5+ Amazing Blood Orange Substitute Options

The blood orange, famous for its dark blood-like flesh, is one of Italy’s most common orange variants. This peculiar orange originated from the South Mediterranean region but is now available in various supermarkets in the United States. Although blood oranges are difficult to acquire out of season, there are many blood orange substitute options you can use. 

Blood oranges are so revered that they’ve earned a Protected Geographical Status in Europe. Unlike other oranges, blood oranges are much sweeter, with hints of strawberry and raspberry in their taste.

This article offers other options to consider when looking for an alternative to your blood oranges.

What Are Blood Oranges?

Blood oranges or red oranges are so named for the red that lies underneath its thick orange-colored skin. While it’s the sweetest orange out there, it also contains hints of a tangy and bitter taste. So, it’s a sweeter, darker-looking orange with a slightly acidic aftertaste.

The soft texture of this orange also makes it suitable for making beverages and dessert dishes. Many people use it to prepare smoothies and cocktails too. In Italy, blood oranges are a significant ingredient for gelato, ice cream, and other frozen treats.

Blood oranges are rich in vitamins C, D, and other minerals like manganese and potassium. Eating this fruit also reduces the chances of cancer since it’s full of antioxidants like anthocyanins. Consuming this fruit also reduces the risk of getting heart disease and diabetes.

Blood Orange Substitute

The substitutes below are ideal alternatives that can match the sweetness and tanginess of the blood orange. Although blood oranges are used for various desserts, the alternatives below comprise options suitable for every situation.

1. Regular Oranges

Regular oranges are an option that you can count on for your desserts and your smoothies. If you need that blood-red color for your smoothies, just add some red food dye, and you’re good to go.

These oranges taste similar to blood oranges with a little bit of tartness. Although they’re sweet, their sweetness is slightly muted compared to blood oranges. 

You can use these fruits as a blood orange substitute in your baked goods. Since the flavors of both fruits are similar, they can also serve your smoothies and cocktails. 

2. Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin oranges are China’s most popular orange variants, hence the name “Mandarin”. Like blood oranges, this fruit is rich in vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

This orange variant is a smaller-sized, orange-skinned fruit with loose, thin skin. They deliver a great deal of sweetness, with hints of vanilla and refreshing floral and woody aromas. 

The sweetness of these oranges makes them a suitable blood orange alternative for when you’re making cakes, puddings, and tarts. You can also substitute Mandarin zest for blood orange zest. 

3. Navel Oranges

Navel oranges are a Brazilian mutation of regular oranges that date back to 1820. This fruit is a perfect blood orange substitute for baked goods. 

These oranges are also smaller than blood oranges, with an oval shape, orange skin, and yellowish pulp. The pulp of this fruit is sweet like the blood orange but slightly tarter. This also makes them the perfect option for making a savory dish. 

You can also use navel oranges for smoothies, mixed drinks, desserts, and salad or yogurt toppings. This orange develops a slightly bitter taste when exposed to the air for more than 30 minutes, so use them immediately.

4. Tangerines

Tangerines are a suitable alternative for anyone who wants a blood orange without its iconic bitter taste. As such, tangerines are all sweetness, with extra juicy pulp and a slight tanginess.

They are smaller-looking citrus fruits that substitute well for blood oranges in beverages, desserts, and smoothies. However, you must watch out for their seeds since this fruit is filled with them. 

5. Blood Orange Syrup

Instead of going for another fruit, why not use the concentrated version of blood orange? This syrup is sweet and tangy, holding all the iconic flavors of blood orange.

Blood orange syrup is perfect for desserts and beverages that call for a blood orange fruit. However, they’re much sweeter, so you must watch out for that. 

If you don’t have blood orange syrup, you can make your own using orange extract. Since blood orange syrup is orange extract with extra sugar, you can make blood orange syrup by adding more sugar to it. Just add ½ teaspoon of sugar to every teaspoon of orange extract.


Several alternatives on this list will work for you if you’re out of blood oranges. And most of them are readily available in stores. There’s a blood orange substitute for desserts, puddings, tarts, smoothies, baked goods, and more.