Raisin Paste: an Awesome Substitute for Dates

Need a substitute for dates in your smoothies, baking, granola bars, and more? Look no further. Here is how I use raisins to substitute dates.

Looking for an easy and natural substitute for dates for many of the recipes you see online? Look no further.

An easy substitute for dates in recipes when baking or making smoothies

Lately, I’ve  noticed that a lot of real food recipes call for dates to sweeten them. From smoothies to granola bars, they seem to be in everything. Dates, while easy to find at most grocery stores, are not cheap. Pitted dates are usually a dollar or so more expensive and in some recipes it can bring up the cost of the recipe by a lot! They can cost as much as $9 per pound!

Enter my friend, the raisin. A couple of years ago, I began to use raisins instead of dates in my smoothies, grain free muffins, overnight oats, and preserves. They are sweet, delicious, and a lot cheaper than dates.

golden and brown raisins are an easy substitute for dates in most recipes and a lot cheaper!

It is true that dates have many health benefits but so do grapes! They are both quite similar in nutritional benefits and in texture.

When I look at how dates are being used in many recipes they are used as a filler (like in homemade bars) and as a sweetener. Regardless how you use them, I’ll show you my two methods of using raisins as a substitute for dates.

If you are going to substitute raw dates for raisins in baking recipes, like in muffins, brownies, and Lara bars, you’ll want to soak the raisins for about 2-3 minutes in hot water. Soaking the raisins for about 3 minutes will reconstitute some of the moisture and give them a similar texture to dates. Then, all you have to do is drain and pat dry with a a paper towel.

soaking raisins makes them plumper so they can be used in many recipes

For smoothies and everything else I make raisin paste and keep a small jar in the fridge at all times. I large date will be about 1 2 teaspoons of raisin paste.

raisin paste in the food processor is great to sweeten smoothies naturally and cheaper!

It might not be the prettiest of all things, but raisin paste is an inexpensive an easy substitute for things like green smoothies. I drink a green smoothie daily, so one teaspoon of raisin paste is all I need to make the “greenness” tolerable.

Raisin Paste – date paste substitute

  • Author: Laura Fuentes - SuperGlueMom
  • Yield: 1 cup paste


  • 1 ½ cups dried raisins
  • water


  1. Place raisins in a glass bowl. Pour boiling water over them, just enough to cover raisins. Wait 10 minutes or so to reconstruct the raisins into plump fruit. Reserve ¼ cup raisin water and drain. Transfer into a food processor.
  2. Turn food processor on and let it go until you have a thick paste. Begin adding water, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a smooth peanut butter like consistency.
  3. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze raisin paste into cubes and be kept in the freezer for months.
  4. Use 2 teaspoons of raisin paste for every date in most recipes.


Leave a Reply 25 comments

Isabella - October 23, 2014 Reply

I wish I’d know this last weekend when I made some data and cacoa balls, without the dates because I had run out.

    Laura Fuentes - October 24, 2014 Reply

    now you know! you can make them again with a less expensive and easy alternative! 🙂

Liz @ Tip Top Shape - October 24, 2014 Reply

I would have never thought of this!! It’s so smart!

Anne Stuck - December 17, 2014 Reply

Hi! Do you know how to substitute raisin paste for dates in recipes using a cup or more? It seems like it would be difficult to count out 2 teaspoons of raisin paste for every date, when my recipes don’t call for a certain number of dates, but rather by the cup. Thanks for your input, I would really like to try this!

    Laura Fuentes - December 18, 2014 Reply

    Anne, you can substitute raisin paste for date paste 1:1. 1 cup of dates will yield about 1/2 cup of paste.

      Amber - January 28, 2015 Reply

      Thank you! I was wondering this as well.

Linda - February 14, 2015 Reply

What a great idea! Can I use raisin paste in bread recipes to sub out the sugar?

    Laura Fuentes - February 14, 2015 Reply

    Linda, raisin paste is not a 1:1 ratio to granulated sugar. It is used whenever dates are called for in recipes.

Taylor - March 16, 2015 Reply

Hi! I don’t own a fruit processor. Do you think I could make this paste in my blender?

    Laura Fuentes - March 17, 2015 Reply

    Yes you can. You’ll have to stop the blender and assist with a spatula a few times but it will work.

Julie - April 26, 2015 Reply

Thank you so much for the info. Do you suppose this would work to make Craisins paste when date paste is called for?

    Laura Fuentes - April 27, 2015 Reply

    You can definitely make paste out of dried cranberries. However, they will need to soak longer. I don’t think it would be a great substitute for dates since they are not as sweet. if you are ok with that, then you are good to go!

Steak Recipes Sauce - July 13, 2015 Reply

Marinade your steak for a minimum of half an hour prior to you prepare it
so the taste of the steak marinade dish can soak into the

Sonia | Inglourious Bananas - August 7, 2017 Reply

I love dates but Medjool are difficult to find this time of the year where I live so this recipe is exactly what I needed. Thanks! I’m going to try it very soon 🙂

Chris Crofton - August 17, 2017 Reply

Thanks – just found a simple healthy muffin top recipe and have no dates. Will give it a shot but appreciate that I found this.

Sylvia Thompson - September 26, 2017 Reply

Trying to make a cake that calls for Medjool dates, can’t find them here in my city, nor do I won’t to give a kidney just to try out a receipt. Can I use this past or do I need to chop the raisins instead?

    Laura Fuentes - September 28, 2017 Reply

    You can just “plump” the raisins in hot water as mentioned in the recipe and use those. Same amount. So, if the recipe calls for 1/4 cup dates, use 1/4 cup plump raisins. Enjoy!

Andrea Walker - October 10, 2017 Reply

I need to make a date caramel for a recipie but can’t find dates. Can I use this paste as a replacement?

    Laura Fuentes - October 11, 2017 Reply

    I’ve never tried a date caramel but this works exactly as dates would.

Joel - April 3, 2018 Reply

How long does it take for your food processor to reach this state of thick paste? Mine seems to stay granular for a while…. not sure what’s wrong.

    Laura Fuentes - April 9, 2018 Reply

    Add a little water, your dates might be too dry. Enjoy

Marta - April 19, 2018 Reply

Hi Laura,
Sometimes a recipe calls for a certain number of whole dates ie. 5 dates, so what would be the equivalent in whole raisins?

    Laura Fuentes - April 20, 2018 Reply

    Marta, you would measure the dates inside a measuring cup and then the equivalent volume in raisins.

Kandy - May 30, 2018 Reply

Great suggestion, looking forward to trying this, thanks for the tips!! I haven’t been liking the date taste and am hoping that the raisins will give a lighter flavor, yes?? Plus the lower cost will be nice =) Thanks again!!

    Laura Fuentes - June 6, 2018 Reply

    Flavor is similar but a different sweetness, I think. Totally more cost-effective. MUCH.

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