7 Best Substitutes for Dates

Dates are native to the Middle East. They are known as extremely healthy fruit and make a great sweetener for baked goods and cereal. However, dates can be expensive and difficult to find depending on where you live.

If you want to continue enjoying the benefits of using dates but don’t want to pay top dollar or constantly search for them in your local grocery store, I’ve got a list of seven substitutes for dates that will save your wallet and pantry.

The best dates substitutes are Prunes, Dried Raisins, Dried Cranberries, Dried Cherries, Dried Apricots, Medjool Dates, and Jaggery.

Below, I’ll discuss how you can swap these handy ingredients in place of dates.

What Are Dates?

Substitutes for Dates

Dates are sweet, chewy pieces of fruit that come from the date palm tree. They are usually brown or tan in color and can be found at most grocery stores or local markets.

Dates are often dried and used as a popular sweetener in many baked goods (i.e.; granola, banana bread). They’re also delicious by themselves or with other nuts like almonds and walnuts.

7 Best Substitutes for Dates

1. Prunes

This is a great substitute if you have some on hand. It’s cheap and easy to find at any local grocery store or online retailer.

Prunes are a type of dried plums that have a tang similar to dates. They’re a little smaller than dates but have a similar sweetness and flavor profile to the dried fruit!

They’re good for you too, just like fresh or dried dates. Prunes contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and B vitamins.

They can be a great substitute in everything from cakes, muffins, and other baked goods to oatmeal and granola.

2. Dried Raisins

This is a great substitute if you have some on hand! Dried raisins are not only delicious but they’re also very cost-effective substitutes for dates. They’re easy to find at your local grocery store, bulk food retailer, or online!

Raisins are made from grapes that have all of their water removed so the fruit becomes little more than a shriveled-up grape.

They’re slightly more tart but have a similar flavor and make a great substitute for the dried fruit!

They can be used in cereals, trail mixes, and baked goods like cookies and cakes!

3. Dried Cranberries

Dried Cranberries

Cranberries can also be used as a substitute for dates when baking or making granola! Dried cranberries are a much cheaper alternative to dates, too.

These tart berries add sweetness and another layer of flavor in cereals, trail mixes, or baked goods like scones or muffins.

Not only is this fruit good for you, but it’s also high in fiber and antioxidants! It even has skin-soothing properties.

4. Dried Cherries

Cherries are also another great substitute for dates in recipes, especially baked goods! These tart fruits add a little tang and sweetness to any recipe that calls for dates.

They’re delicious by themselves or with other nuts like almonds or walnuts too! Berries can be used in everything from trail mixes, cereal, and energy bars to cakes, bread, and scones.

5. Dried Apricots

If you’re looking for a fruit that can act as both a substitute for dates when they aren’t around or also add some flavor when dates are in the recipe then dried apricots are perfect!

Not only are dried apricots a great substitute for dates but they’re also delicious on their own.

These succulent fruits add sweetness and tang to anything from trail mix or energy bars to scones, muffins, or oatmeal.

They even help soothe your skin and reduce inflammation! Anything that has dried apricots is a win in our book!

6. Medjool Dates

Medjool dates are another one of nature’s candy and they’re known for their delectable sweetness and caramel flavor.

These succulent fruits add not only natural, delicious sweetness but also moisture to any recipe you want to use them in without adding extra fat!

They’re also known to benefit your digestive system, giving you an energy boost. So, adding dates to your baked goods is a win-win situation.

7. Jaggery


Anyone who has ever traveled in India or South Asia knows about jaggery and how plentiful it is there. Considering the fact that they have the same texture as dates, it’s no wonder!

Jaggery is a delicious type of sugar that comes from the sap of palm trees. The sap is boiled until it reaches a state where it becomes sticky and then molded into small pyramids or cones.

There are three types of jaggery: dark brown, amber-colored, and pale yellow. They all taste delicious, so you can’t go wrong with any of them!

Not only is jaggery a tasty sugar substitute, but it has some added health benefits too! It’s high in antioxidants, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Jaggery is another great substitute for white sugar, so it’s perfect to use in any recipe that calls for sugar! It can act as a replacement in granola, porridge, bread, cakes, and other baked goods.

What Does Dates Taste Like?

Dates are flatter than other fruits, grow in clusters on trees, and are dried using the sun. They are typically brown or golden-yellow in color, but other varieties can be red or even black!

Dates have a sticky, almost syrupy texture. They have a tangy and sweet flavor that tastes a little bit like caramel. Dried dates will be drier and chewier than fresh dates.

They can be eaten out of hand or added to dishes that need a touch of sweetness and moisture.

What Are The Benefits of Dates?

Dates come in different sizes and colors. They are soft and chewy and particularly delicious in desserts.

They are packed with minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc (which is why they make such a great health food).

Dates are not only known for their nutritional content but also for their ability to help keep one satisfied for hours after consumption; perfect when you’re on the go or trying to lose weight!

Dates are known as “nature’s candy” due to their naturally rich sweetness. Their flavor is very similar to caramel or molasses, making them perfect for cookies and cakes!

Dates are also known to be great for your digestive system due to their high fiber content (which also means they can help keep you full). They even keep your teeth clean!

Another benefit of dates is that they’re known to boost your energy.

Fresh Dates Vs Dried Dates: Which Is Healthier?

Dates are palm tree fruit that can be eaten fresh or dried. Dried dates have a different texture than fresh dates, being drier and chewier instead of being slippery and soft. They also have a different flavor profile, tasting sweeter with a bit of tartness.

Fresh dates are more sugar-rich than dried dates, but they do have more vitamins in them too. The nutrients in dried dates are also just as good for you as the ones found in fresh dates.

Dates are an inexpensive date to substitute when baking or cooking because they’re available year-round!

How Many Raisins Equal a Date?

Raisins are dried grapes and they have a similar flavor to dates. They can be used as an alternative in baked goods, particularly desserts, where you’d want a touch of sweetness and moisture.

A single date is about 2 tbsp raisins. One cup of chopped dates equals 1 cup of raisins.

What Fruits Are Similar to Dates?

Raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricots, and figs are all fruit you can use as a substitute for dates in recipes.

They have similar flavors to dates and can be used interchangeably when baking or in your morning cereal in place of sugar.

What Can I Substitute for Dates in a Smoothie?

Looking for a leaner option? The best fruit to use in place of dates is fresh or frozen bananas. They have the same texture and similar sweetness, so you won’t even notice that they’re not dates!

You can also substitute maple syrup or honey in smoothies. Both of these natural sweeteners will be a bit sweeter than dates, but they’re also great sources of minerals and antioxidants.

What’s the Difference Between Medjool Dates and Normal Dates?

If you’ve ever had a date before, then you know that they are best when they are served fresh. Normal dates are usually completely dried out in comparison to the smooth, delicious taste of fresh dates.

Ordinary dates are much smaller than Medjool dates in size and can range from yellowish-brown to dark brown. Medjool dates are described to be sweeter in flavor with a caramel sugar taste.

The main difference between these two types of dates is that Medjool dates have a softer texture because they are closer to being whole fruit compared to ordinary dates which have been chopped into pieces.

In addition, Medjool dates have a creamy texture which can be achieved by putting them in warm water for five minutes to make them easier to cut.

Ordinary dates are crunchy and dry as opposed to soft and moist. In short, Medjool dates taste delicious.

Can I Eat Dates On A Keto Diet?

You shouldn’t eat dates on the Keto diet because of high carb content. However, there are some date substitutes that can be used in their place.

Final Words

If you’re looking for a healthy, natural sugar substitute or if you want to try something new in your baking recipes, these substitutes are perfect!

Depending on the recipe, any of these fruit options could be used instead of dates. Try them out and see how they taste with your favorite dishes. Happy cooking!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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