Currants are a kind of berries that can be red, black, or white. They have a sweet yet slightly sour flavor with an acid kick that balances their sweetness.
Fresh currants are not related to dried currants, also known as Zante Currants, which are raisins that come from a special kind of grapes.
Both fresh and dried currants can be eaten raw or used in several delicious recipes. If you don’t like their flavor or you cannot find enough currants for your dish, you’ll find the right currants substitute for your recipe after reading this article. Let’s dive in.
The best substitutes for currants
Before trying to find the right currants substitute for your dish, you need to understand the difference between fresh and dried currants.
Black currants are usually sweeter than red currants. Red and white currants have a slightly tangy flavor with some subtle sweetness.
While it’s possible to swap fresh currants for dried currants in some recipes, in some cases, you need to find a totally different alternative if you’re looking for a substitution for currants.
Each option on our list will be the right choice depending on the situation and the nature of your recipe.
Raisins are made of dried grapes, but they don’t taste very much like them. Brown raisins are sweeter than grapes because the drying process intensifies their flavors.
Golden raisins or sultanas are even sweeter than the black ones and have a tart flavor that makes them work for lots of sweet and savory dishes. There are different types of raisins based on the color and kind of grapes they’re made from.
Raisins can be used as a substitute for currants if you want to eat them raw. Sprinkle them on top of your morning cereals or mix them with some Greek yogurt for a tasty snack. You can also use them as a substitute for dried currants in bread, pudding, sweet casseroles.
2. Dried Dates
Dried dates are usually used as natural sweeteners as the drying process makes their sugary sweet taste more intense. They have a rich caramel-like flavor with butterscotch or toffee undertones.
You can use dried dates in any dessert as dried currants substitute as they have a velvety chocolate-like flavor that goes well with cinnamon and vanilla. You can also use dried dates in sweet sauces, jams, and syrups because they’re rich.
3. Dried Apricots
Dried apricots have a sweet, fruity, and slightly tangy flavor. The drying process makes them sweeter and sourer than fresh apricots, so they will add a lot of flavor to several dishes when you don’t have currants within reach.
You can serve dried apricots on their own after adding them to a cheese platter or combine them with Greek yogurt and seeds in a morning snack. They add the needed sweetness and sourness that balances a lot of sweet ingredients like chocolate and vanilla, so they work great in tarts and muffins.
Dried apricots can also be served with warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, so you can use them in roasts and baked meat dishes. They will add a unique flavor and taste to your casseroles because they’re fleshy and sweet.
4. Dried Prunes
Dried prunes are made of plums and can replace dried currants in several recipes, especially when combined with warm spices like cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.
They have a strong caramel sweetness and can be served with nuts, cured meat, and different types of cheese on charcuterie boards. You can also use dried prunes in broths and stews as they add a delicious sweetness.
Serve dried prunes with different types of roast because their sweetness adds a unique flavor to your meat and poultry dishes.
Prunes can be used in casseroles, bread pudding, and muffins because they taste heavenly in baked dishes. If your recipe calls for dried currants in a jam or jelly, you can try to use dried prunes to make jam or jelly.
They also taste great on their own, so instead of sprinkling some dried currants on your oatmeal, ice cream, or pancakes, you add some dried prunes instead, and you’ll definitely fall in love with the taste.
5. Dried Cherries
Dried cherries can be used as a substitute for dried currants in several sweet and savory dishes. They’re subtly sweet with a fresh and rich aroma that makes them a great addition to your recipes.
Dried cherries are slightly large and are bright red, so you can sprinkle them on top of your yogurt or use them in homemade granola to add taste and color.
You can also make a sauce of dried cherries to serve with your roasts and baked meat dishes. You can add dried cherries to muffins, pies, bread, and tart fillings.
If dried cherries taste too sweet for your recipe, you can tone down their sweetness by adding a little bit of vinegar or enhance their flavor by adding warm spices like cloves and cinnamon.
Although jujube fruit isn’t that common, it can be an excellent dried currant alternative in several recipes. Dried jujube is also known as Chinese dates and can be found at any store that sells Chinese or ethnic food. There are also other varieties that grow in the Mediterranean region.
Fresh jujube can be sweet with a subtle sour apple-like flavor. However, if your recipe calls for more sweetness, you can use dried jujube fruits instead because they’re sweeter with a caramel-like taste.
Because they combine sweet and tart flavor, jujube fruits can be used in several sweet and savory dishes. You can add jujube fruits to your muffin, cookies, or bread dough because they bring out the flavors of other ingredients like chocolate, honey, or brown sugar.
Jujube fruits go well with nuts like almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, and you can use them to make a sweet or savory sauce. You can use them to prepare a savory jam to serve with different types of cheese and cured meat or as a side to your pork roast, ribs, and poultry dishes.
Blueberries are sweet fruits with an acidic kick. Just like dried currants, dried blueberries have a sweeter taste with a touch of tartness. You can use both fresh and dried blueberries to replace currants in several sweet and savory dishes because they’re quite versatile.
Thanks to their color, you can use blueberries as a black currant substitute in sauces and spreads. You can sprinkle a handful on top of your yogurt, serve them with pancakes, or mix them with a salad to add a fresh tangy flavor. They go very well with leafy greens and nuts.
Because dried blueberries are slightly sweeter, so you can use them in tarts and cookies. You can also use dried blueberries in a turkey stuffing or incorporate them into any savory dish that calls for currants.
Cranberries can be used in a recipe that calls for red currants because they look a lot like them. However, when used as a red currant substitute, cranberries will add a special taste and aroma to your dishes.
Cranberries have a fresh, slightly sour flavor and are usually served with different types of fruits like pineapples and oranges. They can also be a great addition to your muffins and cookies, and they go well with nuts, so you can add them to your oatmeal or cereals.
Thanks to their slightly sour taste and fresh aroma, you can use cranberries as a red currant substitute in sauces that you serve with your meat and poultry dishes.
Use cranberries as a filling for your cheese quiche, or serve them with cured meat, turkey, and different types of cheese on your charcuterie board. If you want to use cranberries in a dessert, you need to add some sugar and they will taste a lot like currants.
Kumquat is a citrus fruit with some slight sweetness and can be used to replace fresh currants in recipes that call for a mix of tanginess and sweetness.
Although Kumquat is native to China, it’s one of the easiest fruits to grow in garden pots, so you can grow your own and use them in several recipes.
When ripe, the skin is sweet, while the meat remains tangy and sour. It can be incorporated in several sweet dishes as it goes well with different sweet flavors like chocolate and honey. You can also serve it with mint and other fruits if you want to prepare a fruit salad.
Kumquat is an excellent addition to savory dishes like pork, fish, duck, and chicken. You can even serve it with cheese and cured meat on your charcuterie board.
However, if you’re using kumquats to replace fresh currants in a dessert, you might need to add more sugar to balance the bitterness and tanginess.
Gooseberries can be reddish, golden, or even greenish in color. They have a tart and tangy flavor with a subtle sweetness. They can be used to replace currants in several recipes when you need an alternative that doesn’t taste too sweet.
You can use gooseberries as a substitute for currants in several savory dishes because they add the needed zesty flavor with some subtle sweetness. You can use gooseberries to prepare chutneys and savory sauces, or you can use them in casseroles, poultry stuffing, or pies.
When added to a dessert, gooseberries add a flavor that is more like lemons, so they will work for you if you need a substitute for currants that offers a different taste. Cooking them with sugar will make them work for jams and puddings.
How to choose a currants substitute
There are different options that work if you want to replace currants in your dish, depending on the nature of the recipe and whether you wish to replace fresh or dried currants.
- Closest flavor: if you want to find a currants substitute that works for almost every recipe, we recommend that you pick raisins because they’re versatile and easy to find. They offer a taste that’s very close to the taste of dried currants and can be used in several sweet and savory dishes.
- Closest resemblance: if you want to replace fresh black currants in your recipe, we recommend blueberries as they look a lot like them. Cranberries are usually used to replace red currants in muffins, jelly, sauce, stew, or a filling for your poultry or meat dishes.
- Jams: for jellies or jams, dried dates will work best for you, thanks to their intense sweetness. They will also work in several desserts as a replacement for currants because they add a lot of sweetness to your baked goodies.
- Desserts: you can use dried apricots and dried prunes to replace cakes, muffins, and sweet pies. They can also be used in savory dishes, as poultry stuffing, or served with cheese and nuts on a charcuterie board.
- Sweet and savory recipes: dried cherries will work well if you need a slightly less sweet alternative. You can also use them in sauces to serve with meat and poultry roasts, and they can be eaten raw with yogurt. Jujube fruit adds a mix of sweetness and tanginess. You can serve it fresh with cheese or use it dried to prepare a sweet sauce for roasts.
Kumquat and gooseberries offer a tangy taste with subtle sweetness, so you can use them both to replace currants in savory recipes. However, you can also add more sweetness to your recipes by adding more sugar and cooking them.