Substitutes for Juniper Berries

Substitutes for Juniper Berries

Juniper berries are used in small amounts as a flavoring. However, it is not one of those common spices like cinnamon that you will see on every supermarket shelves. It is actually quite rare! That is the reason why I’m sharing with you substitutes for juniper berries. 

 The juniper berries look like blueberries, one of my favorite berries. However, they are not sweet and juicy like blueberries. They are pungent, mildly spicy with a strong flavor. The juniper berries are derived from their name used in cooking. Most European and Scandinavian cuisines use meat dishes along with juniper berries. Juniper belongs to the cypress family. For meatless recipes, juniper berries are great in stews. 

Although evergreen, it has smooth, thick, scaly leaves instead of pine needles that can be closed with very sharp needles. They function mainly as ground plants and only grow to the size of shrubs or small plants.

Each type of juniper produces corn redolent of ripe berries. Despite the name, these are not true fruits. 

A word of caution, there are over 40 varieties of juniper berries, and they all contain varying levels of Thujone oil. This oil, if ingested in large amounts, can cause stomach problems and kidney issues. The most common type of juniper is Juniperus communist or common juniper has low levels of Thujone oil, therefore it is safe for eating.

Juniper berries are not safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. 

Substitutes for Juniper Berries

1. Allspice

allspice berries

Allspice Berries are similar to juniper berries, but they are not the same thing. It is an evergreen fruit that grows naturally in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Once dried, the kernels are small, hard, brown, and slightly smaller than the juniper fruit. Juniper berries still retain their blue color, but when dried they darken like other sweet vegetable berries.

The flavor characteristics are so complex that the spices are named, and the flavors are even more varied. It is the taste of a combination of various spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg with the aroma of paprika and sometimes pine leaves.

It is a great spice to add to a variety of dishes, but it’s spicy and not a good alternative to the strong flavor and freshness of juniper berries. So, I recommend you add ½ ratio.

2. Rosemary

rosemary fresh and dried on a wooden background

Rosemary is a versatile plant. You can dry it or buy the whole plant directly for the kitchen from a reliable plant source in the supermarket. You can add flavor to stews with a few twigs.

In addition to cooking, it is also known for producing perfumes for washing perfumes, essential oils, and liquid soaps. Switching to this type is very simple. Just add a few pieces of rosemary to the dish.

Instead of a teaspoon of juniper berries, you can use a few more rosemary. You can use at least 2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary to substitute 1 teaspoon of juniper berries.

3. Herbes de Provence

herbes de provence substitute for juniper berries

Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried plants common in southeastern France, and to replace it, add a teaspoon instead of a teaspoon of juniper berry. You can customize the material to suit your taste.

If you want to make it more fragrant, you can add other herbs and spices to enhance the aroma. Jane adds a more subtle, sometimes subtle scent.

4. Star Anise

Star anise isolated on a white background

Star anise is a spice made from the fruit of the Chinese evergreen tree Illicium verum. These fragrant seeds give food a warm, slightly sweet taste.

The main ingredient in star anise seeds is an essential oil, which creates a unique flavor. Chefs recommend using a teaspoon of star anise instead of two juniper berries.

5. Bay Leaves

bay leaves isolated on a white background

Another powerful and fragrant plant known throughout the world is the Bay Leaf. It smells like leaves and can be magical. You can cut these leaves completely or leave them alone. It depends on what you like.

The leaves of the Persian Gulf are not edible and are used only for their distinctive aroma and taste. If the leaves are already whole, although they usually remain after cooking, replace 1 teaspoon of juniper berries with 1-2 bay leaves. If you are mashing the leaves, use a 1:1 ratio and be careful not to overdo it as the bay leaves are not as strong as they used to be.

6. Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds in a wooden bowl on a wooden background

It would be great if you could buy caraway seeds in your area. Caraway seeds or meridian fennel and Persian cumin are other spicy seeds that add a delicate and delicious flavor to any diet.

You can find it mainly in herb and spice stores. You can use a 1:1 ratio when switching. You can use 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds to replace 1 teaspoon of juniper berries. Then add one or two bay leaves to the dish, depending on your taste. Safely customize spices to your liking.

7. Cardamom

caraway seeds

Cardamom is a very special spice and is mainly used in cuisine and other delicious desserts. When it comes to cooking, it is very unique and flexible.

Considering its limited use and very easy replacement, you can use this herb instead of the unique taste and aroma of juniper berries.

Follow the ratio 1:1. Substitute 1 teaspoon of cardamom for 1 teaspoon of juniper berries. It also depends on the size of the board. If you’re making in bulk, adjust ingredients, test taste, and then add.

You May Also Like These Other Substitutes

  1. Substitute For Turbinado Sugar
  2. Substitute For Coconut Aminos
  3. Arrowroot Flour Substitute
  4. Cumin Substitute
  5. Homemade Chili Powder Substitute

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Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

Please Leave a Comment and a Rating

  1. Kimola
    July 2, 2021

    Very informative especially that the berries are not safe for pregnant and nursing moms and yes that all spice seeds adds alot of flavor to your dish, I can attest to that.

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      July 2, 2021

      Thank you Kimola, I’m happy you found it informative.

  2. Tasheika
    July 2, 2021

    Thanks for the information

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      July 2, 2021

      You are welcome Tasheika.

  3. Odane MCFARLANE
    July 2, 2021

    That’s looks lovely keep it up

  4. Sandy and tiny
    July 2, 2021

    This is good

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      July 2, 2021

      Thank you, I’m happy you find it helpful