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6 Pear Substitute Options

Since pears are seasonal and are not always available, we found these helpful substitutes so you can continue making your favorite dish or dessert even if it's not pear season.

Close-up of a fresh pear on a wooden board against a basket of pears.

Pears are a delicious, versatile fruit that has numerous uses from baking, cooking, canning, making jams to name a few.  However, since these golden delicious fruits are only available for a part of the year, we need to find substitutes when cooking or baking.

Pears are loved for their sweetness, grainy texture, and quality. 

There are a number of ways and any number of fruits we may use as a  substitute for pears in our cooking or baking.  These range from apples, quinces, plantains, mangoes, figs, and even pineapples.  The type of fruit chosen as a substitute for pears will depend on what type of dish you are preparing, the sweetness, and what texture you are looking for. 

There are many options for using pears as a substitute in your baking or cooking.  I have come up with a few suggestions which may help you make your decision easier.

Pear Substitutes in Smoothies

Pear and strawberry smoothies with fresh fruits on the wooden table.

Smoothies are a great way for you to get your 5 fruits and veggies a day.  They are easy to digest, easy to prepare, especially when you are on the move all day, every day.  

There are no specific rules when preparing smoothies, however, when a family member has to follow certain dietary restrictions or has any allergies, you need to find alternate ways to prepare the smoothie so it retains the flavor with all the goodness. Here are a few suggestions you may consider,

  • You may substitute pears for sugar. Pears have a natural sweetness and are a natural, healthy way to reduce sugar in your health and breakfast smoothies.
  • Pear substitutes may also be used to replace dairy in your smoothies. When substituting pears in your smoothies, it gives your smoothies the creaminess you require in your smoothies without the heaviness of dairy.
  • When you are unable to find pears, a good pear substitute for your smoothies is apples, celery, grapes, peaches, or plums. These fruits will give you the texture, and sweetness you need for your healthy smoothies.
  • If you are allergic or have an affinity to bananas, canned pears may be used as a substitute to replace bananas in your smoothies. When using canned pear, ensure you are using pears that have been canned using their natural juices and not syrup.  Canned pears give your smoothies a natural creaminess without bananas.

Using Pear Substitute To Replace Egg

Homemade pear pie surrounded by fresh pears and cinnamon.

When you are vegan, vegetarian, or have allergies, you are always looking for alternatives to prepare your favorite desserts or cakes.  A pear substitute may be used to replace eggs in many recipes that use eggs.

A good rule to remember, when using a pear substitute is to use One (1) tablespoon of pear sauce to replace between 1-3 eggs.

Pear Substitute For Dairy

A bowl of apple and pear puree with oats.

Dairy allergies are very prevalent amongst children more recently than previously.  However, there are ways to overcome some dairy allergies by using a pear substitute to replace dairy when baking or cooking.

You may prepare a simple pear and apple puree, with lemon juice and lecithin.  This substitute with two (2) tablespoons of Oil may be used to replace half a cup of butter when baking.

What Are The Best Pear Substitutes For Cooking?

A good rule of thumb when looking for pears and are unable to find them is to look for any fruit in the pome family. The most common example of fruit in the pome family is apples.  Apples are closest to pears and make the best substitutes.

When you are looking for fruits for poaching, grilling, or to saute’, you may consider peaches, pineapples, cantaloupe, figs, or bananas. These fruits are firm and hold up well for baking and cooking

Below is a list of fruits that you may consider when cooking and baking.  These lend a natural sweetness and a similar texture to pears in your cooking and baking. Sometimes, fruit like pineapples has the same enzymes to tenderize meat, thus making pineapples and papayas a good pear substitute for marinating meat.

Apple

Fresh apple fruits on a wood plank table.

Apples are more widely used as pear substitutes for the simple reason that they are closer to the pear and that they are more widely available throughout the year. Saying that the variety of apples that is closest to use as a  pear substitute are the golden apples. These apples almost match the pear in sweetness, taste, and texture.

Quinces

Quinces fruits in a wooden bowl.

These fruits are not as easy to find.  When you do find them, make sure to stock up on them for they are a great pear substitute. They have a distinct pear-citrus flavour, are firmer, and hold up better when baking or cooking. 

Figs

Whole and slices of figs on a wooden bowl over a rustic table.

Figs may not have the juiciness of a ripe pear but they do resemble strawberries with all the seeds.  They hold up well for cooking, baking, making jams or sauces.

Mangoes

A bunch of mangoes with leaves on a wood plank table.

These wonderful flavourful fruits are also seasonal. They are becoming more widely available. Although they may not resemble the pear in terms of looks, flavour, or texture, they do make a great pear substitute.

Their flavor is bolder than pears but they are good for salads, jams but not so good if you are considering using them in pies.

Pineapples

Slices and whole pineapple fruits on a wooden table.

Pineapples are sweet, extra juicy, and go well with almost anything (even on pizza, I picked aside). Pineapple juice may be just as sweet as pear juice, making it a great tenderizer for meat, especially when preparing beef bulgogi.

Papaya

Ripe papayas in a wooden table over a burlap sack.

Papayas are not as sweet as pineapple. It lends a good flavor and is a tenderizer when you are preparing beef bulgogi. 

Are You Looking For A Substitute For Asian Pears?

Yellow Asian pears hanging from the tree.

Asian pears are a cross between apples and pears.  They are very common in Korean cooking and used as marinades.  If your recipe calls for Asian pear and you are unable to find any, especially in the Southern Hemisphere where these types of fruit aren’t readily available, you may want to consider any of the following fruit as replacements.

For marinades, you may use Kiwi or pineapples as a substitute for Asian pears.  However, you will need to be careful as using too much or leaving the meat in the marinade for too long may result in over tenderizing the meat.

You may also consider using a bosc pear.  This is also great for cooking, making it a good substitute for Asian pears.

Another good substitute for Asian pears is Anjou pears. Although Asian pears are juicier than Anjou pears, Anjou pears are similar in texture and can therefore be used in any cuisine.

Dry Fruit Or Canned Fruit As A Pear Substitute

Close-up of apricot fruits in a tin can.

When the fresh fruits are unavailable, you may have no choice but to use either the dry fruits or the canned variety. For example, when baking your favorite fruit cake over the festive season, you may use dry pears as a substitute for the fresh kind. Dried apricots, peaches, cranberries, cherries, and even dates make a great substitute for pears in your baking.

As mentioned above, when making your smoothies you may use canned pears as a substitute for the fresh ones or to replace bananas.  Canned pears may also be used to substitute fresh pears when baking pies, tarts, or any desserts. Use the juice from the canned pears for your sauces and gravies. 

The canned pears may not be good for grilling or poaching though because they may be too soft for that.

Conclusion

Pears are a wonderfully versatile fruit that has a myriad of uses.  Since they are seasonal, we may not be able to find them when we need them, thus making it challenging when preparing a favorite dish or dessert.  It is then we look for substitutes. 

As mentioned above, there are a number of fruits, and various ways we may use pear substitutes.  In this way, we may continue to enjoy our favorite cuisine without missing our favorite fruit too much.

References:

Foodiosity: Best Pear Substitute – 9 Delicious Ideas To Try Next

Keyingredient: FRESH APPLE or FRESH PEAR CAKE (Note: You can also substitute many dried fruits in place of the fresh fruits — this is a very versatile non-traditional fruit cake recipe)

Archerfriendly: Using Pears as a Sugar Substitute

MakerlandFoodie: The 8 Best Substitutes for Asian Pears: Best Fruits to use