Top 9 Apple Jelly Substitutes

What’s the Best Alternative When the Jar’s Empty?

Apple jelly isn’t just good in your favorite snacks – slathered with peanut butter on sliced bread or as doughnut filling.

Many people gush over this very simple, common ingredient because of its moderate sweetness with hints of citrusy flavor that complements almost all kinds of food.

Don’t’ be surprised to see this in savory dishes – as a basting sauce for baked chicken, as a marinade for pork barbecue, or even in gravy!

There are many brands of jellied apples in the market today but many, including myself, are wondering why it’s so hard to find these in grocery aisles these days.

So if you’re desperate for a few tablespoons of this rich ingredient but can’t find any in your fridge or cupboard, here are other foods which can serve as the best apple jelly substitutes.

Pear Jelly

This is on top of the list for one very important reason: apples and pears are like cousins having come from the same family, Rosaceae.

Flavor Profile:

Because both are sweet with a slight tartness, you can expect almost the same flavor.

Color and Consistency:

Pears also have a very high pectin content which makes the jelly incredibly thick – almost like gelatin – when spread on bread.

This serves as the perfect substitute as it wouldn’t change the flavor or consistency of your dish.

Pro-Tip:

Jellied pears are not that popular, it’s hard to find commercial brands carrying this variant.

But many home cooks make this when the fruit is in the season so go ahead and stock up on this.

Peaches – Jelly, Jam, Canned or Fresh

Peaches are also under the Rose family, but as aforementioned, the pear is its closest scientific relative.

However, some foodies swear that peach is a better substitute when your jar of jellied apples is empty.

Flavor Profile:

Delicately sweet, aromatic, and with just the right – almost unnoticeable – acidity, peaches will work as well as apples in savory dishes and desserts.

Color and Consistency:

Jellied peach has a slightly golden tinge to it compared to the more neutral color of our featured fruit.

This has lesser pectin as it has high water content, so it would be smart to double the amount of peach jelly in the recipe if you don’t mind its richer color.

Pro-Tip:

Fresh, canned, and jammed peaches will work too!

Try watering down the jam version and then blitzing it for a smoother texture.

You can also use fresh or canned peaches. Just puree this then simmer until thickened.

Apricot Jam

Considered as a ‘stone fruit’, apricots are the closest thing to a peach.

Therefore, apricot jam is also a good alternative to apple jelly.

Flavor Profile:

Compared to peaches, apricots have a deeper and tarter flavor.

This is why many think that apricots best complement soft, unsalted cheeses like cream cheese and ricotta.

Color and Consistency:

Aside from the increased acidity, apricots have an even richer, golden color than peaches; so be careful when adding this to certain dishes.

Add a bit of sugar or honey to lessen the tartness.

Try not to water it down because, with the low pectin in apricots, this might make your dish runny.

Guava Jelly

Dubbed the ‘poor man’s apple’, this tropical fruit is one of the healthiest foods that nature has bestowed upon us.

And if you ignore the creamy texture of the fresh guava’s flesh, it is kind of similar to our featured fruit.

Flavor Profile:

Chock-full of flavor, this has a sharp tang when unripe but gets super sweet, aromatic but still with hints of tang when matured.

Take care when adding this to desserts as a substitute because it does have a distinct flavor.

Color and Consistency:

There are numerous kinds of guava, ranging from those with cream-colored flesh to those with striking pink ones.

But even if you get the rosiest guava jelly in the aisle, it won’t greatly alter the color of your dish.

Guava has a generous amount of pectin so it will give you a thick jelly, just as apples would.

Orange Marmalade

According to many, oranges have the highest amount of pectin in all fruits that’s why this makes a perfect jelly, jam, or marmalade.

High in Vitamin C, this can also keep the doctor away.

But can it be a good replacement for our missing ingredient?

Flavor Profile:

Unlike plain jams or jellies, marmalades contain the zest of oranges so expect it to have a bit of sourness and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

If you don’t like that in your dish, try straining the peels out then re-simmer it with a bit more sugar.

Color and Consistency:

If the peels and the piths are a problem for you, you can remove them.

You can also put this in the food processor or blender for a quick blitz.

As for the color, it has that striking orange hue which won’t be easy to get rid of.

But don’t worry, this won’t wreck your meal.

Raspberry Jam

One of the sweetest and cheapest berries, this fruit is a breakfast staple with bread and butter, especially during summer.

And yes, some say it can replace our featured fruit quite well in various sweet and savory recipes.

Flavor Profile:

Raspberries are sweet, but it’s not the juicy sweetness that you’ll get from other ripe strawberries. Because of its tart undertones, this has a distinct flavor all on its own.

And that sweet tanginess is highlighted even in jam form.

Color and Consistency:

Slightly acidic fruits usually have a good amount of pectin so expect raspberry jams to be slightly thick.

The bright red color of the jam would be hard to lighten though it’s better to use this as a replacement for dark-colored sauces or marinades instead.

Cranberry Jam

Many will agree that fresh cranberry – extremely sour to the point of bitterness – is one of the most unpalatable fruits.

Once sweetened, this is refreshing as a drink and quite tasty as a jam.

Some have even tried it as a sub and swore that it worked.

Flavor Profile:

Compared to cranberry sauces which can be salty and slightly sour, the jam version is quite sweet, albeit with a bit of tang, in hopes of covering up the bitter aftertaste.

If you’re only after that fruity, sugary flavor, go ahead and swap this with apple jelly.

Color and Consistency:

Just like oranges and lemons, the sour cranberry has loads of pectin so it can really be thick.

If you don’t like the berry pieces, puree it a bit more and then sieve.

Cranberry jams are extremely red so these can lend that color to the dishes you’re making.

Canned Fruit Cocktails

Fruit cocktails contain a variety of chopped-up fruits like pears, peaches, pineapples, grapes, and cherries swimming in ultra-sweetened syrup.

It may seem farfetched but you can still cook that meat dish slathered with jellied apples even if this is the only thing in your cupboard.

Flavor Profile:

To be honest, you can’t relish the individual flavors of the fruits anymore.

It’s more of a mix of these fruits and the high fructose corn syrup that you’ll taste.

While the flavor is hard to determine, it’s going to be sweet, fruity, and good enough to mix in dressings and sauces.

Color and Consistency:

After pureeing this and then letting it simmer in its juice for a few minutes, you’ll have something which resembles a peach jam.

Slightly golden and thick but not gelatinous, it won’t affect the color or the consistency of the dish you’re preparing.

Apple’s Butter, Sauce, Juice, Pie!

If you ran out of our featured ingredients but have any of these food products with apples, your recipe can definitely be saved!

The butter (which is just jam) and applesauce (yes, the type you feed to your baby) are already mushed so you can just dump it in your sauce like you would the jelly.

These are packed with flavor so you have to take it easy when adding this to the recipe.

It may seem laughable but you can use the sliced fruits inside the baked pastry for those recipes that call for jellied apples.

Take the filling out and heat it over the pan with a bit of water.

After it has thickened, blitz it into a puree and add to your recipe.

Most pies have cinnamon and nutmeg in them so this will only work if your dish also requires those spices.

You will need to put in a bit of work if you’ve only got the juice.

Boil 4-5 cups of the juice (that’s the whole carton) with sugar and pectin for a few minutes.

After you place the mixture in a jar and let it cool, you got yourself a jelly!

Can’t Live Without It? Why Not Make Your Own?

Apples are one of those ubiquitous, all-season fruits so groceries and markets will always have this on their shelves.

A pound of apples will already give you a jar or two of jelly which you can store in your fridge for a year.

Give this a try and you won’t have to worry about ruining a good recipe ever again!

Further reading:

Calories in Great Value Apple Jelly

Last Updated on July 22, 2021 by Andy Wang

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.