Best Cherry Substitutes 7 Ideas To Try Next
You’ve found the perfect dessert recipe and it calls for cherries. Heavenly, delicious cherries! Probably your top 3 fruit, right? Okay, then what do you do if you just can’t find any?
Is your recipe doomed? Is there a way to save it? Are there any substitutes for cherries?
Well, it turns out there are. Several! So don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and we’ll tell you all we know about every cherry substitute out there. We’ll tell you how to get that beautiful red color too, and we’ll throw in a few extra tips on masking the flavors.
Best cherry substitute
The best cherry substitutes are dried cherries, frozen cherries, canned cherries, cherry preserve or jam, maraschino cherries, Amarena cherries, fresh sour cherries, plums, apricots, nectarines, or any cherry liqueur.
Depending on what you’re making and what you need cherries for, some of these substitutes may work better, or you may need to combine several.
If you’re feeling that the color of your cherry-based dish isn’t as red as you’d like, we’ll also give you a few ideas on how to get it.
Now let’s take a look at all the substitutes and how to use them!
1. Dried, frozen, or canned cherries
If you can’t find fresh cherries, then go for the shelved ones! We know, it might be a cheap trick, but hey you get the cherry flavor and the actual cherries. Now, this trick won’t work if you’re making a fruit salad or something where you need the cherries to look good.
Both frozen and canned cherries are pale and look, um, unappetizing compared to fresh cherries. Dried cherries will go great in a savory salad, just like you’d use dried cranberries or raisins.
And if all you needed was the cherry juice (maybe moisten a cake?) then grab some canned cherries and use that.
All three types of cherry will work very well if you’re trying to make a cherry sauce, or incorporate cherries into a cake batter, a cherry filling, what have you.
2. Cherry preserves or jam
If you can’t find a single cherry in the freezer or canned aisle, try the preserves and jams section. It’s already sweetened and the cherries are already cooked and possibly mushed. But it’s real, juicy cherries.
If you’re making a pastry filling or a cherry sauce these work as a base very well. Some recipes call for the cherry jam to be mixed into the batter, usually a type of brownie. If you’re making that. then you’re set!
Oh, these will also work great on top of a cheesecake. If you were planning on using a cherry jelly, why not use cherry jam or preserves instead?
3. Maraschino cherries
Ah, maraschino cherries! You definitely know these, they’re the bright red cherries you find on desserts sometimes! Yes, they’re bright red and you can always just remove the stem, and pop them on a cake. Or in a fruit salad, or whatever you’re making.
These work best in dishes that need you to display cherries on their own, so making a filling out of maraschino cherries is a bit much.
4. Amarena cherries
Amarena cherries are a slightly bitter type of cherry, but it’s always sweetened and comes with the deepest, darkest shade of red possible. You’ll almost always find these bad boys in preserves or jams, or maybe canned. They’re very hard to find on their own, in the fresh produce section.
Still, they provide a whole lot of flavors and they look amazing. They’re the biggest cherries out there, and you’ll almost always find them pitted. So that’s a plus!
5. Fresh sour cherries
Okay, what if for some reason you can’t find sweet cherries in any way, shape, or form? Then we go to their lesser known, less loved sisters, sour cherries.
Yes, they’re sisters alright. Smaller, and very similar in flavor but they need to be sweetened. They’re sour for a reason, and they may remind you a lot of cranberries.
Whether you get them fresh, canned, jam, frozen, or any other version, remember to sweeten these. They’ll look the same, act the same, have mostly the same flavor, and they might pass for real cherries for those who can’t tell the difference.
6. Prunus fruits like plums, apricots, nectarines
If cherries or sour cherries are off the list, try their cousins. Any fruit that has a large, hard pit inside and is related to cherries. This genus is the Prunus and includes plums, cherries, sour cherries, nectarines, apricots, peaches, mirabelles, and almonds.
Except for almonds, any of the listed fruits from that genus will work in your recipe. They’re essentially the same thing, but very different in terms of flavor. The only one that may come in close is the plum, especially if you find some beautiful red plums.
The recipe can be tweaked to suit the other fruits if you’re not very particular about which you use. If your recipe is for Black Forest cake then no, you can’t use any of these because they’re not cherries.
But if your recipe is more lenient or you’re willing to use something else, any of these will work. And you can also add in the next substitute.
7. Cherry liqueur or extract
Yes, we might bring just a bit of booze into this. Now, the cherry liqueur isn’t the strongest but it’s part of some recipes. The upside is you taste the cherries and it’s amazing. The downside is you can’t serve it to kids.
But there’s also cherry extract, which is non-alcoholic. It’s not as easy to find as a cherry liqueur, and it may not have the right color, but it’s something to try.
If your recipe doesn’t need you to bring actual cherry texture, just the flavor and maybe some color, then both of these will work very, very well.
Cherry is a fruit that has been around since ancient times. It was first cultivated in China and then spread throughout Asia and Europe. Cherry trees are native to North America and were introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages.
Today, there are hundreds of varieties of cherries grown worldwide. The most popular types of cherries are sweet cherries, sour cherries, and tart cherries. Sweet cherries have an intense flavor with hints of vanilla or almond while sour cherries taste like grapefruit juice. Tart cherries can be found as either dark red or yellow-red depending on their ripeness level. They also contain more sugar than other cherry varieties.
The best way to enjoy fresh cherries is by eating them straight from the tree when they’re ripe. You’ve discovered the ideal dessert recipe, and it includes cherries. Cherries that are heavenly and delectable! Isn’t this one of your top three fruits? So, what do you do if you can’t seem to find any?
If your dish is hopeless, what should you do? Is it possible to save it? Is there anything that can be used in place of cherries? It turns out that there are. Several, in fact! So don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and will tell you everything we know about every cherry alternative available. We’ll also show you how to obtain that gorgeous red hue, as well as a few more flavor-masking tricks.
Best cherry substitute
Cherry juice is delicious and healthy, but it also has a lot of calories. If you want to enjoy the taste of cherries without the added sugar, try these alternatives.
Some of these alternatives may work better than others, or you may need to mix several depending on what you’re preparing and what you need cherries for. If the color of your cherry-based meal isn’t quite as red as you’d like, we’ll provide some suggestions for improving it. Now let’s look at all of the alternatives and how to apply them!
Dried, frozen, or canned cherries
You might think dried cherries would make the perfect replacement because they’re already cooked. However, they still retain too much water and won’t give off enough aroma.
Frozen cherries are great because they’re ready to use right away. But they lack the sweetness of fresh ones. Canned cherries are good options because they’re easy to store and transport. Just keep in mind that they tend to lose their shape after being stored for long periods of time.
When compared to fresh cherries, both frozen and canned cherries are pale and unappealing. Dried cherries, like dried cranberries or raisins, are delicious in a savory salad.
If all you wanted was the cherry juice (to moisten a cake, perhaps? ), buy some canned cherries. If you’re making a cherry sauce or incorporating cherries into a cake batter, a cherry filling, or anything, all three varieties of cherries will work nicely.
Cherry preserves or jam
This option works especially well for pies, cakes, and cookies where you want something sweet. Jam made from cherries contains less sugar than jams made from strawberries or raspberries. This means that it doesn’t add extra weight to baked goods. And since it tastes so similar to real cherries, people who aren’t fans of fruit usually love it.
To get the same amount of sweetness as regular cherries, double up on the amount of sugar called for in recipes. Try the preserves and jams area if you can’t find a single cherry in the freezer or canned food section. It’s already sweetened, and the cherries have been cooked and may have become mushy. However, they are genuine, luscious cherries.
If you’re creating a pastry filling or a cherry sauce, they are excellent as a foundation. There are several brownie recipes that ask for the cherry jam to be incorporated into the batter. If you’re making that, you’re good to go!
These candied cherries have been around forever. They were originally created in Italy during the Renaissance era. Maraschino cherries come in two flavors: dark chocolate and vanilla. The latter variety is often mixed with other ingredients such as almonds or hazelnuts. These maraschinos are very popular in desserts and cocktails.
They do not really substitute for fresh cherries, though. Their intense flavor makes them an excellent addition to many dishes. Maraschino cherries, oh my! You’ve probably seen them before; they’re the bright red cherries that occasionally appear on desserts! Yes, they’re brilliant red, and you can always plop them on a cake after removing the stem. In a fruit salad, for example, or whatever you’re preparing.
The Amarena cherry is actually a cross between a plum and a cherry. Its name comes from its reddish-orange color. Amarena cherries are available year-round but peak season runs from May through August. They’re also known by another common name: Italian sour cherry.
Like most fruits, these cherries contain lots of natural sugars. That said, they don’t taste overly sweet. Instead, they offer a tartness that complements any dessert. Amarena cherries are a little bitter kind, but they’re usually sweetened and have the deepest, darkest crimson color conceivable.
These bad guys are usually always found in preserves or jams, or maybe canned. They’re difficult to come by in the fresh vegetable department on their own. Nonetheless, they have a lot of taste and look fantastic. They’re the largest cherry around, and they’re virtually always pitted. As a result, that’s a positive!
Fresh sour cherries
Sour cherries are one of those things that everyone loves. But when you buy them at your local grocery store, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be ripe enough to eat right away. So what should you do? Well, you could just wait until they ripen naturally over time. Or you could pick some yourself.
You might think picking wild berries would be hard work, but it isn’t. Sour cherries grow all over North America. What if you can’t find delicious cherries in any manner, shape, or form for whatever reason? Then there are sour cherries, their lesser-known and less-loved sisters.
They are, after all, sisters. They’re smaller and have a similar flavor, but they must be sweetened. They’re tart for a reason, and they may taste like cranberries. Remember to sweeten them whether you obtain them fresh, canned, jammed, frozen, or in any other form. They’ll look the same, act the same, taste largely the same, and for those who can’t tell the difference, they may pass for real cherry.
Prunus fruits like plums, apricots, nectarines
There are so many different kinds of prunus fruits out there. Some people call them stone fruits because they resemble stones. Others refer to them as soft fruits because they lack seeds. Still, others prefer to use the term "dessert" instead of "fruit." Whatever you want to call them, we know that they’re great additions to salads, soups, sauces, cakes, pies, and more.
In fact, the makeup about half of our total daily intake of vitamin C. If you can’t find cherries or sour cherries, try their cousins. Any fruit related to cherries that has a big, hard pit within. Plums, cherries, sour cherries, nectarines, apricots, peaches, mirabelles, and almonds are all members of the Prunus genus.
With the exception of almonds, any of the fruits listed in that genus will work in your recipe. They’re fundamentally the same thing, yet the flavors are vastly different. The plum is the only fruit that comes close, especially if you locate some gorgeous red plums.
Cherry liqueur or extract
If you’ve got access to an alcohol distillery, then you probably already know how easy it is to make your own cherry brandy. It doesn’t take much effort, either. You simply need to add sugar and water to pureed cherries. Afterward, let the mixture sit for several weeks before straining off the solids. Finally, filter the liquid through cheesecloth or cotton cloth into bottles.
The resulting liquor tastes amazing, and it makes a wonderful addition to cocktails. Although cherry liqueur isn’t the strongest, it’s used in a variety of recipes. The benefit is that you can really taste the cherries, which is fantastic. The only drawback is that it cannot be served to children. Cherry extract, on the other hand, is non-alcoholic. It’s not as simple to come by as cherry liqueur, and it might not be the proper hue, but it’s worth a go. If your recipe doesn’t require you to include genuine cherry texture, only flavor, and perhaps some color, then any of these will suffice.
How to get that cherry color
When using cherries in baking, you don’t necessarily need to buy them from a store. Instead, you could just pick up a bag at home. However, this won’t give you the right shade of pink. That’s where food coloring comes in handy. There are two types: natural and artificial. Natural colors aren’t always safe for consumption, whereas artificial ones are perfectly fine.
Try cranberries if you want to add additional color to your dish. These are quite similar to dried cherries in taste and texture, and they will release a lot of red into the syrup or batter.
Allow them to boil for at least half an hour to reduce the amount of liquid and increase the color. The color will deepen, but it will turn red when mixed with frosting or batter. You can also substitute dried cranberries for cherries. This works well when making pie crusts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, bread, cobblers, crisps, and even ice cream.
Beetroots have been around since ancient times. In fact, they were one of the first vegetables cultivated. Today, we still use them in many dishes because of their unique properties. One of those properties is its ability to change the color of whatever it touches. When cooked, the root turns bright orange.
The rescuer of anything pink, red, or somewhat purple, to be precise. Yes, there is some flavor here, but the benefit is that you don’t need much to create a lot of colors. Because beets have an incredible ability to stain things, their color is intense, and you won’t need more than a few pieces to get a vibrant crimson.
Add red hibiscus flowers
Hibiscus flowers are actually edible blossoms. They’re often found growing wild along roadsides throughout Mexico and Central America. Their name means "hibiscus" in Spanish, so they’re sometimes called Mexican rose petals.
Hibiscus flowers or hibiscus tea are usually good options. Hibiscus, like beets, absorbs a lot of colors and is one of the most frequent ways to bulk up and color tea. Get yourself a couple of hibiscus-based teabags or hibiscus flowers. To achieve a brilliant hue, steep in hot water and make sure it’s concentrated. It will leave a little sour and bitter aftertaste, but it will be masked by the cherry flavor.
In conclusion, I hope that you’ve learned how to find substitutes for cherries. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, you’ll probably find what you’re searching for. Now all you have to do is try out each idea and see which one suits your needs best!