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9 Delicious Cornichon Substitute Will Make You Surprised

Cornichon is a type of pickle food that you will love from the first try. Although it is not as famous as other pickles dishes, it tastes excellent! Regarding the taste, cornichon is sweet but tart. The smell is not solid but comforting. It is versatile enough that you are able to use it in any recipe. 

So, if there is not much cornichon left, what can I use instead of cornichon? In this post, let’s dive deep into some good alternatives and pick out the best cornichon substitute!

Additionally, we will help you pick out four factors to consider when selecting cornichon alternatives. Scroll down!

All About Cornichon

Cornichon Substitute
Cornichon

What is cornichons? In short, cornichons are made by pickling young gherkins. Please don’t mistake the gherkins for cucumbers. They are small (only an inch or two) and have a bumpier texture than cucumber.

After harvest, the gherkins are bathed in salt overnight. This step will draw out juices from the fruit. At the same time, simmer a portion of vinegar, cool, and pour the vinegar into the salted gherkins.

Seal the vinegar salt-gherkin jar, and store it in dry, cool places. You can add herbs such as tarragon, cloves, bay leaves, pearl onions, and thyme to the mixture too. After a few days, you will have a cornichon jar with firm, crispy gherkins.

So, what does cornichon taste like? Are cornichons sweet or dill?

In our opinion, cornichons are pretty sweet but tart. We normally ferment the gherkins with herbs (and spices), making the mixture absorb the aroma of herbs and spices. Compared to dill pickles, cornichons are crispy and crunchy but less acidic. Because of the gherkin origin, cornichons have a zesty flavor.

That being said, cornichons are an excellent counterpoint for charcuterie plates or the steak tartare.

What Is A Substitute For Cornichons?

After understanding the taste of cornichons, let’s figure out what are those good replacements for this food!

1. Dill Gherkins

Dill Gherkins
Dill Gherkins

Are cornichons the same as gherkins? – This is the most compatible cornichons replacement in general. From the taste to the texture, dill gherkins and cornichons are 9099% similar. 

To be more particular, they both originated from the same plant – gherkins, going through a similar fermentation process, so it makes sense that we choose dill gherkins as cornichon substitutions

So, is there any difference between gherkin and cornichon? – Dill gherkins seem larger, and cornichons are crispier. That is the point to compare!

2. Baby Dill Pickles

Baby Dill Pickles
Baby Dill Pickles

Tender, mild, acidic, fresh, salty – that is what we should describe as baby dill pickles. Once you try a bite of cornichons, you will never forget its flavor – a combination of crunchy, eatery, salty, acidic, mild sweet in one bite. 

Compared between ​​cornichons vs dill pickles, there are so many similarities in flavor profile and texture. That is the reason why we think baby dill pickles are an excellent choice to replace cornichons. 

3. Salted Cucumber

Salted Cucumber
Salted Cucumber

In the previous section, we mentioned that sweet gherkins and cucumbers are easily mistaken. So, can we use cucumber to alternate pickle cornichon? Yes, you can!

Here is what you should do: slice cucumbers into small pieces, then chop them across in large chunks. Put the slices in a plastic, closed container with a lid. 

Next, chop fresh dill, some cloves of garlic, and radish root. Put them into the container along with cucumbers. Finally, salt the cucumbers and seal with a lid. Shake the container for the next few minutes to ensure the cucumber is fully covered in salt.  

4. Zucchini

zucchini
zucchini

Why not think about zucchini when it is usually mistaken for cucumber?

More specifically, zucchini and cucumber are super similar in terms of texture and taste. The zucchini is a bit bitter and denser than cucumber. So, you can create a salted zucchini the same way you do for cucumber as guided above – cut the zucchini into small, long, chunky slices, bathe in salt, vinegar, and herbs if needed.

5. Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Vegetables
Pickled Vegetables

Suppose you don’t require the substitute to have the same dense composition as a cucumber but only prioritize the acidic and pickled flavor. Then, you don’t need to stick to the cucumber family. Just find other vegetables and then pickle them instead!

For example, you can choose carrot, cabbage, and radish. All may pickle very well. With the addition of vinegar, water, salt, and suitable seasonings, the vegetable pickles will have a super similar flavor to cornichons!

So, how to choose a vegetable to ferment? It depends. If you love colorful side dishes, carrot is a choice.

6. Chutney

Chutney
Chutney

Chutney is a gluten-free, healthful spice coming from India. Originated from fruits, vegetables, or herbs with vinegar, sugar, and spices, this spice is a perfect choice to add spiciness and a comforting fragrance to the dish. 

Consider using chutney if you don’t have any cornichon but looking for tangy, sour, sweet, but spicy herbs to go with cheese and crackers. It will tickle your mouth!

7. White Vinegar

white vinegar
White vinegar

This is the most distinctive option on the list, as white vinegar is obviously the only liquid here. White vinegar will be the answer if you are looking for a cornichon substitute that is acidic and does not require it to have a dense texture!

Compared to cornichons, white vinegar is more acidic, sharper, and provides a harsher smell. There is no similarity in texture, as mentioned.

When using vinegar in a cornichon recipe, please keep in mind that its strong smell may shock you at first! It’s better to pour in only a small amount of vinegar, then adjust it later. 

8. Green Olives

Green olives
Green olives

Green olives – seem to have nothing in common with cornichon, but is it possible to substitute? Can you believe that? 

In terms of nutrition, it is the most healthy cornichon alternative on the list. There are abundant sources of vitamins A, C & E – protecting cells from free radicals and shielding them against the effects of aging skin or wrinkles. Olives are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids (lutein), polyphenols, beta carotene.

What about their tastes? Well, they are fresh, fruity, rich, and watery. Even if you eat alone or mix with other greens, it always tastes good!

9. Capers

Capers
Capers

The last substitute we want to discuss is capers. What are capers, anyway? In short, capers are unripe, immature flower buds of the caper bush. 

The unripened bud is harvested, dried under the sunlight, then pickled in vinegar, brine, wine, and salt. The final collection is the caper pickles, which can be used as a substitute for cornichon.

In general, the capers’ flavor varies based on the age and size of the caper bush. When the bud is small and young, it has a delicate texture and mild sour taste. Meanwhile, as the bud matures, the caper will be more and more acidic.

In our opinion, caper tastes best when used in pasta, fish dishes, vegetable stews, and sauces. 

How To Choose A Cornichon Substitute

There are some aspects that you should take into consideration before picking a substitute for cornichon!

Purpose

If you need a side dish with a precisely similar flavor to cornichon, we think dill gherkins and baby dill pickles are the top choices. However, if you want your plate to be a bit more acidic, white vinegar seems to be an excellent solution to try on.

Texture And Structure

You also need to consider the texture and structure carefully. Personally, we advise you to choose the recipe that imitates the texture of cornichons, or else you have to think of adjusting the recipes to retain the original taste of cornichon. The more similar, the better!

Flavor

Besides texture, the flavor is another significant factor you have to be concerned about. It would be best if you opt for the ingredients that have the closest flavor to your demanded taste, and the tip is to select the recipes that have the same origin as your cornichons!

Diet Restriction

Finally, we must mention diet restrictions. Though most people ignore this point, nutrition facts are the first thing you must consider. The older you are, the more significant it becomes!

So, please have the doctor check your health frequently and list out the diet for your own, and choose recipes that are not harmful to your health. To add-in, you also need to modify the recipes if it exceeds your diet restriction.

Conclusion

In general, there are nine typical alternatives you must know about. Each option has its pros and cons, and how to choose the most compatible cornichon substitute for you? Based on four factors, including purpose, texture, diet restriction, and flavor.

Do you have any questions related to cooking? Share with us in the comment box!

Kevin Richard
 

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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