Strawberries are really hard to replace, and the flavor they bring to any dessert is like nothing else. Still, sometimes you might find yourself in the position of having to replace strawberries, and that’s that.
So what do you do ? We’ve made up a lit of the best candidates possible, keeping texture, flavor, and color in mind. Now, some of these may work well for some recipes, and some may work better for others. For example what might be great to replace a strawberry decoration might be less suited in terms o flavor.
But let’s take a look at the whole list, and maybe you’ll find something you can use in your recipe. Who knows, it might already be in your pantry or fridge !
Best strawberry substitutes
The best strawberry substitutes are kiwi, figs, rhubarb, raspberry, any strawberry products like canned or jam, and strawberry extract. You can use one or several of these substitutes, according to what you’re making and how well it would fid into the recipe.
Keep in mind that some recipes call for strawberries for texture, others for color, and others for flavor. For example a Pavlova needs strawberries for decoration, as it’s a berry-centric dessert. But you can easily use any other berry in place of strawberries there, no problem.
Whereas a strawberry pie needs the flavor, and you might be missing the nice crunch the seeds bring. In this case, figs are totally the thing to use, and maybe add a dash of strawberry extract, to bring it closer to the real thing.
We’ll explore each of these options and how to use them best, so let’s go. Again, remember that you can use several of these substitutes together, it doesn’t have to be just one.
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Yes, we know, these things are green ! Yes, but they do resemble the flavor of strawberries, don’t they ? And depending on your recipe, the tiny seeds and the texture are exactly what you’re looking for.
Kiwis are just as juicy, seedy, sweet, and slightly tart as strawberries. These work best as decoration, or for texture. If you plan to cook them, keep in mind the color might be unpleasant, as pretty much anything green when cooked turns a weird shade of greenish brown.
Figs may be a better choice for both texture and flavor, and even decoration. When raw, they farther from strawberries that kiwis. But when cooked in a pie or jam they definitely turn strawberry-like. And the seeds ! Oh they’re so satisfying to crack, so tiny and absolutely everywhere.
Fresh figs, sliced thinly, will look very impressive as decoration too. You can just quarter them too, they’ll work just as well.
Rhubarb might not be your first guess, but hang on a minute. If you’re used to strawberry rhubarb pie, then you’re likely associating the flavor with strawberry. So, why not add in some nice, sweet, red rhubarb ? Maybe not on its own, but next to some figs in a pie it’d be very similar to the original pie.
Not only that, but rhubarb bleeds a lot of color into everything when cooked, so you’re also getting the color right too.
Raspberries are probably the first actual berry you’ve thought of, right ? Well you’re definitely not wrong, since these two are in the same family and do taste similar. Raspberries also work very, very well as decoration but they do have a downside.
The seeds, Yes, the seeds on raspberries manage to annoy absolutely everyone and their mother, so try and strain them if you can. If the seeds aren’t a problem then great, you can use them as-is !
Just keep in mind that in terms of texture, cooked raspberries are way softer that strawberries.
Alright, now let’s talk strawberry derivates, or byproducts, or any way you like to call them. Anything strawberry-based can and will work, if you’ve got a bit of creativity and a flexible recipe. The main point here is that you get the actual strawberry flavor and color, but maybe not the texture.
So let’s see what we have here.
Strawberry syrup can be a bit, um, syrup-y at times. Meaning it can taste a little artificial, and that’s true. But if it’s all you’ve got, you gotta make it work. This is incredibly useful if you’re making something like strawberry jello to go over dessert or a pastry.
It’s also good as a flavoring, though keep in mind it adds extra moisture to whatever you’re baking or whipping up.
Canned, frozen, or flaked strawberries
When fresh strawberries aren’t in season, might resort to other forms of strawberry. Any work, whether it’s canned or frozen or dry freeze flakes.
The canned and frozen ones won’t be really and good for decoration, but they will have the appropriate texture, and flavor. Dry freeze strawberry flakes will be less sweet, but they look great wither whole or crushed on top of a nice dessert.
Strawberry jam is a bit of a cheat, but it definitely works. You can use this in place of actual strawberry filling, maybe thicken it a little with some cornstarch over heat for a few minutes.
And it goes great as-is on top of some desserts, like a glaze or simply the jam on top of a cheesecake.
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If all else fails, you can just flavor the dessert with strawberry extract. This won’t work for just every dessert, but it works well enough for ice cream, whipped cream, buttercream, and the likes.
It’s also a great option if you’re using another fruit, and want to get a flavor closer to actual strawberries. We really recommend trying figs for texture and color, and adding a couple of drops of strawberry extract. This works great in a jam or filling or ice cream.
And that’s pretty much it, your strawberry substitute list is done ! Remember, if strawberries are required simply because they’re berries, then any other berry will do. But if you’re allergic to strawberries and berries in general, maybe something on this list will help you out.