Ripe pomegranates and leaves on table against grey background.
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11 Best Substitutes For Pomegranate Seeds

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Sweet, juicy pomegranate seeds make a delicious addition to many dishes, bringing a delightful tangy flavor that works well in savory dishes as well as desserts. But can you use anything else as a substitute for this zingy red fruit?

What are the best substitutes for pomegranate seeds? The best substitutes include fresh fruits (like raspberries, cranberries, or blueberries), dried fruits (like apricots or raisins), or toasted nuts. If you want the pomegranate flavor in your dish without the fruit, use pomegranate syrup instead.

Putting together a recipe that asks for pomegranate seeds, but the grocery store shelves are bare? Don’t panic, these substitutes will make sure your dish still tastes delicious!

Let’s take a look at the 11 best alternatives for pomegranate seeds and how to use them.

What Are Pomegranate Seeds?

Pomegranate seeds are found inside the round red fruits of the pomegranate bush.

Each fruit is around the size of an orange and it grows well in warm Mediterranean climates.

The outer skin of the pomegranate fruit is thick and leathery, hiding the bright red seeds inside.

When you crack open a pomegranate fruit, you will see a white fleshy layer wrapped around snugly packed red seeds. The seeds, more correctly known as arils, resemble tiny iridescent jewels. 

Each aril consists of firm, juicy red flesh hiding a tiny inner seed. Each one is about the size of a pea, although they are slightly square in shape.

Each pomegranate contains hundreds of these seeds. They’re not always the easiest to extract whole, but they’re well worth the effort!

Pomegranate seeds are sought after for their great flavor, but they also bring unique health benefits. They contain high levels of antioxidants and can help support immunity and brain health.

The great thing about pomegranate seeds is they are very versatile and can be incorporated into both sweet and savory dishes. They can be eaten fresh or dried, juiced, and as a sweet, intense syrup.

What Do Pomegranate Seeds Taste Like?

To better understand what can be used as a substitute for pomegranate seeds, firstly we need to try and explain what they taste like.

These juicy red seeds have a sweet but tart flavor, with intense levels of fruitiness.

The taste is strong enough to be refreshing without becoming overpowering.

The flavor of pomegranate seeds is best described as similar to a tart raspberry combined with a zesty cranberry.

In terms of texture, the flesh of pomegranate seeds is firm with a slight crunch. They hold their shape well, but are not chewy apart from the tiny inner seed.

Best Substitutes For Pomegranate Seeds

So now we’ve got you all excited about pomegranate seeds, we need to turn our thoughts to what you can use as a substitute for this delicious red fruit.

There are plenty of options available, so don’t be disheartened if your local store has run out of fresh pomegranates!

Here are some of the best substitutes for pomegranate seeds.

1. Raspberries


As the fruit most similar in flavor to pomegranate is the raspberry, it makes sense that this delicious fruit would come top of our list!

The taste of raspberries is zingy, zesty, and intensely fruity, which makes them a great substitute for pomegranate seeds.

They also have a similar color, bringing a splash of redness to your dish.

Raspberries are slightly larger than pomegranate seeds, so you may wish to break them into smaller pieces. They also have a softer texture but are equally as juicy as pomegranates.

The great thing about raspberries is that they are normally readily available in the freezer section of your local store!

2. Cranberries

Cranberries in wooden bowl on wooden background.

Cranberries have a similar flavor profile to pomegranate seeds, but they are slightly tarter and less sweet.

They have a deep red color and dense fleshy texture which also makes them an ideal swap for pomegranate seeds.

You can use either fresh or dried cranberries as a substitute for pomegranate seeds. If necessary, dried cranberries can be rehydrated by soaking them in warm water for just 15 minutes.

Some people find the tart flavor of cranberries off-putting, but you can counteract this by increasing the levels of sugar, honey, or other sweeteners in your recipe.

3. Red Currants

The great thing about red currants is that they are a similar size to pomegranate seeds, although they are slightly rounder in shape.

They have the same brightly jeweled red color and will glisten when used as a topping for desserts or salads.

Red currants have a similar flavor to pomegranate seeds, although they are slightly sourer. You may need to increase the amount of sugar in your recipe to counteract this.

The texture of red currants is comparable to pomegranate seeds, and they both contain a tiny hard pip in the center.

4. Raisins


Raisins are often overlooked as a substitute for other fruits, but in fact, they are very versatile and can be adapted to make up for an absence of other fruity ingredients, such as pomegranate!

Plump raisins are sweet with a soft, slightly chewy texture. They can either be used whole or lightly chopped. You can also soak them to rehydrate them.

Their flavor is slightly more intense than pomegranate, so you may want to reduce the amount you use accordingly.

The great thing about raisins is that they are packed full of health benefits. They are high in fiber and contain essential nutrients such as iron, potassium, and magnesium.

5. Cherries

Fresh organic sour cherry, ripe, deep red cherry.

The chewy texture and sweet yet tart taste of cherries make them a great substitute for pomegranate seeds.

The flesh of cherries is dense yet firm and provides the same level of crunch.

However, they are slightly larger than pomegranate seeds, so you may wish to cut them into smaller pieces.

If using whole fresh cherries, be aware that they contain a hard stone in the center which should be removed.

Alternatively, you could use cherries that have had the stone removed, such as those sold in sugar syrup or dried.

6. Figs

Ripe fig fruits on the wooden table.

Fresh figs are considerably larger than pomegranate seeds, but when diced they can be sprinkled over desserts and salads to add a deliciously sweet and fruity flavor.

The flesh of figs is similar in texture to pomegranate seeds, although it can be slightly softer.

They’re also very sweet, so you may want to adjust the levels of other sweet ingredients in your recipe accordingly.

Dried figs also make a great healthy snack, perfect for a mid-afternoon energy boost.

7. Pomegranate Syrup

Azerbaijani narsharab seasoning obtained by thickening pomegranate juice close-up on the table. horizontal.

If you don’t want to miss out on the flavor of pomegranate, but can’t lay your hands on any seeds, then the best option is to try and source some pomegranate syrup.

Pomegranate syrup is a concentrated form of juice extracted from pomegranate seeds.

It is very sweet and packed full of the intense fruity flavor of this delicious fruit.

As pomegranate syrup is a liquid, you will not get the texture that you would expect with fresh fruit, but you will still get the same flavor.

It can be combined with other ingredients to create salad dressings or drizzled on top of your favorite desserts. Just remember that pomegranate syrup is very sweet, so no additional sugar will be required!

8. Blueberries


Blueberries are not the closest fruit to pomegranate in terms of flavor, but they can still work well as a substitution. 

This is because they have a very similar texture and add a splash of color to your dish, albeit blue instead of red.

Blueberries have the same level of sweetness and tartness as pomegranate seeds. They are slightly larger, so you may wish to slice them into halves or quarters.

And if you can’t lay your hands on fresh blueberries, then dried blueberries can also work very well.

9. Blackberries

Blackberries on wooden plate - closeup.

Although they are not at all similar in terms of color, blackberries have an intense fruity flavor which works surprisingly well as a substitute for pomegranate seeds.

They are larger in size than pomegranate seeds and have a softer texture.

You may find it preferable to break the berries into smaller chunks. It is easier to pull them apart with your fingers rather than trying to cut them.

This substitution works particularly well as a topping for desserts, yogurt, and ice cream.

10. Dried Apricots

Dried Apricots

Dried apricots have a great advantage over pomegranate seeds in that they can be stored easily in your pantry.

They have a light yet fruity flavor and, when diced, can be used like-for-like instead of pomegranate seeds.

They provide the same level of sweetness but have a slightly firmer, chewier texture. This substitution would work particularly well in Asian-inspired recipes.

11. Dried Nuts

Assortment of tasty nuts, close up.

Nuts are all too easily overlooked as a substitute for fruits, but they can make a surprisingly nice alternative.

Our top recommendation as a substitute for pomegranate would be sweeter nuts, such as pecans or almonds.

The crunchy texture can make a refreshing change, particularly when combined with other fruits. To take the flavor to the next level, lightly toast the nuts in a dry pan first.

So next time you’re putting a salad together and don’t have any pomegranate seeds, take a look to see if you’ve got a nutty alternative on your pantry shelves instead!

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