The 7 BEST Substitutes for Asian Pears (Korean Pears)

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In this article, we will cover substitutes for Asian pears.

You’re in the middle of making a recipe that calls for Asian pears, and you realize you don’t have any on hand, or they are out of season. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

We will go over some of the best substitutes for Asian pears! They will work just as well in a pinch and are easy to find at the grocery store!

What Are Asian Pears?

Asian pears, also known as Nashi pears or Korean pears. They are a type of fruit that is native to Eastern Asia and grows on trees. Even though this fruit is widely used in Asian cuisine it is enjoyed by so many people from different cultures.

My mom absolutely loves Asian pears and we are Italian. I grew up with family members who have Asian pear trees.

They are often round or oval in shape, and their skin can range in color from green to yellow or goldish brown almost copper-like. Asian pears are usually eaten fresh, and they are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

Because of their sweetness and crisp texture, Asian pears are often used in salads or as a healthy snack. It is very popular in a classic Korean dish bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef).

It is used in the marinade. In addition to being eaten fresh, Asian pears can also be cooked and even canned.

In recent years, Asian pears have become increasingly popular in the United States, where they are grown in California, Oregon, and Washington state. My uncle in northern California has two growing in his backyard

What Do Asian Pears Taste Like?

The taste of Asian pears is often described as being sweet and crunchy, like a cross between an apple and a pear.

Unlike European pears, which are typically soft and creamy, Asian pears have a crisp, crunchy texture like jicama or an apple. They are such a unique blend of texture and flavor!

They also have a sweeter flavor, with hints of honey and floral notes. Asian pears are often used in salads but they can also be used in cooking. In particular, they are often used in Asian-inspired dishes such as stir-fries and noodle bowls.

If you haven’t tried an Asian pear before, it’s definitely worth seeking out one at your local market.

Substitutes for Asian Pears

Substitutes for Asian Pears

We will go through a variety of different fruits that work. But always keep in mind what recipe you are using. Most all options can be used fresh or cooked, but some will work better fresh than others.

I did chat with my Korean friend and she gave me some good suggestions as well!

Bosc Pears

Bosc pears are a great substitute for Asian pears because they have a firmness and crisp when fresh. They also have a slightly sweet flavor that pairs nicely with both sweet and savory dishes.

Bosc pears can be found year-round in most grocery stores. Which makes it an easy sub to find. Which in my book is a big deal.

Fuji Apples

If you’re looking for a fruit that’s similar to an Asian pear in terms of sweetness and flavor, Fuji apples are a good option.

Fuji Apples

They’re also versatile in terms of cooking applications, so they can be used as a substitute in both sweet and savory dishes. Like Bosc, Fuji apples are available year-round in most grocery stores. 

Honeycrisp Apples

Asian pears have a crisp bright almost floral flavor with hints of pear and Honeycrisp apples can lend to those flavors as well as it also has hints of pear.

This variety tends to be juicer and can be used fresh or cooked. This apple has grown in popularity and you can usually find them at most supermarkets.

D’Anjou Pears

When it comes to the pear family the D’Anjou pears are another good option for substituting Asian pears. They have a similar sweetness and flavor to Asian pears, but they do have a refreshing lemon-lime flavor.

Forelle Pears

They’re also just as versatile in terms of cooking applications. D’Anjou pears can be found in most grocery stores from late summer through early winter.

Forelle Pears

Forelle pears are small, tart pears with a firm texture. They’re not as sweet as other varieties of pear, but their tartness makes them a good substitute for Asian pears in savory dishes.

Forelle pears are usually only available from October to December, so if you’re looking for a year-round substitute, you’ll want to try one of the other options on this list. 

Bartlett Pears

Bartlett pears are one of the most popular varieties of pear, and they’re also can be an alternative for Asian pears. The one thing about Bartlett pears is that they tend to be buttery and soft as they ripen.

bartlett pear, pear, bartlett

If you are looking for that crisp texture, you will want to go with another variety or grab Bartletts that are a little under ripe. Bartlett pears are available year-round in most grocery stores, which make them super convenient when in a bind.

Quince (Cooked)

Quince is a fruit that’s often used in jams and jellies because of its high level of acidity. When cooked, quince takes on a slightly sweet flavor that’s reminiscent of apples and pear.

Quince is usually only available from October to December, so if you’re looking for a year-round substitute, you’ll want to try one of the other options on this list. If you are looking for a jam or jelly form this one would hit the mark.

Alternatives for asian pears or korean pears infographic

>> Check out substitutes for plum sauce

FAQ And My Final Thoughts on Asian Pear Substitutes

Here are some common questions that you might have when it comes to subbing.

Can I use canned pears instead of fresh Asian Pears?

A: Canned pears are not recommended but let’s say it’s all you have then you can make it work in certain recipes, especially in baked goods or cooked dishes. However, they won’t have the same crisp texture as fresh Asian pears.

What is the nutritional comparison between Asian Pears and its substitutes?

A: Asian pears are low in calories and high in fiber, as well as being a good source of vitamin C. Most of its substitutes like Bosc pears and Fuji apples have similar nutritional profiles, although the exact amounts of vitamins and minerals may vary.

What can I use instead of Asian pear in marinade?

A: If you don’t have an Asian pear for your marinade, you have several options. Pineapple juice or papaya juice can be used as a substitute for the pear juice/puree in recipes like bulgogi.

Other substitutes include Anjou pear, Bosc pear, Forelle pear, Bartlett pear, and Fuji apple. Kiwi is another good substitute, particularly for meat marinades.

Do regular pears tenderize meat?

A: Yes, regular pears such as Bosc or Anjou can also tenderize meat. They contain enzymes that help to break down the proteins in the meat, making it softer and more flavorful.

Do regular apples tenderize meat?

A: Yes, like pears even apples can also be used to tenderize meat. They contain natural enzymes that help break down the muscle fibers in meat.

There are quite a few fruits that make good substitutes for Asian pears depending on what you’re looking for. If you need something that’s similar in sweetness and flavor, try Bosc or Bartlett pears or Fuji or Honeycrisp apples.

If you need something that’s more versatile in terms of cooking applications, try Anjou or Bosc pears or the apples.

And if you need something that’s tart and acidic, try quince (cooked). With so many options available, there’s sure to be something here that will work for your recipe! Happy Cooking!

And don’t forget to check out our new sub-articles on fig jam and butter beans!

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