10 Best Mango Substitutes

Mango

Summer is in full swing and that means it’s finally mango season.

Mangos are the perfect summer fruit to be eaten fresh or to be used as an ingredient in many recipes, both savory and sweet. The tropical fruit is usually available in supermarkets year-round but is best in the summer.

Mangoes originate in India but are also grown all around Asia. They are consumed fresh, dried, or cooked in certain dishes. They can also be pureed and used in baked goods or made into chutneys, which are especially popular in Indian cuisine.

However, what if you’re making a recipe that requires mangoes and you don’t have mangoes on hand or your mango isn’t ripe yet? 

The best substitutes for mango are peach, papaya, nectarine, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Banana, Sweet red bell pepper, Mango puree and many more.

Let’s get right into it.

Substitutes For Mango

The substitutes for mango include other fruits with similar taste and appearance. So, let’s learn how to substitute mango in recipes properly.

1. Peach

Peaches are a neighboring fruit to mangoes, with similar, orangey flesh. Like mangoes, they are incredibly sweet and have the same texture. Meaning, you can use them in many dishes that ask for mango. 

Peaches can be cut up and cooked in a sauce, or used in colder dishes such as fruit salad.

They are often considered the best substitute for mango, as the two fruits are incredibly similar. They can also be replaced in recipes like cocktails, where you can use the peach puree to replace mango puree in tropical drinks. 

Peaches will still deliver that tropical flavor that mangoes have. They also have similar color and consistency, so would be the perfect addition to any drink or dish without ruining the flavor.

2. Papaya

Papaya

Papaya is another tropical fruit that is best eaten during summer. Papayas even resemble mangoes as they also have an orangey flesh and tropical taste.

It is recommended to replace mango in fruit dishes or drinks that are usually enjoyed cold such as fruit salad or sangria, as it will still deliver that tropical, tart flavor.

The seeds of the papaya are also edible so make sure to save them! You can also crush them and use them as an alternative to black pepper.

3. Nectarine

Nectarine

The nectarine is a variety of peach, and the two fruits are incredibly similar apart from their skin. Nectarines do not have fizz on their skin, while peaches do.

Like peaches, they have that same texture and tropical flavor as mangoes, making them a perfect substitute for all dishes that require mango, including cocktails, salads, and savory dishes.

Nectarines also break down really well in baked dishes such as cakes and crumbles. And they are also a good substitute for peaches.

4. Kiwi

Kiwi

Kiwi is a fruit that is quite different from mango in look, taste, and texture. But can still be used as a replacement for the fruit, as kiwi is a tropical fruit as well with a tart flavor. 

It is suggested to use kiwis as a substitute only for cold recipes like salads, smoothies, and cocktails. They are not best when used in hot dishes and can affect the flavor. 

However, kiwis can deliver a great flavor in fruit salads and are often used with mangoes in fruit smoothies, so the two already work well together. If you’re preparing a cocktail, smoothie, or salad, try using kiwi as a replacement for mango.

5. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes are a type of melon that is best enjoyed in the summer.

They are usually eaten raw and cold and are most popularly used in fruit salads and smoothies, so would also be a great replacement for mangoes in cold dishes.

They are also often used in salads, so can also replace mangoes in any savory salad recipe.  Cantaloupes are incredibly sweet fruits and are a perfect addition to any fruit salad.

Although the taste is slightly different from mangoes, cantaloupes can still provide a great flavor to salads and smoothies in place of mango.

6. Banana

Bananas

Bananas are a great substitute for a lot of fruits because they are incredibly versatile and easy to find anywhere, all year round.  Banana is, of course, very different from mango, so you have to be careful what recipes you decide to substitute it in.

The taste is completely different. However, you can replace mangoes with bananas in various recipes like smoothies and fruit salads, as bananas would still complement other fruits in a salad. And would help reach a creamier consistency in smoothies.

7. Sweet red bell pepper

Red Bell Pepper

Although this seems like a stretch, the best substitute for mangoes in savory dishes is the sweet red bell pepper.

For example, in a salsa or sauce recipe, instead of mangoes, you can use sweet red bell pepper, which would still give the dish a great flavor and sweetness.

Although it would not be suitable for sweet recipes such as fruit salads, it would definitely work with savory ones and is great when cooked or eaten raw.

8. Mango puree

Mango

Mango puree is a great substitute for fresh mango. You still get the exact taste of mango without needing the whole fruit.

You can usually find mango puree frozen at any supermarket. Or if you find fresh mango earlier on in the year. Then, you can make mango puree and freeze it for when you need it. 

Mango puree is best used in savory dishes like sauces and smoothies, as its consistency is runny and cannot be eaten as is. So it is not recommended to use mango puree in fruit salads.

9. Apricot

Apricot

Apricots are part of the peach family, so they are similar to peaches and nectarines. They are usually much smaller but also have a tropical, sweet-tart flavor, which makes them a perfect replacement for mango. You can use them in almost any mango dish, sweet or savory.

10. Mango extract

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Finally, mango extract is a perfect replacement for mango because you can get the mango flavor without needing the fruit.

Mango extract is derived from the fruit. You can use it in many sauces, smoothies, and also as a dietary supplement, as it has all the vitamins in a mango without needing the actual fruit. 

Mango extract is a great substitute for sauces and smoothies but you cannot use it in fruit salads as it is a liquid. You can easily find it in supermarkets or dietary supplement stores.

How Do I Decide Which Substitute to Use?

It depends on the dish you’re preparing and how important the mango is in the dish. For example, if you’re making a mango salsa or a mango sauce, peaches or nectarines would be the best substitute because they have a very similar flavor and texture, and they also cook well.

If you’re looking to replace mango in a sweeter dish such as a fruit salad or a smoothie, you can use almost any tropical fruit to achieve a good flavor and still make your dish work. 

If you cannot find fresh mango, or it isn’t in season, frozen mango and mango puree are also great options. You can add them to smoothies or sauces. They are usually readily available in the frozen section of supermarkets.

Substitute for Mango in Graham Cake

Graham cake is a popular recipe that uses graham crackers, whipped cream, and mangoes. The ingredients are layered and then kept in the fridge for the crackers to soften, creating a soft, creamy cake. 

Graham cake is usually made with diced mangoes but these can be replaced with any fruit of your liking. Peaches would be a good alternative. However, you can also use strawberries or cherries, depending on how you want your graham cake to taste.

Substitute for Mango Extract

If you really wanted mango flavor but couldn’t find the fruit, mango extract is the perfect replacement. Just add a few drops to any smoothie or cake and enjoy that mango flavor.

Not all supermarkets sell mango extracts. Therefore, the best substitute for mango extract is mango puree. You can usually purchase mango puree in grocery stores or you can make it at home when mangoes are in season and freeze it for use at any time. 

You can also purchase mango nectar, which is readily available in the juice section of your local store but you might need to add more as the flavor is not very concentrated. If you’re using mango nectar, make sure to check the recipe so that you’re not ruining the consistency. 

Peach nectar or puree is also a good substitute for mango extract, as peaches have a very similar and tropical flavor to mangoes.

Substitute for Mango Chutney

Mango chutney can be store-bought but is also incredible when made at home. However, if you don’t have mango, you can substitute it to make peach chutney, which is as delicious and tangy as mango chutney. 

If you’re really in a pinch, you can also use apples instead. Apple chutney is also popular and though it doesn’t resemble mango chutney, it can still be a great accompaniment to any dish.

FAQs

Can you substitute mango for pineapple?

Depending on what you’re trying to make, yes. Pineapple is also a tropical fruit, but the taste and texture are quite different from mango, as pineapples are often a lot more acidic. 

If you’re looking to substitute mango in a fruit salad, pineapple would be a great choice. It would add great flavor to the smoothie. The same goes for fruit salad and salsa.

However, if you need a substitute for hot dishes such as sauces and curries, pineapple would not be a suitable substitute because the taste and texture are too different.

Peaches would be a better substitute for savory dishes.

What can you replace mango with in a smoothie?

As mentioned above, almost any tropical fruit would be a great replacement for mango in a smoothie. The best fruits to use would be something that resembles the taste and consistency of mangoes, such as peaches, nectarines, or papayas.

Kiwis and cantaloupes can also work if you’re in a pinch. Smoothies are very versatile so you can easily swap out some ingredients if you don’t have any, or if you prefer a different flavor.

What fruit does mango taste like?

Mango is a tropical fruit with an incredible sweet yet tart flavor.

When they are ripe, they are juicy and ideal for the summer. Mangoes taste a little as nectarines and papayas blended together, with a more tropical, tart flavor.

They can also have a flowery flavor to them, depending on which variety of mango you eat, and share a lot of similarities with cantaloupe, but with a more pronounced, tart flavor.

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