Every great cook needs to know what to use as a substitute when running low on a main ingredient. Use these substitutes in place of blueberries in whatever recipe you make. You can find substitutes for muffins or salads, even for jelly and jam.
Don’t worry, if you read the title of this and worried that some company created faux blueberries. While we know it seems fakes seem to pop up everywhere nowadays, as far as we know, no one has substituted the actual delicious fruit with a faux version.
Instead, we’re referring to tasty options you could use for baking or cooking when you run low on or run out of the real deal. Many other fine berries could work in your recipes, too. Let’s explore the wonderful world of berries and what you could use instead of blueberries in a pinch.
Table of Contents
- What makes a blueberry a blueberry?
- Best Blueberry Substitutes
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do you use these substitutes for blueberries?
- Which of these substitutes works best for baking?
- Which of these substitutes works best for salads and other cold dishes?
- Which of these substitutes works best for desserts?
- What makes blueberries a healthy snack?
- What is the easiest way to obtain a mix of these berries?
- Where can you buy these berries?
What makes a blueberry a blueberry?
The tiny fruit blueberry grows in the western US and Chile year-round on large, woody shrubs. These smooth-skinned berries take on a round shape and grow to about the size of a shooting marble. Their color tends toward hues of dark blue.
The blueberry has almost no vitamin benefits but contains a large number of natural compounds called antioxidants that reduce the effects of free radicals. People ate them in droves for long before they became known though because they taste so good. They commonly serve as a snack by themselves, a topping for cereal, or an ingredient for bread, cakes, and pies.
Best Blueberry Substitutes
Pronounced ah-sigh-ee, the acai berry comes closest to blueberry in taste and health benefits. They do cost a little more, partially because they get marketed as a superfood, plus, unlike blueberries, they won’t grow in any environment.
Don’t laugh. Kiwi has to grow up, too. The baby kiwi has no fuzzy hairs on the rind. It already tastes like the larger kiwi though. You don’t have to peel it as you would a kiwi. Any dish you use a kiwi in, you can use baby kiwi in, too. It tastes great in salads and with yogurt.
Blackberries come close to blueberries, too. They do contain seeds. You can easily strain these out though, especially if you need the fruit for making syrup or jelly or jam.
For many people, the addition of boysenberries to Cap’n. Crunch many years ago has been their only exposure to boysenberries. This sweet berry tastes great on its own or as a complement to grains, so you can easily bake with it.
You can replace blueberries with either black or red currants, also called cassis. They have a tart taste while blueberries taste sweet, but they work great in jelly, jam, syrup, or sauce. You will need to add a little sugar or faux sweetener.
No, this isn’t an older, wiser blueberry. It just comes close to blueberries in taste and consistency.
Geese have no hand, er, wing in making gooseberries. These tart berries need a little added sugar or faux sweetener, but they work well in any type of recipe. While you can decorate the top of the cake or muffins with them, snacking on them by themselves will probably prove a tart experience.
Use black or red grapes as a blueberry substitute in yogurts or salads. They just aren’t made for pies or muffins, but you can use them in making any jelly or jam. You can use the white variety in making jelly or jam, but use added sugar judiciously since these white grapes are the sweetest.
Think of the huckleberry as a non-tropically grown acai. Your best bet to find these is a visit to the farmer’s market.
Only an “n” separates the spelling of the happy accident of horticulturalist James Harvey Logan. He wanted to make a new variant of blackberry and instead, created a hybrid – a new fruit altogether. This hybrid combines the Aughinburg blackberry and Red Antwerp raspberry.
The longanberry, a native plant of Asia and Australia, resembles lychee. You could make jam or jelly with this fruit.
The lychee, or litchi, is a juicy fruit grown on evergreen trees in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It tastes like nothing you have probably ever tasted, but deliciously so. You can use it in making jam, jelly, sauce, and as a topping for cakes.
This Deep South delight produces its harvestable mature fruit in early summer. You pick the Mayhaw berry in May, hence the name. A variety of hawthorn berry, they commonly appear in jam and jelly.
A close relative of the blackberry made famous by the children’s song. So, here we go ‘round the mulberry bush to pick a bowl of these for your cooking. They taste awfully close to blueberries but be careful because they’re fragile and easily fall apart, rather like a raspberry.
Although they taste different, the cheaper raspberry offers you a viable berry substitute. They bring beautiful color to any dish and also make a lovely topper.
The taste of strawberries completely differs from that of a blueberry, but it works great in jam, jelly, pies, and muffins. You can top a sorbet with them, or chop or slice it to toss in a salad.
You can only use pomegranates as a substitute in dishes that use blueberry as a raw ingredient, such as salads, yogurt mix-in, served with granola, etc. They taste vastly different, but you can get the fruit/berry taste from these.
Passion fruit also works only as a raw ingredient substitute, such as salads, yogurt mix-in, in a granola mix, etc. You can use it in muffins in a pinch.
The sweetest of the mulberries, they also qualify as a superfood. You find them chock full of vitamin C. They’re a common ingredient in tarts, candies, and syrup.
Frequently Asked Questions
You still have questions for us about blueberries. Here, we provide the answers.
How do you use these substitutes for blueberries?
Most of these options work on a one-for-one basis. If your recipe called for one pound of frozen or fresh blueberries, you could just as easily use the same amount of frozen or fresh blackberries, huckleberries, raspberries, etc. Similarly, you would use one cup to one cup, etc.
Which of these substitutes works best for baking?
When baking, you need a berry substitute that takes on a similar consistency as the blueberry. These baking blueberry substitutes include acai, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, huckleberries, passion fruit, pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries. Look at what you have available and your recipe to determine which of these to use. A typical muffin berry works best.
Which of these substitutes works best for salads and other cold dishes?
With respect to use in salads, choose a different small, round berry that provides a juicy taste. Acai, grapes, baby kiwi, huckleberry, and lychee.
Which of these substitutes works best for desserts?
When you need something to top a dessert, such as sorbet or ice cream, choose a berry that tastes great alone. Try raspberries or loganberries. Blackberries or strawberries will work well, too.
What makes blueberries a healthy snack?
While blueberries have no vitamin nutrition at all, they only contain 84 calories in a cup of berries. That provides a large fat-free snack with little caloric content. They barely have sodium with only one milligram but provide an important source of potassium with 114g.
They’re a healthy carbohydrate, containing ten percent of the daily value, but balanced with ten percent of an individual’s dietary fiber. Rounding that out, one cup contains 15 grams of natural sugar and one gram of protein. Their antioxidants also contribute to their healthiness.
What is the easiest way to obtain a mix of these berries?
You can buy a frozen mix of many of these berries at most grocery stores. This mixture usually contains blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, and currant.
Where can you buy these berries?
Your local grocery store or farmer’s market provides the best source for these berries.