As much as I love the taste of fresh strawberries, sometimes I don’t have a chance to whip up a batch of homemade strawberry puree. Maybe strawberries aren’t in season, or I’m short on time. Whatever the reason, I’ve searched for strawberry puree substitutes on more than one occasion.
The best strawberry puree substitutes range from other berries like raspberries, or you can opt for a more tangy rhubarb puree to banana puree or applesauce. However, if you want to stick to the strawberries, you can also use strawberry jam.
After a fair amount of experimenting, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite alternatives instead of strawberry puree. Whether baking, making jam, or crafting a strawberry cocktail, one of these substitutes should do the trick and add a burst of berry flavor when needed.
List of Strawberry Puree Alternatives
Here are 5 strawberry puree substitutes to keep on hand, along with tips for when each one works best. Ultimately, the substitute you choose comes down to the specific recipe and the flavor you’re going for.
Whether you’re all out of strawberries, want to avoid the extra sugar, or just feel like mixing it up, one option will surely do the trick. Let’s get cooking!
When I want an intense strawberry flavor in my recipe, strawberry jam is my go-to substitute for puree.
Strawberry jam has the bright red color and tangy sweetness of fresh strawberries but with a thicker, spreadable consistency. It’s made from crushed strawberries, sugar, and sometimes pectin to help it gel. Because it contains more sugar than puree, jam provides a more concentrated strawberry flavor.
I like to use strawberry jam in place of puree when I want a bolder fruit taste in drinks, glazes, fillings, or frostings. A couple of spoonfuls of jam blended into lemonade, iced tea, or champagne punch gives a vibrant pop of strawberry.
Brushing jam onto pound cake, cheesecake, or French toast before baking creates a shiny, fruity glaze. And folding a bit of jam into buttercream or cream cheese frosting helps boost the strawberry flavor in cupcakes or a cake.
The high sugar content means jam won’t work as a substitute in savory dishes or for strawberry marinara sauce. But when used in moderation, strawberry jam can be a great alternative to puree to increase the flavor of sweet treats.
The raspberry puree is the closest substitute for the strawberry puree in terms of flavor. I often use it for a similar sweet and tart taste, but strawberries aren’t in season or are too pricey.
Raspberry puree works excellently as a substitute for strawberry puree in most recipes. I like using it in vinaigrettes and sauces for salads with berries, melons, or stone fruits, as well as glazes for meats like duck, chicken, or fish. It also works great in fruit horchata, muffins, scones, tarts, and other pastries, but also in sorbet, overnight oats, ice cream, and frozen yogurt.
The bright red color and raspberry puree’s seedy texture are comparable to strawberry puree. In recipes, you can substitute the same amount of raspberry puree for strawberry puree. The flavor may be slightly more tart, but the sweetness levels are pretty similar.
When strawberries aren’t available, raspberry puree allows you to make many of the same recipes and enjoy a very similar berry experience. It’s really the next best thing and, for some, even preferable.
Banana puree is an excellent substitute for strawberry puree when you want a similar texture but a milder flavor. Bananas have a creamy, starchy quality that works well as a thickener in recipes.
I like to use banana puree when making fruit popsicles, smoothies, or ice cream. It provides a body without an overpowering flavor. Banana also mixes well into yogurt or oatmeal for a naturally sweetened treat.
When baking, the banana puree can be substituted 1:1 for strawberry puree in most recipes. It works in quick breads, muffins, cakes, and fruit crisps or crumbles. You can even use it as a pancake topping.
The banana flavor is subtle enough that it won’t dominate other mix-ins like chocolate chips or nuts. However, you may need to slightly reduce other liquids in the recipe since bananas contain more moisture.
Banana puree has a mild flavor and pale yellow color, so it may not provide the same tang or bright pink hue as strawberry puree. If appearance and tartness are essential in your recipe, add a bit of lemon or lime juice to balance the banana, or mix in some berry puree for extra flavor and color.
Applesauce is a great budget-friendly substitute for strawberry puree. When money is tight, or strawberries are out of season, applesauce can work in a pinch.
Applesauce has a naturally sweet flavor and creamy texture similar to strawberry puree. It provides moisture and binding power in recipes like muffins, quick breads, and cakes. You can use the same amount of applesauce as the recipe in strawberry puree.
The natural pectin in applesauce also helps provide structure in baked goods. However, applesauce may produce a slightly denser result than strawberry puree. Applesauce works best as a substitute for strawberry puree in recipes where strawberries are not the star ingredient or main flavor.
Applesauce would not be an ideal substitute in recipes like strawberry shortcake, where the strawberry flavor is prominent.
You may need to increase spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or lemon juice to enhance the flavor when using applesauce instead of strawberry puree. You can also add a bit of strawberry extract or food coloring to boost the strawberry flavor and appearance.
Rhubarb puree offers a tangy kick that strawberry puree lacks. I like to use it when I want to add a bit of tartness to balance out an overly sweet dish.
Rhubarb puree works excellent in place of strawberry puree in recipes like:
- Rhubarb lemonade or strawberry rhubarb lemonade. The tartness of the rhubarb cuts through the sweetness and prevents the drink from tasting like straight sugar water.
- Rhubarb sauce or chutney as a condiment for meats like duck, pork, or lamb. The tangy and savory rhubarb complements the richness of the meat.
- Rhubarb yogurt or ice pops for a refreshing summer treat. The creaminess of the yogurt or ice pop base helps mellow out the tart rhubarb.
- For a classic spring dessert, Rhubarb scones, tarts, crumbles, or crisps. The rhubarb’s tartness balances the sweetness of the pastry and any added sugar.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us what is your favorite strawberry puree substitute in the comment section below. 🙂