Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Best Substitute for currants (8 Options to try)

Best Substitute for currants (8 Options to try)

There are many reasons to use a substitute for currant in your baking and cooking. They can be challenging to find fresh, or maybe you don’t like their taste. Using a replacement from our list is a great way to get the flavor without searching for the right kind of berries.

Raisins, craisins, and dried blueberries are all great substitutes that are readily available. Just be sure to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe if you’re using a sweeter substitute like craisins or blueberries.

glass jar filled with dark dried berries, package next to it with label "currants".

What are currants?

Currants are small tart berries often used in jams, jellies, pies, and other desserts. They grow in clusters on bushes. There are three main types of currants – red, black, pink, and white – which are all quite similar in taste and appearance. The white and pink varieties are much sweeter.

Currants can be found dried or fresh, but they are most commonly used in their dried form. When used in baking, they add a burst of flavor and a chewy texture.

Currants contain a lot of nutritional value, and they are a great source of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Best Substitutes for Currants

Currants are rare commodities in the U.S. because of the ban; despite being already available in some states, most currants are in dried form. Because of their scarcity, substitutes for currants are necessary. 

Each currant substitute on this list works perfectly, depending on the nature of your recipe. As a general rule, you can use equal parts of the substitute as currants. 

When picking the best substitute for dried currants, you should consider flavor resemblances (sweetness and tartness), size resemblance, and suitability for your dish.

1. Dried Cherries

Dried cherries have a lot of flavors, so adding just a few to your recipe goes a long way. They can be sweet and tart. Dried cherries are one of the most popular ingredients for desserts and baked goodies.

Dried cherries are suitable substitutes for dried currant because of their wide use in the kitchen. While dried cherries look bright red, their taste is almost similar to currants, especially dried cherries with more tart.

The soft texture of dried cherries works best in muffins, bread, pies, tarts, cookies, cakes, scones, ice creams, and jams. You can also make puff pastries and cereal bars with dried cherry fillings. You can also use dried cherries in roasted meat recipes. 

Because dried cherries are larger than currants, you must chop them into smaller pieces, especially when using them in your pastries. Be wary of dried cherries with added sugar because they can alter the taste of your dish. 

2. Dried Blueberries

Dried blueberries are sweet and juicy with a bit of tart. They can be used as a substitute for dried currants in baking. The blueberries will add sweetness and moisture to your baked goods.

Use this replacement for currants in your cookies, tarts, spreads, stuffing, sauces, and savory dishes. You can use the same volume of dried blueberries in place of currants. 

Soak the blueberries in warm water for 10 minutes before using them in your recipe to help them rehydrate. You may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe since blueberries are sweeter than currants.

3. Dried Apricots

Dried apricots have a sweet flavor, with each piece typically half of fresh apricot. Most dried apricots are brown or orange. Like fresh apricots, the dried versions are sources of beta carotene and Vitamins A, C, and E.

The sweet flavor of dried apricots makes them perfect for baked goodies and desserts. They make lovely toppings for muffins in place of currants. You can also use dried apricots for your lamb and poultry dishes. 

Dried apricots may be sweeter than other dried currant substitutions. Thus you should not expect to have the same flavor. However, dried apricots have the same texture as currants.

Dried apricots are larger than dried currants, so you need to cut them into smaller pieces. If you are chopping dried apricots in a food processor, add some flour so they do not become sticky. If you are chopping by hand, add some oil to the blade of your kitchen knife. 

4. Raisins

Raisins are a type of dried grape, and they make excellent currants substitute. They’re readily available, and they have a similar sweetness and chewiness as currants. Dried golden raisins and dried currants have a sweet, intense, and tangy flavor.

Dried raisins are a suitable dried currant substitute for your cookies, muffins, and cakes. They can replace dried currants not only in your baked goodies but also in your chicken and lamb dishes and other savory dishes. It is also a healthy snack because you can eat it independently.

Dried raisins are only slightly larger than dried currants. You can use raisins in any recipe that calls for currants, and you may need to adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe since raisins are sweeter than currants.

5. Prunes

Prunes are dried plums, they come from dark purple or black plums. They have a sweet soft flavor and a chewy texture. They are rich in potassium and Vitamins B, C, and K. 

You can use dried prunes in many recipes such as tarts, cakes, stews, roast turkey, braised pork, toppings for your bread, baked dishes, yogurt, ice cream, salad, and a pastry filling. You can also mix prunes with nuts, oatmeal, and cereal and blend them with smoothies.

While dried plums are similar in sweetness to dried currant, they are without any tart. You may consider adding a pinch of dried tamarind or sumac to some of your recipes if you want to imitate the tartness of dried currant.

Although prunes are sweeter and have a chewer texture, they make a good replacement for currants. Since dried plums are larger, you will need to cut them into smaller pieces, so they spread through your dish like the tiny currants. When replacing dried currants with dried prunes, use fewer of them to reduce the sweetness.

6. Craisins (Dried Cranberries)

Craisins are another type of dried grape, but they’re cranberries that have been sweetened and dried. They make the best substitute for dried currants because they have a similar tartness and sweetness.

Dried cranberries come with a bright tart and a slightly sweet taste, making them unique ingredients for pies and other savory dishes. You can replace dried currants with dried cranberries because of their sharp taste, especially in pastries, desserts, salads, and meat dishes.

If you are making currant jelly, dried cranberries are your best substitute. Dried cranberries have the same taste, consistency, and smell as dried currant. You will not be able to tell the difference in your jelly, except perhaps for the color. 

You can use craisins in any recipe that calls for currants, but you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe since craisins are sweeter than currants.

7. Dried Jujube Fruit

Many people may be unfamiliar with Jujube (Chinese dates), but they are available in most Chinese stores. Dried jujube has a sweet and caramel taste, similar to dates, with some tart flavor. 

You can use dried jujube as a topping for bread, cookies, and muffins. Dried jujube breaks down nicely when stewed making it perfect as fillings for your desserts and toppings for soups. 

You can replace dried currant with the same volume of dried jujube. 

8. Dried Dates

Dried dates are superfoods that taste just like raisins and prunes but with a taste almost like brown sugar. They tend to break up during cooking and effortlessly blend with the dish’s overall flavor.

You can use dried dates for jams, cakes, and fillings for stuffed pastries and pies. Dried dates are sweeter than dried currants, so they may not suit savory dishes. However, dried dates can substitute for dried currants in sauces, jams, and syrups.

You can use the same volume of dried dates to replace dried currants. When replacing dried dates with dried currants, chop them into smaller pieces and use less sugar in your dish. You may also need to add a pinch of tamarind to help add the tartness.

What do Currants Taste like?

Fresh currants come with a sweet and tart flavor with an acid kick. On the other hand, dried currant has an intense acidic, sweet, and spicy flavor. They taste similar to raisins but slightly more intense since they are smaller.

How to Use Currants in Cooking?

Currants can be used in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. They add flavor and texture to these dishes, and can also provide a nutritional boost.

Dried currants can be used in many recipes, including pies, cakes, tarts, scones, cookies, and bread. They can also be added to trail mix or granola. They can also be used in jams, preserves, and sauces, or simply added to yogurt or oatmeal for a pop of flavor. Currants can even be used in savory dishes like stuffing or roasted meats or savory salads.

Many people add dried currants to rice pilaf, simmered carrots, and grilled peppers to add an element of sweetness. You can add currants to your chicken cutlets, meatballs, and as stuffing for turkey and chicken to add some sweetness and texture. In short, in any recipe, you can add raisins you can, add currants, too.

When choosing dried currants, look for those that are plump and have a deep color. Avoid those that are shriveled or have a dull color, as these may be old and lack flavor. Store dried currants in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Currants Cooking Tips

Currants are similar to raisins, so they are used for cooking in almost the same ways.

  • If your recipe has liquid ingredients, soak dried currants in hot water for about 10 to 15 minutes and pat dry them after. Soaking currants before baking and cooking will also keep them moist and plump. It also prevents currants from absorbing too much liquid from your recipe. 
  • If you are using dried currants in baked goodies, toss them in a bit in the flour in your recipe (do not use extra flour because it can make your dough heavy). This process will not make your currants sink to the bottom of the baking pan when in the oven. 

Currants vs raisins Difference?

Raisins are made from grapes that have been dried for a period of time, typically three weeks. During this drying process, the water content in the grape is reduced by almost half, resulting in small, wrinkled fruit.

Currants, on the other hand, are made from a type of blackberry known as the European blackcurrant. These berries are also dried, but for a much shorter period of time – usually only a day or two. As a result, currants retain their shape and are much smaller than raisins.

When it comes to taste, raisins are sweeter and have a more intense flavor than currants. Currants, on the other hand, are tart and have a more subtle flavor.

Both raisins and currants can be used in a variety of ways, including in baking, as a topping for cereals or yogurt, or in trail mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are raisins a good substitute for currants? 

Raisins are probably the closest substitute to currants because they are almost similar in flavor, appearance, and size. They are sweet, soft, and juicy, while currants taste sweet, tangy, and intense. You can use them interchangeably, but currants are smaller than raisins.

Are currants healthy? 

Currants come with many nutritional values. They are rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Currants contain more Vitamin C than oranges.

Where can I buy currants?

You can buy currants at most grocery stores. They are often located near the raisins or other dried fruit. If your store does not carry them, you can try an online retailer.

Why are currants banned in the USA?

In 1911, it was illegal to grow black currants in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the ban because the plants became carriers of a disease that threatened to damage all pine trees. Today, farmers can successfully cultivate currant plants in New York, Vermont, Oregon, and Connecticut. However, most Americans can only enjoy dried currants. 

Final Thoughts

Fresh or dried currants are a delicious ingredient for many sweet and savory dishes. They are typically rare in the United States, but luckily, many alternatives to dried currants will work well for your recipes. 

If you cannot find dried currants in your area, there are close substitutes that will give your dishes a satisfyingly similar taste and sometimes texture. You can adjust the flavor of the substitutes by adding some sweetener or a pinch of dried tamarind to come as close as possible to the taste of dried currants. 

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
pinterest instagram instagram

Get new recipes and tips via email
when you subscribe!

Have a comment? I love hearing from you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.

As seen in:

Eating WellmashededibleWomans WorldTasting TableHomes and Gardens
Back to the Top