Do you love the sweet, chewy texture of dates?
Whether you’re baking a cake or making a smoothie, dates can add flavor and sweetness to any dish.
But if you don’t have access to them, what can you do?
Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes for dates that will still give your recipes that same delicious flavor.
From applesauce to honey and molasses, there are many options available.
In this article, we’ll go over 15 of the best substitutes for dates so that you can enjoy all your favorite dishes without having to worry about not having enough ingredients on hand.
What Are Dates?
Dates are a type of fruit that grows on date palms.
They have been cultivated for thousands of years and are native to the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of South Asia.
Dates come in many varieties, ranging from small and sweet to large and chewy.
The most common types are Medjool dates, Deglet Noor dates, Zahidi dates, Halawi dates, Barhi dates, Khadrawi dates, Thoory dates and Dayri dates.
Dates can be eaten fresh or dried; they can also be used in baking or cooking as an ingredient in dishes such as tagines or stews.
When eaten fresh they have a soft texture with a sweet flavor similar to caramelized sugar; when dried they become more concentrated in sweetness with a chewier texture.
The 15 Best Substitutes For Dates
Dates are a very popular ingredient in many recipes, but they can be tricky to find.
If you’re looking for an alternative to dates, here are fifteen great substitutes that will still give you the same flavor and texture:
1 – Prunes
Prunes are dried plums that have a sweet, chewy texture and a deep, rich flavor.
They are an excellent source of dietary fiber and contain many essential vitamins and minerals.
Prunes can be eaten as is or used in recipes such as cakes, cookies, muffins, breads, jams and sauces.
Prunes are also a great substitute for dates in baking recipes.
They provide the same sweetness but with more moisture than dates so they help keep baked goods moist and tender.
Prunes also add a unique depth of flavor to dishes that you won’t get from other dried fruits like raisins or apricots.
2 – Dried Raisins
Dried raisins are a great alternative to dates.
They have a sweet, chewy texture and are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Dried raisins can be used in baking recipes as well as added to salads or eaten on their own for a healthy snack.
Raisins are also high in natural sugars which make them an ideal substitute for dates when making desserts like cakes or cookies.
The sweetness of the raisins will help balance out any tartness from other ingredients like citrus fruits or yogurt.
Plus, they add a nice texture to baked goods!
Pro Tip: Soak dried raisins in warm water before using them in recipes to soften them up and bring out their flavor even more!
3 – Dried Cranberries
Dried cranberries are a great alternative to dates.
They have a sweet and tart flavor that is similar to dates, but with a unique twist.
Dried cranberries are also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They can be used as an ingredient in baking recipes or eaten on their own as a snack.
Additionally, dried cranberries are low in calories making them an ideal snack for those watching their weight.
Pro Tip: To make your own dried cranberry snacks at home simply spread fresh or frozen cranberries onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 250°F for 2-3 hours until they’re dry and chewy!
4 – Dried Cherries
Dried cherries are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed any time of day.
They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Dried cherries have a sweet-tart flavor that is similar to dates but slightly more tart.
The texture is chewy and juicy, making them perfect for snacking or baking.
Dried cherries can be used in many recipes such as muffins, cakes, cookies, granola bars, trail mix, salads and much more!
They add a burst of flavor to any dish and make it even more special.
Plus they’re an excellent source of dietary fiber which helps keep you full longer.
5 – Jujube
Jujube is a small, sweet fruit native to China.
It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is now gaining popularity in the West as a nutritious snack or ingredient.
Jujubes are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
They have a sweet flavor similar to dates but with a slightly tart aftertaste.
Jujubes can be eaten fresh or dried like dates.
They can also be cooked into jams, jellies and syrups or added to baked goods such as cakes and cookies for extra sweetness and texture.
The dried fruits are often used in teas for their calming effects on the body and mind.
Jujubes are an excellent source of energy-boosting nutrients that make them perfect for snacking throughout the day!
6 – Dried Apricot
Dried apricots are a delicious and nutritious snack.
They are made by drying fresh apricots in the sun or in an oven, which concentrates their natural sweetness and flavor.
Dried apricots have a chewy texture and sweet-tart taste that makes them perfect for snacking on their own or adding to recipes.
Dried apricots can be used as a substitute for dates in many recipes, such as energy bars, granola bars, cookies, cakes, muffins, breads and more.
They also make a great addition to salads or trail mixes for added sweetness and crunch.
Plus they’re high in fiber and vitamins A & C!
7 – Figs
Figs are a delicious and versatile fruit that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
They have a unique flavor, with notes of honey, caramel, and citrus.
Figs are also incredibly nutritious and can be enjoyed fresh or dried.
Fresh figs are best eaten right away as they don’t store well for long periods of time.
Dried figs on the other hand can last up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
When using dried figs you’ll want to soak them overnight before using them in recipes so they become soft and plump again.
Once soaked you can use them in baked goods like muffins or cakes or even add them to salads for extra sweetness!
8 – Raisin Paste
Raisin paste, also known as date paste, is a thick and sweet spread made from dates.
It has a rich, caramel-like flavor that makes it perfect for baking or adding to smoothies and other recipes.
Raisin paste is an excellent source of dietary fiber and contains no added sugar or preservatives.
Raisin paste can be used in place of dates in many recipes such as energy bars, cookies, cakes, muffins and more.
It’s also great for making sauces and dressings.
The sweetness of the raisin paste helps to balance out savory flavors like garlic or onion powder.
Plus, it adds a nice texture to dishes!
9 – Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a sweet, amber-colored liquid made from the sap of maple trees.
It’s been used as a natural sweetener for centuries and is now popular in many parts of the world.
Maple syrup has a unique flavor that can be used to enhance both savory and sweet dishes.
Maple syrup is an excellent substitute for dates in baking recipes such as cakes, muffins, cookies, and breads.
Its sweetness pairs well with other flavors like cinnamon or nutmeg, making it perfect for adding depth to your favorite recipes.
Plus, its thick consistency helps bind ingredients together while providing moisture to baked goods.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of your maple syrup, try using dark grade A or B varieties which have more intense flavor than lighter grades!
10 – Cane Sugar
Cane sugar, also known as Sucrose, is a type of sugar derived from the juice of sugar cane.
It is one of the most widely used sweeteners in the world and can be found in many processed foods.
Cane sugar has a mild flavor that makes it perfect for baking and cooking.
Cane sugar is often used to replace dates in recipes because it has a similar sweetness level and texture.
However, if you need something to sweeten up your dish without adding any additional flavors or textures, then cane sugar is an excellent choice!
11 – Cascara
Cascara, also known as coffee cherry tea, is a beverage made from the dried skins of coffee cherries.
It has a sweet and tart flavor with notes of hibiscus and raisin.
Cascara can be enjoyed hot or cold and is often used as an alternative to traditional tea or coffee.
Pro Tip: To make cascara tea at home simply steep 1 tablespoon of dried cascara in 8 ounces of boiling water for 5-7 minutes. You can add honey or other sweeteners if desired!
12 – Dried Peaches
Dried peaches are a delicious and nutritious snack.
They are made by drying fresh peaches in the sun or in an oven, which removes most of the moisture from the fruit and concentrates its flavor.
Dried peaches have a sweet, chewy texture that makes them perfect for snacking on their own or adding to trail mixes, granola bars, and other snacks.
Dried peaches are also a great source of vitamins as well as fiber.
They can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet because they contain no added sugar or preservatives.
Plus, they’re easy to store and don’t require any special preparation before eating!
13 – Date Syrup
Date syrup, also known as date honey or silan, is a thick liquid made from dates.
It has a rich caramel flavor and is often used in Middle Eastern cooking as an alternative to sugar or honey.
Date syrup can be used in baking, sauces, dressings, and even smoothies!
Date syrup is also packed with vitamins and minerals.
It’s also high in fiber and antioxidants which makes it a great choice for those looking for healthier alternatives to sugar.
Pro Tip: Date syrup can be used as a natural sweetener for coffee or tea instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. It adds a delicious hint of sweetness without the added calories!
14 – Small Apricots
Small apricots are a type of fruit that is similar to dates in size, shape and texture.
They have a sweet flavor with hints of tartness and can be eaten fresh or dried.
Small apricots can be used as an alternative to dates in many recipes such as energy bars, granola bars, muffins and cakes.
They also make a great addition to salads or oatmeal for breakfast.
Dried small apricots can be added to trail mix or yogurt parfaits for a healthy snack on the go.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of your small apricots, try soaking them overnight before using them in recipes! This will help soften them up so they blend better into whatever you’re making!
15 – Applesauce
Applesauce is a sweetened puree of cooked apples, often used as a condiment or dessert.
It can be made with any variety of apple, but tart cooking apples are usually preferred.
Applesauce is an excellent substitute for dates in baking recipes because it adds sweetness and moisture without changing the texture of the finished product.
Applesauce also makes a great topping for oatmeal or pancakes, and can be added to smoothies for extra sweetness and nutrition.
It’s high in fiber and vitamins A & C, so it’s a healthy alternative to sugar-laden processed foods like jams and jellies.
Plus, you can make your own homemade applesauce with just a few simple ingredients!
What fruit is a date similar to?
Dates and figs are both sweet and nutritious fruits that share many similarities.
They both contain high levels of magnesium, potassium, and fiber, with figs having a slightly higher calcium content than dates.
Furthermore, dates are slightly higher in sugar, but lower in fat than figs. In terms of taste and texture, dates are similar to figs, but with a chewy, slightly sticky consistency.
All in all, dates and figs have many similarities, and can be seen as comparable fruits.
Can I substitute honey for dates?
Yes, you can substitute honey for dates in many recipes. Honey has a similar texture and sweetness, and it can be used as a one-to-one replacement for date syrup.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that honey has a more robust flavor than dates, so you may need to adjust the amount of other sweeteners in the recipe if you’re using honey instead.
Additionally, honey contains more moisture than dates, so you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe or increase the cooking time.
How do I substitute raisins for dates?
If you’re looking to use raisins instead of dates in baking recipes like muffins, brownies, and Lara bars, you’ll want to give the raisins a little extra help in order to achieve a similar texture and sweetness to dates.
To do this, you’ll want to soak the raisins for 2-3 minutes in hot water.
This will help to reconstitute some of the moisture, making the raisins softer and more plump like dates. You can also add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup to the raisins for added sweetness.
Once the raisins have soaked, you can strain and use them as you would dates, or even puree them to act as a date paste substitute.
What can I use instead of dates in a smoothie?
If you’re looking for a tasty alternative to dates in a smoothie, fresh or frozen bananas are a great option. Not only do they have a similar texture, but they also have a similar sweetness.
So, if you’re using them in a smoothie, it won’t be much different than using dates.
You can also use maple syrup or honey as a sweetener instead of dates.
They both provide a natural sweetness and can help to give your smoothie the perfect amount of sweetness.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a sweet and delicious substitute for dates, you have plenty of options to choose from.
The best substitutes for dates are prunes, dried raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, jujube, dried apricot, figs, raisin paste, maple syrup, cane sugar, cascara, dried peaches, date syrup, small apricots, and applesauce.
These substitutes all contain natural sugars and provide a great flavor without being too overpowering.
Using one of these substitutes can add an interesting and unique flavor to your dish while still providing the sweetness of dates.
The 15 Best Substitutes For Dates
- Dried Raisins
- Dried Cranberries
- Dried Cherries
- Dried Apricot
- Raisin Paste
- Maple Syrup
- Cane Sugar
- Dried Peaches
- Date Syrup
- Small Apricots
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.