Pineapple is a delicious tropical fruit, and can be called for in recipes in a variety of ways > fresh, frozen, canned, juiced. However, it is not always in season and may be difficult to find during some months. Others may be slightly allergic to tropical fruits. For these reasons, you may need to sub out the pineapple for another fruit.
What are some popular substitutes for pineapple? First, the best sub for fresh pineapple is canned pineapple, especially in frozen drinks and desserts. But if you need to sub out the pineapple altogether, A common sub would be citrus fruits. Or, depending on the recipe, it could be stone fruits, kiwi, pomegranate, berries, and even papaya!
Check out below for some common swaps for pineapple.
Common Pineapple Substitutes in:
Summer is here and frozen drinks will soon be making their appearance at BBQs and backyard gatherings. Whipping up your friends some delicious blended beverages will make you a hit! You want to make Pina Coladas but forgot to buy a pineapple.
Don’t let this stop you! Check your freezer for any frozen berry you have on hand > strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and even cherry. Or feel free to use a mix of them all, and voila! You have your very own signature BBQ drink … Mixed Berry Coladas.
A sweet and sour sauce
Nothing makes a delicious sweet and sour sauce like the flavor of real fruit. Pineapple is a common fruit used in such Asian dishes, but there is an easy substitute for this one, oranges. If the recipe calls for pineapple juice, use orange juice. If it calls for crushed pineapple, use canned orange slices.
They are extremely sweet and easy to prepare. Just cut them up very small as would be the case with a can of crushed pineapple. Use the juice in your sauce as well for extra sweetness. In a pinch, you could mix lemon/lime juice with any type of sweetener. This will mimic the sweet/sour nature of pineapple.
The beauty of cooking is that there is no ONE way to prepare a meal, even if you are diligently following a recipe. When you have to switch one ingredient for another, this is your time to play around with your culinary curiosity. Need a slice of grilled pineapple for a turkey burger?
Try stewing stone fruits, like peaches and plums, instead. Cut in slices, wrap in tinfoil, and place on the grill or in the oven for 10-30 minutes.
This is a great option if you live somewhere where pineapples do not grow locally, but peaches do. Eating locally is a great way to get more nutrients out of your food, support local farmers, and reduce your environmental impact.
A fruit salad
Pineapple is delectable alongside bananas, oranges, berries, melons, and granola in a traditional fruit salad. A fruit salad without a variety of fruits just isn’t the same. The more variety the better! Instead of pineapple, try pomegranate seeds.
This fruit has made a shining appearance in the produce section of conventional grocery stores over the last few years, and although it may seem difficult to prepare, it isn’t. You can even buy a pomegranate peeling machine nowadays, but you certainly don’t need one.
A more common, but underused fruit is kiwi. Similar to pineapple, it is sweet AND citrusy, which makes it a great sub in a fruit salad. Now, this next suggestion may sound strange, but I promise you will love it! Add some papaya that has been squeezed with lime.
A lot of people do not like the taste of papaya on its own, but once it has been soaking in some lime juice, the flavor completely changes. And let me tell you, people love it!
Using fruit in baking is a great way to add texture and flavor. Pineapple in particular will add elements of sweetness and citrus, a unique flavor profile for sure! Citrus in baking complements the sweet notes in a way that will take your baking to the next level.
If your desert calls for pineapple, you could likely swap it out for any of the fruits mentioned in this article. My top suggestion would be orange slices.
But raspberries could be equally as delicious. If you choose another fruit such as peach or mango, add some lemon or lime juice. This will act as the citrus flavor element unique to pineapple.
Smoothies are the quintessential creative health drink. Throw anything in a blender and call it a smoothie, no? Since smoothies are supposed to be healthy, try not to use fruit juice, instead use chilled herbal teas.
A fresh sub for pineapple in a smoothie would be grapefruit. Its bitterness makes it sometimes hard for people to enjoy, but Wowza does it pack a healthy punch, so it’s worth including in your diet. In a smoothie, you can mask its sometimes bitter flavor with other fruits, like mango and banana.
If you want to stay clear of grapefruit, try the suggested subs for a fruit salad > kiwi or papaya & lime. Kiwi is similar to pineapple in its sweet and tangy flavor profile.
Adding kiwis to your smoothies is a great way to maintain the sweetness that makes it enjoyable paired with the citrusy aftertaste that is often associated with enzyme production (an important element to food digestion).
You can also try the trick mentioned above about mixing papaya and lime juice. Smoothies are a great way to experiment with different fruit combinations. Don’t be afraid to go wild!
Pineapples aren’t entirely substitutable in some dishes.
It is not even entirely possible to substitute fresh for canned pineapple. Eating a dish with fresh pineapple often invokes this idea of an exotic tropical paradise. And peaches and raspberries just don’t add this same element of exoticism to a dish.
As unique as is the flavor of pineapple, I am all about the swaps and creativity that can seep its way into cooking. Getting resourceful in the kitchen is so incredibly important.
We cannot let ourselves get discouraged if we can’t follow a recipe exactly, or if we think we are missing a key ingredient.
I promise you, there is a swap for everything! And really truly, when in doubt, you can always leave an ingredient out, and keep going. Don’t have pineapple, add apple! Now, Apple didn’t make it onto this list for a reason, but that’s not to say that your dish still wouldn’t taste delicious.
Cooking is the art of balancing flavors and textures. So get crazy! Most often, one fruit could be swapped for another, so don’t worry too much about it not coming out exactly the way it “should”. This is YOUR own version.
Is it always possible to swap fresh fruit for frozen or canned?
Yes, well almost always. But I’d say 99% of the time, the answer is yes. Keep in mind that canned fruit is almost always submerged in a type of sugar, so its nutritional value is lower, and its sugar content will be higher.
Check the label for canned fruit so you know exactly what you will be ingesting. If you are using it for baking, chances are the extra sugar in the fruit can be balanced out by simply adding less sugar to the recipe overall.
I wouldn’t suggest using canned fruit in smoothies, however, since smoothies are meant to have less sugar. In this case, frozen fruit is the ideal option, and even preferred over fresh, since smoothies are usually drunk icy cold.
I heard we are not supposed to mix fruit with other food, is this true?
Yes, this is true. Fruit digests much quicker than any other food, and so it is often suggested to be eaten an hour before meals, and on an empty stomach. Especially for people that struggle with digestion, fruit should not be combined with other foods.
If you are trying to not mix fruit with food, simply leave it out of a recipe. Or, substitute the fruit for a little citrus juice instead. This swap may actually help digestion.
There you have it! Some common and easy swaps for pineapple in a variety of recipes.