Cranberries are a deliciously tart fruit that is commonly used in baking muffins, pies, or quick bread around the holidays. But if you are unable to find them at the grocery stores and are in need of something similar to help with your recipes, these top 10 best cranberry substitutes will come in handy!
What Are Cranberries?
Cranberries are a type of small, tart berry that are native to North America. They are commonly used in cooking and baking due to their unique flavor and texture. Fresh cranberries are in season from September to December, but they are also available frozen year-round. Cranberries can be used in cooking and baking in a variety of different ways. They can be found in baked goods such as quick bread and pies, in salads and salad dressings, meat dishes, drinks, dessert fillings, and jams. They are most commonly used in the winter holiday season in the United States such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
When cooking with cranberries, it’s important to balance their tartness with sweetness. Sugar, honey, or maple syrup are often used to sweeten cranberry recipes. Cranberries also pair well with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. When baking with fresh cranberries, it’s a good idea to chop them up first so they distribute evenly throughout the batter.
Cranberry Sauce Recipe
One of the most common uses for cranberries in cooking is to make cranberry sauce, which is often served with turkey or other roasted meats. The sauce is typically made by simmering cranberries with sugar and water until they burst and form a thick sauce that is similar to jelly. applesauce is very simple and easy to make. My favorite version is this homemade cranberry sauce. This is by far the easiest way to make it and tastes so much better than the canned version.
Dried cherries are one of the best substitutes for cranberries because they have a similar tartness that can complement sweet and savory dishes. They can be used in baking and cooking, like muffins, granola, or topping for yogurt or oatmeal. Dried cherries are also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, making them a healthy alternative to cranberries.
Pomegranate seeds are great substitutes that have a tangy flavor that is similar to cranberries and can add a nice crunch to salads, yogurt, and desserts. They can also be used to make a sauce that can be served alongside meats, like turkey or chicken. Pomegranate seeds are also full of health benefits since they are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium.
Raspberries have similar flavors, making them a good substitute in place of fresh cranberries for baked goods and desserts. They can be used fresh or frozen and can be substituted for cranberries in recipes like cakes, pies, or jams. Raspberries are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber.
Black currants have a tangier taste and can be used in sauces, syrups, and marinades. They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and iron, making them a healthy substitute for cranberries in recipes like fruit bars or chutneys. Black currants can also add a nice depth of flavor to savory dishes like meat marinades or sauces.
Blueberries have a sweet flavor and dark color but can be used as a substitute for cranberries in certain recipes, like muffins, and quick bread. This fresh fruit is also high in fiber and antioxidants, making them a healthy alternative. Blueberries can also be used in sweet and savory dishes like pancakes, salads, and overnight oats.
Sour cherries have a similar tart flavor to cranberries and can be used in baked goods and savory recipes. These red berries are outstanding in pies, cobblers, and sauces. Sour cherries are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium, making them a healthy alternative. Fresh cherries or frozen tart cherries would both be good in place of cranberries.
Goji berries have a slightly tart flavor and can be used in sauces, desserts, and smoothies. They are also high in nutrients like Vitamin C and antioxidants, making them another healthy substitute for cranberries. Goji berries can be used in recipes like trail mix, granola bars, or fruit salads.
Dried apricots can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for dried cranberries, like trail mix or granola. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Dried apricots can add a nice sweetness and chewiness to recipes like salads or baked goods.
Golden raisins have a sweet flavor and can be used in baked goods and salads. They are also a good source of iron, antioxidants, and fiber. Golden raisins can add a nice texture and sweetness to recipes like oatmeal, granola, or rice pilaf. These would be an excellent substitute for dried cranberries.
Apples can be cooked down with sugar and spices to make a sauce that can be used in place of cranberry sauce. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, making them a healthy alternative. Apples can be used in recipes like pies, cakes, and muffins, or as a topping for oatmeal or yogurt. Applesauce is also a similar alternative to cranberry sauce or cranberry jams.
Recipes with Cranberries
- Glazed Cranberry Orange Quick Bread– moist and sweet with bursting cranberries and oranges in every bite and topped with a sweet orange glaze.
- Candied Pecan and Cranberry Pear Salad– filled with tart cranberries, crisp pears, sugar candied pecans, and topped with a sweet honey vinaigrette.
- Cranberry Feta Pinwheels with Cream Cheese– a festive appetizer that is full of sweet and savory flavors.
- White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Sugar Cookies– soft, chewy, and thick cookies are filled with sweet cranberries and white chocolate chips in every bite.