5 Equally-Great Substitutes for Cranberries

Cranberries are extremely nutritious berries that are a staple of Thanksgiving dinner. So when I got a panicked call from my friend on Thanksgiving saying she’d run out of them for her cranberry-cherry compote. I had to list a handful of suitable substitutes for fresh cranberries, which gave me the idea for today’s blog.

Cranberries are a popular superfood, consumed in the form of either sauce or juice. You can also use them for stuffing and in casseroles and desserts.

Cranberries Substitute

Cranberries are native to North America. However, now they are cultivated on a net 58,000 acres of farmland across Chile, Canada, and the Northern United States. Cranberries have numerous health benefits. No wonder they are an ingredient of many medicines.

Fresh cranberries benefits:

Cranberries have a long list of health benefits. Some of them are:

  1. Treats Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Cranberries contain a high level of antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) which are proven to prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. In this way, the PACs in cranberries aid in preventing infection.
  2. Boosts Heart Health: supplementing cranberries in the diet can help manage various risk factors for cardiovascular disorders. These include systolic blood pressure or blood pressure during a heart muscle contraction.
  3. Decreases Cancer Advancement: These include: triggering the death of cancer cells, slowing the growth of cancer cells, and reducing inflammation.
  4. Improves Oral Health: The PACs contained in cranberries may also benefit oral health. As per the researchers at the Center for Oral Biology, they do this by preventing bacteria from binding Trusted Source to the surface of teeth.
  5. Rich in Antioxidants: Cranberries are rich in antioxidants. It is known to block damage caused by free radicals. Moreover, it also improves iron absorption, boosts immune health, and produces collagen for healing wounds.
  6. Rich in Fiber: High fiber content in cranberries reduces the risk and development of various health conditions such as stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and coronary heart diseases.
  7. Rich in Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that prevents the occurrence or progression of conditions associated with free radicals. It includes Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cataract, and cancer.

What do cranberries taste like?

To find the best substitute for any ingredient, you must first be aware of its flavor profile. A cranberry is bursting with tartness characteristic to lemons. It is extremely invigorating, with only a streak of sweetness. Cranberries have low sugar levels and high acidity, hence the taste.

What is the best time to buy cranberries?

Fresh cranberries are harvested during September and October. So autumn is the best season to buy them. However, they are also available in canned, dried, frozen, and freeze-dried forms. So you can procure them year-round.

Moreover, you can also freeze them at home for up to two months. Upon defrosting, make sure they are firm and unwrinkled. Do not use wrinkled cranberries, as they’ve most likely outlived their benefits.

Fresh cranberries shelf-life:

The shelf life of fresh cranberries is anywhere between three to four weeks.

Fresh cranberries recipes:

  1. Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  2. Cranberry Sorbet
  3. Add to your Apple Pie or Cobbler
  4. Cranberry Guacamole
  5. Cranberry Muffins

Fresh Cranberries Nutrition Value:

Nutrition Value per serving (1 cup or 100 g)
Calories 46
Sodium  2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 12 g
Vitamin A 1%
Vitamin C 22%
Calcium 1%
Iron 1%


Are there any substitutes for cranberries?

Here are 5 Equally-Great Substitutes for Cranberries

Much as I cherish cranberries, they are, in fact, not as unique. So it is easy to replace them with numerous other fruits. This list will help you choose the right substitutes for any recipe.

1. Cherries

My first choice for cranberries is going to be cherries. They are similar in taste and color, so your dish will taste and appear the same. Moreover, cherries also share the cranberry texture, shape, and consistency.

Cranberries Substitute - Cherries

These similarities make it a perfect substitute for fresh cranberries. Moreover, cranberries and cherries are often used together in numerous recipes, so if you run out of one, the other can seamlessly replace it.

You can enjoy both frozen and fresh cherries raw or as topping on baked goods such as cupcakes, muffins, or cakes. The list goes on. Not only this, but you can also substitute cherry products with cranberry products such as jams and sauces.

Furthermore, cherries are easy to substitute and don’t require complex numerical conversions. Use them in a 1:1 substitution ratio for ideal results.

Cherries nutritional value:

Nutrition Value per serving (1 cup or 138 g)
Calories 87
Sodium  0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22 g
Vitamin A 2%
Vitamin C 16%
Calcium 2%
Iron 3%


2. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is another exotic fruit with a long list of benefits that makes an excellent substitute for cranberry. It carries the same flavor profile as cranberries.

Cranberries Substitute - Pomegranate

However, it is vastly different in shape. But if that doesn’t impact the quality of your dish, go ahead and try this healthful substitute. Moreover, pomegranates have a light sweet juice that makes one crave it constantly. You just don’t get your fill.

Although pomegranate is typically enjoyed as fresh as summer fruit and a crunch snack, you can add it to salads and fruit juices to make the best of its versatile taste. Moreover, I especially enjoy having pomegranate in cranberry water because of its nutritional advantages and refreshing effect.

Pomegranate nutritional value:

Nutrition Value per serving (1 cup or 174 g)
Calories 140
Sodium  5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 33 g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 30%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%


3. Raspberry

Talking about summer fruits, Raspberries are another healthy substitute for cranberries. This berry has a similar sour and sweet taste as cranberries. Eat it ripe, and you won’t want to stop.

Cranberries Substitute - Raspberry

One more thing that makes raspberry such a great alternative for cranberry is its bright crimson color. Make a sauce or jam out of it, and you won’t even realize the difference.

In addition, you can add raspberries to cake fillings to replicate the sweet cranberry touch in desserts. However, remember that raspberry is significantly sweeter than cranberry. Therefore, you must decrease its quantity when using it as a substitute.

Raspberry nutritional value:

Nutrition Value per serving (1 cup or 125 g)
Calories 50
Sodium  0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 17 g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 40%
Calcium 2%
Iron 2%


4. Apricot

If you’re seeking a popular ingredient that is also always available at home, I would suggest Apricots. People often confuse apricots for dried peaches. However, they are two extremely different fruits belonging to the same family.

Cranberries Substitute - Apricot

Although apricots are a great substitute with respect to taste, their color is not the vibrant red of cranberries. But a subdued yellow. Therefore, they don’t make a great topping or sauce appearance-wise.

This substitute is your best best when it comes to dessert fillings.  Use it in a 1:1 substitution ratio.

Apricot nutritional value:

Nutrition Value per serving (1 cup or 100 g)
Calories 48
Sodium  1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 11 g
Vitamin A 39%
Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 1%
Iron 2%


5. Dried Cranberry

Last but not least, you can substitute dried for fresh cranberries too. However, these alternatives work for a handful of recipes only. This is because dried berries are way higher in sugar content than fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries contain extra sugar, which makes them very sweet. Therefore, they aren’t the best option for fresh cranberries in healthy recipes.

Cranberries Substitute - Dried Cranberry

However, dried cranberries make an excellent snack; mix them with a bowl of fruit salad or add top on slices of bread, and you’ll have a food addiction. When substituting dried cranberries for fresh, I use ¾ cup of dried cranberries to replace one cup of fresh ones since they are sweeter despite being less in quantity.

You can use dried cranberries to substitute for fresh or frozen cranberries.

Dried cranberry nutritional value:

Nutrition Value per serving (1 cup or 100 g)
Calories 100
Sodium  5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24 g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2%
Iron 0%


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute frozen cranberries for fresh ones?
Yes, frozen cranberries are the same as any other cranberry. Hopefully, freezing would have preserved their freshness. However, remember not to thaw them before using them, as it will ruin their consistency. You can use frozen cranberries in the same amount as fresh ones. Follow the same process as you would to substitute craisins for fresh cranberries.
What berries are similar to cranberries?
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are pretty similar to cranberries in nutritional value. However, barberry finds more similarities in color, taste, and texture.
What's better: blueberries or cranberries?
Both the berries are extremely healthy. They are high in dietary fiber. Where blueberries have more thiamin, folate, and niacin, cranberries are rich in pantothenic acid. In addition, Cranberries have 57% less sugar than blueberries while also being rich in Vitamin C. So, I’ll say cranberries definitely have the lead here.



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