Oct 23, 2014
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Looking for an easy and natural substitute for dates for many of the recipes you see online? Look no further than this simple recipe for raisin paste!
Cheaper Substitute for Dates
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 Morning Glory Muffins, overnight oats, and preserves. They are sweet, delicious, and a lot cheaper than dates.
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 of how you use them, I’ll show you my two methods of using raisins as a substitute for dates.
Making healthy swaps is just one simple way that you can eat healthier, cleaner food as a family. And it doesn’t have to be expensive! See how your family can eat clean on a budget here.
Tips to help Substitute Raisins 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.
For smoothies and everything else I make raisin paste and keep a small jar in the fridge at all times. To substitute for 1 large date you will need about 1-2 teaspoons of raisin paste.
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
- 1 ½ cups dried raisins
- 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.
- 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.
- Store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze raisin paste into cubes and be kept in the freezer for months.
- Use 2 teaspoons of raisin paste for every date in most recipes.
I much prefer raisins to dates, and this was so good!
This was great. I served it on toast
Thank you for this! Very useful, I’ll check out your other recipes too 🙂
Wonderful suggestion, I use dates all the time. Another question: I’m trying to turn a paleo chocolate cake recipe into a pudding cake by adding unsweetten applesauce, frozen banana; since these aren’t dried, do you think I can add pealed grapes instead of raisins to make it a little bit more liquidy inside? Or do you have a suggestion?
Fran, unfortunately, I cannot advise on a recipe that I haven’t tried making myself. I will say that grapes do not bake well. I suggest you soak the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes to make them moist and then add them to your recipe.
could I use frozen (thawed) grapes instead of raisins? I have lots of extra grapes so have them waiting in the freezer.
Unfortunately, no. Sorry!
My brain told me I could substitute raisins for dates, but how to do it was a mystery. The blender tip is very helpful. I am making no bake oatmeal date power balls for the family picnic, now using raisin paste.
Due to the Coronavirus covid-19 grocery store craziness I was unable to purchase dates (of all things!) today. I made some lactation balls today using this raisin paste instead and they turned out perfect. Thank you!!
I’m so glad this worked for you Robyn!
Amazing, thank you for this recipe. I am allergic to dates amongst a few other things and have had to skip A LOT of recipes as they include Dates, but not anymore!! ❤
You can make ANY recipe that calls for dates with this method. Enjoy!
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!!
Flavor is similar but a different sweetness, I think. Totally more cost-effective. MUCH.
Sometimes a recipe calls for a certain number of whole dates ie. 5 dates, so what would be the equivalent in whole raisins?
Marta, you would measure the dates inside a measuring cup and then the equivalent volume in raisins.
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.
Add a little water, your dates might be too dry. Enjoy
I need to make a date caramel for a recipie but can’t find dates. Can I use this paste as a replacement?
I’ve never tried a date caramel but this works exactly as dates would.
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?
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!
Thanks – just found a simple healthy muffin top recipe and have no dates. Will give it a shot but appreciate that I found this.
Sonia | Inglourious Bananas
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 🙂
Steak Recipes Sauce
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
Thank you so much for the info. Do you suppose this would work to make Craisins paste when date paste is called for?
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!
How much paste would i need in my coffee to replace 4g of sugar?
about 1 teaspoon. but it depends on the recipe you are trying to use as a substitute for dates.
Hi! I don’t own a fruit processor. Do you think I could make this paste in my blender?
Yes you can. You’ll have to stop the blender and assist with a spatula a few times but it will work.
What a great idea! Can I use raisin paste in bread recipes to sub out the sugar?
Linda, raisin paste is not a 1:1 ratio to granulated sugar. It is used whenever dates are called for in recipes.
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!
Anne, you can substitute raisin paste for date paste 1:1. 1 cup of dates will yield about 1/2 cup of paste.
Thank you! I was wondering this as well.
Liz @ Tip Top Shape
I would have never thought of this!! It’s so smart!
I wish I’d know this last weekend when I made some data and cacoa balls, without the dates because I had run out.
now you know! you can make them again with a less expensive and easy alternative! 🙂