molasses

How to use pomegranate molasses?

It is gorgeous stuff, not only to be used in Middle Eastern dressings and sauces.

I love it on porridge, in tiny puddles like molten jewels. Try it on American style breakfast pancakes or on the proper, grown up, European crepes instead of Grand Marnier.

It will look and taste fantastic drizzled over whipped cream or yoghurt for a very simple dessert.

And you can dilute it with iced water, with or without a shot of vodka in the glass.

And for a twisty, fusion cream tea experience, drizzle it over clotted cream on a scone.

pomegranate molasses

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Pomegranate molasses

Servings: makes about 120mlTime: 2 hours


  • 4 large pomegranates
  • 50g (14 cup) sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


1. The best method to release the seeds from a pomegranate is to cut the fruit horizontally in half; hold each half cut side down over a large bowl and whack it with a wooden spoon. The seeds – technically they are called arils – will just pop out.

2. Do the same with all the halves. Pick out bigger bits of the white pith but don’t worry about the smaller ones.

3. The main task is to extract the juice from the arils. If you have a food mill, it’s best for this purpose.

4. If you haven’t got one, whizz the seeds briefly in a blender or food processor, then pour into a colander lined with cheesecloth and sieve the juice, squeezing the cheesecloth to get out as much as you can.

5. Pour the juice to a medium sized pan; you’ll probably have about ½ litre (2 cups) of juice.

6. Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring it to the boil. Simmer over low heat for an hour, swirling the molasses round the pan every now and then to check it isn’t burning. When it looks much more viscous, coats the back of a cold spoon and has reduced by three quarters in volume, it’s ready.

7. Decant the molasses to a clean bottle or jar. Let it cool down, then keep in the fridge; it will keep for a couple of weeks. Use the molasses as a glaze for meat, drizzle over cereal, cake, yoghurt or ice cream or stir into drinks or salad dressing.

Originally published: Mon, 3 December, 2018

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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