Skip to Content

What’s The Best Substitute For Green Tomatoes For Your Recipes?

Tormatillos and many other green fruits would work well in recipes as a substitute for green tomatoes. 

As a food enthusiast, I live for the moments when I get to experiment with new ingredients whenever I get to cook. To me, there’s really nothing more exciting than that.

I’ve been super curious about green tomatoes lately but they aren’t really the easiest to find.

That’s exactly why I started searching and testing new alternatives that were bound to work well for a variety of green tomato recipes.

Have a look at what I’ve found!

What's The Best Substitute For Green Tomatoes featured image | Girl Meets Food

Best substitutes for green tomatoes

The common green tomatoes are essentially the unripe fruit of red tomatoes.

They’ve got this uniquely tart, acidic taste and they’re usually super firm.

The best substitutes for green tomatoes should have similar qualities, and that’s what I kept in mind when I selected these options below:

  • Tomatillos – a perfect substitute for green tomatoes

My top pick for the best green tomato substitute out there is the humble tomatillo.

A tomatillo is a small green fruit with a papery husk, an acidic flavor and a firm texture that’s quite similar to green tomatoes, making them an ideal alternative in a variety of dishes.

There are a ton of health benefits associated with consuming fresh tomatillos and they work well for several recipes that require fresh green tomatoes. 

I tried using them once for some green tomato salsa and it turned out heavenly. Try them out for green tomato pasta sauce or green tomato relish and trust me when I say you won’t regret it!

  • Tart apples – perfect for fried green tomato recipes

If you’re looking for a substitute for green tomatoes in a fried green tomato recipe, tart apples can be an excellent choice.

Their tart flavor is quite similar to the green tomato flavor and, combined with their crisp nature, can work wonderfully well in a variety of recipes that require green tomatoes.

Tart apples come in different kinds but my favorites are the Granny Smith apples.

I love tart fruits so I’ve used them as an ingredient for several baked dishes and all sorts of meals. Prep the apples the same way you would for the tomatoes but just slightly thinner, and you’re good to go.

If you like tart fruits as much as I do, you’re going to want to have a look at these cranberry substitutes that are just as sharp tasting.

  • Green gooseberries – a good match for green tomatoes

Green gooseberries are probably one of the least explored substitutes for green tomatoes, but there are so many reasons why they work.

The two share lots of similarities like how they’re both unripe fruits and that they both have similar taste profiles. 

Besides being tart and of course, green, green gooseberries are also firm and have a texture that’s quite similar to cherry tomatoes. They may be much smaller than green tomatoes but using them as a substitute for green tomatoes means you’ll be getting these health benefits of gooseberries and adding a new dimension to your meal.

I like to use this tart variant of gooseberries for baked dishes (like cheesecakes) and savory meals (like salads)!

  • Other Green Fruits – for when you’re feeling adventurous

Feeling adventurous and want to experiment with other green fruits and vegetables?

There are loads of options you can try!

Another unripe fruit (like a mango or papaya) could have a similar texture to these tomatoes, although, their flavors would be quite different.

Zucchinis and green bell peppers would also work great as a sub, depending on the kind of recipe you’re going for. Speaking of bell peppers, check out these substitutes for bell peppers you can use for your meal.

As for using other green fruits and veggies, I’d say these substitutes would work much better where the flavor of the fruit doesn’t matter as much, like in relishes and chutneys!

Substitute for green tomatoes FAQs

Three green tomatoes hang on the stem | Girl Meets Food
What is similar to green tomatoes?

Tomatillos are often referred to as Mexican green tomatoes and they’re the most commonly available fruit that’s most similar to green tomatoes. They’re a staple ingredient in salsa verde and a variety of other Mexican cuisines.

Can I use red tomatoes instead of green tomatoes?

Red tomatoes have a higher water content and a softer texture than green tomatoes.

If your recipe involves not having the tomatoes whole, you could use red tomatoes instead of green ones but you definitely have to add something tart to make up for the taste.

I’d say sprinkling some fresh lemon juice over the tomatoes would do just the thing.

Is a green tomato just an unripe tomato?

Green tomatoes are unripe tomatoes for the most part, but there are some variants of tomatoes that still retain their green hue even when they’re all ripe and ready to be harvested.

Is it okay to cook with green tomatoes?

It’s totally okay to cook with green tomatoes. They’re an essential ingredient in all sorts of savory dishes and go really well with a variety of other veggies.

What flavor is green tomatoes?

Green tomatoes that are the unripe fruits of red tomatoes usually have this tart and acidic taste. 

BOTTOM LINE: While nothing can truly replace the unique flavor of green tomatoes, there are plenty of suitable substitutes available. Tomatillos, unripe gooseberries, tart apples, and other green fruits can all be used as substitutes for green tomatoes in different recipes. 

Go ahead, try either of the above alternatives out and find what works best for you.

If you appreciated these green tomato substitutes, you should know there are tons where they came from.

I’ve collated alternatives for all sorts of ingredients. From coconut water substitutes to daikon radish alternatives and even foods that would work well in place of kidney beans.

So, the next time you can’t have one ingredient or the other, don’t despair. Just hop on to my site, check out what I’ve got and get cooking!