Substitute For Juniper Berries In Cooking

Substitute For Juniper Berries In Cooking

Juniper berries look very much like blueberries. However juniper berries and blueberries are not the same. Juniper berries got their name because of their culinary uses. A lot of European and Scandinavian cuisines add them in their meat dishes like game meat and also sauerkraut dishes. When you want to prepare a traditional European dish and you do not have juniper berries there are a lot of other substitutes you can consider using in place juniper berries. Some of them include rosemary, caraway seeds, gin, cardamom, bay leaves, as well as hickory spice.



One of the best substitutes for juniper berries in cooking is Rosemary. Rosemary is a diverse herb that can work well with a lot of dishes including traditional European meals that use juniper berries. You can make use of dried rosemary or purchase the whole plant from your grocery store in order to get a sustainable herb right from your kitchen. Rosemary is a perfect herb for pan-seared dishes such as steaks. Just a few sprigs of rosemary will add a lot of aroma and taste to your meat. Apart from its culinary uses, rosemary is also popular for making perfumes, essential oils, and it can be used to add fragrance to cleaning liquid soaps. In order to substitute juniper berries with rosemary all you need to do is to add a few rosemary sprigs to your dish. You can add about 2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary to replace 1 teaspoon of juniper berries. That will make a huge difference with the absence of juniper berries but it will add a nice flavour to your dish. You can also mix your rosemary with your marinade before you cook your meal or cook it directly into your pan with the meat. Doing this will boost the flavour and the aroma of your meat.

Caraway Seeds

Another great substitute for juniper berries in cooking are caraway seeds. Caraway seeds are also known as meridian fennel and Persian cumin seeds. These seeds offer a subtle flavour and a nice aroma to your dish. You can find these seeds mostly in herb and spice shops. If you cannot find them you can easily shop for them online since international shipments can be done in most countries. Caraway seeds are some of the best substitutes for juniper berries because of their almost licoricey taste as well as their highly aromatic characteristics. You can tell when your dish has caraway seeds in it because the seeds will bring out the best of your dish without overpowering it at all. To substitute juniper berries with caraway seeds you need to use a 1:1 ratio. This means adding one teaspoon of caraway seeds in place of 1 teaspoon of juniper berries. You can then add a bay leaf or two to your dish depending on how much you like it to be aromatic. You can always adjust the seasonings based on your preferences.


Surprisingly, gin can make a great substitute for juniper berries in cooking. Instead of running all the way to the grocery store the next time you need juniper berries and have none, you can just go to your cellar instead. The good thing is that there is no specific brand or alcohol content for the type of gin you can use in place of juniper berries in your cooking. Whatever gin you may have at home, can be used as a replacement. To use gin in place of juniper berries simply add a teaspoon of gin to replace a tablespoon of juniper berries to your meal. You can also easily adjust the content if you want to, depending on how comfortable you are with the taste of gin. In addition, if you want your meal to be more aromatic, you can add other herbs or spices in order to boost the aroma. Also, gin adds a more subtle aroma and sometimes the taste is not even noticeable.


Another ideal alternative to juniper berries in cooking is cardamom. Cardamom is a special spice that is commonly used in Indian cuisine and even in other delectable European meals. It is surprisingly unique and flexible too when it comes to uses in the kitchen. The cardamom seeds are harvested and then dried before being consumed. It is best used in savoury meals to boost their aroma and flavour. Other meals use the whole pods and seeds when preparing them. For your convenience, it is better to purchase the cardamom when ground. The only downside to using this spice is that it is a little bit costly to buy compared to the other substitutes. However, using it in place of juniper berries in your cooking is worth the cost. Cardamom can copy juniper berries’ unique characteristics when added to your meal. To use cardamom in place of juniper berries simply follow a 1:1 ratio. Add one teaspoon of cardamom for every teaspoon of juniper berries. The amount of cardamom you will add to your dish will depend on how big your dish is. If you plan on making a big batch, you should simply adjust the contents and test for best results.

Bay Leaves

A bay Leaf is a strong and very aromatic spice that is well known around the world. The leaves can make a great substitute for juniper berries in your cooking. You can get the ground or whole dried bay leaves to use in your cooking depending on what you have. Keep in mind that bay leaves are not edible, they are only used for their distinguished aroma and flavour. You will find that they are usually discarded after cooking. When using bay leaves in place of juniper berries use a 1 to 1 ratio to substitute juniper berries. If you plan on using the leaf, replace one teaspoon of juniper berries over 1 to 2 bay leaves. If you are going to use the ground bay leaves 1 teaspoon of juniper berries should be replaced by one teaspoon of ground bay leaves. Do not concern yourself too much about the amount of bay leaves you use since your dish will not be very different.

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