5 Amazing Juniper Berry Substitutes

by Raksha Hegde last updated -

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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

The best juniper berry substitutes for cooking are gin, rosemary, caraway seeds, and bay leaf among others. It’s best to choose the substitute depending on the kind of dish you are cooking.

Gin

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.

A couple of juniper berries spread on a table

Juniper berries pair well with caraway, garlic, and marjoram. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Rosemary

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.

A bunch of rosemary herb in a wooden board

Freshly chopped rosemary can work wonders on a chicken roast. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Caraway Seeds

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.

Bay Leaf

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

Black cardamom also offers a woody aroma and flavor and can be used as a juniper berry substitute to flavor meat, duck, or venison.

Other Substitutes

You can also use additional onion, garlic, or other herbs and spices to make up for the lack of juniper berries.

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About the Author

Raksha Hegde is the content director at Organic Facts and helps oversee a team of brilliant, dynamic content writers. She completed her MS in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, US. A former business news journalist and editor, Raksha followed her passion for wellness to become a certified Yoga teacher and a wellness festival curator. She believes that learning is a life-long process; she did a certificate e-course on “Introduction to Food and Health” in 2019 from Stanford University, US. 

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