For strawberry lovers, there is no true strawberry substitute and realistically speaking, no fruit is technically an apt substitute for another, no matter how much they overlap in nutritional value and taste. Even within strawberries, different variants offer different tastes and uses, and there is a lot of variety within the beautiful red umbrella that’s a strawberry.
Still, strawberry is not just a fruit you eat directly. You can make jams, preserves, and desserts using it and use it in different culinary contexts. In that area, the precious strawberries might be replaceable (no matter how much you would love to have the real thing). And it’s important to know the substitutes so you can go ahead with your “food plan,” even if you don’t have any strawberries on hand.
Best Strawberry Substitutes
If the keep the texture, taste, consistency, and even color of the strawberry is the simple “guiding principle,” there are a few potential substitutes that come to mind. But it’s important to understand that not all substitutes would be the right fit for all strawberry recipes. You might be able to put a small round peg through a triangle hole but not a square one. So remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer here.
The ideal substitutes for the real thing, i.e., strawberry, would be the relatively “pure” products made from it.
Syrup can taste a little synthetic. However, it can work in a pinch. This is especially handy if you’re preparing strawberry jello to serve with dessert or a pastry. It can be used as a seasoning, but keep in mind that it will add moisture to anything you’re baking or preparing.
Canned, frozen, or flaked strawberries can be the way to go when the fresh version isn’t available. The canned and frozen ones won’t look as nice as fresh ones, but they’ll have the right texture and flavor. Dry-frozen strawberry flakes are less sweet, but they look beautiful on top of a good dessert, whole or smashed.
Strawberry preserves or jams are not a very “honorable” way around, but they work. You may use them in place of real strawberry filling if you thicken it with cornstarch and cook it for a few minutes over low heat. It’s also delicious on its own as a glaze or as the jam on top of a cheesecake.
An extract is a way to go if everything else fails; just use strawberry essence to flavor the dessert. This won’t work for every dish, but it’ll be enough for ice cream, whipped cream, buttercream, and other similar desserts. It’s also a good choice if you’re using another fruit and want a flavor that’s more like strawberries. For texture and color, we recommend using figs and adding a few drops of strawberry extract. This is delicious as a jam, filling, or ice cream.
Raspberries are usually the first berry that comes to mind when you think about a strawberry substitute, mostly because these two belong to the same family and have a similar flavor profile. Raspberries are also excellent for decorating, but they come with their own small “demons,” i.e., the seeds. So strain them if you can, but if the recipe isn’t totally destroyed by them, then go ahead and utilize them! Once cooked, raspberries have a much softer texture than strawberries.
Think of strawberry rhubarb pie, and you might get how these two “mix.” So when you don’t have strawberries or relatively “purer” substitutes at hand, why not add some beautiful, sweet red rhubarb to the mix? Perhaps not on its own, but in a pie with some figs (to take care of the sweetness element), it would be quite close to the original pie. Also, cooked rhubarb is excellent at drinking in color, so as far as visual overlapping is concerned, rhubarb is an excellent substitute.
Yes, the green Kiwi is a viable substitute for red strawberries. They have a strawberry flavor to them, and the small seeds and texture may be precisely what you’re searching for, depending on your recipe.
Kiwis are just like strawberries in terms of being juicy, seedy, sweet, and somewhat acidic. These are best used for decoration or texture. If you want to cook them, bear in mind that they will become a strange shade of greenish-brown when cooked, which is an unattractive hue.
For texture, flavor, and even decoration, figs may be a superior option. When eaten fresh, they resemble strawberries more than kiwis. However, when baked in a pie or jam, they take on a strawberry flavor. What about the seeds? Oh, they’re so gratifying to break, so little and all over the place.
Fresh figs, finely cut, will also look stunning as a decoration. You can also just quarter them, and they’ll work well.
The best strawberry substitutes would naturally be the food items made from strawberries, but if you don’t have access to have them either, you can look into other substitutes. But make sure you understand what you are trying to replace, i.e., strawberry’s taste, hue, consistency it offers, or another element in the recipe. This will help you make a relatively smart decision.