How to Make Grenadine and Why You Should Bother | Cupcake Project

How to Make Grenadine and Why You Should Bother

Homemade Grenadine

Homemade grenadine is surprisingly easy to make and when you learn how to make grenadine, you can avoid the high fructose corn syrup and food coloring in the store-bought version.

Why You should Make Homemade Grenadine

Kristen of Bakesweet contacted me wondering if I had a recipe for a cupcake with grenadine. I did not, but immediately got excited about the concept of making one. In preparation, I did a bit of research about grenadine.

According to the Wikipedia article on grenadine:

“The name ‘grenadine’ comes from the French word grenade meaning pomegranate, as grenadine was originally prepared from pomegranate juice and sugar. However, grenadine is also a common name mistakenly applied to syrups and beverages consisting of other fruit juices (e.g. raspberry, redcurrant, blackberry) and sugar syrup. The characteristic flavor can be obtained from a mixture of blackcurrant juice and other fruit juices with the blackcurrant flavor dominating.
The food industry, however, has widely replaced grenadine fruit bases with artificial ingredients. The Mott’s brand ‘Rose’s’, by far the most common grenadine brand in the United States, is now formulated entirely out of a high-fructose corn syrup, water, and citric acid base, sharing nearly the same formulation as orange drink.”

I looked in my pantry and found that the grenadine we had was, in fact, the Rose’s high fructose corn syrup variety. About a year ago, we committed genocide against any food or beverage in our home that contained high fructose corn syrup. I was shocked to discover that there was a sole survivor. It had to be annihilated.

How was I to make my grenadine cupcakes without using this high fructose corn syrup impostor?

Thanks to Cocktail Chronicles, I learned that it is easy to make your own grenadine.

How to Make Grenadine

How to Make Grenadine and Why You Should Bother

How to Make Grenadine and Why You Should Bother


  • A 32 oz.bottle of pomegranate juice*
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Food coloring (optional)**


  1. Bring 4 cups of pomegranate juice (the whole 32oz bottle) to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and simmer until it reduces in half. You can let it reduce more that half if you want it to be a bit thicker. This process took about 15 minutes.
  3. Add sugar and let it dissolve.
  4. Chill.


*This is becoming more popular and should be easy to find. POM is a popular but very expensive brand. I was able to find some 100% organic pomegranate juice for much cheaper.

**It won't be quite as red as Rose's so you can add food coloring if you'd like. It will taste a million times better.


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78 Responses to How to Make Grenadine and Why You Should Bother

  1. Lewis January 17, 2008 at 4:32 pm #

    OMG!!!! This is way too easy! I never even considered making my own grenadine. I mean I don’t really use it all that much but when I do I usually use Rosie’s. After hearing what Wiki had to say about that brand I’ll hesitate before I grab it again.

    Thanks for the neat and easy way to make our own!

    (You are on my blogroll if you want to check me out: )

  2. January 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    Didn’t know this was so easy—-COOL! I’ll be making some for this weekend’s cocktails!

  3. Tojosan January 17, 2008 at 6:51 pm #

    Sounds delish! And so when am I getting to sample some of these fine wares?

  4. Gigi January 18, 2008 at 11:35 am #

    Great recipe! Who knew grenadine could be easily made at home?

  5. Yennigirl January 18, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    Thanks for the recipe!! I can’t wait to see the cupcake results of this! I love pommegranate.

  6. playswithyarn January 18, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    does it say how long it would keep? can you keep it in the fridge like you would do a bottle of rose’s? Could you freeze it?

  7. Stef January 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    Lewis – I was so surprised too! Thanks for adding me to your blog roll. I did the same.

    Clumsy – Excellent! Hope it works out for you.

    Tojosan – I’ll have to bring you some at the next blog event.

    Gigi – I certainly didn’t!

    Yenni – It’s coming soon!

    Plays – Apparently if you add a bit of vodka to it it will keep just fine.

  8. Angelina January 19, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    I want to make some too. Is the pomegranate flavor really noticeable? I would worry that it might end up just tasting sugary. Do you think the grenadine they used to serve in Shirley Temples was the real stuff about thirty years ago?

    Very interesting!

  9. Stef January 19, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    Angelina – Actually, my husband doesn’t even like pomegranate juice and he liked the grenadine. It’s sweet but not sickeningly sweet. Not sure how long the fake variety has been used.

  10. Cathy January 26, 2008 at 9:32 am #

    Michael and I are going to make the grenadine this weekend – we are having a Mardis Gras Party next weekend and thought it would be fun!

  11. Anonymous January 29, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    What a great idea! Like you, we’ve tried to cut back on corn syrup products but I had no idea that Rose’s had so much corn syrup–in fact, I never thought to look at any of my liquor cabinet supplies. I definitely want to try this, but do you have any idea what the shelf life of the homemade grenadine is (refrigerated, of course)?


  12. PrissyCook January 29, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    I’m making my own batch tonight. I too cut all the HFCS out of the pantry.

    So, thanks for sharing!

  13. Stef January 29, 2008 at 8:29 pm #

    Harlie – My guess is that it would last about as long as any juice in the fridge. We drank it pretty quickly. I bought some sparking water and mixed it with the grenadine to make a pomegranate soda. It was yummy.

    However, according to Cocktail Chronicles..
    “Add an ounce of high-proof vodka or grain alcohol as a preservative. You can also store this in a plastic container in the freezer; the high volume of sugar keeps it from freezing, and you can just tip out a little frigid syrup each time you need it.”

    Prissy – Cool! Hope you like it!

  14. pd_THOR July 4, 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    Do you have any posts about your “genocide” on HFCS?

  15. Stef July 6, 2008 at 7:46 pm #

    PD_THOR – Nope. That would be a fun post though!

  16. Marilyn (Simmer Till Done) July 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    Hi Stef – Lovely and delicious blog. I was intrigued by the homemade grenadine idea, something I’d never considered doing. Wonderful! I’ll bet it makes a killer Shirley Temple. Thanks for the great idea.

  17. Anonymous July 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    For a great drink, actually using the grenadine:

    1 part vodka
    1 part coconut rum
    1 part pineapple juice

    Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.

    Add a dash of grenadine to create a very tasty, very pretty two layer drink (the grenadine will sink to the bottom of the martini glass).

  18. Anonymous January 29, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    Can I use Black Cherry Concentrate juice for the Grenadine?

  19. Stef January 30, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    I’m sure you could use black cherry and it would taste yummy, I’m just not sure that I would call it grenadine.

  20. Mick March 7, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    ya rock. thanks for the inspiration. I now proudly possess my very own bottle of homemade grenadine!


  21. Logan November 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    made this last night. it’s incredibly good. thanks for sharing

  22. tmgill February 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    coming from a family that goes through a lot of grenadine (we’re big on manhattans), you’ve really got me pumped with this one. thanks!

  23. The Roaming Pie Elf February 28, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    I have a couple of pomegranate trees in my yard and though I’ve been making fresh juice but never thought I could take it a step further! Can’t wait to try this.

  24. Mikey August 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    So simple!

    What is the deal with HF Corn Syrup though? It is just fine as long as you use it just like any other sugar product — IN MODERATION. Start sucking down too much of any sugar and you are not doing good things for your body.

    I’d rather drink a whole bottle of HFCS than start putting chemical coloring into my body!

  25. Anonymous February 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Regular corn syrup is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. HFCS is 40% glucose and 60% HFCS, so don’t lose any sleep over that BS you’re hearing on TV about how bad it is… fructose is just sweeter tasting than glucose, but they both are part of what we call DELICIOUS SUGAR.

  26. Anonymous March 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    “fructose is just sweeter tasting than glucose, but they both are part of what we call DELICIOUS SUGAR.”

    Looks like the propaganda arm of the corn industry has paid a visit. The FACT is, fructose is metabolized differently than glucose or sucrose, leading to a rise in triglycerides, fat, and atherosclerosis. YOU may call it sugar, but those of us who know and care call it toxic.

    Speaking of toxic, standard grenadine also contains a large dose of RED40. This stuff is AWFUL and is reason enough to make your own.

  27. bradd March 28, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    I have been making this recently using POM and organic apple juice from COSTCO, at fraction of the cost of the regular stores… the apple adds enough sweetness to go without adding more heavily purified and processed beet crystals (white sugar). I use a 2:1 pom to apple, and reduce about 3:1. It is amazing, and used for tea, flavoring Greek yogurt etc, smoothies… endless possibilities.

  28. Stef March 30, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Bradd – That sounds incredible.

  29. Stefani May 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I just finished making the homemade grenadine, after being directed to your blog because I wanted to learn to make clotted cream (it’s in the oven baking now!) Oh my goodness, this is SO GOOD! I also feel a fair amount of similarity with you. 1. I volunteered to make cupcakes for my friend’s wedding two years ago (they turned out perfect, btw!). 2. My dad’s whole family is from Kirkwood, Mo. 3. My name is Stef! Thanks for the blog! You rock!

  30. Stef May 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Stefani – That’s crazy! You even spell your name the same way that I do! We should meet up sometime if you ever visit St. Louis!

  31. Stefani May 3, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Stef, turns out I’m going to be in St. Louis May 16-18th visiting my grandmother. I was there last year for the Society for American Archaeology meetings and St. L has really rejuvenated! Love it! Seems pretty swanky now, there must be a cupcake shop somewhere we could meet. :)

  32. Stef May 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Stefani – Drop me an email and we’ll make a plan.

  33. Organic Chemist June 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    There’s absolutely no difference in eating HFCS or table sugar.

    Table sugar is 100% Sucrose. Sucrose is a sugar molecule that is disaccharide comprised of Glucose and Fructose. So that’s 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose.

    HFCS is 60:40 Fructose to Glucose. Fructose, a pentose, is metabolized in much the same way as Glucose, a hexose. Unless you are eating nothing but corn syrup all day long, you’re not going to see any difference in your health.

    And for the person who said that eating more Fructose leads to an increase in Triacylglycerides (TAG’s), Fat, and Atherosclerosis you do not really know what you are talking about.

    Fat, or lipids, come from fatty acids. These are long carbon chains that contain a carboxylic acid group. They can be unsaturated (have carbon-carbon double bonds) or saturated (all carbon-carbon single bonds). Triacylglycerides are used by the body to store fat. They are a combination of a molecule of Glycerol with three fatty acids.

  34. Anonymous June 26, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    I feel a bit late to the party, but to the anon bashing on fructose:
    You do realize that fructose is the main source of carbohydrates in fruit, right? Please don’t tell me you think fruit is deadly toxic. Also, sucrose is a disaccharide composed of a fructose and a glucose molecule; sucrose is metabolized by separating those two molecules and metabolizing them individually. Either way, fructose is metabolized in almost exactly the same way glucose is; they’re isomers and only one enzyme away from being the same thing. Go back to biology 101 and study up your glycolysis.

  35. Anonymous September 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    The list of studies that show HFCS to cause increased weight gain over other forms of sweeteners is much to long to put into this post. One of the better, and more recent ones, was conducted at Princeton University[1], and found that rats that were fed HFCS gained fat 300% more quickly than those fed an equal (or slightly larger) dose of fruit-derived sugar.

    2. Increased Risk of Developing Type-2 Diabetes

    Over the years, consumption of high-fructose corn syrup can lead to a huge increase in the likelihood of developing diabetes.[2] The worst part about it is how easily this life-long condition can be avoided in most cases. Excessive amounts of soda, energy drinks and junk-food simply aren’t worth losing a foot or going blind or harming your children.

    3. Hypertension and Elevated “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

    High-fructose doesn’t just make your body fat. It makes your heart fat too. There is a strong link between the irresponsible consumption of high fructose corn syrup and elevated triglyceride and HDL (bad cholesterol) levels.[3] Together these can cause arterial plague build-up and eventually lead to dangerous heart conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and even stroke.

    4. High Fructose Corn Syrup & Long-Term Liver Damage

    This is a big one that a lot people overlook. Like anything else you eat or drink, HFCS is processed by your liver, gallbladder and kidneys. And it’s especially destructive to your liver. When combined with a sedentary lifestyle, permanent liver scarring can occur.[4] This greatly diminishes the organ’s ability to process out toxins and, over time, can lead to an expansive range of other negative health concerns. Another study suggests that HFCS may also cause fatty liver.[5]

    5. Mercury Exposure from HFCS

    Even if you were already aware of previously mentioned risks associated with corn syrup, there’s a good chance that you didn’t know it also often loaded with alarmingly high levels of mercury. In a study conducted just last year they found mercury in over 50 percent of the samples tested.[6] Mercury exposure can result in irreversible brain and nervous system damage – especially in young, growing bodies. This is especially worrisome with the abundance of HFCS in children-target foodstuffs.

  36. Anonymous January 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    To Anonymous:I am a proven case against HFCS. When I removed it from our diet completely, I had 25 lbs just melt off while doing nothing to lose weight other than stop drinking soda. Another 5 came off later & slower. My cholesterol which was high but not terrible shot down to just above normal (it runs in family). A severe & chronic GI disorder has so far stopped completely & I feel better in general. My weight now is in the normal-light range. I can take hikes & ride my bike without feeling like I was going to pass out. How many of us are out there that respond to HFSC like this? I am guessing many & they don’t even realize what’s doing it. It makes you artificially FAT!

  37. Anonymous January 10, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Do not believe the lies that HFCS is exactly like sugar. I still use sugar, I still drink soda with sugar & have not gained 1 ounce of weight unlike the 25-30 lbs HFCS put on me. It is not the same at all-it must be the processing that changes things. Good idea that has gone bad-move on. This isn’t working for anyone but the producers.

  38. Ashley Michèlle March 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    Is there a way to substitute the sugar with stevia?

    • Glenda April 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      very good question Ashley. I use Stevia too and would like to know.

    • Glenda April 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      found this site Ashley , hope it helps you. one person commmented though that one of the conversions is wrong so please read the comment section.

  39. Kara March 7, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague (because that’s what it is!) and so I thought I would never be able to allow my daughter to have a Shirley Temple again! I didn’t even know that grenadine is supposed to be from fruit. I grew up thinking Rose’s was all there was. Thank you so much for this simple recipe, I can’t wait to try it!!

  40. Anonymous March 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    If find it funny people shorten High Fructose Corn syrup to corn syrup. Corn syrup like Karo and brown rice syrup are made from starches that would make the sugars contained almost 100% straight glucose. That’s why they are not as sweet. Fructose is much sweeter. If you use agave you have mostly fructose there making it a much worse alternative. Honey will also be higher in fructose than sugar or HFCS.

  41. Anonymous March 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Once the newly made grenadine is bottled, if I use my canner and process it, would it still have to be refrigerated?

  42. Anonymous April 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Actually, the person who said sugar raises triglycerides (I prefer the shorter term) knows exactly what they’re talking about. Check out this link for instance:

    They’re made by your liver.

  43. Amy @ Heritage Homemaker April 18, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    WOW! Thanks so much for sharing this! I definitely won’t be buying Rose’s brand grenadine any more. This is so easy!

  44. Mary @ Fit and Fed April 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Thanks! I may try Bradd’s variation with the pomegranate juice and apple juice, possibly with some agave if necessary. I know what you mean about the cupboard purge and finding those last few items– in our case, chutneys and Worcestershire sauce were among the last gross HFCS items to be found (I see that the Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce has now been reformulated to remove the HFCS).

  45. Janice D'Agostino April 23, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    oh excellent! I’ve linked this to a blog on Strawberry Grenadine Smoothies. Nice.

  46. Anonymous April 24, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    First of all, there’s a big fat difference between HFCS and fructose. For example, fructose contains very little hydrochloric acid. Second of all, they’re bashing it because the corn lobby is feeding a lot of brain dead people a lot of bull plop to try to save themselves. HFCS is poison, it’s not the same chemical composition as sucrose as proved actual chemical analysis, and the only reason there’s so much of it is because we subsidize the crap out of it instead of, oh, I don’t know, something that’s actually food. And you’re the one who need to go back to biology 101 if you think enzymatic action is that simple.

    • RealityCheck May 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm #


  47. Tara Edwards May 1, 2012 at 4:20 am #

    This recipe is wonderful – With a severe ADHD kid, we try and avoid red dyes. THANK YOU! Who knew it could be so darn simple?!

  48. Anonymous May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    thx for the article. i think i’ll play with it to find a version made with raw honey that we like.

  49. Anonymous July 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    just stumbled on your blog through a Pinterest link…love it!

  50. Heidi Szczepanski October 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Sounds great. Thanks for posting.

    Buy Here Pay Here

  51. Anonymous October 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    why not make grenadine from the pomegranates?
    You just peel them, cook them,and than take the syrup and mix it with sugar (1:1) in the end you can add some red food colourant.
    I just make it today, tastes great,and I thing that using fresh fruits is the better option than using juices :)

  52. Elizabeth GreenWitch November 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    wonder if anyone has used beet juice to make the red red-er? or would that alter the taste too much? this recipe will be apart of my staples! ty

  53. Anonymous February 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    The HFCS may not be much of a problem, but making it with GM Corn certainly is. 95% of all corn is now Genetically Modified and HFCS is a product that is highly refined and super condensed. Stay away from it.

  54. Anonymous March 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Whatever it is that motivated you to learn how to do something for yourself doesn’t make it right for everyone else! Take satisfaction you learned it & can now teach it. Keep your politics to a political venue so we can appreciate learning something for ourselves without that bias.

    Educate yourself, always ask questions, and then decide what is right for you. You have a choice in what you consume so choose. Educate others if you desire as to why you decided but also know that it may not be the choice for all. Respect that just as those that may disagree should respect your choice.

    Demonizing choices will leave us all with none. Eliminating choices lowers everyone’s standard of living. The blame game is for lawyers and courts where no one wins. It just adds more middle men to be paid by the consumers.

    Here’s something to chew on, the United States citizens worked hard to feed themselves and their family. Those that succeeded doing so from the land became farmers. Successful farmers fed a country. Successful citizens made the US a successful country. Now that country is trying to feed the world. Every time the United States standard of living drops so does the worlds.

    I find it ironic and hypocritical that someone wants to commit “genocide” on HFCS but has no problem posting alcoholic recipes. Alcohol isn’t poison? Do you take medications?? Aren’t those highly processed, genetically altered, and regulated and lobbied?

    Keep learning. Keep teaching. Stop politicizing. Your happiness isn’t a conspiracy.

    • Emm May 26, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      You forgot to add ‘Stop having an opinion.’ to your rant. 😐

  55. Joie April 23, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Looking forward to trying this. SInce food coloring is a no-no (petroleum based product) Ill try it without the dye, or maybe my natural dyes!

  56. RealityCheck May 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Oh, the HFCS genocide… HFCS isn’t worse for you than sugar. Don’t eat too much of either. It’s strange that you would recommend food coloring (!) but are anti-HFCS.

    That said, this grenadine is way better than Rose’s. Thanks!

  57. juicing for Beauty June 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts
    and I will be waiting for your next write ups thanks once again.

  58. H Sterg July 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Does this need to be refrigerated? Also how long will it keep?

  59. Janis March 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    One thing you forgot to mention is whether to cover the pan or not.

    • ccrow November 24, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      You’re reducing it, so you leave it uncovered in order for the water in it to evaporate.

  60. Reverse Your Diabetes Today Scam May 14, 2014 at 8:46 pm #

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  61. Katie July 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    Can I can this in a water bath????


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