Looking for a substitute for apricot preserves? Find the best substitute for apricot preserves here, along with fascinating facts, from what apricot preserves tastes like and how to use it in recipes.
Apricot preserves are often used in pastries, on breakfast bagels, toast, drizzled on ice cream, and used in dressings for a sweet and tangy touch. Its balanced mix of sweet and tart flavors brings out an essence that’s hard to replace.
But if you’re in the middle of a recipe and realize you’re fresh out, don’t worry…don’t worry! While apricot preserves are unique, the world of fruits and jelly offers a lot of alternatives that can mimic the texture and taste of apricot preserves.
Substitutes for apricot preserves, here’s a summarized table with the substitutes and their suggested ratios:
|Ratio to Apricot Preserves
|Apricot jam or jelly
|+ finely chopped dried apricots & lemon juice
|+ lemon juice
|Mango jam or preserves
|+ lemon or lime juice
|+ honey or sugar
|+ lemon juice & ground ginger if needed
|Fruit compote (apricot/peach)
|As needed, more liquid
|Adjust recipe liquids accordingly
|Mixed fruit preserves
|+ apricot flavoring/extract if needed
About Apricot Preserves
Apricot preserves are sweet spreads made from apricots that are cooked with sugar to achieve a thick and chunky consistency, retaining bits of the fruit and its natural texture. The intent of creating preserves is to extend the shelf life of fruits by sealing them in a cooked, sugary solution.
While closely related, apricot preserves, apricot jam, and apricot jelly are distinct in their texture and composition. Jam generally has a smoother consistency with finely crushed or pureed fruit, whereas preserves maintain larger fruit chunks or pieces. Conversely, apricot jelly is the most refined of the three, made solely from apricot juice, yielding a clear, smooth spread devoid of any fruit pieces
Here’s a table that summarizes the differences between apricot jam, preserves, and jelly:
|Crushed or pureed apricots
|Cooked apricots with larger pieces of fruit
Flavor of Apricot Preserves
Apricots have a flavor that is close to peaches and nectarines. Apricot preserves capture the essence of fresh apricots in a spreadable form. The flavor and taste of apricot preserves can be broken down into 3 key characteristics:
- Fruity & fresh. The primary taste of apricot preserves is unmistakably fruity. When made with ripe apricots, the preserves carry the characteristic sweet flavor of the fruit with a tart note, offering a vibrant and refreshing sensation.
- Sweetness. The sugar used in the preserving process heightens the natural sweet flavor of the apricots. Depending on the recipe or the brand, apricot preserves can vary from being mildly sweet to intensely sweet. Some artisanal brands or homemade recipes might use honey or other sweetening agents to give a unique taste.
- Mildly tart. While apricots are generally sweet, they also have a natural tartness. When made into preserves, this tart flavor is often accentuated, especially if less sugar is used in the preservation process.
Ways Apricot Preserves Is Used In Cooking
Apricot preserves, with their delicate, sweet, and slightly tangy taste, can be used in both savory and sweet. Here are some ways apricot preserves are used in cooking:
- Glazes for meats. Apricot preserves make an excellent glaze for meats such as chicken, pork, and ham. One good recipe that uses apricot preserves as a glaze is this Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin.
- Pastry and pie fillings. You can spread apricot preserves on pastries or use them as a filling for pies and tarts. Some great recipes include Little Pies With Big Flavor and Russian Pirog.
- Sauces. Apricot preserves can be blended into sauces to add sweetness and depth. For instance, it can be added to barbecue sauce for this Pulled Pork recipe.
- Breakfast spread. The most straightforward use–spread it on muffins, scones, croissants, or toasts like this Baked Apricot French Toast
- Dessert toppings. Warm up the preserves and drizzle over ice cream, panna cotta, or cheesecake.
Common Apricot Preserves Substitutes
If you don’t have apricot preserves on hand or you’re looking for an alternative, here are several substitutes that you can use instead:
- Apricot jam or jelly. While preserves contain fruit pieces, jams, and jellies are smoother. The ingredient also uses the same fruit, so the flavor is nearly identical. Just be mindful of the difference in texture.
Use as a direct replacement in equal measure, plus finely chopped dried apricots and a tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Peach preserves. Peaches and apricots are both stone fruits, so their flavors are somewhat similar but slightly sweeter and less tart. If your recipe relies on the tart quality of apricot preserves, consider adding a bit of lemon juice.
Use a 1:1 ratio, meaning if your recipe calls for one cup of apricot preserves, use one cup of peach preserves (plus a teaspoon of lemon juice if desired).
- Mango jams. Mango has a sweet, tropical flavor that lacks the tart quality of apricot. Consider adding lemon or lime juice to the mix to add a tart touch.
Use an equal amount as a substitute, plus a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.
- Orange marmalade. Orange marmalade offers a mix of sweet and slightly bitter flavors due to the citrus peel, making it a close match in recipes requiring apricot preserves. If you need a smoother consistency, consider blending the marmalade in a food processor or using a hand blender.
Note: Due to the slightly bitter finish of marmalade, you might add a teaspoon of honey or granulated sugar to every cup of orange marmalade.
Substitute in an equal amount.
- Plum jam. Plums provide a balance between sweet and tart flavors, but their tart quality can resemble that of apricot preserves in many recipes. But if your plum jam is too sweet, add a touch of lemon juice for a tart note. A pinch of ground ginger can also be used to mimic the nuances of apricot.
Use in an equal amount as a substitute (plus a teaspoon of lemon juice and ⅛ teaspoon of ground ginger if needed).
- Fruit compote (like apricot or peach). Fruit compote is fruit cooked in a sugar syrup. It is thicker than syrup but not as firm as jam or preserves. If you make it from apricots or similar stone fruit, it can come close to the flavor of apricot preserves.
Take note: Depending on its consistency, you may need to decrease other liquids in your recipe.
Suitable where the texture of preserves fits, but it might be slightly more liquid.
- Mixed fruit preserves. Some mixed fruit preserves may contain apricot, helping to match the desired flavor. Though the taste will vary based on the fruit mix, adjust the sugar and tartness accordingly.
Note: If the mixed fruit preserves don’t have a pronounced apricot flavor and you want to bring it closer to that, consider adding a drop of apricot flavoring or extract.
Substitute in an equal amount.
The bottom line
When a recipe calls for apricot preserves, and you find yourself without any on hand, fear not; there are other replacements available. Options like mango, apricot jams, or orange marmalade can closely resemble the sweet and slightly tangy profile of apricot preserves.
But it’s important to remember that each substitute will bring its own unique flavor, and you might need to make a few tweaks here and there or combine more than one substitute to achieve the desired flavor and consistency.
- Apricot jam or jelly - 1:1 ratio plus finely chopped dried apricots and 1 T lemon juice
- Peach preserves - 1:1 ratio plus 1 t lemon juice
- Mango jam or preserves - 1:1 ratio plus 1 T lemon or lime juice
- Orange marmalade - 1:1 ratio plus 1 t honey or granulated sugar
- Plum jams - 1:1 ratio (plus 1 t lemon juice and 1/8 t ground ginger if needed)
- Fruit compote (like apricot or peach) - Suitable where the preserves’ texture fits, but it might be slightly more liquid.
- Mixed fruit preserves - 1:1 ratio (plus a drop of apricot flavoring or extract if necessary)
- Substitute apricot preserves for one of the above substitutes according to the ratios and notes listed.
- Consider adding a small amount of lemon juice or honey to the substitute to bring the flavor closer to that of apricot preserves.