The 12 Best Asian Pear Substitutes for Your Recipes
When we refer to “Asian pears”, we are actually including thousands of different varieties from all over Asia. Despite these slight differences in the varieties, they do have some unique qualities that set them apart from the pears we might buy at our local grocery store.
For starters, they have a high water content, which has a couple of advantages. First, it makes them very refreshing and perfect for mixing into smoothies, topping desserts, or just eating fresh.
Its high water content makes it are commonly used in things like fruit saladbut they also make a great marinade.
Due to their origin, they can be a bit harder to come by than regular local pears. For this reason, we have gathered a list of the best Asian pear substitutes that you can use in your recipes.
|The best substitute for the Asian pear is the bosc pear. Alternatively, you can also substitute Forelle pears, Fuji apples, or kiwi for the Asian pear. Lastly, in case you need a substitute for fruit bowls, you can substitute Taylor’s Gold pears, Pink Lady apples, and pineapple for the Asian pear.
The best Asian pear substitutes
Asian pears are usually quite sweet and can be a bit firmer than regular pears. They’re also a popular choice because they keep in the fridge for up to a month, making them great cooking aids to grab on the go.
Due to their sweetness, they are also commonly used in meats such as beef to help soften and impart that sweetness in a special way that regular pears cannot.
Here’s our recommendation for swapping out Asian pears in recipes, so whatever you do, you’re never totally stuck without any on hand.
1. Bosc pears
When we think of the unique properties that make Asian pears so good, what we really look for is their firmer texture and sweet flavor.
This makes the European-grown Bosc pear one of the best alternatives to the Asian pear, as it shares many similarities with it.
It has a similar firm texture and sweetness, making it appropriate for most contexts in which Asian pears are used.
But apart from that, it also has a slightly floral note to its smell and taste that can also add a bit of uniqueness to what you are making.
Bosc pears are often eaten with cheese, and are also very good for baking, roasting, and poaching.
Also, being of European origin, they are quite accessible and also quite cheap.
2. Anjou pears
Also known as D’Anjour pear, like the Bosc pear, they are grown in Europe and are easily distinguished by their “short” neck, which makes them look a bit stubby compared to regular Asian pears.
They don’t change color when ripe, so a good trick to make sure you have a good pear is to lightly press the top with your thumb; if you notice that it gives in a bit, it’s ready to cook!
In terms of their use, they are a great alternative to Asian Pear in anything, such as salads, or in any grilling/barbecuing scenario.
Due to their lower water content compared to Asian pears, they are also very good for baking. Which makes them even more versatile.
Although they are of European origin, 34% of the world’s supply is grown in America, which makes them one of the most accessible alternatives on this list.
3. Forelle pears
Forelle pears are worth mentioning as a substitute because they are just as sweet as Asian pears, making them suitable for many of the same dishes.
They are quite small and easily distinguished by their flared shape, which makes them nice and biteable when cutting into salads.
In what they differ from the Asian pear is in the texture, since these are a little harder and with less liquid content. This makes them less ideal for marinades, as they tend not to give meat as much flavor.
But for anything else, they’re great!
4. Bartlett pears
Like many of the suggestions on this list, Bartlett pears share a number of similarities with Asian pears, though they do have some quirks of their own that make them an interesting substitution option.
Bartlett pears, in particular, are grown in the US and Canada, making them very affordable options.
They have a strong pear flavor with a little less emphasis on sweetness, but what they lack in sweetness they make up for in their smooth, buttery texture.
It is this texture that makes them popular choices for preserves, as they are so delicious when eaten raw.
They’re perfect for topping any kind of dessert, baking, or serving fresh in something like a salad.
5. Fuji apple
Originally developed by growers in Japan in the 1930s, over the decades, and particularly since the 2000s, Fuji apples have become incredibly popular in Western countries, particularly the United States.
Right now Fuji apples are the fourth most popular apple in the country.
The great thing about Fuji apples is that they share many similarities with Asian pears, making them ideal substitutes in many culinary settings. They are sweet and have a slightly crunchy texture.
They have a very high sugar content (9-11%), making them perfect for adding a little sweetness to a salad, or perhaps topping a cake for dessert.
They also have a very long shelf life, so they are ideal to stock up and have on hand for when you need them.
6. Taylor’s Gold Pears
Although not as popular (or accessible) as the Fuji apple, if you can find them, Taylor’s Gold pears offer a very unique, almost honeyed flavor, with a truly creamy and delicious texture.
This makes them really great additions to fresh salads and fruit bowls, and you can even use them to make jams/sauces in a way that is much more difficult with Asian Pear.
Try checking at your local grocery store and if you see any there, grab it!
7. Pink Lady Apples
Also sometimes called “Cripps Pink”, they are named for their strong red/pink outer skin. They were originally discovered in Western Australia after crossing Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples.
They have since moved to the US and are now natively produced there.
Regarding the texture, they have an excellent firmness, very similar to that of the Asian Pear.
But where they differ is in the taste, since they are much less sweet and have a clear (although pleasant) acidity.
This may make them less suitable for topping cakes, but they can be a wonderful accompaniment in a fruit bowl.
Although it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when looking for an alternative to pear, kiwis do have a certain edge that many of the pear and apple suggestions here don’t, and that lies in citric acidity.
I’m sure there are many good alternatives to salad dressings and fruit bowls. But what about the marinades for which we so commonly use Asian pears?
This is where the kiwi comes in, it will help impart that rich fruity flavor to your dish and will also help tenderize any type of meat in the same way that Asian pears do.
Like kiwi, it’s probably not your first port of call when it comes to getting something sweet and buttery (although they still go great on top of cakes or in fruit bowls).
But what pineapple does exceptionally well is combine it with meat and fish to add that delicious fresh spiciness.
They are also mixed to make fantastic smoothies and fruit drinks.
Oranges have their own flavor, and while individually they don’t offer the same texture or qualities as the Asian pear, they are still fantastic substitutes nonetheless.
They can be used in all the same types of dishes, whether in marinades, sauces, drinks or in salads and fruit bowls.
In addition, they are one of the most accessible fruits that exist and can be obtained at a nice and cheap price. They are also very healthy and packed with vitamin C and other nutrients to keep you healthy and strong.
Also, orange zest can be used as an excellent garnish for any type of cake or dessert.
11. Flavored juice
While not exactly ideal for many culinary situations, if you happen to be making something that simply calls for a fruity flavor and you don’t have anything else on hand, consider flavored juice as a last resort.
It’s an unusual option, but one that works well when it comes to tenderizing meat.
A little soda combined with a more flavorful sour fruit (like kiwi) can help break down meats and give them a good flavor.
How to Choose the Best Asian Pear Substitute
As delicious and unique as Asian pears are, it’s not too hard to find several fruits that make fantastic substitutes for any type of dish you could desire.
The trick is to use the one that matches the qualities of the exact dish you are preparing. So if you’re making a salad, you may want something sweeter and firmer, but for a marinade you may want something stronger and more acidic.
Here are our top suggestions, based on various criteria, so you can make an informed choice about which specific substitute will be best for your chosen meal.
For flavor, we highly recommend Bosc pears. They are just as sweet as Asian pears and even have quite a similar texture.
They are quite affordable and can be found in most grocery stores. You can use them in almost any context where you would normally use Asian pears.
When using Asian pears, we often look for that distinctly firm texture that regular pears don’t have.
For this reason, we recommend Forelle pears, as they are small, compact and full of flavour, and above all they have that slightly firmer quality.
They’re not so ideal for marinades, but they’re great for everything else.
If price is a concern for you, we think your best bet is the plain orange.
This is because they are widely used and common in any grocery store around, and as such, they are often fairly cheap in price due to being produced in such large quantities.
Here we are going to recommend the very popular Fuji apple.
Flavor similarities aside, what makes them so great is that they are currently the fourth most popular type of fruit in the world. So you will have no problem getting some of them, wherever you are.
Our best choice
Once again, Bosc pears are our top choice.
While many of the other substitutes may be appropriate for a singular application or for a specific type of food, Bosc pears are the best “everything” substitute you can have on hand and use as a fantastic substitute in literally any setting. where you would normally use Asian pears.