Chewy and soft pomegranate caramels are made with homemade pomegranate molasses and have a delightfully sweet and tangy flavor. These would make a perfect gift or holiday treat!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Texture - ultra chewy, soft caramels! Store them in the fridge for a slightly harder version, or at room temperature for a very soft version.
Flavor - tangy, sweet, and deep pomegranate molasses flavor. It's a nice twist on a classic chewy caramel.
Gifting - these pomegranate caramels are the perfect gift for housewarmings and holidays. These would be a particularly great option for Rosh Hashanah, as pomegranates are symbolic of the Jewish holiday! They'd be great alongside my chocolate caramel marshmallow bars or biscoff truffles, too.
These pomegranate caramels follow the method of the apple cider caramels from Smitten Kitchen, which are some of my favorite treats of all time!
- Pomegranate juice. Use 100% pure pomegranate juice (Pom Wonderful is found at most grocery stores these days) or blend up your own juice using fresh pomegranates. Be sure to check the label to be sure there are no extra sugars or additives.
- Unsalted butter. At room temperature and cut into tablespoon pieces.
- Sugars. Both light brown and granulated sugars are used.
- Heavy whipping cream.
- Vanilla. Use vanilla paste or vanilla extract.
- Flaky sea salt. I don't recommend skipping this! I use Maldon flakes and it really helps to balance out the sweetness of the caramels.
See recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
How to Make Homemade Pomegranate Juice
If you are unable to obtain 100% pure pomegranate juice, you can make your own from whole pomegranates, or pomegranate seeds (arils).
- Remove the top circle of the pomegranate with a paring knife.
- Run a knife from the top of the pomegranate to the bottom in 4-5 places along the soft spots of the fruit.
- Pull the pomegranate apart in quadrants.
- Remove the arils and add them to a food processor or blender.
- Pulverize until broken down, then pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to extract all of the juices.
To get the amount of juice you'll need for this recipe, you will need to de-seed about 8 pomegranates.
Try adding any of the following onto the tops of the caramel once it's been poured in the pan and has set for about 5-10 minutes.
- Chopped almonds
- Chopped pistachios
- Pomegranate seeds
- Drizzled chocolate (add this once the caramel is fully set and cool)
How to Make This Recipe
One: Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook it down until it becomes a syrupy molasses consistency and yields about ½ cup.
Two: Add in the butter, sugars, and heavy cream and mix it together to melt, then place it back on the heat.
Hot tip! The pomegranate reduction gets rather foamy towards the end. Take it off the heat to check the consistency, then put it back on if it needs more time to reduce.
Three: Cook the mixture until it reaches 250℉ on a candy thermometer. It will be bubbling at this point.
Four: Stir in the vanilla, flaky salt, and red food coloring, then pour the hot pomegranate caramel into the prepared pan.
Five: Refrigerate for two hours until set, then grease the blade of a sharp knife with neutral oil and cut the caramels into bite-sized pieces.
Six: Wrap each individual caramel in a 4x4" square of wax paper and twist the edges, then enjoy or gift them to a loved one!
Hot tip! Cut the caramels while they are cold from the fridge & separate them so they aren't touching. Otherwise, they'll get stuck together.
The Best Way to Wrap Homemade Caramels
There are a few options to wrap the pomegranate caramels. These are listed in order of personal preference, and all should be cut into a 4x4" square:
- wax paper
- cellophane or wax paper + colored foil (this is great for holidays!)
- parchment paper
- Keep an eye on the pomegranate juice when reducing it. Having the heat too high can burn the molasses towards the end and then it will not taste good.
- Without using food coloring, the pomegranate caramels will be brown. Use as much or as little color as you'd like to get the hue you want.
- For slightly thicker caramels, use a 9x5" loaf pan. For slightly thinner caramels (and more caramels) use an 8x8" square pan. I like to use pans with straight sides for the nicest-looking caramels.
- Don't skip lining the pan with parchment paper! This is necessary to pull the caramel block out of the pan to cut them.
- Be sure to separate the caramels after each cut and don't allow them to touch as they will stick back together.
- It's easiest to wrap the caramels on the counter or a flat surface.
The only difference between a soft, chewy caramel and a hard crack caramel is the temperature to which it is cooked. A chewy caramel is cooked to roughly 250℉ and a hard caramel is cooked to closer to 300℉
This is likely because the caramel was not cooked for long enough. Even if the caramel is set, they can be added back to a saucepan and cooked again, ensuring that the temperature reaches 250-252℉, then added back into the pan to set.
Absolutely! Follow all of the same steps, but cook the caramel to 230℉ rather than 250℉ to get a drizzling consistency rather than a chewy caramel consistency.
Store the wrapped caramels at room temperature for two weeks, or in the fridge for up to one month. The caramels can also be wrapped and frozen in an airtight container for two months and thawed at room temperature.
More Recipe Gift Ideas
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- medium or large saucepan a heavy bottomed pot is best
- wax paper for wrapping the caramels
- 4 cups pure pomegranate juice 945ml
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature, cut into tablespoon pieces (113g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- ½ cup light brown sugar 100g
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream 80ml
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- red food coloring optional
- Bring the pomegranate juice to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about one hour, occasionally scraping down the sides.
- While the pomegranate juice is reducing, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Also, grease an 8x8" pan or loaf pan and add two strips of parchment paper to completely cover the bottom of the pan and sides. Additionally, cut 32 pieces of wax paper into roughly 4-inch squares.
- Cook down the juice until it turns into a slightly thick and syrup-like consistency and yields about ½ cup (just eyeball it). Swipe your finger across a rubber spatula to feel the consistency of the reduction.
- Once the juice has reduced, add the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and heavy cream and stir to combine.½ cup unsalted butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, ½ cup light brown sugar, ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- Turn the heat to medium and allow the mixture to come to 250℉/121℃, stirring it occasionally.
- Once the caramel reaches temperature, remove it from the heat and stir in vanilla and salt. If using red food coloring, add in a small amount at a time and stir it in until the desired color is reached.2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract, 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, and place into the fridge (uncovered) for about two hours.
- Once the caramel has solidified, carefully coat the blade of a sharp chef's knife with neutral oil and cut into the desired sizes. Add a swipe of oil to the blade in between each cut.
- Separate the caramels immediately (keeping them on parchment paper) so they don't stick together, then wrap each caramel individually in wax paper.
Hi! Would pomegranate molasses work in place of reducing your own pomegranate juice?
Hi Brooke, while I haven't tried it, I would imagine it would be a fine substitute and the process would be exactly the same. Just be sure to get it nice and hot, first. Let me know if you try it!
I am confused by which pan to put the hot caramel in to? There is mention of a loaf pan and also an 8x8
Hi Michelle, you can use either pan. A loaf pan will produce thicker (but fewer quantity) caramels, an 8x8" pan will produce thinner (but higher quantity) caramels.
I just tried out this recipe. Unfortunately after having it in the fridge for the night it still did not solidify enough to cut it. Do you maybe have a clue why?
Thanks and greetings from Vienna (Austria)
Hi Andrea, it may be that the pomegranate juice wasn't reduced enough, or the caramel needed a slightly longer cook time. I've heard this same problem from a few others at this point. You can add the caramel you have back into the pot and cook it again, trying for a higher temperature (try closer to 255-260F) and then pour it back in to set!
I'm going to re-test this a few times so I can provide a range of cook times to see where the sticking point could be!