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I have a recipe calling for juniper berries but none are available. Is there a good substitute or should I just skip it?

Answer »

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 2 years ago

You can probably skip it -- I'm curious what the recipe is though; might be easier to think of a substitute for it. Let us know!

SKK added almost 2 years ago

You can use gin - doesn't have to be expensive gin or rosemary sprigs or bay leaf. Amounts below

1 tsp. of gin per 2 berries
8 berries = 1 tsp. crushed
Fresh rosemary sprigs – one sprig for every four berries
Single crushed bay leaf = six juniper berries


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 2 years ago

Do you have a juniper tree or bush nearby? Fresh ones are just budding here.

Maedl added almost 2 years ago

Is the recipe for sauerkraut? If so, you could omit the berries or use caraway instead.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 2 years ago

Actually I'm surprised at the difficulty of finding juniper berries. They are available in the spice shelves of virtually every major supermarket under various major brands.

Oberstdackel added 9 months ago

Have you thought perhaps where she lives there is no demand for Juniper Berries and accordingly the supermarkets stock none. Perhaps there are no suppliers of Juniper berries as they are more expensive to import than recouped through sales?
Maybe in her region there are no juniper berries as these are a seasonal northern hemisphere plant that grow only in certain climactic conditions?
Actually- you're the kind of simpleton who'd be surprised each time they saw the "welcome" on their doormat.
The world is a little larger than the USA. Thank God.

Maedl added 9 months ago
Voted the Best Answer!

Top dog, I think you need to hang around Food52 and get a feeling for the way we treat each other here. Your response is just a bit out of line.

paseo added 9 months ago

Great response to an unnecessary comment. Bravo.

Pat added 5 months ago

Sorry to tell you Pierino but you're very wrong. Juniper berries are impossible to find in my area. I've been to Walmart super center and two major supermarkets in the northeast (shaws and hanaford) today as well as another small grocer and none of them carried juniper berries. Now I've wasted half my day and still haven't even stated my recipe. Thanks for sending me on a wild goose chase. Maybe you should check to make sure your advice is accurate next time because clearly they are NOT available in "virtually every major supermarket." I picked up caraway seeds and fresh rosemary to substitute. I'm making a brine for sauerbraten.

creamtea added 5 months ago

I'm sure pierino was trying to be helpful, not to send anyone on a wild goose chase. We all freely choose how we spend our day.

Maedl added 5 months ago

I missed the fact that you are making sauerbraten in my first reading of your note. I wouldn’t use either caraway or rosemary for sauerbraten. Perhaps add a spoonful of gin, or just omit the berries. They have a bitter, piney flavor, if that helps.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added 5 months ago

I'm still perplexed by this because I can walk into an Albertsons, Safeway or Vons and ordinarily find at least two different lables of juniper berries for sale in the spice aisle; McCormick's, Schilling, Morton and Bassett. That said, Costco would not exactly be my first choice to shop for juniper berries.

Maedl added 5 months ago

I have never had a problem finding juniper berries in either the Midwest or Mid Atlantic--but if you can’t find them, you can certainly get them from Penzey’s or another on-line spice store. In my region, I find them at Safeway, Giant Wegman’s or Whole Foods. I am very surprised that they are so hard to find. If you want to use them for sauerkraut, I wouldn’t use rosemary--just doesn’t sound right to me with sauerkraut. On the other hand, if you do use it, provide a report!

Maedl added 5 months ago

I mean sauerbraten, not sauerkraut!

dymnyno added 5 months ago

I don't think that I would sub gin for juniper berries because there are many flavors of gin, despite the common ingredient of juniper berry. Some are very floral and I have had gins that don't taste like "gin" at all. I think that rosemary is probably the closest herbal flavor to juniper.

paseo added 5 months ago

I live in coastal Maine and can find them at most grocers. If they are not available in your area, buy them online and keep some in the freezer.

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