Pineapple is a popular and versatile juice flavor used in many food and beverages, from smoothies and cocktails to cakes and marinades. But if you landed here, you’re likely looking for a substitute for pineapple juice.
Whether you are in a pinch and looking to avoid running to the store, can’t find pineapple juice- or you are like me and dealing with an allergy to this fun tropical fruit, I’ve got my tried and true best substitutes for pineapple listed below for you.
Let’s start with a closer look at what we are trying to substitute to understand better which option below will work best for your situation.
Pineapple juice comes from the tropical fruit pineapple, well known for the perfect balance of sweet and sour taste. It’s commonly used as a base in cocktails such as a pina colada and fruit smoothies, baking, tenderizing meat, among many other culinary uses.
Pineapple juice is juiced from the flesh of a juicy pineapple- so in theory, if you have pineapple and a juicer, you could make your pineapple juice from the fresh fruit. Pineapple juice is commonly found in the canned goods aisle near other canned fruits or alongside other shelf-stable juices. You may also find fresh pineapple juice from a juice bar or a grocery store offering fresh-pressed juices.
So as you can see, there is a range of quality pineapple juice available. If available, the best option would be to substitute for another type of pineapple juice. But assuming that’s not an option, the best options for you are listed below.
Pineapple Juice Qualities
When substituting pineapple juice, you first have to know what qualities you are trying to replace.
Pineapple juice is popular because it has a perfect balance of sweet and sour. While you can’t replace the unique flavor profile of pineapple juice, you can create a balance of sweet and sour with a different flavor that may taste even better!
As we dive into the options before you, it’s important to give yourself some permission to experiment with what works best. Many citrus fruits have a sweet and sour taste. If a fruit is too sweet, lime is the best option for balancing the sweet with tart.
Besides the perfect balance of sweet and sour, pineapple juice is also used in many smoothies and drink recipes because it is a juicy fruit producing a high yield of liquid from the flesh, making it an easy and affordable choice.
Choosing a Pineapple Juice Subsittute
Pineapple juice has a unique taste that is hard to replicate in its entirety. However, what makes pineapple juice so delicious is its natural and perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors. The good news is it’s not too hard to recreate a substitute that has both that sweetness of pineapple juice as well as a sour taste.
When choosing which substitute is the best option for your recipe or drink, consider what will pair best with the other ingredients and your availability to each option.
Grapefruit juice is considered the overall best alternative to pineapple juice substitute because it has sweet and sour flavor qualities. Although the taste of grapefruit can range from sweet-tart to very sour, you can use a sweet citrus such as orange juice or lemon juice to help balance it to the desired taste. The pink grapefruit is often the most popular option for substituting pineapple juice.
Grapefruit juice is rich in antioxidants and several vitamins, including vitamin C.
Orange Juice is my favorite and often my first choice as I always have it on hand. The great thing about orange juice is how widely available it is, or you can juice your orange juice at home! I can add orange juice to just about anything.
While orange juice will not taste the same as pineapple juice, it still provides a great citrus flavor to replace the tropical flavor. You can also consider adding some lime juice or grapefruit juice with your orange juice to find a better balance of sweet and sour.
Orange fruit juice is rich in vitamin C, carotenoids, potassium, folate, and thiamine.
Lemon juice is a great option for things like meats and recipes, but if you are looking for the base of a smoothie or drink, you’ll need to mix it was some water as lemon juice is way too sour and acidic for most taste buds in large quantities. Lemon can also be combined with another fruit such as lime to get that balance of sweet and sour.
Lime juice is very similar to using lemon juice; it depends on what flavor you are looking for. Lemon and lime juice together make a great complementary combination, although you may want to add in a little sweet taste, such as some orange juice, while the citric acid of lime juice provides the sour flavor.
Papaya juice is a tropical fruit like pineapple is. It is a sweet fruit but does not contain a sour flavor like pineapple.
Suppose you are looking for a substitute for pineapple juice for medicinal purposes. In that case, papaya is considered the best substitute for pineapple juice as it has similar health benefits. Like pineapple, papaya also contains a good amount of bromelain. Bromelain provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
One thing to note is that it is necessary to eat papaya raw. Heating papaya juice destroys the proteolytic enzymes.
Mango is a popular fruit and juice due to its sweet taste and a great source of vitamins such as vitamin C and potassium. Taste-wise, mango juice will be much sweeter than pineapple juice; however, blending mango juice with lime juice will give you that sweet and sour profile pineapple juice has.
Although pomegranate is ruby red in color, it can be a good alternative to pineapple juice, as pomegranate juice is a blend of sweet and sour flavors. Though, its high tannin content gives it more of a sour taste.
Pomegranate juice is incredibly high in antioxidants, more than most fruit juices or even wine! These antioxidants also provide anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress on the body. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system.
Guava juice is another option if you want to stick with a tropical fruit substitution. Underripe guavas have a blend of sweet and sour and a slightly bitter undertone. Ripe guavas are going to have sweetness without the tart flavor.
Guavas have a unique flavor along the lines of pear and grapefruit. It is high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Passion Fruit Juice
Passion fruit is known for its juicy sweet and tart flavor, typically available throughout the year, making it a great alternative to pineapple juice.
Pineapple juice and passion fruit juice are commonly used together in fruit juice blends and other drinks, which makes gives them similar and complementary flavors- making passion fruit one of the best pineapple substitutes.
Apple juice makes an excellent substitute for pineapple juice as it’s one of the most common and popular juices, making it an accessible option for many. With its sweet taste, apple juice can be used in various recipes for a delicious flavor. Add in some lemon or lime juice to get a sweet and sour profile more similar to that of pineapple juice.
Pineapple juice is used because its enzymatic properties help tenderize meat and infuse it with a sweet and tart flavoring. When pineapple juice is being used as a marinade, a meat tenderizer powder can be used in place of pineapple juice. A meat tenderizing powder will help soften and break down the meat as pineapple juice would.
When it comes to baking, citric acid can be a good substitute if the purpose of the pineapple juice is to add to the flavor profile or raise the PH of the dish. Citric acid is commonly used in baking as a preservative, a leavening agent, a preservative, or a flavor enhancer providing a sour flavor.
Yogurt will work for marinating meats and some smoothies and drinks. Yogurt has tenderizing properties, making it a great option for a marinade; it is particularly popular in marinating curry meats.
Yogurt contains bromelain as pineapple juice does while also providing additional health advantages.
Honey or raw honey can also be a great option as a sweetener, although you’ll want to mix it with a sour juice such as a lemon or lime to get a more sweet-tart flavor profile.
Honey is rich in minerals and can support digestion, making it an excellent option for many people.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Although it is much more acidic than pineapple juice, Apple cider vinegar can be another option. You’ll want to use it in small amounts and dilute it with water. You may also want to add natural sugar or sweeter juice, such as apple or orange juice, to help balance the tartness to a more sweet-tart flavor profile.
While there is not an exact substitute for pineapple juice, with a bit of experimentation and flexible taste buds, you can recreate a flavor profile similar to pineapple that is balanced with a sweet and sour flavoring that is perfect for your recipe, dish, or drink.
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.