Are you in the middle of a recipe that calls for juniper berries, but don’t have any on hand?
Don’t worry—you’re not out of luck!
You can easily find tasty alternatives to add that same piney flavor sans actual juniper berries.
But where does one even begin looking for replacements?
To help get things going in the right direction, I’m here to tell you all about 7 of the best substitutes for juniper berries.
With these flavorful ingredients up your sleeve, there’s no telling what kind of delicious dishes you will create next!
What are Juniper Berries?
Juniper berries are the small, blue-black fruit of the juniper tree.
The berries have an intense, piney flavor that is used to flavor gin and other liquors, as well as meat and game dishes.
Juniper berries are also used as a natural remedy for various ailments such as indigestion and arthritis.
The juniper berry is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean region.
Juniper trees have been growing in this region for centuries, and the berries have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
The berries were first brought to America by early settlers who used them in traditional recipes from their homeland.
Juniper berries have a strong, pungent flavor that is somewhat bitter and resinous.
They are often used sparingly in recipes because of their potent flavor.
When cooked, juniper berries soften and become slightly sweeter.
They pair well with fatty meats such as pork, duck, and goose.
Juniper berries are also used to flavor sauces, soups, and stews.
Juniper berries can be found fresh, dried, or ground.
Fresh berries are very hard to come by outside of areas where juniper trees grow naturally.
Dried berries can be found in most supermarkets near the spice aisle.
Ground juniper berries are also available, but they lose their flavor quickly once they are ground, so it is best to buy them whole and grind them as needed.
7 Best Substitutes for Juniper Berries
1. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are aromatic leaves commonly used in cooking.
They can be used fresh or dried and are available whole or ground.
Bay leaves are a common ingredient in soups, stews, and braises.
Juniper berries have a strong, pungent flavor that is often described as resinous or piney.
They are used to flavor gin and other spirits, as well as savory dishes like wild game and pickled meats.
Juniper berries can be used fresh, frozen, or dried.
If you’re out of juniper berries, you can substitute bay leaves for a similar flavor.
Bay leaves have a milder flavor than juniper berries, so use them sparingly.
You can also grind the bay leaves into a powder to use as a dry rub for meats or add them whole to soups and stews.
Allspice is a great substitute for juniper berries.
It has a similar taste and can be used in the same way.
Allspice is made from the dried berries of the allspice tree.
The allspice tree is native to Jamaica, and the berries have a strong, pungent flavor.
Allspice can be used in savory dishes or sweet dishes.
It is often used in baking and gives a nice flavor to cakes and cookies.
Allspice can also be used in pickling recipes or added to marinades.
If you are looking for a juniper berry substitute, allspice is a good option.
Cloves are a spice that is often used in baking and cooking.
It has a strong, pungent flavor that is somewhat sweet and spicy.
Cloves can be used to substitute juniper berries in recipes.
When substituting cloves for juniper berries, use 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves for every 1 teaspoon of juniper berries.
Nutmeg is a spice with a warm, slightly sweet flavor.
It’s often used in baking and savory dishes.
Nutmeg can be a good substitute for juniper berries if you’re looking for something with a similar flavor.
Juniper berries have a strong, piney flavor that can be overwhelming if used in too large of an amount.
Nutmeg has a more subtle flavor that can still provide the warm, sweet notes you’re looking for without being overpowering.
When substituting nutmeg for juniper berries, start with a small amount and add more to taste.
You may also want to add other spices like cloves or ginger to round out the flavors in your dish.
Mace is a spice made from the dried outer covering of the nutmeg fruit.
Mace has a warm, spicy flavor with hints of citrus.
It is often used as a flavoring for baked goods, as well as in savory dishes.
Mace can be substituted for juniper berries in recipes.
When substituting mace for juniper berries, use 1/4 teaspoon of mace for every 1 teaspoon of juniper berries.
6. Hickory Spice
Hickory spice is a great substitute for juniper berries.
It has a similar taste that is perfect for savory dishes.
Hickory spice can be used in place of juniper berries in any recipe calling for them.
Hickory spice has a strong, woody flavor that is perfect for savory dishes.
It is best used in small amounts so as not to overpower the other flavors in the dish.
When substituting hickory spice for juniper berries, use half as much hickory spice as you would juniper berries.
So if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of juniper berries, use 1/2 teaspoon of hickory spice instead.
Hickory spice can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.
7. Black Pepper
Black pepper is a common ingredient in many dishes, but it can also be used as a substitute for juniper berries.
The taste of black pepper is sharp and spicy, making it a good alternative for those who are looking for a similar flavor profile.
When substituting black pepper for juniper berries, use half the amount of black pepper as you would juniper berries.
This will ensure that the dish is not too spicy.
Juniper berries can be replaced by other spices that have similar flavors.
These include bay leaves, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, mace, hickory spice, and black pepper.
When substituting, use about half as much of the spice as you would juniper berries.
This will help to ensure that the flavor of your dish is not overpowering.
7 BEST Substitutes for Juniper Berries
- 1. Bay Leaves
- 2. Allspice
- 3. Cloves
- 4. Nutmeg
- 5. Mace
- 6. Hickory Spice
- 7. Black Pepper
- Select your favorite ingredient from the list above to use as a substitute.
- Follow the instructions and use the exact ratio of ingredients as directed.
- This will help to ensure that your dish turns out just as delicious as it would have with the original ingredient.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!