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11 Medjool Dates Substitutes in Baking, Smoothies, Recipes

We all know that Medjool dates are amazingly sweet and rich in flavor. But if you don’t have them on hand or want to switch it up a little, here are some delicious alternatives for when you’re feeling like something different.

The most popular Medjool dates substitutes are prunes, date syrup, dry dates, dry cranberries, and dried figs. We’ve listed the top 11 options for you!

What Can You Substitute for Medjool Dates?

1. Prunes


Prunes are a popular fruit among Asians; they are dried plums. So unlike Medjool dates that are fruits of their own, plums are derivatives.

Prunes have a chewy texture and a sweet taste. Although dates are sweeter, prunes are an excellent choice if you aim for a sweet and sour substitute.

Nutritionally, both Medjool dates and prunes are healthy sources of vitamins and fiber, despite how sugary they are.

Feel free to elevate the taste of your desserts, curries, pastries even burgers by adding prunes to them.

2. Date Syrup

date syrup

Date syrup is a derivative of date, containing dried fruits floating around it. It is aromatic and flavorful, as you can add spices like cinnamon sticks or any citrus peel of your choice to the mixture.

You can easily create your date syrup at home by following these steps:

  • Boil your Medjool dates in water until they start splitting and the water in your pot reduces.
  • Use a clean strainer (we recommend cheesecloth) to separate the liquid.
  • Once that is done, you can boil the liquid till it becomes a syrup, or if you want a thicker consistency, you can boil till it has a molasses-like consistency. Note that this depends on your intended use for the syrup.

Homemade date syrup can last for months, as long as it’s stored in a cool, dry place, and they are always available when you need them.

Take your culinary game up a notch by infusing date syrup into your cakes, cookies, and other desserts.

Except Medjool dates, date syrup can also be a great substitute for brown rice syrup.

3. Dried Dates

dried dates

Dried dates are an easy, readily available replacement for Medjool dates. They are devoid of water or contain very little, so they can be stored for a long time without refrigerating.

Dried dates are sweet and sugary, so you can snack on them or add them to your baking recipe (don’t overtake them).

In your batter,  you can also play around with ingredients like honey (if you want your recipe sweeter), cinnamon (for more flavor), or add nuts (to give it a bit more crunch).

4. Dried Cranberries

dry cranberries

Dried cranberries combine a sweet taste with a trace of sourness. Like other substitutes, cranberries are chewy, sweet, and have a slippery texture, so they work just fine.

Apart from their sugar content, they are healthier than most alternatives because they contain iron.

Dried cranberries are easy to store and less likely to get spoilt. They can be used in salads, oatmeal, and other baked dishes, so do not hesitate to introduce them into your recipe.

5. Dried Figs

dried figs

Figs and dates look different, but nutritionally they have similar benefits. Figs are great sources of fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants, so they are suitable replacements.

Tiny pieces of Figs alongside other ingredients can be put into your pastry batter and baked. You can introduce dried figs into any recipe that calls for Medjool dates.

It’s preferable to store your figs in a glass jar or container rather than in plastic bags, as they can get spoiled from exposure to heat. So keep your dry figs away from moisture and store them in a cool place.

6. Dried Cherries

dried cherries

Dried cherries have a chunky, sweet taste with sour undertones. They can suffice if you don’t want an overly sweet dessert.

Like Medjool dates, dried cherries also have great nutritional benefits, such as boron (necessary for bone formation).

Most dried fruits contain natural sugar, which predisposes them to fast spoilage, so it’s best to eat them once they’ve been opened. You can sprinkle a bit of salt on your dried fruits before putting them away or storing them in a refrigerator.

If you want your pastry to have a chunky texture, then you might want to add pieces of dried cherry to your batter.

7. Dried Raisins

dried raisins

Raisins are fascinating fruits. They taste great whether eaten alone or in the company of other ingredients. On the plus side, they do not change color when exposed to sunlight or air on the plus side.

Unlike Medjool dates that might make your muffins appear dull and murky, raisins make them delightful and appealing.

You can add raisins and molasses to your bread recipe to give it an extra flair.

8. Raisin Paste

raisin paste

Raisin paste is gotten from soaked raisins. Although its taste might be different from fresh raisins, it tastes just as sweet.

To prepare raisin paste, simply soak your raisins in hot water for about 3 minutes and then use a food processor to grind it to paste to give it a buttery texture.

Add raisin paste to your baking recipe by substituting 1 or 2 teaspoons of it for a piece of Medjool dates.

9. Dried Apricots

dried apricots

Apricots [1] give the word “sweet” a whole new meaning. These fruits are packed with flavor and nutrients.

These luscious fruits contain a high percentage of vitamin A, calcium, iron, fiber, and antioxidants which can improve the body’s digestive system.

Apart from their use in jams, apricots can be inculcated in your chicken recipes, smoothies, oatmeal, bread, pasta, and a lot more. They are sweet and addictive!

10. Date Paste

date paste

If dates are available in your local market or grocery store, you can always turn them into date pastes. That way, you always have dates in your cabinet ready to use as a substitute for Medjool date fruits.

If you have time and a suitable food processor (preferably a juicer), you can crush dates into a buttery paste.

Ensure you store your paste correctly and free from contaminants. If refrigerated, it can last for about 2 weeks.

11. Jaggery


For coconut lovers, Jaggery [2] is an excellent substitute for Medjool date. It is made from coconut nut, so it’s not the conventional sweet fruit option we’ve mentioned earlier.

The taste and texture of Jaggery are somewhat like a mixture of honey and creamy caramel. It’s popular among Asians and Africans, but rest assured that with a substitute like Jaggery, your taste buds would be in for a real treat.

If you add Jaggery to your baking recipe as a substitute for Medjool dates,  you might want to increase the quantity to get more out of its sweetness.

FAQs About Medjool Date

What can I substitute for Medjool dates in keto diet?

Dates, especially the Medjool dates are quite high in carbs (5.3 – 17 grams per date), which is challenging to fit into a keto eating plan.

For a keto diet, you can use figs or cherries to replace Medjool dates. Both of them are far fewer carbs than dates.

Can I substitute deglet dates for Medjool?

You can use two deglet dates to replace one Medjool dates.

What can I substitute for medjool dates in baking?

It all depends. There are so many options for you to use in baking, including:

  • Dried dates
  • Dried figs
  • Dried cranberries (craisins)
  • Dried raisins
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried cherries
  • Raisin paste
  • Jaggery

How to substitute honey for Medjool dates?

Honey is sweet and healthy and can be used in most dishes, especially baking. It can also be a great Medjool dates replacement: 1 cup of Medjool date for every ¾ cup of honey.

What can i substitute for Medjool dates in a smoothie?

Syrups such as date syrup, maple syrup or agave syrup can be a great alternative. Of course, you can also use honey.

Final Words

As a primary sweetener, dates are probably the most common type of fruit you will find in a store. Many people support the idea that Medjool dates are too sweet and not necessarily the best for everyone to consume.

So, what’s the best substitute for Medjool dates? The answers vary a lot. You can choose your favorite one from the above list. In my opinion, prunes will be my first choice when Medjool dates are not on hand.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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