Mangoes are tropical fruits that are usually available year-round in grocery stores, but if your last-minute recipe calls for mango and you’re out of them or if you’re allergic to this fruit, you may need a mango substitute.
There is at least one fruit similar to mango, which is peach. It is probably the best mango substitute, but you don’t have to stop there. In fact, there are also other alternatives to mango that you can try, including papaya, nectarine, and even kiwi!
The best substitutes for mango
Mango is one of the most popular tropical fruits. It has its origins in India, where it’s the national fruit, but it’s cultivated across Asia, central Africa, and South America as well.
Mangoes can have a variety of colors from green to red, and it can be eaten raw whether it’s completely ripe or not. Unripe mango has a crunchy and tart taste which fits perfectly in salads, while ripe mango has a sweet taste that can be described as a mixture of pineapple and peach.
Mango is also eaten dried, and dried mango is in fact a popular snack that is also added to trail mix and granola. The most common way to use this fruit is to peel away the skin and put chopped mango in your fruit salad or cooked recipe.
This fruit is well-known for its anti-aging properties because it’s rich in vitamin C. It is also a good source of folate (vitamin B) and it’s very poor in fats.
In stores, you can find it diced as canned mango, or in usually larger pieces as jarred mango. When you are unable to find any version of this fruit or cannot eat it for health reasons, you can try one of the following substitutes for mango.
Peaches are neighbors of mangoes, as they’re thought to have originated in China thousands of years ago. This fruit has fuzzy skin and white or yellow flesh.
Peaches are sweet, and peaches in syrup are particularly tasty and loved, but also very caloric. The peach already contains quite a good amount of sugars (around 33 g per fruit) so it’s one of those fruits you want to eat with caution, but it’s a healthy snack, especially after physical activity.
This fruit is often considered the best substitute for mango, and it also works well as a mango nectar substitute for flavor mixed cocktails.
They don’t taste the same, because peaches have their own distinctive flavor, but their texture and color closely resembles mango and can make for a valid alternative in any recipe that features mangoes.
Papaya is another tropical fruit that is very popular and often used as a mango replacement. With its green to yellow skin and orange flesh, papaya even resembles mango in terms of looks and they’re often confused for one another.
This fruit is very special because even its seeds are edible. In fact, if you eat papaya you may want to save the seeds, because you may use them as a pepper substitute in many recipes. Specifically, they’re a perfect alternative to black pepper and can be used as a seasoning.
Papaya is a good source of fibers, calcium, vitamins (C, E, A), it’s low in fat and it’s free of cholesterol. Moreover, enzymes found in papaya help lower cholesterol and make digestion easier.
Although melon is sweeter than papaya, the latter has a mild melon scent and can replace mango in fruit salads, fruit dishes in general, and sangria.
Although papaya can be cooked, if you’re using it as a mango substitute, it’s recommended to use it raw.
Nectarine is a peach variety of uncertain origins. Some say it was bred in California in the 1940s in an attempt to obtain an earthier version of peaches, others that it was actually born in China around the same time as peaches and was brought in America by the Spanish.
The two fruits are almost identical, except for their skin. In fact, peaches have a signature fuzzy skin that nectarines don’t have.
As such, nectarines are good substitutes for peaches in cooked recipes because the skin of peaches becomes too hard when cooked, while the skin of nectarines is much thinner and doesn’t require peeling before being cooked.
Nectarines are loaded with nutrients such as potassium, folate, antioxidants, phosphorus, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, K, and C. In addition, nectarines are made for 85% by water (per 100 g), so they’re a good source of hydration.
This fruit is perfect as a mango alternative in smoothies, fruit salads, and baked recipes.
You could call apricots the diet version of peaches and nectarines because they have lower sugar content. Despite coming from the same family, apricots are a different species from peaches and nectarines, and so they are quite different in shape and taste.
In fact, apricots are quite smaller than their cousins and they taste somewhat sweet and tart because of their level of malic acid. They do, however, maintain the fuzzy skin of peaches and can be substituted for either of the two.
Despite containing less water than peaches and nectarines, apricots are highly nutritious because they contain vitamins (A, C, E), potassium, proteins, fibers, and are low in calories.
Among the three fruits, apricots are the best substitute for mango in baked recipes because the heat enhances their flavor and texture, which is very similar to that of mangoes. They’re ideal for smoothies and juices as well because their pureed form is close to mangoes.
Kiwi is also known as Chinese gooseberry and it’s a brown fruit with fuzzy skin and bright green flesh that is widely used as a colorful garnish in fruit salads.
Everything about this fruit is edible, from the skin to the seeds, however, the skin is usually removed beforehand. Kiwi is a popular addition to smoothies and cocktails and it’s best eaten raw and fresh.
Kiwi is a particular fruit, so in order to peel it, you need to slice off its ends first and then use a spoon to slide in between the skin and flesh and slowly remove the skin from around the fruit. Afterward, it can be sliced, diced, pureed, and used in your recipe.
Kiwi is rich in nutrients while being low in calories. It’s loaded in vitamin C, in fact, 100 grams of kiwi supply the recommended daily value of this vitamin.
It’s also rich in potassium, fibers, minerals, calcium, beta-carotene and has no cholesterol. Not surprisingly, it is considered a superfood.
Mango and kiwi are often used together in fruit salads and smoothies, but kiwi can also substitute raw mango in these same recipes, and in some cooked ones too.
Cantaloupe is a type of melon that is easily found during the summer months. It has beige and green skin and orange flesh with seeds at the center of it.
Cantaloupe is better eaten fresh and when it’s fully ripe if you need it raw, but you can also make marmalade out of it or pureed it.
One way to know if your cantaloupe is fresh is to check how it feels to the touch. Ripe cantaloupe should feel heavy and firm, and its taste shouldn’t be sour. In fact, cantaloupe tastes really sweet and tender, so it’s perfect for smoothies, fruit salads, and also desserts and cocktails.
This melon is the ideal snack during the summer heat because 90% of it is made of water. It is also low in fats and calories, but it’s a good source of vitamin C and A. Given its orange color, cantaloupe is a good source of beta-carotene, which has many health benefits for us.
Just like other melons, cantaloupe works as a mango substitute in smoothies, fruit salads, and salsas, however, its texture and flavor are slightly different from mangoes.
It is recommended to use cantaloupe as a substitute for raw mango because this melon is mostly eaten raw.
Using banana as a mango substitute could be a bit of a stretch, but when you’re in a pinch you can save your fruit dish by replacing the missing mango with this nutritious fruit.
Bananas are well-known among athletes because they provide a series of nutritional benefits:
– Potassium in bananas helps the body keep good blood pressure and heart rate.
– Sodium levels in bananas are very low, which combined with high potassium levels help maintain healthy blood pressure.
– Fibers contained in bananas help digestion and can regulate your bowel movements, keeping your intestines safe from bacteria.
– Natural sugars contained in bananas will give you energy in a healthy and fat-free way.
– Vitamin B6 in bananas produces red blood cells, turns carbohydrates and fats into energy, maintains a healthy nervous system, and removes chemicals from your kidneys and liver.
Mango and banana have hardly anything in common in terms of flavor, although bananas can be very sweet and therefore work well as a mango alternative in fruit dishes.
The creamy texture of bananas also closely resembles that of pureed mango, so you can safely use bananas in place of mangoes in your smoothie.
How to choose a mango substitute.
If you’re looking for fruit like mango to swap in your recipe, you should know that you can’t perfectly replicate the sweet and sour flavor of this tropical fruit, but you can get close to it if you carefully choose the best mango substitute for your recipe.
Most mango alternatives will work well in fruit salads when used raw. For some fruits like papaya and cantaloupe, raw usage is the only option because they don’t work as well in cooked recipes.
For smoothies or recipes that require pureed mango, the best replacements would be apricots, cantaloupe, or bananas, which pureed form closely resembles mango.
When you need a replacement for mango in cooked recipes, it is better to get information about the specific substitute beforehand to see if they can work well in the required cooking process. Some fruits like peaches and apricots might be delicious when baked, for example, but others won’t work that well.
The time of the year also plays a key role: when possible, it is always better to choose fresh, seasonal products and let your recipes be guided by this choice, rather than the contrary.