You may be surprised at the juniper berry substitutes you may have on hand. Many classic recipes like sauerkraut, venison and meat dishes call for the use of juniper berry, but this spice is usually found only in specialty or well-stocked supermarkets in the US. So, if you can’t find it, you can either head to your own spice rack or your bar cabinet!
Top Juniper Berry Substitutes
Juniper berry is not really a berry, but a cone of the juniper plant that is used to make gin. So, you can use gin in dishes to get the similar pine-like, slightly citrus flavor of juniper berries. Stay away from flavored gins; you can use 1 teaspoon of any local and inexpensive brand of gin in place of 2 juniper berries. If the recipe uses crushed juniper berries, 8 berries equal to 1 teaspoon of the crushed spice.
Rosemary is the closest herbal flavor to juniper berries and is best used as a substitute in meat and venison dishes. One fresh sprig of rosemary may be used as a substitute for every 4 berries.
If you are trying to substitute juniper berries in a sauerkraut recipe, caraway seeds are your best bet. They also work well when you are cooking a meat dish with other spices as caraway seeds blend well with others. 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds can be used in place of 2 juniper berries.
A crushed bay leaf, instead of 4 juniper berries, works in braised dishes as it gives a similar spicy aroma and flavor. You can also use a mix of caraway seeds and bay leaf as a substitute for the berries.
Black cardamom also offers a woody aroma and flavor and can be used as a juniper berry substitute to flavor meat, duck, or venison.