What can I use instead of blood orange? The best substitutes for blood oranges are other sweet, succulent citrus fruit like Cara Cara oranges, navel oranges, Valencia oranges, pomelos, and tangerines. Cranberries and raspberries are handy alternatives.
Blood oranges are citrus fruit with dimpled orange skins and dark red flesh and juice. Despite their gruesome name, these Sicilian oranges taste sweet and berry-like. Filled with antioxidants and vitamin C, blood oranges are tasty fresh, in fruit or green salad, or juiced. Add blood orange to baked pies and cakes. Let’s look at the seven best substitutes for blood orange.
The Best Blood Orange Substitutes
Cara Cara Orange
The best substitute for blood orange is the Cara Cara orange.
A type of winter navel orange, Cara Caras are oval oranges with thick, pebbly skin and pink flesh, similar to grapefruit. They are low in acid, particularly sugary, and easy to peel.
Like all citrus, these oranges are rich in vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene that occurs in red fruit and vegetables.
Use Cara Cara oranges instead of blood oranges as a snack, in fruit and green salads, and in sauces for poultry. Their berry-like zest is highlighted in bakes like muffins, quick bread, fruit tarts, and cookies.
They are very juicy and make a delicious addition to mimosas or margaritas instead of blood orange, giving a similar color and flavor.
Replace blood oranges with the same amount of Cara Cara oranges.
Another great substitute for blood orange is the navel orange.
Named for their belly-button-like protrusion, navel oranges are the most popular eating orange. They have an intense citrus flavor, thick, easily removeable peels, and lack of seeds. They are available in winter.
These juicy, sweet oranges are versatile and suitable for snacking, cooking, and baking. However, despite being rich in vitamin C, they are not ideal for drinking juice as it becomes bitter when exposed to oxygen.
Use navel oranges in any recipe that calls for blood oranges, such as ambrosia salad, winter green and fruit salads, vinaigrettes, and marinades and sauces for chicken.
Their zest adds flavor to baked items, while their skin makes delicious candied citrus peel.
Replace blood oranges 1:1 with navel oranges, with the proviso that they will give your dish a citrus tang and sweetness, but not the beautiful red color.
Try Valencia oranges as an alternative to blood oranges.
Valencia oranges have thin, rough, golden skin and sweet, juicy flesh. They are named after the Spanish city of Valencia, famed for these beautiful, sweet citrus fruits that flourish in summer.
These oranges make the best juice and are delicious snack oranges, tangy and fruity. The juice is full of vitamin C, won’t become bitter on standing, and is ideal for cooking, including sweet and savory sauces.
Use Valencia oranges instead of blood oranges in fruit salads, chocolatey desserts, and marinades, especially for pork. They are the perfect substitutes in cocktails, mocktails, and smoothies.
Replace blood oranges with Valencia oranges as they have similar succulence and flavor. However, the redness will be lacking.
The pomelo is a delightful alternative to the blood orange.
Pomelos or pampelmousse are the largest of all citrus, some as large as a basketball. These round or pear-shaped fruit have thick pink or yellow skin with firm white, pink, or red flesh.
These giants are the sweetest and least acidic of all citrus, with fewer seeds and less juice.
A favorite in Asian cuisine, pomelo is traditionally served in skinless segments, often with salt and chili.
Enjoy pomelo instead of blood orange if you want a zingy citrus element in a green salad, a sauce for seafood, or a marinade.
Pomelo can become bitter if heated, so they are best eaten raw. However, bitterness is appealing in candied peel and marmalade, so you can use pomelo as a blood orange substitute.
Replace blood orange with a similar quantity of pomelo.
Tangerines or mandarins make excellent substitutes for blood oranges.
Like small oranges, tangerines have thick, loose, dark orange peels, easily separated segments, and a delightfully sweet, tangy flavor.
Well-known varieties include the satsuma, a tart fruit, and clementine, which is particularly tasty.
Clementines are small, have a honey-like sweetness, and have a delicate aroma. They originated in Algeria in Northern Africa and grow well in Morocco, much of Africa, China, Spain, and California.
Most often eaten out of hand, clementines are seedless, making them ideal for children.
Clementines are associated with Christmas in Europe and the UK, as they are available in winter. They make colorful centerpieces and are traditional stocking stuffers.
Use clementines instead of blood oranges in peppery grain salads, toppings for cheesecake, pound cakes, marinades, glazes, and vinaigrettes. They are too small for juicing.
Tangerines can replace blood oranges in similar quantities.
If you don’t have any sweet citrus fruit, consider raspberries as a substitute for blood oranges.
These gorgeous red berries grow wild on thorny bushes in most of the Northern Hemisphere. They are sweet and fragrant, providing citrus-like levels of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
Although raspberries are generally farmed for jam, you can find punnets of this delicate fruit in summer or frozen in winter.
Blood oranges are often said to have a raspberry-like color and flavor, making them a delicious substitute.
Enjoy raspberries in fruit salad, smoothies, and fruit pies. They are excellent in summery desserts and bakes with cream or ice cream, as a compote, or in a sweet, tangy sauce.
Replace blood orange with the same weight of raspberries, with the proviso that raspberries contain tiny seeds that give a slightly crunchy texture.
Another non-citrus alternative to a blood orange is cranberry.
Cranberries are small, round winter berries ranging from light to dark red. They are native to North America, tending to grow in marshy areas.
Synonymous with Thanksgiving, raw cranberries are very tart and astringent and are therefore usually transformed into relish, jelly, conserve, or pie.
These jewel-like berries are a handy replacement for blood oranges, especially when you need a zingy, bright red addition to a meal. For example, add a handful of raw cranberries to green or fruit salads, scatter them over granola, or snack on them for a vitamin C and antioxidant boost.
Use cranberry juice in mocktails or punch instead of blood orange, particularly if you enjoy a bitter flavor.
Use cranberries instead of blood oranges in dishes where they are not the main ingredient. Add them sparingly, as not everyone enjoys their intense tartness.