We consider figs culinary delights, which people have treasured for thousands of years. Today, we use it in numerous recipes, especially baked goods like pies and tarts!
But just like all fruits, figs aren’t always readily available all year long. What can you do if you can’t find any figs around your local store but really want to try a new recipe that needs this fruit?
You can use the best substitutes to get the similar flavor your dish needs from fig. Read on to find out what you can use!
What is a Good Fig Substitute?
The fig is a sweet, soft, and mushy fruit looking like a teardrop. It’s one of the oldest known fruits that the entire world knows and uses.
There are many different fig varieties, such as Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Kadota, and Calymirna figs. Most of these fig varieties taste very sweet and are commonly used in desserts.
Fun fact: The most common figs available are the Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs.
That said, you can also use the fig to pair savory food like dried meats, blue cheese, nuts, wines, citrus fruits, or autumn spices.
While it’s a bit tricky to substitute the taste of this fruit and its unique flavor, there are fresh fig substitutes that come close.
Check out and try any of these alternatives for your fig recipes:
1. Dried Figs
What better way to substitute fresh figs than with its dried fruit variety? It’s the best substitute if you ask us.
What’s excellent about dried figs is their accessibility compared to fresh ones. You can find them in your local grocery store all year long.
While you won’t get the similar syrupy consistency that fresh figs provide, it won’t be too noticeable when serving your dish.
You can rehydrate tough, dried figs by soaking them in hot water for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can use wine, liqueur, or simple sugar syrup for more flavor.
You can use this good substitute for most recipes that call for fig. However, dried figs taste much sweeter, so you might have to reduce the amount of sugar in your dish.
2. Fig Jam
Fig jam is one of the best substitutes for figs when making desserts. While it isn’t the best for salads and other savory dishes, fig jam excellently works well in sweet dishes, especially if you’re looking for added sugar.
Of course, there are other fruits than different fig varieties to use as a substitute. We’ll relay them in the following sections, so keep reading!
3. Medjool Dates
While you can use any type of fresh or dried dates, we recommend Medjool. It has a rich caramel flavor that works well in many fig recipes.
If you’re using dried dates but need soft versions for desserts, soak them in hot water or your chosen liquid for 10-15 minutes.
Dates are also a great addition to your cheese platter, matching blue cheese. Just make sure you remove the pits.
Prunes are our personal favorite when replacing figs.
They are sweet with a soft consistency, similar to figs. However, prunes don’t have that seedy texture.
You can work with prunes if you need squashed figs for recipes like bruschetta. Prunes also work well in savory dishes like casseroles, soups, and stews.
When you cook dried prunes in moisture, they will soften, with their sweetness cutting through heavy and fatty meat dishes.
Fresh apricots differ from figs, but you can still use them as a substitute in salads. You can also roast apricots until they caramelize, making a sweeter snack!
You can also use dried apricots in exchange for figs in many recipes.
Chop dried apricots and add them to cakes, bread, cookies, or other baked goods. They also work well in savory dishes, particularly poultry or lamb, once soaked in liquid.
There are other stone fruits you can use, if not apricots. Peaches are an excellent example, which works in numerous recipes that call for figs!
While pluots aren’t commonly available, they are a great alternative to figs if you have them around.
Pluots are a hybrid of the apricot and plum, resulting in a very sweet fruit without any bitterness you’d expect from plums.
We recommend using pluots in crumble cake or as a pizza topping. You can also use pluots to garnish French toast or eat it on its own with a bit of mascarpone.
7. Golden Raisins
Golden raisins are a great alternative, whether dried or soaked.
You can also use brown raisins, which have a sweet and fruity taste. They work well in salads, bread, lamb meat, cakes, or cookies.
Golden raisins taste sweeter and have a fruitier flavor, making them a better replacement for figs. You can use them in salads, rice, dips, pork, chicken, or cookies!
8. Quince Paste
Quince paste is a great alternative. forfigs in antipasto boards. You get the same sweetness, balancing out the saltiness.
However, the paste isn’t as versatile as the other substitutes we mention in this list. We don’t recommend it for salads or baked goods because of the different consistency.
If you have no quince paste, guava paste will do. It will have a slightly different taste than figs, but many people appreciate its unique flavor.
Admittedly, pears have a much different flavor and texture than figs. However, you can use them as a fig substitute in a pinch, as they are more accessible than some of the fruits mentioned here.
If you want roasted figs, you can just do it with pears. Roasted pears are delicious and popularly used for this recipe.
You can also take advantage of pears’ versatility, whether in salads, cheese platters, or desserts.
Cranberries are much tarter than figs. Because of that, they are only suitable as a last resort and have none of the alternatives mentioned above.
We only suggest using cranberries if you’re making sauces for meat dishes. You may also try using it in biscuits and cakes.
Besides the fruits mentioned above, there are others you can try if you still can’t find a suitable substitute, like:
- Paw Paw
Frequently Asked Questions
We cure your curiosity with our frequently asked questions for those who still have burning questions about figs!
1. What’s the difference between fresh figs and dried figs?
Dried figs are essentially fresh figs but dehydrated.
Dried figs have up to five times more calories than fresh ones. It also contains more dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and sugar than fresh figs.
That said, fresh figs have more vitamins A, C, and beta-carotene.
Fresh and dried figs also have a different consistency.
Dried figs are similar to raisins, having a slightly chewy texture. Fresh figs are soft with honey-like nectar oozing from their buds.
Because all moisture is removed from dried figs, expect them to taste much sweeter than fresh ones.
2. What sweet and savory dishes can I make with figs?
There are so many sweet and savory dishes you can make with figs! here are a few ideas:
- Make it part of chicken salads
- Serve figs with your cheese platter
- Baked dishes like sweet bread, cakes, pies, or tarts
- Bring out the savory flavors of chicken meat or lamb meat
- Sweet dishes like fig bars, jam, or pudding
- And many more!
3. What do figs taste like?
Fresh figs would taste sweet, like honey, and have hints of berries and tiny seeds that pop-under your teeth.
Fun fact: Figs are a cross between honey and brown raisins or dried prunes. This fruit is moist and becomes very sweet once completely ripe, having a bit of a floral taste.
4. What other tips can I follow when using a substitute for fresh figs?
Here are extra tips to make your dishes even better when you have to replace figs:
- If you’re missing out on the sweet taste, add honey with your substitute for figs. Opt for honey over sugar, as honey replicates the taste of figs better.
- Go further with your substitute by adding a few rose petals to desserts. Figs have a slightly floral taste similar to roses but don’t add too many petals though just 2-3 is enough.
- When using dried fruit as a substitute, consider pureeing. Dried fruits tend to get chewy and tough, so pureeing them can help improve the final consistency.
- Before pureeing your fruits, soak them in hot water to make things easier.
- Always consider the moisture a recipe requires, especially when pureeing your substitute.
- Since you’ll need to add extra liquid to blend your dried fruit, this may affect your recipe’s moisture level and consistency. Lessen the juice your recipe calls for if pureeing or using a liquid substitute.
Wrapping It Up
Who knew there were so many alternatives to figs? You don’t need to be stuck in a rut in the middle of your fig recipe anymore!
Hopefully, you found the most suitable replacement based on our list. Go ahead and make your recipe already and reap the fruit of your hard work.