Have you been craving some fresh, juicy figs but don’t want to break the bank getting them? Several fresh fruits and veggies can be substituted.
Dates, raisins, prunes or even apples are sold at most grocery shops, and they can provide a similar sweet and earthy flavor.
If fresh figs are too pricey or hard to find, read on for some of the best substitutes for a cheaper, healthful dessert or snack.
What are fresh figs?
The fig tree, a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, produces the fruit we know as fresh figs.
Figs are a delicious fruit that is frequently compared to honey in taste and texture. They taste best when eaten right after being picked or prepared.
Figs are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they also act as an antioxidant. Also, they have few calories, so you can feel good about eating them as a snack.
Late summer months and early fall is fig season, and that’s when you may get fresh figs in the supermarket.
Best substitutes for fresh figs
I know how annoying it can be to prepare a recipe that asks for fresh figs only to find out they’re out of season or unavailable at your local grocery store.
Don’t worry – there are many fresh fig substitutes. Here are some of my favorites.
- Dried figs
In many recipes, dried figs work well. They taste sweet and chewy, making them versatile. Dried figs can stand in for fresh ones if you simply rehydrate them – ten minutes in warm water would be enough.
Can you substitute figs for dates? Definitely! Dates are an excellent fresh fig substitute.
Most grocery stores have these, and they’re sweet and smooth. Tagines and salads taste great with this ingredient.
When adding dates as a replacement for fresh figs, make sure to cut them finely.
I tested dates as an alternative to fresh figs in a fig granola bars recipe. For me, they tasted almost identical to the original treats.
Raisins can replace fresh figs if you don’t have dried ones or dates. They won’t have a fig flavor, but they’ll provide sweetness and texture all the same.
Whenever I’m going to use raisins in something like oatmeal, a salad, or a baked good, I normally soak them in warm or hot water for a few minutes first.
I had a lot of fun making a fig coulis but with golden raisins. Even though it felt like a completely new and unique recipe, it tasted as fancy and sweet as the original!
Prunes (dry plums) are another fruit like fig. They taste sweet and somewhat tangy and go well in savory and sweet dishes.
You can substitute prunes for fresh figs by chopping them and soaking them in warm or hot water.
Apples can replace fresh figs in several recipes, especially those that call for cooked or baked figs. Apples are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants.
Honeycrisp or Gala apples work well in fig recipes, providing a similar texture and sweetness.
Maple-roasted figs are a delightful treat! If you don’t have figs, apples work wonderfully in this recipe, providing similar cozy flavors.
Alternatives to maple extract were also a topic I wrote about. Who knows, maybe you’ll need them at some point!
Pears can sweeten different meals with a similar texture to figs. It’s best to choose ripe pears as an alternative. Their flavor profile is an amazing addition to tarts, pies, and salads.
I really love a fig and spinach salad with avocado and balsamic vinaigrette. When I made it with ripe pears instead, it really shook up my salad game!
Persimmons, which are sweet and tart, make a great figs alternative in some recipes. Cakes, puddings, and jams can benefit from ripe, soft persimmons in place of fresh figs.
Salads are another option to try. Fresh fig and mint salad got an amazing makeover when I replaced figs with persimmons.
Running low on mint? No problem! You can try one of the refreshing mint substitutes I mentioned in an earlier article.
- Dried apricots
Dried apricots are another fig replacement. They taste similar and sweeten many foods.
I usually rehydrate dried apricots and then add them to stews, tagines, or couscous.
If you like apricots, you can also check out these ideas for apricot substitutes. Fresh figs are on the list!
Substitutes for fresh figs FAQs
One medium raw fig (50g) contains 37 calories.
Figs are one of a kind in terms of flavor, managing to be both sweet and earthy while still having a tiny sour edge. Figs can contain subtle undertones of honey or berry tastes, depending on the varieties of figs.
Dried figs contain a higher concentration of antioxidants than fresh figs. So if you’re looking for an extra nutritious substitute for fresh figs, try dried fruits.
Figs are best eaten fresh. If possible, store them in the fridge and consume them within three days.
To keep fresh figs longer, freeze them. Place washed and dried figs on a baking sheet before freezing, then transfer them to an airtight container or bag. Frozen figs can last up to six months.
Yes, you can use figs for savory dishes. They pair well with cheese, greens, and meat dishes.
Fresh figs are great for serving on a cheese platter. They pair well with both soft and hard cheeses.
You can serve them whole or slice them into wedges. Figs stuffed with vegan blue cheese are one of my favorite combos!
No, figs are not citrus fruits. They’re part of the mulberry family.
In my opinion, the best dried figs substitute is prunes. Other alternatives include dates, apricots, raisins, and cranberries.
BOTTOM LINE: Fresh figs are versatile and tasty. Don’t worry if you can’t find them. Dried figs, dates, raisins, and prunes can replace fresh figs. Try several fruits similar to fig to discover the one that works best for you and appreciate their delightful tastes.
Which substitute for figs do you like the most? Share your favorite fig recipes in the comments!
Want to know what to use with figs on cheese boards? Check out these substitutes for cheddar cheese and blue cheese alternatives.