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27 Dried Fruit Recipes To Sweeten Up Your Life

dried fruit assortment
dried fruit assortment - Liz Capozzoli/Mashed

Dried fruit is great to have in stock as a pantry staple. Apricots, cranberries, and cherries have a longer life if they're dried rather than fresh, while raisins and dates come in handy in so many different ways. Dried fruit can turn a regular dough into a fruity bread or give a stodgy dessert a pleasantly tart taste. Sweet pieces of dried fruit can broaden and deepen the flavor profile of savory dishes. And of course, you don't have to be concerned about whether fruit is in season or not.

Paired with other ingredients such as cinnamon, orange zest, and rum, dried fruit becomes an incredible addition to recipes. And unlike fresh fruit, it's not going to add too much moisture which is a real bonus. From cookies and cakes to Italian dishes and an Indian-style side, it's time to try some dried fruit recipes to sweeten up your life.

Read more: 7 Nuts You Should Be Eating And 7 You Shouldn't

Fruit Cake

fruit cake in loaf tin
fruit cake in loaf tin - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Sometimes old-style recipes are the best, and this fruit cake adds a spoonful of nostalgia into the mix. Rum and spices give this cake a delicious richness, and it's jam-packed with dried fruit. Apricots, cranberries, and figs add a chewy fruitiness along with raisins, cherries, and prunes. Pecans offer a nuttiness that pairs perfectly with the fruit, too.

To enhance the taste of the dried fruit, add orange juice and citrus zest. Bake the cake in loaf tins then cut it into slices to enjoy with a scoop of ice cream for extra sweetness.

Recipe: Fruit Cake

Easy Fruit Bread

fruit bread slice with strawberries
fruit bread slice with strawberries - Miriam Hahn/Mashed

Dried cranberries and golden raisins add juicy bits to a spiced batter to make a fruity bread that's sweet without being overly so. That means you can enjoy a slice as dessert just as much as with your morning coffee. Add wonderfully warming spiced notes with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Adding orange zest and applesauce stops the sweet loaf from being too dry. Keep it simple and serve slices with a thick layer of butter as you would a regular piece of bread for a deliciously creamy contrast.

Recipe: Easy Fruit Bread

15-Minute Homemade Granola

granola in jar and bowl
granola in jar and bowl - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

You can easily sweeten an oaty breakfast by adding honey, as well as some pecans and almonds for a crunchy touch. This is exactly the combination of taste and texture that you want from granola. Somehow, it isn't quite as good without raisins and dried cranberries.

Instead of baking the granola in the oven, toast the ingredients in a pan until the color turns golden brown. Keep stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom and cool in a lined baking tray. Enjoy with milk or Greek yogurt and elevate the fruitiness with fresh berries.

Recipe: 15-Minute Homemade Granola

Traditional Steamed Spotted Dick

spotted dick and custard
spotted dick and custard - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

If you love the idea of stodgy, traditional British desserts then this suet pudding is for you. This dessert is nothing like a sponge cake and has to be tasted to really understand how scrumptious it is. Steaming the ingredients and using beef suet gives spotted dick a soft texture. The sweetness comes from dried currants with custard poured over the top.

This retro recipe is best served after roast beef and Yorkshire puddings on a cold Sunday afternoon, before a brisk walk or a snooze in front of the television.

Recipe: Traditional Steamed Spotted Dick

Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding

bread and butter pudding
bread and butter pudding - Kate Shungu/Mashed

Sweet and sour dried cherries contrast with salty pecans to give this bread pudding recipe its mouthwatering appeal. You can also use other types of dried fruit such as dates or raisins if you prefer. If you love cinnamon custard on toasted bread with fruit then this version of the classic dessert is definitely one to try.

Use French or Italian bread so that each mouthful tastes lovely and soft. And don't skip drizzling each serving with caramel sauce as this elevates the sweetness to moreish levels.

Recipe: Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding

Chocolate-Fig Holiday Panettone

panettone with Christmas decorations
panettone with Christmas decorations - Jenny Kellerhals/Mashed

You know it's the holidays when you make a festive Italian-style panettone, since it's traditional to serve this impressive-looking fruity bread at this time of year. It's less of a dessert and more of a sweet treat for any time of the day.

Dive into the flavors of the season by adding sweet dried figs and toasted hazelnuts. Orange zest, raisins, and bittersweet chocolate chips complement the panettone too. Once the yeasty dough has risen, add dried fruit and whatever extra ingredients you want. Fold them into the dough to make sure they are fully incorporated.

Recipe: Chocolate-Fig Holiday Panettone

Coconut Muesli

muesli bowl honey yogurt
muesli bowl honey yogurt - Ting Dalton/Mashed

When you've got oats, seeds, and nuts in a recipe, you definitely need a juicy jewel of fruitiness. Chopped apricots are perfectly chewy and vibrantly colored, giving homemade muesli a jammy taste. Power up your mornings by throwing in an extra fruity blast with coconut chips, dates, and a good measure of applesauce.

To lift the sweetness, you'll want to coat everything in honey. Don't stir in the dried fruit until you've baked the other ingredients to a golden-brown hue. Enjoy as you would regular muesli, just more so because it's homemade.

Recipe: Coconut Muesli

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

granola in bowl
granola in bowl - Kristen Carli/Mashed

There's no reason not to match your granola with the seasons, and two ingredients that say autumn and winter are apple and cinnamon. Use dried fruit to make this breakfast recipe so that it lasts beyond a day. Add freeze-dried apple slices once the honey, oat, and hemp seed mixture has been baked and cooled down.

For extra fruitiness throw in some raisins with the apple, and add sweetness with chocolate chips if you want extra indulgence.

Recipe: Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

Turkey Salad With Cranberries And Pecans

turkey salad croissant sandwich
turkey salad croissant sandwich - Erin Johnson/Mashed

This turkey and cranberry salad gives you the taste of Thanksgiving and Christmas outside of the holidays. Rather than serving succulent slices of meat with cranberry sauce, combine shredded turkey with dried cranberries in a creamy coating. These gorgeous red gems add a touch of tartness that tastes so good with crunchy pecans, juicy fresh grapes, and peppery green onions.

The sweetness stands out in this savory dish, and the cranberries are the star ingredient. Try a spoonful in a croissant for the ultimate sandwich.

Recipe: Turkey Salad With Cranberries And Pecans

Traditional Welsh Cakes

sugared Welsh cakes butter jam
sugared Welsh cakes butter jam - Jennine Bryant/Mashed

Traditional Welsh cakes are like a cross between cookies and scones. The currants look fabulous dotted throughout these sugar-dusted treats. However, if you can't source this dried fruit, use golden or regular raisins, though currants are smaller and offer sweetness balanced with a splendid tartness.

Instead of baking the little rounds of dough in the oven like regular cakes, cook them in a skillet, flipping them midway so they brown on both sides. With sugar on top, they are ready to eat, but you can also enjoy them with jam and butter.

Recipe: Traditional Welsh Cakes

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookies with milk
oatmeal cookies with milk - Mark Beahm/Mashed

Dried cranberries and orange zest are a festive-flavored combination in any recipe. Mixed into oatmeal cookies they add a terrific tartness that's further sweetened by brown sugar. Cinnamon infuses warmth and the oats give these sweet treats a chewy texture that contrasts with the crunch on the outside.

Toasted pecans are a perfect addition, too. However, you can switch them up for walnuts or another type of nut. They give each cookie some bite, while the dried fruit tastes wonderfully tangy and adds a pop of color.

Recipe: Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

sliced cinnamon raisin roll
sliced cinnamon raisin roll - Mark Beahm/Mashed

Add a sweet sensation to bread by including raisins, as well as honey and dark brown sugar. Boost the juicy taste of the dried fruit by adding cinnamon to create a warming doughy bite that's perfect for the cold weather. Incorporate the raisins evenly into the dough and add the cinnamon with a swirly filling.

Enjoy this bread by toasting a slice and slathering on butter so that it melts. It's also pretty good with peanut butter, frosting, and cream cheese.

Recipe: Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Classic Bread Pudding

raisin bread and butter pudding
raisin bread and butter pudding - Tommy Leung/Mashed

One of the best retro, dried fruit desserts has to be a classic bread pudding. It's got sweetness, a spiced vanilla taste, and is gloriously stodgy and creamy. To make the raisins extra juicy for this recipe, soak them in warm water for a few minutes to rehydrate. Plumping them up first means they aren't going to dry out in the pudding.

Aim for a crispy top and custardy consistency by adding the eggs to the creamy mixture once it's cooled. You want the result to be a little wobbly rather than stiff.

Recipe: Classic Bread Pudding

Chewy Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip coconut almond cookies
chocolate chip coconut almond cookies - Mark Beahm/Mashed

Homemade chocolate chip cookies are sensational. Adding shredded coconut turns them into one of the best dried fruit recipes to sweeten up your life. Toasted almonds take it to another level, adding crunchiness to the chewy texture.

If you've got the time and patience to wait, leaving the dough to rest in the fridge overnight will result in a better bake. Always bake the cookie dough in a preheated oven or the cookies won't come out as great. If you're feeling creative try using them for ice cream sandwiches.

Recipe: Chewy Coconut Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Easy Carrot Raisin Salad

carrot raisin salad in bowl
carrot raisin salad in bowl - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

The sweetness of shredded carrots and juicy raisins with a touch of tartness is fabulous when combined with a creamy mayo sauce. Meanwhile, brown sugar and chopped parsley bind the flavors into a sweet and savory salad that's incredible and requires so few ingredients.

Follow this recipe before veering off and adding your own culinary twist. How about adding sourness to balance the sweet taste by throwing in other dried fruit like cranberries or cherries in place of raisins? Try cutting down on the sugar and adding cracked black pepper too.

Recipe: Easy Carrot Raisin Salad

Easy Kaiserschmarrn

kaiserschmarrn with raisins and sugar
kaiserschmarrn with raisins and sugar - Liz Capozzoli/Mashed

If you're a fan of the taste of rum and raisins, this Austrian pancake dessert calls for soaking raisins in rum, making them juicy while adding a boozy flavor, too. Don't forget to drain the rum before adding the fruit to the batter.

If you're not great at flipping pancakes then this is the dish for you. Turn over quarters of the pancake to create a messy almost scrambled batter. The butter and sugar become caramelized and the rum-soaked raisins stand out tremendously. Serve with fruity preserves, plum butter, applesauce, or a drizzle of maple syrup.

Recipe: Easy Kaiserschmarrn

Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies
cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

This recipe is unique because the cookies are thin and crispy, whereas classic oatmeal cookies tend to be thicker and chewier. Enjoy the snap as you bite into them or add a little more dough to each scoop so that they are crispy with a soft center.

Make the dough before stirring in the rolled oats and raisins. Don't overmix at this point or else the dough will become tough. Leave enough room between each cookie on the sheet so they can expand and flatten in the oven.

Recipe: Crispy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Homemade Coconut Macaroons

chocolate drizzled coconut macaroons
chocolate drizzled coconut macaroons - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Coconut macaroons are chewy and have real substance to them. They are filling rather than light since the star ingredient is dried or desiccated coconut. The melted dark chocolate further enhances the tropical fruit by balancing the sweetness with a bitter note.

Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the macaroons and let them set in the freezer. Then you can flip them and do the same on the underside. They are wonderful as is, but there's nothing stopping you from adding a few raisins or other bits of dried fruit to the batter.

Recipe: Homemade Coconut Macaroons

Cowboy Cookies

stacked chocolate cookies on plate
stacked chocolate cookies on plate - Stephanie Rapone/Mashed

These cowboy cookies are chunky and rustic-looking rather than fancy, delicate treats. Unsweetened coconut flakes are added to the dough, along with dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips and quick oats. This recipe calls for chopped walnuts but pecans are just as delicious.

If you love dried fruit and want to mix some in, that'll work fantastically. However, it's best to replace some of the ingredients rather than simply add them. Too little dough and too many heavy extras could make the cookies fall apart. You want them sturdy and strong like a real cowboy. Recipe: Cowboy Cookies

Easy Granola Bars

chocolate chip coconut granola bar
chocolate chip coconut granola bar - Tara Rylie/Mashed

When a granola bar is chewy, a little crunchy, and packed with flavor, there's nothing like it. However, get it wrong and it can easily taste bland or be so dense that it is difficult to eat. This recipe calls for experimenting with different kinds of nut butter and using all-natural peanut butter. Chocolate chips and honey add sweetness, toasted almonds add crunchiness, and old-fashioned oats round out the texture.

Fruit-wise, instead of adding simple coconut flakes, toast them first in the oven to give the bars a fragrant depth of flavor.

Recipe: Easy Granola Bars

Fruit And Nut Basmati Rice Pilaf

basmati rice with fruits
basmati rice with fruits - Kate Shungu/Mashed

One of the easiest savory dried fruit recipes to sweeten up your life is a rice side dish. This dish is easily transformed by stirring dried cranberries with fluffy plain basmati. It's good to know that fresh fruit can also complement the ingredients. For this version, finely chopped apple boosts the sweet, tart taste.

Slivered almonds give the necessary crunch to contrast with the chewy texture of the cranberries. Fresh parsley pulls back on the sweetness to define this recipe as ultimately a fruity savory dish.

Recipe: Fruit And Nut Basmati Rice Pilaf

3-Ingredient Tomato Tart

puff pastry and sundried tomatoes
puff pastry and sundried tomatoes - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

Sundried tomatoes may not be as on-trend as they once were, but given the right recipe, they are spectacular. That's because they are packed with sweet umami goodness. Can you beat a tangy tomato tart?

Aside from at the deli counter, you can source jarred sundried tomatoes in oil. Instead of making your own dough, roll out a sheet of thawed-out frozen puff pastry. Brush with olive oil and create a frame so that the border puffs up around the baked tomato filling. Serve the salty-sweet dried fruit tart hot.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Tomato Tart

Creamy Sundried Tomato Pasta

pasta with mozzarella and tomatoes
pasta with mozzarella and tomatoes - Kristen Carli/Mashed

The ingredients for this creamy pasta dish highlight the headlining sundried tomatoes. This is one of those savory dried fruit recipes that will sweeten up your life enough to make it a firm favorite. Add whole sundried tomatoes for a visually stunning finish, halve them so that they mix evenly into the sauce, or even chop them.

Roma tomatoes add a base flavor, while mozzarella pearls, Parmesan, and heavy cream cut through the sweet and tangy taste with a cheesy, richness. Finally, olives, capers, and Italian seasoning provide a savory balance.

Recipe: Creamy Sundried Tomato Pasta

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

chicken with creamy spinach sauce
chicken with creamy spinach sauce - Feta Topalu/Mashed

Sundried tomatoes take savory dishes to the next level. Italian recipes that are tomato and cream-based are so much tastier with the intensely sweet and tart taste of this deli ingredient. The result is not just to sweeten the dish, but to let that sweetness add power to the other ingredients and create a depth of flavor that's mouthwatering.

Imagine this Tuscan chicken without any dried fruit -- it just wouldn't be as tempting. Garlic, Parmesan, and heavy whipping cream simmer away with the tomatoes and spinach to create an amazing sauce.

Recipe: Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Iced Raisin Bread

raisin bread with icing
raisin bread with icing - Angela Latimer/Mashed

Without the icing and yeasty dough this raisin bread wouldn't be as soft and sweet. What really defines the taste though is the perfect pairing of raisins and cinnamon. Add the raisins before the flour, so that they are fully mixed into the batter.

If you want to add other fruity extras, make sure they are dried. If not, you'll have to change the proportions of the other ingredients or you might not end up with a great result. Spread the creamy frosting once the bread has cooled and let it set before slicing.

Recipe: Iced Raisin Bread

Easy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

muffins on tea towel
muffins on tea towel - Kristen Carli/Mashed

Dried fruit infuses desserts with sweetness and juiciness, and it can give savory dishes a fruity tanginess. It's also a fabulous ingredient for breakfast muffins which are somewhere in between.

Fold old-fashioned oats and raisins into your muffin dough. Be gentle so that they are well-mixed without activating too much gluten in the mixture which toughens it up. You can eat these muffins cold as they are, fresh out of the oven, or quickly heat them in the microwave on busy mornings. The raisins add just enough sweetness to make them feel like a treat.

Recipe: Easy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

Sweet, Spicy, And Tangy Chamoy

chamoy in bowl with spoon
chamoy in bowl with spoon - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Chamoy is a popular Mexican condiment that's fruity, sweet, and spicy and commonly used as a dip or sauce. It's one of the most delicious dried fruit recipes that offer sweetness with a little kick, too. It's satisfying to make yourself in order to get just the right balance.

Along with dried hibiscus flowers and dried chilis, you'll need prunes and dried apricots. Simmer these ingredients in boiling water before adding fresh lime juice, chili powder, salt, and sugar. Then puree the ingredients in a blender and strain.

Recipe: Sweet, Spicy, And Tangy Chamoy

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