The 10 Best Substitutes For Cranberry Juice

What can I use instead of cranberry juice? The best substitute for cranberry juice is cranberry juice cocktail. Other replacements include pomegranate juice, red grape juice, cherry juice, blueberry juice, raspberry juice, grenadine, or a dash of lemon juice in another sweet fruit juice. In cooked recipes, use pomegranate molasses or red wine.

Cranberry juice is made from the ripe fruit of cranberry shrubs native to North America. On their own, cranberries are bitter and tangy, so almost all varieties of cranberry juice are sweetened using other sweeter fruit juices. Unsweetened juice is available, but it is rare. Cranberry juice is acidic and is high in Vitamins C and E and antioxidants. It can interact with some blood-thinning medications.

The Best Cranberry Juice Substitutes

Cranberry Juice Cocktail

The best taste substitute for cranberry juice is cranberry juice cocktail.

Instead of being sweetened with natural fruit juice alternatives, cranberry cocktail has added sugar or corn syrup to balance the tangy, tart taste of the berries.

Cranberry cocktail usually has the same amount of vitamin C as cranberry juice but contains fewer nutrients.

The taste of cranberry juice cocktail is almost identical to cranberry juice, and the only difference is the source of the sweetener in each.

Cranberry juice cocktail and cranberry juice can be used interchangeably where sweetened juice is required.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranates are reddish-pink, heavily seeded fruits that grow on deciduous shrubs. They were brought to California by Spanish settlers late in the 17th century.

Pomegranate juice is the best nutritional substitute for cranberry juice. It is a superfruit packed with antioxidants, and although it may have tart overtones, it naturally has a crisp sweetness.

Unlike cranberry juice, the fruit can be juiced and consumed without requiring any additional sweetening.

Pomegranate juice is a clear, red-tinted liquid that looks a lot like cranberry juice. It is also palatable if made from fresh fruit.

Pomegranate juice tastes similar to sweetened cranberry juice and can be used confidently as a 1-to-1 substitute.  

Red Grape Juice

Red grape juice can work well as a fruity alternative to sweetened cranberry juice. Like cranberry juice, grape juice may be labeled 100% juice but may be a blend of other fruit juices.

One of the best reasons to use grape juice as a substitute for cranberry juice is that it is easily available. In addition, it has a dark color, so it works well when a similar color profile is required.

Red grape juice has a slightly sweet taste profile compared to cranberry juice. However, it works well when a clear, deep-colored fruity drink substitute is required.

Cherry Juice

Cherries are small stone fruit that are thought to have originated in Mediterranean regions. There are records of cherries and cherry products being used in ancient times. 

The tart taste and color profile make cherry juice a good substitute for cranberry juice. However, it is also almost always sweetened to balance out the sour tanginess of the fruit, and cherry juice can err on the side of tasting too sweet.

Cherry juice is an excellent substitute for cranberry juice for anyone that needs to avoid possible interactions with medication. It can be used in place of cranberry juice in most applications.

Blueberry Juice

Blueberries fall into the same broad order of plants as cranberries, and the juices can be suitable substitutions for each other. Like cranberries, these blue or dark purple berries are native to North America.

When using blueberry juice instead of cranberry, remember that they have similar taste profiles.

Blueberries can be sour and tangy like cranberries, especially if they aren’t fully ripe. Juice made from scratch may need to be sweetened.

Blueberry juice is an excellent substitute for cranberry juice, although it is not as readily available as many other fruit juice alternatives.

It can be used as a healthy, tart-tasting replacement in all recipes and drinks where cranberry juice is required.

Raspberry Juice

Raspberry juice is not as common as many other berry substitutes for cranberry juice, but it can be an excellent stand-in. Raspberries have a sweet taste with a distinctly bitter yet pleasant tangy nuance.

Raspberry juice is an excellent alternative for anyone who wants to avoid the random mix of additional sweetening juices that could be included in cranberry juice.

Fresh raspberry juice can offer a similar taste profile to cranberry juice, and it has similar health benefits along with a surprisingly low natural sugar content.

In some recipes, raspberry juice is the preferred substitute for cranberry juice.

When making a famous Cosmopolitan drink, raspberry can work well as a substitute for cranberry juice and provides the required tangy, fruity element.

Raspberry juice can be used as a 1-to-1 ratio for cranberry juice in most applications.

Grenadine Syrup

Grenadine syrup is a concentrated beverage ingredient made from pomegranates. It is a non-alcoholic drink commonly used to give drinks a distinctively red tinge and has a tart, sweet taste.

Although it has a high sugar content, grenadine is an excellent stand-in for cranberry juice when fresh cranberry juice is unavailable.

While it won’t have the same health benefits as fresh fruit juice, the advantage is that it can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods.

When using grenadine as a substitute for cranberry juice, always first dilute it according to directions: around 1 part concentrate to 8 parts water.

When diluted, it can be used in place of cranberry juice. The sweetness can be toned down by adding a dash of lemon juice.

Add Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is too bitter tasting to be a good substitute for cranberry juice on its own. However, in some applications, when a dash of fruity acidity is required, a squeeze of tangy lemon juice may save the day.

If you need to tone down another sweeter fruit juice or add a touch of zingy acidity to a dish, a small amount of lemon juice can mimic cranberry juice’s acidity.

Only add to taste to add a tart cranberry-like tanginess to drinks and food as required.

Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is a sweet paste mixture made by the reduction of pomegranate juice.

While it cannot be used as a beverage substitute for cranberry juice, it can work as a stand-in for cooked recipes where the tangy, acidic qualities of cranberry are required.

Despite its name, pomegranate molasses is less sweet than grenadine or pomegranate syrup. It is a concentrated product and needs to be diluted before it can be used as a replacement for cranberry juice in cooking.

Diluted pomegranate molasses can be used as a substitute for cranberry juice to make sauces or as basting for meat.

Red Wine

Red wine can be used as a replacement for cranberry juice in cooked recipes, like sauces. Any type of red wine can be a stand-in for the tangy juice where an alternative ingredient is required.

Cranberry juice is frequently used as a substitute for red wine in recipes where a non-alcoholic alternative is required, and the reverse also works.

While red wine will also impart a distinctive fermented wine taste, it can offer a complex fruitiness to dishes without too much sweetness.

Red wine can only be substituted for cranberry juice in cooked dishes like sauces, where it will form one part of the overall recipe.

Wine has a more robust taste profile than cranberry juice, so start by adding only half the amount of liquid required.