What is the Best Fig Substitute?

Figs have a short season. Finding a fig substitute is critical if you have a recipe planned and it’s not fig season. In the US, figs are mainly grown in California and technically have two seasons. Two seasons mean that you can find fresh figs in the grocery store, usually in June and August through October.

Many people freeze fresh figs since they have a short shelf life. Make sure you freeze them before they get moldy.

Due to the unique taste and texture of figs, none of these fig substitutes will be an exact match. We will go over each alternative to the figs idea and discuss the pros and cons.

Not only are figs great for desserts and cake toppings, but they are also excellent when added to a savory arugula salad or a topping on pizza. So when you don’t have any figs around you can try one of our great ideas for a fig substitute.

Figs are unique fruits with very high sugar content, and there is no direct match substitute or even something very close. So, whenever you make a fig replacement in a recipe, just be aware that it won’t be the same. As long as you understand this and your realistic expectations, we will help you find some excellent substitutes for figs.

When looking to substitute figs in a recipe, it’s best to determine if the recipe calls for fresh figs or fig jam. If your recipe calls for fresh figs, I will go with one of our fruits similar to fresh figs picks below; however, if your looking for a fig jam substitute, then any of our jams below will work!

According to Healthline, the nutritional content of figs is as follows:

  • Calories: 30
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbs: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Copper: 3% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Magnesium: 2% of the DV
  • Potassium: 2% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 2% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 2% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 2% of the DV

As you can see, figs are a unique and healthy snack if eaten in moderation.

rustic style tasty Bruschetta with jam and figs on napkin

What is the Best Fig Substitute?

Dried Figs

While they are the closest thing to fresh figs, the taste and texture will be completely different. You can reconstitute dried figs by placing them in warm water for a few hours.

If you accidentally oversoak the figs, they will turn into a soggy mess.

Also, be aware that soaking dried figs in water will make them very sticky and not as easy to work with. They will need a bit of a rework if you plan on using them for baked goods.

While they are closest in taste, texture, and nutrition to fresh figs, they are also expensive.

ORGANIC Dried Smyrna Figs - Sunny Fruit - 40oz Bulk Bag | Tender & Juicy - NO Added Sugars, Sulfurs or Preservatives | ALLERGEN-FRIENDLY, VEGAN, KOSHER & HALAL
  • Sunny Fruit organic traditional dried figs (Symrna) 2.5lb
  • Certified organic, non-GMO, kosher, raw, gluten-free, vegan, halal, and nut-free
  • Nutrient rich in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium. No added sulfurs, sugars, syrups
  • Our 2.5lb bulk bag allows everyone to share and enjoy healthy on-the-go snack.
  • Dried figs make for a delicious and nutritious addition to a cheese platter, gift baskets, mix with granola & yogurt, add to your smoothies, bake, or like us, enjoy them straight from the bag!

Pros

  • You can use the dried fig liquid as a topping on ice cream or cake.
  • The taste of dried figs reconstituted in water is similar to fresh figs.
  • Dried figs will work well if you use the figs in a savory dish like salad or pizza.
  • Dried figs work well with a charcuterie board.
  • You can use it as a fig jam substitute by adding honey.

Cons

  • The texture will be very different.

Frozen Figs

Have you read our article on how to freeze figs? If you purchase a large number of figs or are lucky enough to have a fig tree in your yard, then you may already have some frozen figs ready to go. If you are making a fig pie, then using frozen figs is the next best thing.

Pros

  • Similar taste to fresh figs.
  • Their versatility makes them suitable for both savory and sweet dishes.
  • Frozen figs will also work well as a topping on a vanilla cake

Cons

  • They may be mushy when you defrost them. (this may be a positive thing if you are adding the mushy figs to muffin batter)
  • You will need time to let them thaw and allow the juices to drain into a bowl.

Fig Jam

The easiest way to incorporate the fresh flavor of figs into your food is to use jam or preserves, and they will take less time than boiling them on their own. Fig jam pairs excellently with a cheese charcuterie board. Use a wire cheese cutter; it will make your cheeseboard look more professional.

My favorite fig jam is the one by Stonewall Kitchen. Toast up some bread, spread some butter on it, and add a dollop of fig jam. What a flavor combination!

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Stonewall Kitchen Organic Classic Fig Jam, 8.5oz.
  • Stonewall Kitchen Organic Classic Fig Jam, 8.5oz.
  • Sweet, honey-like taste with a hearty texture
  • Combined with sweet, crisp apples and a dash of tart lemon for a wonderfully full-flavored organic fig jam
  • Spread on breakfast breads or use in desserts
  • Part of the award winning Stonewall Kitchen Family of gourmet brands that includes Tillen Farms, Legal Sea Foods, Vermont Village, Montebello Pasta, Napa Valley Naturals, Urban Accents, Vermont Coffee and Village Candle.  We proudly create the best products for cooking, baking, entertaining, and the home.  Great taste runs in our family.

Pros

  • Not the same texture as fresh figs.
  • A fig jam usually has more sugar than fresh figs.
  • It is excellent for topping cakes and muffins.
  • Excellent for a cheese plate.

Cons

  • If you need fresh figs for a salad or pizza, then fig jam will not work.

Apricots

Apricots may have a somewhat similar texture, and however, apricot does not have seeds within the flesh. You can probably find apricots at most local grocery stores, whereas figs are usually only available in the summer. Apricots have a mild flavor and will make an excellent fig alternative.

slice of chocolate cake with figs and fig substitute: apricots
Chocolate cake with figs and apricots

Pros

  • Apricots have a similar size to figs.
  • Their sweetness level is similar.
  • You can use the apricots for both sweet and savory dishes.

Cons

  • They don’t have a long shelf life, and you must use them within 3-7 days if you buy them fresh.

Pluots

Pluots are a delicious member of the stone fruit family. Developed in the 80s, they have 75% plum and 25% apricot with a similar shape of a plum – some might say it’s hard to tell them apart!

Pros

  • You can make thin slices of Pluots to top a cake.
  • A pluot makes a great fig substitute for salad or pizza.
  • A fresh pluot will last longer than an apricot. Pluots have thicker skin, and therefore do not get moldy as quickly.

Cons

  • The texture and taste are not the same as fig.

Strawberries

If you need the fresh figs as topping for a cake, strawberries will make a great substitute. They are not too sweet, and they have a similar texture, especially with the commonality of the tiny seeds. Strawberries have seeds on the outside of the skin, whereas figs have seeds within the flesh.

Red velvet cake with berrys and figs on top. Cake is carried by a person wearing a black dress.

Pros

  • If you’d like to create a fig-like flavor, add a small amount of honey to the strawberries.
  • Honey or maple syrup will enhance the flavor of strawberries.

Cons

  • They are not as sweet as a fig.

Quince Jam

Quince is a fruit that is similar to apples or pears. Due to its slightly sour and tannic flavor, you will usually find this in a jam form. Quince jam can easily replace fig jam in a recipe, but I would hesitate to return quince jam if the recipe calls for fresh figs.

Pros

  • Great as fig jam substitute.
  • Great to add to muffins or cakes after you bake them.

Cons

  • The flavor profile of a quince jam will not be as naturally sweet.

Fresh Quince

We find fresh Quince growing in warmer climates near the Caspian and Black seas, Florida, Mexico, and other warm temperatures. The fruits usually ripen once a year, and many people living in those regions look forward to fresh quince. Quince is more tough and sour than an apple or pear, although it looks similar. Baking quince brings out its flavor profile, which is why we suggest using it as a fig substitution on a cake that requires you to add the figs before placing them into the oven.

Quince fruit on a tree. It makes a good fig substitute.

Pros

  • Great as fig substitute on top of a cake before you bake it.
  • Great to add to muffins or cakes after you bake them.

Cons

  • Flavor and texture are nothing like a fig.

Dried prunes

Prunes are dried plums and are sweet like figs with a more pungent taste. Because of their sweetness, dried prunes are excellent to use as a fig substitute on toast, cheese boards, salads, cakes, etc.

They will last for longer than fresh figs, which will only last

Prunes do not have the same texture as figs. However, if you are looking for sweet dried fruit to complement a cheese plate, a prune is an excellent option. In one medium fig, there are about 8 grams of sugar, while in one medium prune, there are less than 4 grams.

Pros

  • They will last much longer than fresh figs.
  • Prunes are items you can keep around in your cupboard and take out for emergencies, like when you need a fig alternative.

Cons

  • They are very sweet, so they’re best used in small quantities.

Pears

Fresh pears are a great new fig alternative, and you can even find some organic dried pears to keep on hand when you need them as a substitution. Pears complement savory dishes well.  Since they’re on the crunchy side, they’re perfect for a cheese plate.

Pros

  • Pears have a similar sweetness to figs.
  • Pears and figs are both high in dietary fiber.
  • A pear has fewer calories than a fig, making it an excellent low-calorie fig substitute.
  • A fresh Bosc pear has a flavor profile similar to a fresh fig.
  • A Bosc pear will make an excellent fig substitute for a tart.

Cons

  • The texture of a pear is not the same as fig.

Nectarines or Peaches

Nectarines are a type of fuzzless peach. The majority of nectarines in the US are grown in California. Peaches and nectarines look similar and feel smooth to the touch, and taste similar as well. A nectarine and a peach are both stone fruits. Sometimes the texture is a bit stringy, which is opposite to the consistency of a fig.

Pros

  • They are an excellent fig substitute for fruit tarts or quinoa salads that call for fresh figs.
  • You can replace dried figs with dried peaches.
  • If you need a sweet, moist fruit for a recipe as a fig substitute, I would go with a nectarine over a peach.
  • The flavor profile of a nectarine is more similar to a fig than a peach.

Cons

  • The flavor profile of a peach is not the same as fig.

Cherries

Cherries are an excellent fig substitute due to their juiciness and soft fruit body. Due to their sweetness and tartness, cherries are great for desserts or savory dishes like a salad.

Pros

  • Cherries are great for desserts like fruit tarts, where you can simply replace the fig with a cherry.
  • Cherries also make excellent dried fruit if you need to use them as a dried fig substitute.

Cons

  • Their tartness makes cherries more of an acquired taste for some people if eating them fresh. Figs do not have the same tart flavor as cherry.
  • You can substitute a cherry for a fig on pizza, and it just won’t taste the same.

Can you substitute Dates for Figs?

Dried Dates

Dates are an excellent snack for people of all ages. Dried dates have been heated and dried to remove their moisture, preventing spoilage from occurring before you eat them up! They are extremely sweet when fresh and even more so when dried. Therefore it’s best to eat dried dates in moderation

Pros

  • They will make an excellent fig substitute on a cheeseboard.
  • Dried dates pair well with pears and apples.

Cons

  • They will not be an excellent substitute for fresh figs if you need to showcase the whole fig.
  • The color is not as bright as a fresh fig.

What are suitable fig jam substitutes?

  • Quince jam
  • Dried figs rehydrated and put through a blender with honey
  • Apricot preserves
  • Blueberry jam
  • Cherry jam

What are dried figs called?

We call dried figs sukhe anjeer. You can use them in Indian desserts like Anjeer Halwa, and it’s a delicious dessert made with almonds and figs.

Conclusion

When choosing fig substitutes, it’s important to remember the taste and texture of figs. That said, there are lots of other options if you need an alternative for your recipe or enjoy eating dried fruit as snacks. Consider what kind of dish you’re making before deciding on a specific substitution—the flavors will vary depending on whether you use them in a dessert or savory dishes like salads. If all else fails, don’t worry! One of our great fig substitute ideas should work.