Pineapple juice makes an excellent choice for a healthy drink, but it can also be used in your cooking. In fact, there are a lot of recipes that rely on the mixed flavor of this nutritious juice. But what should we do when we’re out of pineapple juice?
Other tropical fruits are usually the first choice when looking for a pineapple juice substitute. You can obtain very similar results by using tropical and subtropical fruits like lemons, limes, and mangoes, for example.
The best substitutes for pineapple juice
Pineapple is a tropical fruit with a somewhat sweet and sour taste. If you have a sweet tooth, you should eat pieces from the base of the fruit, because that’s where most of the sugar hides.
You can find pineapple in grocery stores year-round, but the best season is from March to July. Pineapple is always ripe and ready to eat because it’s only removed from its plant when it’s fully mature.
Nutritionally speaking, pineapple contains:
– High amounts of sugars
– No calories
– No fats
– High concentration of vitamin C
– Vitamin B
– Bromelain (an enzyme that helps digestion)
When thinking of pineapples, people often associate the fruit with the islands of Hawaii, but the pineapple was actually first discovered in South American. It is largely used in juices, smoothies, drinks, cocktails, but also in many different recipes, from desserts to meat.
However, some people are allergic to this fruit and others may not find it in stores or would rather not buy it when it’s not in season, so if you’re in need of a substitute for pineapple juice, consider one of the alternatives below.
1. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is not only a great beverage with plenty of health benefits for us, it’s also used for the most diverse purposes:
– It’s a natural cleaner for different kind of surfaces
– It’s a stain remover for clothes
– It provides fragrance to perfumes, creams, and soaps
– It’s added as a garnish to fish and meat dishes
– It’s used in small amounts to mitigate nausea due to overeating
– It can cure minor mouth infections
– It keeps insects like mosquitoes away
– It removes odors from small and closed spaces like microwaves
– It kills bacteria lingering on kitchen tools
– It’s used mixed with ginger and honey as a cold prevention measure
It comes as no surprise that lemon juice is also a great pineapple juice substitute when the latter is used as sauce or final garnish, for example in salads or coleslaw.
Sometimes you will have to create your own substitution by experimenting with different juices. Mixing lemon and lime juice could be a valid alternative to exclusively using lemon juice.
2. Lime juice
Lime juice is mainly used to enhance the flavor of a dish. Lime is a welcomed addition to any diet because this fruit is loaded with nutrients, especially antioxidants and vitamin C.
Because of their nutritional values, lime juice has a lot of benefits for us when added to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle:
– Boosts the immune system
– Helps to keep your skin healthy
– Reduces risk of heart disease
– Prevents kidney stones
– Helps iron absorption
– May lower risk of certain cancers
In order to make the most of your lime, the fruit should be room-temperature or warmer before you squeeze the juice out of it. Limes can also be warmed for a few minutes in hot water, in the oven at a low temperature, or in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.
Do not overheat it: it will boil the juice.
Use lime juice as you would use pineapple juice in your recipe. You can also mix it with other juices, like lemon juice or orange juice, to add a sweet note.
3. Orange juice
Orange is one of the most popular fruits and orange juice is probably the most consumed fruit juice in the world, which also means that it’s the subject of a great number of alterations.
In fact, the best choice is always to make orange juice at home and with oranges of controlled origin. Industrial orange juice usually has added sugars, which the orange doesn’t need because it’s already well-packed with sugars and calories by itself.
On top of that, there’s no saying in what other additives may be added to industrial orange juice. The production process is so heavy that it might as well make it less healthy than drinking soda. Not to mention, it will never compare with fresh made orange juice anyway.
Orange juice is one of the best substitutes for pineapple juice in recipes, especially when making ham. Indeed, you may be wondering how this can be true when orange and pineapple do not exactly taste the same.
However, orange has a sweet and sour flavor just like pineapple. If you wish, you can make it even more similar to pineapple by adding some lime juice to the mix.
4. Mango juice
Mango has been one of the world’s favorite fruits for over 4000 years, which explains why it’s sometimes called the “king of the fruits”. Mango is a great source of vitamin C and contains good amounts of beta carotene and iron, among many other nutrients.
Drinking mango juice every day is a quick and refreshing way to keep a healthy body. Mango is very sweet, so it makes for a pleasant flavor even without additional sugars, which makes it the ideal juice when on a diet.
It’s also among the favorite drinks for athletes, given that it’s loaded in potassium that helps repair muscles after intense exercise.
A mix of mango and lime can work as a substitute for pineapple juice in the marinade because the sourness of lime balances the sweetness of mango. As an alternative, you can also mix mango and apple cider to use in coleslaw.
5. Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit is a good substitute for pineapple juice because it belongs to the citrus family, whose fruits share many similarities with pineapple, even though the latter is not a part of it.
This fruit is rich in antioxidants and it’s said to help prevent skin cancer thanks to the d-limonene compound found in it, so it’s a healthy addition to your recipe.
Grapefruit comes in different varieties and usually, the pink one is the most recommended as a pineapple juice replacement.
Its flavor can range anywhere from sweet-tart to extreme sour and depending on this characteristic, you might have to adjust your recipe a bit if you want to keep the resemblance as close as possible with pineapple.
Usually, grapefruit will have a bitterer note than pineapple, but it is easily fixed by adding a bit of sugar or mixing another sweet fruit juice with it.
6. Passion fruit juice
Passion fruit is famous for its extremely juicy flavor. This fruit is cultivated in different parts of the world, so it’s available year-round. It has several varieties, which share a yellow or purple flesh that is usually eaten by scooping it up with a spoon.
A distinctive trait of this fruit is that when it’s ripe, it doesn’t look like most ripe fruits that have a shiny and smooth skin. In fact, passion fruit looks very wrinkly when it’s fully ripe.
The scent of this fruit is particularly pleasant, and indeed it’s often used in candles and bath products.
Passion fruit juice has a sweet and tart flavor, which makes it a nice alternative to pineapple since the flavor of pineapple is a mix of sweet and sour as well.
Because of these similarities, pineapple and passion fruit are often used together in fruit juices and frappes, but one can also replace the other.
7. Vinegar and sugar
Sweet and sour recipes are delicious because they stimulate our sense of taste both ways, reaching the perfect balance with a strong flavor that leaves you satisfied.
It is no coincidence that sweet and sour dishes are becoming more and more popular in both home cooking and restaurants.
Pineapple juice is the perfect ingredient for a sweet and sour sauce because it has already both sweet and sour flavors within itself. But what can you do when you’re out of this magical fruit and you don’t have any other fruit that can be used for the sauce?
As easy as it sounds, you can create a nearly perfect substitute for pineapple juice in sweet and sour sauce by mixing vinegar and sugar.
Vinegar is as sour as pineapple but lacks the sweet taste of it. You can fix it by adding sugar until you re-create the flavor balance of pineapple juice.
Pineapple juice has also the characteristics of making the meat more tender, which of course vinegar and sugar cannot do. However, meat doesn’t need further tendering in sweet and sour recipes, so you can use this sauce on your meat dishes without any problems.
How to choose a pineapple juice substitute.
Pineapple juice is mainly used for one reason: its balanced flavor between sweet and sour. Although it may not always be easy to recreate a perfect pineapple juice flavor, it isn’t hard to find new ways to create this balance.
Many fruits from the citrus family are already both sweet and sour without the need of making any addition to the recipe. Sometimes, when the fruit is too sweet, a bit of lime juice can go to great lengths to make the flavor as similar as possible to pineapple juice, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
When you’re out of options, the easiest way out is to use what you already have at home: we always have vinegar and sugar in our kitchen, but did you know that balancing both in a recipe can give you a quite good pineapple juice taste?
We did mention a few great replacements for pineapple juice, but when choosing a pineapple juice substitute the only limits are your taste and creativity. In fact, you may try other combinations like orange and strawberry or sweet apple and lemon.