What Can I Substitute for Acai?

Acai is a popular antioxidant-rich fruit that adds a delicious, tropical flavor to beverages, smoothies, frozen desserts, and even baked goods. 

However, acai can be expensive and difficult to find, depending on where you live.

Thankfully there are some easy acai substitutes that you can use. Keep reading to learn more about the best substitutes for frozen acai, acai powder, and acai juice.

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What can I substitute for acai?

There are plenty of foods that can be substituted for acai, but it depends on which form of acai you’re replacing and how it’s being used. 

Substitutes for frozen acai

Frozen acai is made from pureed acai pulp. It is sold in single-serving packets that can be used in smoothies, acai bowls, and frozen desserts like ice cream and sorbet. 

Acai tastes mostly bitter and earthy but also slightly sweet and tart. Its flavor is often described as a cross between blackberries and dark chocolate.

You can substitute any of the following frozen fruits for acai:

  • Blackberries are tart, fruity, and a little sweet. Out of all the fruits in this list, they are the closest to acai in both color and flavor. 
  • Blueberries are sweeter and less acidic than acai, but they have a similar dark bluish purple color and can still be a great substitute.
  • Raspberries are mostly tart, with a hint of sweetness and floral notes. If you can find black raspberries, they’re a better substitute for acai than red raspberries.
  • Strawberries are sweet, tart, and acidic. On their own, they’re not the best substitute for acai, but they can be combined with other berries for a similar flavor.

To mimic the acai’s earthy, bitter flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of cocoa powder to whichever fruit you decide to use.

Substitutes for acai powder

Acai powder is made by grinding freeze-dried acai berries into a fine powder.

When mixed into foods, it has a milder flavor than frozen acai — slightly tart with a faint berry-like flavor. 

Because all of the water has been removed, acai powder is perfect for adding flavor and color to baked goods, like muffins and cakes.

It can also be used in beverages, smoothies, acai bowls, and frozen treats.

To replace acai powder, you can use an equal amount of any of the following fruit powders:

  • Blackberry powder is the best substitute for acai powder due to its dark purple color and sweet-tart flavor.
  • Blueberry powder is sweeter and less acidic than acai powder but can still work in a pinch.
  • Pomegranate powder is tart, tangy, and mildly sweet. Flavorwise, it is somewhat similar to acai powder, but it has a very different reddish-brown color. 

Again, you can sprinkle in some cocoa powder to add some bitterness for a more similar flavor to acai.

Substitutes for acai juice

Acai juice is made by mixing acai pulp with other fruit juices, sweeteners, and preservatives like citric acid.

It tastes a lot like frozen acai, but tends to be sweeter due to the added ingredients. 

Many people use acai juice as a supplement, taking just a couple of tablespoons every day, but it can also be added to smoothies, salad dressings, and beverages.

If you aren’t able to find acai juice, try making your own by blending one packet of frozen acai with a few cups of water. To make it sweeter, add some maple syrup, liquid stevia, or a splash of orange juice.

Another option is to stir a couple of tablespoons of powdered acai into a glass of water. Again, you may want to add some sweetener to taste.

If you don’t have access to any acai products, try using blackberry, pomegranate, or blueberry juice instead. 

Final thoughts

If you can’t find acai or don’t want to spend the money, there are plenty of substitutes you can use.

Frozen acai can be replaced with other frozen fruits like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Adding a bit of cocoa powder can also mimic the bitterness of acai.

Acai powder is easily swapped out for other fruit powders like blackberry, blueberry, or pomegranate. 

And if you’re looking for a juice alternative, try making your own acai juice with water and frozen acai or use another type of juice like blackberry, pomegranate, or blueberry.

Whatever you decide, any of these substitutes will work well in acai bowls, smoothies, baked goods, and more.

Want to learn more about acai?

Check out our in-depth post:
Acai Berries: History, Nutrition, & Uses

Amy Richter is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Missouri. She is an experienced nutrition writer and medical advisor for Healthline and Medical News Today.  Amy is passionate about all things food-related and enjoys translating complex science into easy-to-understand articles.

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