What can I use instead of Asian pear? The best substitutes for Asian pears include pears with similar characteristics, such as the Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc and Forelle pear. While apples are always a simple and reliable swap, unusual alternatives include pineapple, kiwi fruit and Fuyu persimmons.
Sweeter, crispier, juicier, and higher in fiber than your average pear, the Asian pear is often considered the crème de la crème of its class. The ornamental, aromatic, and delicately flavored pears are a firm favorite for baking, snacking, marinades, and savory dishes. When Asian pears seem rare, don’t despair- you have 8 excellent alternatives:
The Best Asian Pear Substitutes
Anjou, also known as D’Anjou, is a European all-purpose pear that can be used in any recipe that calls for Asian pears.
Anjou pears have an egg-shaped appearance, with short necks and green or red skins, both of which are very similar in taste. Green Anjous do not change color as they ripen, so gently press the neck, if it gives slightly, the pear is ready for eating.
The Anjou pear has a crisp, firm texture and substantial juiciness, two characteristics that define the Asian pear variety. These key features make Anjous a fantastic choice for either fresh or cooked dishes.
Asian pears have a fruity, delicate taste, while Anjou pears have citrus undertones.
Anjous are fantastic, enjoyed fresh, as a snack or sliced into salads. The firm flesh makes them suitable for baking, poaching, and grilling. Anjou pears are more affordable and easier to find than Asian pears.
If you are looking for an ultra-juicy Asian pear alternative, turn to Bartletts (also known as William pears). This European variety has the classic ‘pear shape’ and ‘pear flavor’, which make it an appealing choice.
You will have no difficulty finding Bartlett pears, as they are North America’s most commonly grown variety.
The medium to large fruit has smooth, soft flesh and a highly aromatic flavor. The Bartlett pear is unique since its skin changes color upon ripening.
Soft, juicy, and deliciously sweet, Bartlett pears are an excellent substitute for snacking, salads, and cheese platters.
A delicious marinade, jam, or chutney can be made from their mushy, syrupy flesh or to add moisture and sweetness to baked treats like muffins and cakes.
Juicy Bartlett pears will not retain their shape once heated. As a result, they will not be a suitable substitute for poaching or dishes that need definitive slices of pear.
Bosc pears have a taste and texture that closely resembles Asian pears, which makes them a fantastic alternative.
A Bosc pear is distinguished by its elegant appearance: cinnamon brown skin, a tall stem, and an elongated neck that broadens into a perfectly round base.
Bosc is the most popular variety of pear depicted in artwork due to these characteristics.
Those who bite into a Bosc pear are rewarded with refreshingly crisp skin and a honey-sweet, woody flavor.
The flesh is juicy and substantially denser than other pear varieties, making them a popular choice for out-of-hand snacking.
Bosc pears retain their texture and shape when heated, so they are fantastic for roasting alongside meat, poaching in red wine, and baking favorites like pear crisp, pear cake, and pear pudding.
Asian pears are a key ingredient in Bulgogi, a traditional Korean dish that consists of thin strips of beef marinated and grilled in a delicious BBQ sauce.
The sweet Asian pear is primarily used to enhance and round off the savory, smoky flavor and to tenderize the meat.
If Asian pear is hard to come by, you might want to try making Bulgogi, or something similar, using kiwi
As with Asian pears, kiwis contain proteases, natural enzymes that break down the tough muscle fibers and will tenderize meat.
Despite not having the same taste as an Asian pear, you can use kiwi fruit in marinades to enhance sweetness and make meat more tender.
The enzymatic power of kiwi fruit will over-tenderize the meat if exposed for a long time, so halve the marinating time when using kiwis as a substitute. Enjoy kiwi as a fresh, juicy snack, tossed into salads, or baked in cobbler.
Another super Asian pear alternative is the Forelle pear- one of the oldest and smallest pear varieties. Although this classic, bell-shaped pear is small, it’s big on flavor, juiciness and crunch.
The Forelle pear makes a stunning table centerpiece, with its bold, yellow skin adorned with red ‘freckles.’ It easily matches the sweetness of an Asian pear, with the addition of a slightly tangy undertone.
Forelle pears are considerably crunchier than the Asian variety, so they won’t work quite as well in marinades (like bulgogi), smoothies, or purees.
However, Forelle’s crisp texture, beautiful color, complex flavor, and small size make them a superb choice for snacking, cheese platters, and salads. These pears will retain their form and flavor during roasting and baking.
Apples are always a straightforward and reliable alternative to pears. Both fruits have ties to the Rosaceae (rose) family and share numerous characteristics.
In fact, Asian pears are commonly referred to as apple pears since they have a similar shape, taste, and texture to the apple. Fuji apples make an outstanding substitute for most recipes that require Asian pears.
Crisp, juicy, and maintaining the top spot as the sweetest apple variety, Fujis will not disappoint when eaten fresh, poached or baked in crumbles, pies, and cakes.
Another trusty stand-in for Asian pears is the gorgeous Pink Lady apple (Cripps Pink).
In addition to its high availability, this modern apple variety has a gorgeous reddish pink blush that adds vibrancy to your plate and table.
Pink Ladies are somewhat tart, but they have the right amount of juiciness and crunch to replace Asian pears in marinades, salads, jams, cobblers, or roasted alongside fish, chicken, or pork.
When Asian pears are difficult to source, you can rely on the pineapple to add a sweet, juicy, vibrant, and exotic touch to your meal.
While pineapples may appear to be an uncanny substitute, they match Asian pears in many ways.
Fresh pineapple slices are great in salads, salsas, and as a snack, and pineapple juice can be used in marinades (think Bulgogi) to tenderize and enhance the taste of meat.
As with Asian pears, pineapple pairs exceptionally well with chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. This tropical fruit will add texture and sweetness to smoothies, cocktails, ice cream and baked treats.
Pineapples contain a fair amount of juice, so you may need to eliminate or reduce the quantity of liquid listed in the recipe to prevent a mushy or watery result.
Step aside Asian pears because persimmons are also enjoying the deserved spotlight.
To keep the Asian flair, reach for the Fuyu persimmon. It makes a noteworthy substitute as it can be sliced, diced, pureed, baked, or roasted.
This Japanese variety has a sweet, complex flavor with notes of pear, dates, and sugar. Fuyu persimmons won’t be challenging to find since it is the most widely cultivated persimmon.
Fuyu persimmons are unique as they can be eaten when still firm. As with Asian pears, Fuyus are highly versatile and delicious, eaten fresh in salads, canapes, or out of hand.
They can hold their form and flavor in roasts and baked desserts and make tasty toppings for toast, yogurt, pies, and pizza.
Despite a massive contrast in appearance, Fuyu persimmons provide a super sweet flavor, crunchy texture, juiciness, and unique touch that you would generally seek in an Asian pear.