10 Substitutes for Black Currant [In Baking, Jams, & More]

When I was in Ireland I fell in love with black currant. It was a standard flavor just like strawberry or cherry are in the United States.

I even saw many beers with the option to have black currant. Traditionally, black currants were the standard choice of fruit for a proper English scone.

Suffice it to say that they are a very Western European staple. In the United States, they are harder to find in grocery stores compared to other fruit, which means you may need a viable substitute.

In fact, in some states black currants are illegal (to grow, not taste). Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of the article to learn more.

We have selected the 10 best substitutes for black currant in various uses.  In jams and jellies, gooseberries, cranberries, and red currants are your best options. If you need a swap for black currant in baking, choose either raisins, kumquats, blueberries or dates. Pick between elderberries, grapes, and blackberries for your juice recipes.

Substitutes for Black Currant

1. Gooseberries

Gooseberries and Black Currants scientifically are very similar fruits. In fact, many consider currants to be a form of gooseberry.

For the sake of this substitution, we are talking about the small, round, often orange fruit.

They almost look like tiny orange tomatoes from the outside. When you bite in, however, you are flooded with a mixture of sweetness and tartness.

Because gooseberries and black currants have a similar flavor profile, they make great substitutes for each other, despite their stark difference in color.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants. One cup of gooseberries has 66 calories and 15g of carbohydrates.

Gooseberries jam

2. Cranberries

Cranberry is another substitute with a very tart flavor profile, making it a great swap for black currant.

Cranberries are perfect for jam or jellies because the sugar required to make them perfectly balances out the extreme tartness of the cranberry.

It probably goes without saying, but only choose this option if you are okay with a red-colored end product.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

One cup of cranberries has 46 calories and 12g of carbohydrates.

Cranberries jam

3. Red Currants

It would not be uncommon if you were able to find red currants at the store, but not black currants.

The good news is that they all work well interchangeably. The main difference here is that red currants are going to be slightly tangier and obviously offer a different color.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

One cup of red currants has 63 calories and 15g of carbohydrates.

4. Raisins

Raisins are the main ingredients in tons of bakery items, so it if you need a substitute for black currants, you should feel confident that raisins will make a great alternative.

I would opt for black raisins if I am swapping with black currants to keep consistency in color and sweetness.

If the recipe calls for dried red currants, you can substitute using a 1:1 ratio to dried red currants.

However, if the recipe calls original for fresh currants you will need to use a different 5:1 ratio, meaning 5 parts fresh fruit equaling 1-part dried fruit.

1 cup of raisins is 108 calories and 29 carbohydrates.

Raisins jam

5. Kumquats

Does anyone else love saying the word “kumquat?” If you have never tried these, I highly suggest grabbing some the next time you see them in the store.

They are about the size of a grape and are bright orange. Kumquats are the perfect addition if you are looking to add something both sweet and citrusy to your dish.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

100g of the kumquat is 71 calories and 16g of carbohydrates.

Kumquats jam

6. Blueberries

You will probably catch on to a theme here that berries make the best fresh fruit replacements for black currants.

One thing to note is that blueberries, unless barely ripe will not give you the same tartness as black currant.

It will, however, give you a fantastic sweetness that will not disappoint. You can add a little lemon juice if you miss the tanginess.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

One cup of blueberries has 84 calories and 21g of carbohydrates.

7. Dates

Dates are often misunderstood. They are excellent sources of nutrients and fiber. Dates bring a great sweetness to the table and can act as a binding ingredient in some recipes.

They make an excellent swap to black currants in that they bring a rich flavor to whatever they are mixed with.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to red currants. I suggest measuring by weight versus volume.

Two large dates have 133 calories and 36g of carbohydrates.

dates jam

8. Elderberries

Elderberries are jammed full of antioxidants. You may have never eaten one raw, but you may have had its flavoring in tea, cold medicines, or freshly squeezed juice.

They are a dark purple berry that, like black currants, originated in Europe. They look very similar to blueberries but are a bit more tart.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

One cup of elderberries has 106 calories and 26g of carbohydrates.


9. Grapes

Did you know that some studies suggest grapes help reduce the risk of blood clots and the buildup of bad cholesterol?

This super fruit is a terrific swap for black currants due to its many health benefits and vibrant flavors.

All colored grapes can be substituted, but I suggest the dark red variety for a black currant alternative.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

grapes jam

One cup of red grapes has 104 calories and 27g of carbohydrates.

10. Blackberries

Rich in antioxidants, blackberries make a delicious juice on its own or mixed into cocktails and other recipes.

I would not be surprised if you could not tell the difference between your black currant juice and blackberry juice the taste is so similar as is the color.

To substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio to black currants.

One cup of blackberries has 62 calories and 14g of carbohydrates.

Blackberries jam

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between Red Currant and Black Currant?

They are very similar in taste with the main difference being black currants are sweeter than red currants.

There actually is a much lesser-known currant that is white, its sweetness level falls in between black and red.

Are Currants and Black Currants the Same Thing?

No. Currants, which are usually dried and resemble a raisin, comes from a completely different plant.

Currants come from a grape plant whereas black currants come from a shrub called Ribes nigrum.

Does Black Currant go by Other Names?

It is mostly known as black current, but its scientific name is Ribes nigrum. Black currant is also sometimes referred to as cassis.

Why is Black Currant Illegal in the United States?

Currants are native to Western Europe and close to 100 years ago, they were thought to a danger to pine trees and therefore the timber industry, so the United States made it illegal to grow them.

However, in the last 20 years, that ban has started to lift, and currants are actually grown in some northern states.

Cornell University put out a great article on this once forbidden fruit.

What do I Need to Make Black Currant Jam?

If you have black currants, sugar and a heat source, you can make black currant jam.

The best jams also have a bit of acid as well, so lemon juice is your friend here. In short, jams are made by heating up your copped up fruit with sugar until it reduces down to the consistency you like for your jam.

Final Considerations

It is perfectly fine if you cannot get ahold of black or red currants at your grocery store.

There is no need to special order or go on a hunt (unless you just want to) because there are many great fruit alternatives that will make any recipe originally calling for blackcurrants successful.

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