The blood orange belongs to the citrus family, with the most beautiful color and sweetest taste among other oranges. That’s why I love using blood oranges for many of my cocktail drinks, as they give such a signature look and flavor.
This tasty red look fruit is also a high source of vitamin C, A, potassium, manganese, and antioxidants which lower risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Blood oranges are a seasonal orange type with less popularity compared with other orange types. So, what can you do without blood oranges? Find out the blood orange substitute you need in my post below!
What Is A Blood Orange?
So, What does a blood orange look like? Well, when you slice it, red flesh reveals the inside of a blood orange with a soft texture. The flavor of this red orange fruit can be varied among different types of blood oranges. So, are blood oranges sweet?
The overall taste can be described as deep sweet, slightly tangy, and a hint of bitterness. There are three blood orange varieties on the market: Tarocco, Sanguinello, and Moro.
The varieties of blood oranges are tasty for many types of dessert dishes. You can use it raw to get the fresh juice in a Sicilian winter salad. The blood orange zest tastes spectacular in marmalade, baking, sparkling water, boozy blood orange margarita, sorbet, and gelato.
8 Best Fruits To Use As a Blood Orange Substitute
Blood orange fruit is such an exotic type of orange with a nice flavor. But it is not very popular in many grocery stores.
So, what can you do when a recipe asks for blood oranges? Let’s find out the best blood orange substitute in my list below!
1. Regular Orange With Red Coloring
What is a popular and affordable ingredient to substitute blood oranges? Regular oranges!
Fresh blood orange juice is known for its beautiful deep red color juice, but when comparing blood orange vs orange, the taste is not different from each other. If you’re looking for a substitute for your smoothie mix or a hint of orange for desserts, then you can always count on normal oranges to do the job well.
The taste of orange is sweet and tart with juicy pulps inside. You can peel the cover and eat it raw for the juice. The bitter and thick rind can be used for cooking, like scraping for orange zest.
As for the signature red color of blood orange, you can always use food red coloring to mask for a convincing look.
2. Blood Orange Syrup
If you’re looking for a blood orange substitute for your beverage, you can use blood orange syrup for a stunning look.
Blood orange syrup is the orange extract mixed with additional sugar. The result will be a concentrated ruby red liquid with intense sweetness and tanginess of blood orange.
You can pour a few ounces of fresh blood orange syrup with lemon juice in any exotic cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks to deepen the citrus flavor with an eye-catching effect.
3. Navel Orange
Another fantastic blood orange substitute for its refreshing juice is Navel orange, a mutation type first produced in Brazil, 1820. It is a winter variety and classified as Citrus sinensis. Although Navel orange doesn’t have a red color like blood orange, its flavor is quite similar. It means you can use it for many baked goods.
Navel oranges have an oval shape and bright orange skin with a thick rind inside. A circular hole at the stem end is the signature of the look of this orange.
When revealing the inside, you will find a white pith with a spongy texture that you can easily peel it off. The yellow pulps are seedless and juicy with an aromatic scent. The flavor profile of Navel is sweet, tangy, and slightly tart, which reminds you of the taste of a slice of blood orange.
When using Navel to substitute for blood orange, you can use it for salads or garnishing on meat with green onions and yogurt. It is recommended to use Navel immediately after slicing it as a chemical limonin inside Navel will develop a bitter taste once the flesh is exposed to the air for more than 30 minutes.
Tangelo is another great blood orange substitute because of its tart flavor. This amazing fruit is an orange hybrid of grapefruit and tangerine, which is quite similar to blood oranges. Thus, there is no doubt that Tangelo can be used as a blood orange substitute for many types of dishes.
Tangelo has an irregular shape with yellow-orange skin. The fruit is seedless with thick skin that you can peel easily. The flesh of Tangelo has an unforgettable sweet taste with a tangy note. This flavor dynamite can be used for juice, syrups, zest on savory and dessert recipes using blood oranges.
If you’re not a fan of the bitter taste of blood orange flavor, you can try tangerine in your dishes. Tangerine is like a sweeter, riper version of orange with less tangy content. Tangerine has extra juicy and tender pulps that will explode with one press in your mouth.
The flavor of tangerine is syrupy sweet and slightly tangy, so you can use it to add a sharp sweetness to many jams, sauces, beverages, and desserts. However, tangerine may have some seeds inside, which you need to discard as they are super hard and bitter, unlike some seedless oranges.
Mandarin oranges are an amazing common orange variety with a sweeter flavor. They are most popular in China, which earns their name “Mandarin.”
They are exported to England, Italy, and the Moroccan port of Tangier, where people call them “tangerine.” The mandarin orange nutrition fact has a high content of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.
This loose-skinned, small-sized orange has thin skin with a strong sweet flavor. There are also pungent and vanilla notes with refreshing, nutty, floral, and woody aromas. Because of their extra sweetness, you can use them to substitute blood orange peel in many cakes, tarts, and puddings.
7. Pomegranate Juice
If you want a red color result, pomegranate juice is the perfect blood orange juice substitute for you. Pomegranate has a thick yellow and pink skin wrapping around 600 red edible seeds.
These seeds can be used raw or blended for juice. When it is ground, the juice will have a red color that you can find in blood orange juice. The taste of pomegranate juice is also sweet and tart like citrus fruit, making it easier to substitute blood orange in smoothie mix and beverage.
8. Cranberries Juice
Lastly, cranberries are a common fruit on our Christmas holiday. This fruit is deep red with a small size and round shape. If you use cranberries raw, the flavor can be quite sour.
However, cranberry juice has added sugar to make a tart and sweet combination. Many people find it similar to the taste of cherry and pomegranate. Cranberry juice is also known to be a substitute ingredient in many alcoholic drinks like blood orange cocktail and mocktail recipes. You can use it to make dense sauces with thyme and rosemary on veggies.
How To Use Blood Orange Substitute
Blood oranges have an amazing ruby red look with delicious flavor for winter recipes. They are also a popular seasoning ingredient in Mediterranean diets. If you want to use blood orange for salads, you can definitely use Navel, Tangelo, and tangerine for a super sweet flavor with the fresh taste of your olive oil and veggies.
When cooking with blood orange, you can take blood orange syrup, regular orange, or Mandarin to mix in your sauces or garnish on your roasted chicken.
That’s not the only thing you can do with a blood-orange substitute! You can take some zest of Tangelo or blood orange syrup for your cake batter or cookie dough for a beautiful color and flavorful result for desserts.
If you want to make a refreshing blood orange margaritas, you can use pomegranate, cranberry, or blood orange syrup to add in your cocktails, seltzer, ice tea, and a punch for a sweet and tart hit.