Currants have a sweet and sour berry-like flavor with an amazing acid kick that balance out their sweetness. They come in red, white, and black varieties and have a fresh, floral aroma with a hint of forest-like notes.
Featuring a distinct flavor that can make your mouth pucker with delight, you can use currants fresh or dried in a variety of sweet and savory dishes — from tarts and pies to salads and meat and poultry preparations. If you’re making a recipe that asks for this flavorful, vibrant ingredient but have ran out, you can achieve a similar outcome by using these 7 substitutes for currants.
Both raisins and currants are made from dehydrated grapes, which gives them a concentrated flavor and a longer shelf life. Depending on the grapes used, you can find various types of raisins in different colors including green, yellow, and dark purple. They’re also incredibly nutritious and readily available in most grocery stores, making them a fantastic substitute for currants.
Raisins, like currants, can be diced, frozen, or plumped and added to cereals, toasts, yogurts, pudding, and oatmeal. You can also add them to baked goods like walnut cake, fruitcakes, and banana muffins for some sweetness and color. You can even eat them on their own as a healthy snack or use them in lamb and chicken dishes for a more complex flavor.
1 cup of currants = 1 cup of raisins.
Please note, if you have allergies, avoid golden raisins because they may contain sulfites.
2. Dried Dates
Dried dates have a characteristic sweet taste with butterscotch or toffee undertones. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are available both pitted or whole. Although dried dates are larger and more caramelized than currants and lack their sour flavor, you can still use them in a pinch.
Dried dates work best as a substitute in recipes that call for an ingredient that tastes and smells sweet. Dried dates can offer a more distinct and pleasant aroma to jams and milkshakes or can be added as a filling in pies, pastries, cakes, and other desserts. You can also enjoy the rich, chewy dried fruit as a snack.
1 cup of currants = 1 cup of dried dates.
(Because dried dates are sweeter than currants, add 1 tablespoon of citrus for every ½ cup of dried dates to balance out the sweetness.)
3. Dried Prunes
Prunes, which are made from dried plums, resemble dates more than currants and fresh prunes resemble plums. Dried prunes are considered a superfruit. Prunes have a flavor that’s comparable to sweet and sour currants, making them a good replacement for currants, especially when coupled with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves.
Prunes’ chewy texture and delicate flavor (which can be sweet or acidic depending on the type used) make them a versatile stand-in for currants. They can be used to bring a pleasant aroma and strong caramel sweetness to jelly. They also work well in baked goods like bread, ice cream, pudding, and yogurt and in meat-based dishes such as braised pork. You can also enjoy prunes, both in fresh and dried forms, as a healthy snack.
1 cup of currants = ½ cup of dried prunes.
(This substitute ratio will vary depending on the type of prunes used. If you’re using the tart variety, add honey or brown sugar to add a little more sweetness.)
4. Dried Apricots
Dried apricots have a sweet, fruity, and tart flavor that is similar to currants and are thus great substitutes in a number of recipes. Dried apricots provide a lot of flavor to any dish because they have a more concentrated flavor than fresh apricots.
Due to their sweet and sour flavor profile, dried apricots can bring a wonderful flavor to fruit tarts and also perform well in muffins and cakes. They’re also fantastic in savory lamb dishes, where their delectably sweet flavor contrasts wonderfully with the spicy and savory ingredients when cooked. You can also enjoy this fresh, fat-free, low-calorie ingredient as a tasty snack when you don’t have any currants.
1 cup of currants = ½ cup of dried apricots.
For a savory dish, 1 cup of currants = ½ cup of dried apricots + ¼ cup of grilling sauce.
5. Dried Cherries
Cherries that are either sun-dried or oven-dried have a rich red color that sticks out in recipes. However, they have a subtly sweet flavor and a fresh, rich aroma that is similar to currants, making them a great stand-in for the original ingredient in baking and dessert recipes.
Dried cherries can be substituted for currants to add color and flavor to dishes. You can use them to make jams or add them as a topping on cakes, ice creams, and other desserts. You can also use them to make puffed pastries, cereal bars, muffins, and other baked goods, or to make a sauce for your roast dishes. These sweet and tart delights can also be consumed as a snack.
1 cup of currants = 1 cup of dried cherries.
(If you’re using cherries in savory dishes, tone down their sweetness with vinegar or warm spices such as cloves and cinnamon.)
Jujube, also known as the Chinese date, resembles small apples in its fresh form and has a distinctly sweet apple-like caramel flavor in its dried form. Although they lack the juiciness of currants and have a texture comparable to apples, they still make a good alternative to currants. You can also easily find this ingredient at any Chinese or specialty store.
You can use jujube as a substitute for currants in muffins, biscuits, pastries, and bread to bring out the flavors of other ingredients or to make jam and jelly. It can also be used as a filling for desserts and a topping for soups; just make sure to stew it first to break down the flavors.
1 cup of currants = 1 cup of jujube.
Cranberries have a flavor and appearance similar to currants, and their dried forms have a more tangy flavor and a little slicker texture than their fresh counterparts. Their taste, smell, and consistency are comparable to that of currants. Cranberries are also super healthy, making them an excellent alternative to currants.
Cranberries can be used as a substitute for currants in currant jelly. Because the two fruits have more similarities than differences, they will not change the overall outcome of the dish other than to add a splash of color. They also work well in cereals, muffins, and bread or as a filling in cakes and pies. Cranberries are also used to make savory sauces.
1 cup of currants = 1 cup of cranberries.