Are you in the middle of making oatmeal cookie batter and totally forgot about the raisins ? Don’t worry, there’s definitely something you can use instead. In fact, there’s several options you have, depending on your taste and how easily you can find them.
So here’s the best ideas for raisin substitutes, and we’re pretty sure these work even for folks who hate raisins !
Best raisin substitutes
The best raisin substitutes are dried currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, prunes, sates, dried apricot, and dried pineapple. All of these can be finely minced to reduce them to raisin size, and will offer an interesting twist on the usual flavor.
Keep in mind that the main reason we’re adding raisins to any recipe is for texture, and then sweetness. So our substitutes have to be something equally chewy, which is why we’ve gone for other dried fruits. If you were to substitute for chocolate chips or simply omit the raisins, you’d get a different cookie.
This works for everything, not just cookie dough ! If you’re making a four cheese salad and need a sweet and chewy note, any of these substitutes will work. Same goes for adding sweetness and tang to a sauce, and so on. Give these a try, and see how they go. We’re partial to the dried cherries, but that’s just our personal taste.
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Currants are really interesting little things. Smaller than grapes, even smaller when dried. We’re talking about the actual currant fruit, that comes in white, red, or black.
These can get pretty sweet, especially when dried. But they might blend into the batter better than regular raisins, due to their size. So if you’ve got a picky eater who’s not really paying attention to their food, they might not even realize it !
Dried sweetened cranberries
If currants aren’t your thing at all, them maybe try sweetened cranberries. These are just as large as raisins, except they’re more tart. So you might want to go for the sweetened kind, if you’re also looking for sweetness. Really, these things are possibly the best substitute since they’re so easy to find and go with pretty much anything !
We’re said we’re partial to dried cherries, and we’re sticking to it. They have that extra flavor that raisins don’t have, and you can chop them smaller to get them to a raisin size.
And if flavor is an issue with raisins, them completely changing it with cherry will actually be a step up ! Give it a try, see if your Christmas chocolate and raisin cookies don’t come out better with cherries instead.
If you want to stick to a flavor closer to raisins, then you can go for prunes. They’re essentially just dried plums, so their flavor will be similar to plums but in a mellowed, sweeter way. You definitely have to chop these up!
The upside is that 3-4 dried prunes will yield a whole lot of faux raisins, so you don’t have to get that many.
Dates, pitted and minced
Another flavor that’s still close to raisins, at least dark raisins, is dried dates. They’re maybe sweeter and chewier, but will definitely get the job done.
Make sure you get pitted dates, especially if you’re buying by the pound. You’ll have to chop the dates to get a similar size, so have that in mind.
Dried apricot for golden raisins
There’s a couple of options for golden raisins. These are a little different than your usual, dark raisins. For one, they’re bigger. And second, they’re sweeter and milder than dark raisins. If we have to choose between the two, we’d go with golden raisins.
So if this is what you’re trying to substitute, go for dried, chopped apricots. These are a wonderful stand-in, both in terms of color and flavor. Of course, you can use them in place of dark raisins too if you prefer.
Dried pineapple bits
Dried pineapple, as long as it’s not overly dry, will provide a whole new level of sweetness and texture. As you know, pineapples are quite fibrous so make sure to cut them into particularly small pieces. Use a food processor if you have to.
And yes, these work best for golden raisins but you can use them for dark as well. In fact, you can mix several of these substitutes to replace raisins in a recipe.
Always remember to soak dried fruit
No matter what kind of fruit you use to substitute raisins, always remember to soak them ! Either before or after chopping, you need to soak them. Otherwise they stay way too chewy and tough.
A soaked dry cherry won’t be as plump and juicy as a fresh one, but it will be much easier to chew through. You can use plain water, or fruit juice, rum or brandy, anything you like as long as the fruit will take it up.
Cutting through soaked, plumped fruit might be easier than with dried fruit. Some of them really expand a lot, like prunes for example. It’s much easier to get the right size chop when the fruits are already at their full size. If you chop them when they’re dry, they will expand when soaked.
Mince them in a food processor to get fine pieces
If you need a large natch of raisin substitutes then a food processor or blender will be your friend. Chopping 2-3 prunes is one thing, but going through a pound of dried fruit because you’re making a whole lot of cookies ? You need some help from your favorite helpful robot.
And if you get them small enough they can blend into the cookies even better, for those who don’t want to know the fruit are in there. They’ll still provide extra texture and chewiness, don’t worry !