Have you discovered a delicious berry smoothie bowl recipe that calls for acai berries? They're a fairly easy ingredient to replace and there are plenty of other fruit with equally impressive nutritional benefits. Keep reading to get our recommended acai substitutes that are just as good as the original.
How do I replace acai berries?
Whether you’re looking to replace fresh acai berries or the powder in a recipe, your best alternatives are blueberries, acerolas, cranberries, goji berries, or pomegranates. They all offer a burst of flavor and vibrant color to smoothies, desserts, and breakfast bowls while providing some impressive health benefits.
Blueberries are a super-healthy acai replacement with a sweet, fruity flavor that can have varying levels of tartness depending on the variety. They’re perfect sprinkled into muffins, blended drinks, or granola.
Although blueberries contain lower levels of antioxidant polyphenols than acai berries, they’re an excellent source of fiber and vitamin A, C, and K. Source.
The best part about blueberries is they’re easy to find in store and for most of the year are a cheaper option.
The acerola cherry, also known as Barbados cherry or wild crepe myrtle, is grown in South America, Central America, Texas, and in other regions that have a warm climate. The fruit is a bright red color and looks the size of a large cherry with a taste like a slightly sour apple.
Use the fruit in any application that calls for acai berries if you want a fruit that's rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Choose acerola powder if you can’t find them fresh. Although it won’t add the same vibrate red to your food, you’ll still enjoy a similar flavor with the added nutrition.
If you enjoy a strong hit of acidity in your food then cranberries are an excellent substitute for acai. This fruit is dark red and grows to about a ½” in diameter. Each berry is rich in Vitamin A, C, E, and K and is high in fiber. Check the label if you buy the dried version - they often contain higher levels of sugar.
Almost all of the world’s cranberry production takes place in the U.S., Canada, or Chile so finding them fresh is a good possibility. Otherwise, they can easily be found in grocery stores, sold frozen or dried, in bags.
Pomegranates are another option on our list for those that enjoy a sour fruit to balance out a sweet dish. A typical acai bowl may be loaded with sweet ingredients, so a handful of pomegranate arils will provide some relief.
This fruit is easy to find most of the year, but it can get very expensive when out of season. Alternatives to the fresh variety are powders and dried pomegranate. Although expensive, they offer a more convenient way to make food and drinks that are high in phosphorus, magnesium, fiber, and vitamins C, B5, and K.
5. Goji Berries
Goji berries are easy to find in dried packs and can also be purchased as a powder. They are a useful ingredient for adding a sour, cherry-like flavor to baked goods, savory dishes, and smoothies. This fruit is considered highly nutritious, offering high levels of vitamin A, C, B2, selenium, iron, and copper.
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Fast facts about acai berries
- Acai berries are a type of fruit that grow on the acai palm, a tree that is a Brazilian native.
- They look a lot like a blueberry and have gained popularity thanks to their high levels of antioxidants and various other health benefits.
- They're a mix of sweet, tart, and earthy tastes in one bite. Some describe it as a cross between unsweetened chocolate and blackberries.
- The fresh berries don't travel well so finding them at your local grocery store in the United States or other parts of the world outside of Brazil isn't likely.
- They are mostly sold as a powder, juice, or frozen puree.
When food bloggers shone the light on acai berries for their health benefits, they gained massive popularity overnight. However, they’re expensive and can be difficult to find. If you need to replace them in your next culinary creation use blueberries, acerola, cranberries, goji berries, or pomegranates. They're all excellent for adding color and flavor to food and drinks and they also deliver some impressive health benefits. We recommend researching the prices for these substitutes to find an option that's cheapest where you live.
What recipe are you looking to make that calls for acai berries? Please let us know in the comments below.