5 BEST Cranberry Substitutes in Recipes

Have you ever encountered a cranberry and wondered what to do with it?

Despite its intimidatingly tart flavor, cranberries are pretty versatile in their culinary applications.

You can use cranberries fresh, dried, or frozen in sauces, jams, desserts, and many other dishes.

If you don’t have access to the real thing, though, there are plenty of delicious substitutes that will work just as well.

From raspberries and pomegranates to lingonberries, currants, and cherries, the options for replacing your cranberries are plentiful.

Learn some recipes and tasty alternatives that use these scrumptious substitutes.

What is Cranberry?

Cranberries may be a mystery to some, but they are a powerhouse packed into one tiny fruit.

Native to North America, the cranberry grows in bogs and marshes, wet areas with heavily acidic soil.

The small red berry has a tart flavor that can range in sweetness depending on the time of year it is harvested.

Cranberries can brighten up any dish with their amazing flavor.

They can be eaten fresh, frozen, or dried.

You can also find them as garnishes, sauces, and juices.

Try adding fresh cranberries to salads—the tartness adds a surprising yet delightful amount of crunch and complexity to any greens or grains.

You could also bake with dried cranberries crushed into cookies or cakes, adding a touch of sweetness and juicy texture to your baked goodies.

From sauces with game meat to scones or crumbles made with butter and nutmeg, cranberries make a delightful addition.

For drinks, try adding a handful of cranberries each time you whip up your favorite smoothies or cocktails for just the right amount of pizazz.

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5 BEST Cranberry Substitutes in Recipes

If you’re looking for some cranberry substitutes in your recipes, look no further – we’ve got five of the best.

While many people enjoy their taste, sometimes it isn’t always available or cost-effective to use cranberries.

That’s why it’s helpful to know some alternative options that can be used as cranberry substitutes in recipes.

1 – Raspberries

Raspberries are one of the most delightful and healthful things one can eat.

From the bright red hue to their slightly sweet and tart flavor, there’s something about them that just makes them irresistible.

Not to mention, they are low in calories and naturally fat-free, making them a great complement to any healthy diet.

However, many wonder just what sets a raspberry apart from another small fruit such as cranberry.

The answer lies in its texture – raspberries are moist and juicy on the inside, with a slight crunch that lets you know you’re eating fresh produce.

As they’re harder to find when not in season, raspberries can make an excellent substitute for cranberries if needed.

Though their texture won’t quite be the same as that of cranberries, the juiciness and sweetness will more than makeup for it.

2 – Currants

Currants are small, seedless berry relatives of the grape family that comes in three varieties – red, black, and white.

Though they may be small, these tart little berries pack a powerful taste.

Currant is popularly used as an ingredient in sweet dishes such as jams, but its tartness also makes it an excellent addition to savory dishes.

The texture of currants is unique; they have a slight crunch and firmness that gives them the ability to withstand heat when cooked and allows them to absorb marinades or dressings while maintaining their shape.

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If you’re looking for a tart fruit to add some extra zing to your dishes this holiday season and can’t find cranberries, consider replacing them with currants.

They’ll offer all the same coveted tang without breaking the bank.

3 – Pomegranate

As a food journalist, I must admit that pomegranates are an enigma.

A round, red fruit not native to many parts of the world, it is believed to have originated in either modern-day Iran or Iraq.

Each bright and vibrant red-colored aril (seed) encloses such deeply flavored sweetness and tartness mixed together, creating a unique experience for lovers of all sour berries.

The crisp texture and strong but gentle acerbity of the arils keeps it in our culinary memories as one of the more interesting fruits perfect for making jelly, sauces, and jams.

Pomegranates also make a wonderful substitute for cranberries due to their ruby color and tartness; they are perfect for adding flavor to various foods without overpowering them.

4 – Lingonberries

Lingonberries have captured the imaginations of food enthusiasts for generations.

Even though their origins trace back to Central and Northern Europe, these sweet-tart berries have captivated palates around the world.

Lingonberries are visually similar to cranberries, except they are slightly smaller, more reddish-brown in color, and typically less tart.

They begin ripening in September, and it’s common to find lingonberry jams, both commercially produced and homemade available during the holiday season.

If you’re looking for a substitution for classic cranberry sauce when roasting a turkey dinner or making a tart or pie, lingonberries are a superb option.

Simply combine sugar with lingonberry juice, simmer on low heat until thickened, then transfer the sauce into an airtight container and chill until ready to use.

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This easy recipe can help you create a tangy twist on any traditional dish.

5 – Cherries

Cherries – as we all know – are succulent, delicious fruits that grow on trees.

The small red orbs come in two basic varieties: sweet and tart.

Sweet cherries taste like a burst of sugar-filled joy, while the tart variety can be anything from mildly sour to very sharp in flavor.

Both types of cherries have a soft yet slightly crunchy texture, which makes them an ideal choice for baking or eating raw.

Those looking to replace cranberries with something else will find that sweet cherries make wonderful substitutes, though they won’t necessarily have the same tartness as cranberries.

But they will certainly add more sweetness and leave you with a delightful treat.


In conclusion, cranberries are a tart and tangy fruit that adds flavor to many recipes.

But if, for some reason, you don’t have cranberries on hand or can’t find them at the store, there are still plenty of options to choose from.

Raspberries, currants, pomegranates, lingonberries, and cherries all make wonderful substitutes that will add zing and zest to any dish.

So the next time you find yourself looking for an alternative to cranberries, keep these five fruits in mind.

They are sure to give your holiday dishes that extra something special.

5 BEST Cranberry Substitutes in Recipes

5 BEST Cranberry Substitutes in Recipes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 – Raspberries
  • 2 – Currants
  • 3 – Pomegranate
  • 4 – Lingonberries
  • 5 – Cherries


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

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