Raisins / Sultana

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Raisins and sultanas are both types of dried fruit that are used and consumed in similar form. Yet there are several things that set raisins and sultanas apart from each other. Raisins and sultanas are both sweet dried fruits that are obtained from different varieties of vine-grown grapes. While different in color and slightly different in sweetness and size, raisins and sultanas are actually quite similar.

Since they’re used in many of the same ways, they are often easily substituted for one another. Sultanas and raisins are also easily available in the market and not as expensive as other dried fruits.


A raisin is a dried grape. The grapes can be dried by the sun or a mechanical process, resulting in raisins. These dried fruits are produced and eaten around the world. Raisins are enjoyed raw or used in cooking and baking.

More about sultanas

Sultanas are also known as golden raisins. They are golden colored dried grapes that are made from various varieties of seedless white-fleshed grapes. The skin of these fruits start off as pale yellow in color, but unlike raisins, don’t darken in the same way as they dry.

They Have Similar Uses in the Kitchen

Raisins, sultanas and currants are all incredibly versatile and can be eaten alone, as a snack or added to rice dishes, stews, salads, oatmeal and baked goods.

Despite their slight differences in size and taste, each can be used in many of the same recipes and can be easily substituted for one another.

Here are some ideas for how to incorporate them into your diet:

Add to a cheese platter:

Dried grapes make a gourmet addition to a cheese platter. As the largest of the three, raisins work best and pair nicely with creamy brie, nuts and crackers.

Eat as a morning or afternoon snack:

You can eat them plain or add to yogurt or nuts for a more substantial snack. Alternatively, try making your own trail mix.

    Add to oatmeal:

A small sprinkling of raisins, sultanas and currants adds natural sweetness to your porridge.

    Add to baked goods:

Adding dried fruit to muffins, granola bars and cookies is a great way to sweeten baked goods. Raisins and sultanas are particularly good for soaking up other flavors and make the finished product even tastier.

    Add to salads:

Currants, in particular, are excellent for adding sweetness and texture to salads. They pair well with bitter greens and crunchy nuts.    

Add to savory dishes:

Try adding any of the three to savory dishes such as curries, meatballs,

, chutneys, rice pilaf and couscous . Currants often work best due to their small size.

Store raisins, sultanas and currants in a cool, dry and dark place such as in the pantry. Place them in a sealed bag or store them in a glass jar.

Which Type Should You Choose?

Raisins, sultanas and currants are all highly nutritious and make good substitutes for one another.

At the end of the day, it is best to choose on a case-by-case basis depending on the recipe or dish and your taste preferences.

It is also important to keep in mind that some manufacturers add a preservative called sulfur dioxide to retain the color of the fresh grape. It is mainly used for sultanas or “golden raisins.”

Some individuals are sensitive to sulfur dioxide and experience symptoms such as stomach cramps, skin rashes and asthma attacks after eating it.

If you are sensitive to sulfur dioxide, look out for this preservative on the label.

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