I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of apricot jam substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured I’ve got you covered.
Peach jam and orange marmalade are excellent substitutes for apricot jam if you want to keep the bright orange color. But if you don’t mind switching it up, other fruit jams will also work. Ready-made duck sauce is an easy alternative if you’re cooking something savory.
Psst… if you’re on the hunt for substitutes for a fruit tart glaze, scroll to the bottom of the article!
I made small batches of thumbprint cookies (small cookies with a pool of jam in the middle) to test out different apricot jam substitutes.
Apricot jam has a bright, golden orange color with bits apricot running through it. It boasts a sweet-tart flavor that makes it super versatile.
It’s used for desserts, baked goods, and even savory dishes (apricot glazed chicken anyone?!)
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Peach Jam||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Orange Marmalade||Replace in a 1:1 ratio with strained marmalade||10/10|
|Homemade Apricot Jam||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Other Fruit Jams or Jelly||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Apricot Compote||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Ready-made Duck Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Apricot Juice Reduction||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses of apricot jam
Here are some common use cases for apricot jam and the best substitutes for those situations:
- As an accompaniment for bread: Try using peach jam, orange marmalade, the homemade version, or other fruit jams or jelly.
- As a pastry or cake filling: Try using peach jam, orange marmalade, or the homemade version. Apricot compote also works, but you’ll need to break down the whole bits of fruit.
- For sauces and glazes: Try using peach jam or orange marmalade. Ready-made duck sauce is also a great instant alternative.
- For charcuterie boards: Try using peach jam, orange marmalade, or apricot compote. Other fruit jams like fig jams also work.
Peach jam is one of the easiest substitutes for apricot jam.
It basically indistinguishable from apricot jam by sight with its golden color and soft, chunky consistency.
But peach jam is noticeably sweeter than apricot jam. This is excellent if you have a sweet tooth!
But if you’re aiming for the same sweet-tart balance of apricot jam, add a spritz of lemon juice to your peach jam before using it.
How to substitute: replace apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with peach jam.
Orange marmalade is another easy substitute you might already have in your pantry.
It has a similar color and offers a good balance of sweet and tart flavors – along with a subtle bitter note from the orange peels.
The catch with orange marmalade is some brands have whole bits of orange peel, giving it a chunkier texture than apricot jam.
This wasn’t a problem for my thumbprint cookies (and morning toast).
But if you prefer a smoother consistency for sauces and glazes, you can warm the marmalade up and strain it.
How to substitute: replace apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with strained orange marmalade.
Homemade apricot jam
If you have time and access to fresh apricots, why not make your own jam with this recipe?
Aside from the fruits, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples. And don’t worry, you don’t need any pectin!
For best results, use mostly ripe apricots with a few unripe ones thrown in.
This will give you the best flavor.
And the acidity from the unripe apricots will interact with the ripe fruits’ natural pectin, helping your homemade jam achieve that thick, sticky consistency.
Pro tip: you can use use dried apricots to make jam.
How to substitute: replace store-bought apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with your homemade apricot jam.
Other fruit jams or jelly
You can use any fruit jam or jelly as a substitute for apricot jam if you don’t mind switching up the flavors.
Apple or fig jam are great choices if you’re after a fairly neutral flavor that works well for both sweet and savory dishes (apple is delicious with pork).
I went with a strawberry jam for my thumbprint cookies because my friends LOVE sweet things.
And if you fancy something a little tangier, try plum jam, It’s a solid substitute for adding extra tartness to your recipes.
For a completely different take, consider ginger jelly. It will bring a nice warm heat to your food.
How to substitute: replace apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with your chosen fruit jam or jelly.
If you have fresh apricots but don’t want to make jam, try making apricot compote instead.
Apricot compote isn’t as sweet as jam, but it works brilliantly as a glaze or a dessert topping. Vanilla ice cream topped with apricot compote is heavenly!
To make this work for my cookies, I broke the apricots with a wooden spoon while they were cooking so the compote had a smooth consistency.
But you can also keep them whole.
How to substitute: replace apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with homemade apricot compote.
Ready-made duck sauce
Right off the bat, this substitute won’t work for sweet baked goods or desserts.
But it’s a solid alternative for savory dishes.
Most duck sauce recipes use apricot jam as a base, so you’ll get those familiar fruity notes. Along with other ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and sweet chili sauce.
It’s normally served as a dipping sauce for things like egg rolls.
But I’ve also used it to glaze grilled chicken or to jazz up a plain seared salmon. Yum!
How to substitute: replace apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with duck sauce.
Apricot juice reduction
An apricot juice reduction is a clever hack (if you’ve got apricot juice lying around).
It isn’t as thick as jam, so you’ll need to thicken it with something like cornstarch if the texture matters to you.
To reduce the juice, simply simmer it on the stovetop stiring it occasionally to prevent burning.
Or you can make it in the microwave if you don’t want to fire up your stovetop.
Pssst… you can use any kind of fruit juice for this technique if you can’t find apricot juice.
How to substitute: replace apricot jam in a 1:1 ratio with an apricot juice reduction.
Other substitutes to consider
- Honey – this has a sticky consistency and a sweet flavor like apricot jam, and you can mix it with lemon juice to add more tartness. It’s great with toast and also works as a replacement in desserts like Malva pudding. Other options are agave nectar or maple syrup.
- Dried apricots – not a perfect substitute because they’re missing moisture and the sticky consistency of apricot jam. But you can use them if you only want to add sweetness to your savory dishes or to replace apricot jam in a charcuterie board. You can also turn dried apricots into jam if you can’t access fresh fruits.
- Canned apricots – like dried apricots, these won’t work as a substitute in every recipe. But you can use them in savory dishes, salads, desserts, and grazing tables when you’re missing that apricot flavor.
- Fruit butter – fruit butters are similar to jams, but have more of a smooth puree-like consistency. You can make fruit butter out of any firm fruit, but apples and plums are commonly used.
- Cranberry sauce – this is more tart than apricot jam, with subtle sweetness. It can work as a glaze for proteins and even as a filling for pastries.
Cranberry chutney – substitute to avoid
I came across so many suggestions for apricot jam substitutes that some were bound to be a dud… like cranberry chutney.
It has a similar color to apricot jam, but it’s already flavored with bold spices that will overpower your dishes.
What to use instead of apricot jam as a glaze for cakes and fruit tarts?
Apricot jam is commonly used to create an apricot glaze, which gives fruit tarts their signature shiny finish and makes the fruits last longer.
Instead of an apricot glaze, you can make a neutral nappage glaze with water, pectin, and lemon juice. You can also use gelatin mixed with sugar. These substitutes won’t add too much extra flavor, but this means the flavor of the fruits can really shine through!
12 Best Apricot Jam Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- 5.5 lb fresh apricots
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 lb granulated sugar
- Wash the apricots and pat them dry. Remove any blemishes, then cut them in half to remove the pits. Transfer the apricots in a large, wide sauce pan and add the lemon juice and water.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Cover the pot and continue cooking until the apricots are tender and cooked through. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Add the sugar to the apricots and stir constantly.
- Once the sugar dissolves, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil to cook the liquid off. Stir occasionally to make sure the bottom won't burn. When the fruit mixture is thick, turn off the heat let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked jam into sterilized jars. Leave the jam to set for up to 48 hours. Store them in a cool, dry place. Once you open a jar, store it in your refrigerator.