Mango is a popular, juicy, sweet-yet-tart, delectable fruit that has a way of reminding you of summer with each bite.
Its bright yellow-orange color screams happiness and the addition of this tropical fruit has a way of transforming a dish.
But what if you are allergic to mango? Or you have a recipe you are excited to try and when you get to the grocery store to grab your ingredients, mango is nowhere to be found– what do you do?
So, what is the best substitute for mango? The best substitute for mango is peach due to its similar level of sweetness and texture. However, nectarines, apricots, papaya, cantaloupe, kiwi, and bananas can all be used as suitable alternatives to mango.
Keep reading to learn more about the origin, taste, and texture of mango as well as why these 7 fruits can be used as a substitute.
What Is Mango?
Mango is a tropical stone fruit that grows on a Mangifera Indica tree that has origins in India, where it is actually their national fruit. However, it has made its way to other areas including Mexico, Asia, Africa, and South America.
It is full of nutrients and health benefits containing different antioxidants and vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.
Mangos can be either red or green on the outside and have a bright orangey-yellow color in the middle with a small pit.
The skin is edible and full of nutrients, but the bitter taste it leaves in your mouth and the rough texture makes it hard to swallow. This means it is usually discarded.
The small pit inside the mango is not poisonous or inedible, but the poor taste and rough texture result in most people also tossing it to the side. The only part people usually eat is the juicy fruit inside.
The ripeness of the mango will affect the taste of the fruit’s flesh. Ripe mangos taste incredibly sweet with a subtle tartness, and they are extremely juicy when bitten into.
Their taste has been described as a mixture of pineapple, orange and peach.
Mangoes that are not very ripe tend to taste tarter and sourer with a more subtle sweetness. They also tend to be drier than a ripe mango.
The texture of mango also varies depending on the level of ripeness.
Mangos that are super ripe have a softer texture, making it extremely easy to bite into, and the riper it becomes the squishier and juicier it is.
The texture of ripe mango is extremely malleable, and it can become so soft it is squishable.
Mangos that are less ripe tend to be a bit hard in texture and a lot less squishy and juicy than a ripe one.
Sometimes when biting through a not-so ripe mango, you might feel like it is a bit fuzzy on your tongue. It also tends to be a bit stringy when it is not very ripe.
Unripe mango tends to hold its shape better because of the harder texture and that additionally results in it having less juice and being a lot less squishy than ripe mango.
How Is Mango Consumed?
Mango is a very versatile fruit and can be eaten in many different ways.
One way mango can be consumed is by itself. You can eat it straight out of the peel or scoop it out to enjoy.
Raw mango can also be dressed up with lime and salt or spicy salt (like Tajin) and eaten that way.
Mango is a great addition to smoothies and other drinks.
The sweet and tropical flavor adds a unique taste, and the juiciness helps provide a creamy and smooth drink. It also has been used to flavor sparkling waters, cocktails, and snow cones.
Mango can be incorporated into different sweet treats and desserts. Mango cakes, popsicles, and ice cream are just a few sweets that utilize this stone fruit.
Juicy and more ripe mangos tend to work better in sweet recipes, while harder and tarter mangos tend to work better in savory recipes.
Mango can also be eaten dried and is often found in pre-made trail mix.
How To Choose A Mango Substitute
When deciding on a substitute for mango, it is important to think about what purpose you are trying to accomplish with the fruit.
Some recipes that use mango require a riper mango, others a less ripe fruit, so it is important to establish which will work best for you before deciding on what fruit to use in its place.
For savory recipes, a less ripe mango usually works better due to its harder and more malleable shape. So, when looking for a substitute, you want a fruit that is similar to that in both tartness and ability for the fruit to keep its shape.
For sweeter recipes, soft and ripe mango is usually required, so for a substitute fruit, you want to make sure it is also on the sweeter and softer textured side.
The 7 Best Substitutes For Mango
Now that we’ve gotten to talk a little bit about mangos themselves, let’s dive into some of the best and most delicious substitutes for this amazing fruit!
Peaches are a stone fruit and are similar to mango specifically in their flesh. They can be either orange or white on the interior and they have a fuzzy-skinned exterior. They contain a small and inedible pit in its center.
Peaches tend to be on the sweeter side and extremely juicy when bitten into.
Like mango, their flesh is harder when less ripe and softer and squishier when more ripe.
With similar texture, color, and level of sweetness depending on ripeness, peach tends to be the best substitute for mango. It will not have the exact taste, but it is the closest overall in all categories.
You could substitute peach for mango in both sweet and savory recipes including smoothies, baked goods, cocktails, salsa, and sauces.
Nectarines are also a stone fruit and are a variety of the peach. Their taste and appearance can be compared to a mixture of a peach and a plum.
They have a smoother skin than a peach and a yellow-orange flesh on the inside that is also separated by an inedible pit. Nectarines are extremely similar to peaches in both taste and color.
Nectarines are sweet and juicy and become softer the riper they get.
Nectarines are a good substitute for recipes that require cooking of the mango as the skin of the nectarine may remain intact without ruining the taste of a recipe.
Being similar to both peaches and mangos in texture and sweetness, nectarines also make a good substitute for mangos in many different foods like smoothies, baked goods or sauces.
Papaya is a tropical fruit, like mango. Its skin is a yellow green color, and from the outside it looks a lot like a mango.
The inside of the papaya is a bright orange color, and the fruit is a bit harder than a peach or nectarine might be.
Papaya has a bit of a melon-like smell but does not taste as sweet.
Something interesting about the papaya is, unlike mango or peaches and nectarines, the many seeds that can be found inside of the fruit are edible and used quite often making this fruit very versatile.
The papaya’s tropical tasting notes make it a good substitute for mango in tropical tasting recipes like ceviche, salsa, and cocktails.
Apricots resemble peaches very closely, as they are a part of the stone fruit family. They are smaller than a peach and have both the peach’s fuzzy skin and similar orange color. They also contain an inedible pit.
Apricots tend to be more tart than other stone fruits, like peaches and nectarines, as well as being harder and more malleable.
Apricots tend to be the best substitute for mangos in purees and juices as it has a similar taste. This would make it a good substitute for cocktails, sodas, or snow cone flavoring.
Apricots also do well when heat is applied, so they work well in baked good recipes including upside-down cake, tarts, and crumb bars.
Kiwi, also known as a Chinese gooseberry, is a small fruit that has a brown and extremely fuzzy outside with a bright green inside.
Like papaya, every part of the kiwi is edible, even the fuzzy skin!
It has a sweet and juicy taste, and it tends to be very soft no matter the ripeness.
It can be used in recipes that require cooking, like sauces, but it does work better if used raw.
Kiwi makes a good substitute for sweeter mango recipes like purees, drinks, and baked goods.
Cantaloupe is a variety of melon that has a rough textured beige and green outside with a bright orange colored flesh on the inside.
Cantaloup’s texture tends to be a bit harder and is not as soft as other fruits like peaches of kiwi.
The smell of melon is very strong in this fruit, and it should only be consumed raw as it loses its good taste when heat is applied.
Therefore, cantaloupe should only be used in recipes like purees, smoothies, and fruit salads when substituting mango.
Bananas are a long fruit that has a green to yellow skin, depending on ripeness.
The inside of the fruit is a sweet and soft fruit that has a yellowish-cream color to it.
Bananas are the last fruit to be used, as the flavor and texture are the furthest from the mango compared to others.
However, bananas can be delicious both raw and cooked so they can be used in a wide array of recipes including smoothies and baked goods.
It should only be used in sweet recipes to substitute mango, as the fruit is too sugary tasting for savory ones.
Up Next: 11 Best Bubly Flavors