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Substitute for Barberries

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Barberries are long red berries found on the bushes of the barberry plant, which feature yellow blooms on their branches. They are a large genus of deciduous and evergreen shrubs that range in length from one to five meters and are distributed worldwide (except in Australia). Before it was given the English name, it was known as berberis. There are roughly 500 plants in the family, and they all have the same taste characteristic. The most frequent barberry plants are as follows:

European barberries (Berberis vulgaris) are the most common and may be found in Middle Eastern cuisine.

  • Japanese barberries (Berberis thunbergii) are mostly grown for their decorative value.
  • The American barberry (Berberis canadensis) is native to North America.
  • The Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), sometimes known as the holly grape, is native to the Pacific Northwest.

European barberries are the most well-known. It is widespread in Europe, North Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East, and has just been imported to North America. Many barberry species have spines along the leaf edges and on the stalk.


Substitute for Barberries

Barberries have a tangy taste and are high in vitamin C. The taste details might also differ depending on the locale. European barberries are quite sour and must be flavored, but North American barberries are milder. Dried or cooked barberries have a softer sourness that compliments anything from meat recipes to cereal. Barberries are the most popular and widely utilized in Iranian cuisine; they are known as zereshk in Persian. Because of their sour taste, they are sometimes boiled with sugar and put to Persian rice. They’re also used to flavor fowl in various Persian dishes like zereshk polo (rice pilaf). In Russia and Eastern Europe, barberry extract is extensively used to flavor soft beverages, candies, and sweets, and it is also used in jams. As previously stated, barberries are used in a variety of recipes, including;

  • Zereshk polo morgh
  • Ground beef gheymeh
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Tahchin
  • Ghormeh sabzi beg wot
  • Persian lamb and almond stew
  • Azerbaijani minced meat
  • Tabrizi advice polo
  • Spinach and garlic yogurt rolls
  • Persian frittata with herbs
  • Saffron rice
  • Aubergine sauce
  • Plov
  • North African couscous

Substitute for Barberries

Dried Cranberries

This is a suitable and one of the finest alternatives for barberries, which are widely available in North America. Cranberries are little pink berries that grow in marshes in temperate and chilly climates. You may use fresh or dried cranberries for barberries in any recipe or dish. Except when dried, cranberries and barberries are almost equivalent. They have a strong tart taste and a high nutritional value. The acidity of barberries is appreciated in savory meals, thus cranberries are a suitable alternative. Cranberries, like barberries, are often used to produce compote, jams, and jellies and are similarly healthy. Dried cranberries are high in vitamin C and B vitamins. You should be aware that commercial dried cranberries are sweetened, so choose for unsweetened varieties or dry them yourself. In your recipes, use dried cranberries in the same amount as barberries.

Dried Sour Cherries

This is another excellent substitution for barberries in your recipes; as the name implies, they have a distinctive deep red color and are quite acidic. You may use dried sour cherries in place of barberries in recipes since their strong acidity makes them a near-perfect alternative. They are delicious in both sweet and savory meals, and may also be used to produce jams and compote, as well as eaten with game and fowl. There are also at least 300 distinct kinds of soured cherries. Choose Montmorency to spare yourself the bother. Sour cherries may also aid with digestion, among other things.

Rose Hips

They are a wonderful replacement for barberries because of their tartness and high nutritional value. They are high in vitamin C and are widely used to produce jams and syrups. Rose hips are named for the fact that they appear at the base of a rose plant’s flower and resemble berries but are not berries. They are more often seen in sweets and sweet applications than in meat combinations. This substitution is solely suitable for substituting barberries in sweet recipes.


This alternative may surprise you, because it has a powerful acidity with a noticeable citrus aroma. It’s also used as a fruit in many savory recipes, as well as a souring ingredient. It is likewise from the Middle East and may be used in greater quantities than barberries in your meal.

Raisin or Currant soaked in Lemon Juice.

These alternatives may do a good job of substituting barberries in your recipes, bringing both the acidity and the fruity taste of barberries. This alternative is also perhaps the simplest to get when looking for a barberry substitute.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are barberries the same as goji berries?

Barberries have some resemblance to goji berries and may even be mistaken for them owing to their similar look. However, barberries are higher in antioxidant capabilities, and are claimed to be nine times more antioxidant than goji berries.

Are cranberries and barberries the same?

Barberries are not the same as cranberries since they lack seeds, but cranberries contain seeds and are larger when dried.

Are sumac and barberries the same?

Sumac is not the same as barberries, although sumachas are extremely little berries that resemble barberries. Sumac berries are rounder in form, while barberries are oval in shape.


Barberries are unusual, nutrient-dense, and flavorful. This ingredient is no stranger to enhancing tastes, imparting kicks, and creating unique awakening auras in recipes. It may also let you down in a pinch if you can’t get your hands on one and don’t have anything else to fall back on. Other good possibilities for barberry substitutes are listed above. Try them out and let nothing stand in the way of your delicious cuisine.


What can I use in a recipe instead of barberries?

The 5 Best Barberry Substitutes
1 – Dried Cranberries.
Sour Cherries are number two on the list.
Currants are number three.
Apricots are number four.
Goji Berries are number five on the list.

What’s the difference between cranberries and barberries?

The taste of barberries is comparable to that of unsweetened dried cranberries, but their smaller size (similar to currants) allows them to scatter more freely in recipes.

Are barberries similar to currants?

Barberries are a little fruit that is popular in Persian cuisine when preserved. As you can see, they look like currants or dried cranberries. Barberries have a peculiar flavor that begins sweet and finishes sour.

Are barberries the same as sumac?

“They have tiny, little berries that look a lot like barberries, but they’re a little rounder.” “Barberries are more oval in shape,” Fares Kargar, chef-owner of Atlanta’s Delbar, told TODAY Food.

What ingredient is in barberry?

The Berberis vulgaris shrub produces sour, crimson berries. They contain berberine, a unique chemical that serves as an antioxidant. It may aid with blood sugar management, diarrhea treatment, and irritation caused by tooth infections and acne.

Does Trader Joe’s have barberries?

Because of their delicious taste, barberries are utilized in Middle Eastern and European cuisines. What exactly is this? They are available year-round at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market, as well as in specialized markets during the winter months when seasonal produce is available.

What are barberries in English?

noun, plural bar·ber·ries. a Berberis shrub, particularly B. vulgaris, with yellow blooms in elongated clusters.

What is barberries common name?

Berberis vulgaris, sometimes known as common barberry, European barberry, or simply barberry, is an Old World shrub in the genus Berberis. It yields edible but strongly acidic berries, which are eaten as a tart and refreshing fruit in many countries.

What are dried barberries?

Dried barberries, also known as zereshk, zirishk, or pipperages, are little dried round fruits similar to dried cranberries that are used in cooking. The barberry fruit grows on the berberis tree, which thrives in the same places as saffron, another popular culinary match.

Are barberries sweet or sour?

Barberries have a tart sour taste with a sweet undertone, comparable to cranberries. The flavor also varies according on the cultivar; the American variety is sweeter than the European kind.

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