Is there any way to find the best substitute for pineapple juice and still be completely content with the result?
Well, there are definitely plenty of substitutes that you can use. However, I have to leave it to you figure out which of these many juices will work best for you.
For example, if you only need pineapple juice as an ingredient for a smoothie then there are plenty of substitutes to go for from using a fresh pineapple to using basically any fruit juice you have around.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for the best pineapple juice substitute for a dessert recipe then it will be harder to determine which fruit juice would work best as a replacement in your particular recipe. The same goes for savory dishes.
13 Best Substitutes for Pineapple Juice
Pineapple juice is wonderful. It has a balance of tartness and sweetness that not many other juices can achieve. That tangy flavor leaves the taste buds tingling.
The fruit belongs to the Bromeliaceae family and pineapple is the most commercially valuable member. So, we won’t find substitute fruits from the same family. We’ll have to expand our search.
Some fruit juices will definitely work better than others as the best substitutes for pineapple juice.
For example, I prefer orange juice, lime/lemon juice, apple juice and grapefruit juice as substitutes in the recipes that call for pineapple juice.
In other instances, I can just use apple cider vinegar with a bit of sugar or honey.
For desserts, drinks, and even some savory dishes, we can also add a bit of pineapple extract/flavor to enhance the flavor on a deeper level.
1. Orange juice
I’m perfectly aware that oranges and pineapples don’t have much in common in terms of flavor but both fruits have a mix of sweetness, tanginess, and tartness.
If you’re able to get your hands on some really sweet oranges, I recommend making the juice yourself at home.
It will be one of the best substitutes for pineapple juice as long as it’s made from the best oranges.
I don’t particularly enjoy buying orange juice, I much prefer making my own using a manual citrus juicer.
The amazing thing about orange juice is that it can work for savory dishes in the same manner as pineapple juice is used.
Orange juice pairs well with a wide array of ingredients, including meats, fish, and all sorts of vegetables.
It’s also one of my favorite substitutes for sweet and sour.
2. Apple juice
If you don’t like the tartness in pineapple juice, take the pine out and settle for using apple juice as a substitute.
It’s sweet and flavorful and can be used as a substitute in pretty much any recipe.
Apple juice can be used in desserts, drinks, and savory dishes. It’s quite perfect.
3. Lemon juice
Lemon juice can certainly be viewed as the best substitute for pineapple juice.
It doesn’t necessarily works as a replacement in smoothies. For smoothies, you can basically use any other fruit juice: orange, mango, passion fruit, guava, papaya, pomegranate, etc.
However, lemon juice will work as a substitute in savory dishes.
Lemon juice and lime juice are perfect substitutes for savory dishes that require pineapple juice, including for sweet and sour recipes.
Still, for sweet and sour, I recommend trying orange and apple juice first. Grapefruit juice is another one to try for this delicious recipe. Or just make it with vinegar and skip all these fruit juices.
4. Lime juice
This works well for me in salads and other savory recipes but I don’t usually enjoy it for my drinks.
Unless we’re talking about adding limes to a mojito.
But lime juice has a bright and vibrant flavor, besides its tartness and acidic taste.
It can also work well with light rum in an easy-to-make cocktail if you can’t make piña colada.
However, freshly squeezed lime juice can turn bitter quickly so squeeze your limes just when you need to use up their juice.
Lemon and lime juices have one major advantage over pineapple juice: they fruits are cheaper, more easy to find wherever we might live, and the juice can be squeezed at home in an instant. That’s what makes these two such good replacements.
5. Grapefruit juice
If you like taking a slightly sour approach for your substitutes, then grapefruit juice might be the perfect choice.
During some mornings, I just feel the need for a pure pink grapefruit juice with just some ice cubes added in the glass and nothing else.
Sometimes I add some honey but if you buy a nicely ripe pink grapefruit, it can provide the natural sweetness all on its own.
The most important thing about grapefruit juice as a substitute is that it can be used in savory dishes. Sweet and sour is one clear example for that.
Does grapefruit juice go well with rum?
It does. You can make a simple cocktail with: white rum, red grapefruit juice, sugar, grenadine splash (optional), club soda, fresh mint leaves and grapefruit slices for serving.
6. Citric acid
Citric acid is a compound originally derived from lemon juice. It can also be produced artificially.
Nowadays, it is used as a leavening agent and flavor enhancer for baked dishes.
If your recipe calls for pineapple juice only for its sourness and not exactly for the pineapple flavor, then you can just dissolve a bit of citric acid if you want to achieve the sour note.
Citric acid works as a simple substitute if you don’t have lime or lemon juice.
I would recommend making a 1:1 substitution.
You can dissolve 1/2 teaspoon citric acid in 2 tablespoons of water to replace 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful ingredient for cooking a nice variety of savory dishes.
In order to make it a bit more sweet, just add a bit of sugar. It depends on how sweet you like your recipes to taste.
Apple cider vinegar can be used in meats recipes, fish recipes, chili, for making pulled pork sandwiches,
That’s why it can be one of the best substitutes for pineapple juice. Don’t forget about adding a bit of sugar if you enjoy sweeter recipes.
It’s also cheap and can be found more easily around the globe.
8. Pineapple extract
You can buy pineapple extract or pineapple flavor as two of the best substitutes for pineapple juice.
Obviously, we get the taste of pineapple but we don’t get the same liquid ratio. The liquid part will have to be covered by another juice.
You can add pineapple extract to a cocktail. And you can use it for desserts for an enhanced flavor.
The extract/flavor gives your recipes the flavor of fresh, ripe pineapple.
Adding one teaspoon to your recipes can be more than enough.
Moreover, we can also combine pineapple extract with juice for making sauces for sauces for Hawaiian pork, sweet and sour, etc.
9. Blood oranges juice
If I find blood oranges, you can be totally convinced that I’m going to go for them over all the other yellow ones.
That’s because they’re sweeter, less acidic, and they even have some hints or raspberry or strawberry.
Blood oranges are more complex in flavor and a lot more sweet. Plus, I love how the red juice looks.
Blood oranges go well with strawberries, mango, apples, figs, apricots, melons, peaches, lemons. There are a bunch of fruit combinations that you can make.
10. Mango juice
Who doesn’t love mango juice when it’s made from properly ripe mangos?
If you’re interested in making the juice at home, you should absolutely know that unripe mangos are hard, fibrous, and have the wrong flavor, too tart, not enough sweetness.
Thus, if you can’t find properly ripe mangos, I would actually recommend buying the juice.
When it’s made right, the juice should have a sweet tropical floral taste, a bit citrusy and tart.
When we’re describing it like that, I am actually aware that it sounds even better than the juice that it should be acting as a substitute for.
I definitely vote for mango juice to be declared the best substitute for pineapple juice.
Making a sweet and sour mango sauce or buying a sweet and sour mango sauce will be wonderful for cooking all kinds of savory dishes: stir-fries, marinades, dip for appetizers,
Thus, mango is a fruit that doesn’t work as a substitute only in drinks and desserts but it can serve as a wonderful ingredient for a sweet and sour mango sauce that can be used in cooking a wide variety of savory dishes.
11. Pomegranate juice
Pomegranate juice is a wonderful substitute for pineapple juice because they have quite a few things in common: sweetness, sourness, tanginess.
The difference is that pomegranates are more flavorful.
However, they’re also a bit more tart so that might be a problem for those who are leaning towards more mild flavors. In that case, go for apple juice or maybe check out the next substitutes.
12. Papaya juice
I can’t talk about papaya without salivating about a Thai papaya salad. All those chilis make my mouth water.
But let’s get back to the subject at hand.
Papaya juice is absolutely awesome because it has a similar flavor to cantaloupe melons. You could also look at it as the more exotic version of a mango.
It’s quite far away from what a pineapple tastes like but it can be a flavorful replacement.
13. Guava juice
This one tastes sweet, savory, with a side of tang.
Ripe guavas have a sweet and flowery flavor with a pear-like texture.
Some describe it as a combination between strawberry, mango, and pear. Others describe it as a grapefruit and pear combination.
I guess it depends on the type of guava that you’re getting.
Best substitutes for pineapple juice in piña colada
To understand which would be the best substitute for pineapple juice in piña colada, let’s quickly revise the recipe.
The basic ingredients are: rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice, lime juice, and ice.
You could try to make a pina colada from just 3 ingredients: frozen pineapple, rum, and coconut milk.
Well, I haven’t actually solved the problem since I just told you to replace the pineapple juice with frozen pineapple chunks. Or fresh chunks and ice.
Unfortunately, that’s the best I can do. I can’t imagine a piña colada without its star fruit, which absolutely defines that drink, whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
The other option is to just mix rum with lemon juice or lime juice. It won’t be a piña colada but it’s another way to enjoy rum. You can use lemon juice for dark rum and lime for light rum.
Another juice that can combine well with rum is apple juice. Maybe add a cinnamon stick to transform into a fall-winter cocktail.
Rum and orange juice are also delicious together.
Thus, if you have rum and you won’t have pineapple juice or frozen pineapple for a piña colada, I just recommend making a different cocktail with all these fruit juices that I mentioned here as the best substitutes for pineapple juice.
Best substitutes for pineapple juice in sweet and sour
The alternatives to pineapple in sweet and sour are: grapefruit juice, apple juice, orange juice, and lime juice.
These can work as a 1:1 substitution but you might need to add a bit more sugar because lime and grapefruit can be a bit more tart. Thus, you’ll need to taste the sauce until it tastes the way you enjoy it best.
I would recommend first making the sweet and sour with orange juice as a substitute.
Use the same quantity as the recipe indicates for pineapple juice, which is usually 1 cup.
However, you can also just increase the quantity of vinegar used and adjust the sugar if it’s not sweet enough. That way, you can skip on adding any fruit juice as a substitute.
You can check out this sweet and sour recipe that is only made with rice vinegar. No fruit juice is used in that recipe, which can be exactly what you’re looking for.
The good news is that there are many options you can experiment with.
Popular recipes with pineapple juice
Let’s see which are some of the most popular recipes for which we might need these best substitutes for pineapple juice.
I’ve already covered piña colada and sweet and sour recipes because those two are some of the best known recipe for this wonderful juice. Now, let’s see what other things we can make.
- piña colada
- pineapple whip
- fruit dip
- ice cream, sorbet
- pineapple pound cake
- pineapple-cherry cake cobbler
- sweet and sour chicken/pork
- grilled pork chops with chili & pineapple
- Huli Huli chicken with pineapple-ginger sauce
- pineapple turkey kebabs
- prosciutto-wrapped pineapple
- pineapple chicken salad
- pineapple juice marinades
- Teriyaki stir-fry
- sourdough starter
- salad dressings
If you’re trying to make most of these recipes, you’ll notice that most of them are enhanced by the adding of pineapple juice.
For most of these recipes, I would say that there’s no way we can find the best substitute for pineapple juice because this fruit is what makes the recipe special and unique.
If I were to replace pineapple juice in savory dishes, I would mostly use orange juice or apple juice, depending on the rest of the ingredients that the recipe calls for.
And maybe I would add 1 teaspoon (or less) of pineapple extract or flavor to still bring that pineapple flavor to the recipes.
If I am just trying to achieve a sour, tart note, I would just use apple cider vinegar, lime/lemon juice or any other vinegar. For example, some Asian dishes would benefit from using rice vinegar.
How to make your own pineapple juice
Let’s learn how to make our own pineapple juice so that maybe some of us can solve our problems of always having to find substitutes.
I’m guessing it’s easier and maybe even cheaper to buy pineapple juice but if you like making your own juices, then this one is really easy.
Once you have a fresh pineapple there’s not much you have to do. In order to choose the best, most ripe, and freshest fruit, you should smell the base of the fruit. If it has a strong pineapple fragrance and it smells sweet, then it’s perfect. If there’s no smell, don’t get it.
Now, you can go on with cutting up the fruit into small chunks.
Toss the chunks into a blender, add some sugar (white, brown) or some honey if that’s what you prefer, and add water. You can also add some ice cubes if you want it cold.
You can drink it like that, like a smoothie.
Or, if you want purely the juice with no pulp, strain the contents of your blender through a cheesecloth. It will be best if you have a bit of help with this part. Once all the pulp is left on the cheesecloth, squeeze it to get the last remaining juice out.
The other option is to use a fruit juicer. It saves on using a cheesecloth but it’s a bit of a headache to clean it. I don’t enjoy the part of washing off my fruit juicer at all.
You can turn your homemade pineapple juice into wonderful combinations: classic pina colada, pineapple lemonade, margarita, pineapple mojito, pineapple tequila sunrise, screwdriver, pineapple sangria, punch, etc.
What’s the difference between pineapple juice and nectar?
The juice contains 100% fresh fruit juice.
Nectar is a drink that contains a lesser percentage of fruit juice and it has additional ingredients, like preservatives and sugar.
If you want alternatives for all sorts of recipes, you have plenty of options to choose from as the best substitute for pineapple juice.