The Best Desserts To Use Canned Peaches Over Fresh

While opting for fresh fruit over canned is usually an obvious choice, some desserts can really benefit from soft, syrupy slices over firmer, fresh ones. This is especially true when it comes to peachy treats. Recipes for vibrant jellos and whipped cream salads — along with a plethora of other fruit cocktail desserts — usually default to canned peaches, and for a good reason. The tender, juicy texture and floral, sweet flavors are just so good. Canned peaches are a convenient swap for fresh too, as they're already sweetened and soft. Plus, since they're pre-sliced, this makes the prep process of desserts much easier.


Most peach desserts where the fruit needs to achieve a soft, mushy texture will taste amazing with canned peaches in lieu of fresh. Canned peaches are already cooked before hitting the shelves, so they're much more succulent than fresh ones are. This makes canned peaches a great candidate to put into fillings for baked treats (like a pie or peach cobbler), a syrupy sauce to use as a topping for a sundae, jams or compotes, and more. The juice of canned peaches really infuses desserts with added flavor, and they can especially come in handy when winter rolls around.

Always used canned peaches over fresh during winter

Winter is the ideal time to use canned peaches in your desserts. The perfect time to harvest fresh peaches depends on the region, but generally speaking, this fruit is at its peak freshness level between April and October. It is best to buy fresh peaches during these months, but any time outside of it, canned varieties will be better. Farmers harvest peaches meant for canning when they're at their ripest, so they will most likely lend a better flavor and texture than those out-of-season picks. The off-season peaches in the store might seem fresh, but this fruit has to be harvested and shipped from a faraway region, so the peaches won't be at their best by the time they reach your local grocery. 


Finally, much like canned pumpkin, there can be a nutritional advantage to using canned peaches over fresh, as they sometimes have even more vitamin C and E than fresh peaches. For desserts where you want your peach to keep that subtle soft bite — like a crunchy crisp, a summery peach cake, or a pie — you might want to stick with fresh to keep the dessert's shape intact and provide some satisfying contrast to the other ingredients.

How to make this simple swap for your next peach treat

While actual measurements might vary, most 16-ounce cans of peaches will yield about the same amount of fruit as three fresh peaches. Keep this in mind when swapping out fresh peaches for canned. There are different types of canned peaches to choose from, such as slices kept in syrup or juice, so read the label before you buy and make the choice based on your recipe's needs. 


If you are swapping canned peaches for fresh, don't forget to alter your recipe based on your chosen can's ingredients. For example, if you opt for a can of peaches kept in syrup, don't forget to drain the liquid before adding the slices to your other ingredients. You might also want to use less sugar in your recipe with peaches kept in syrup to prevent it from becoming too sweet. 

With all these things in mind, you should be ready to craft an expertly-elevated dessert. (And if you're worried about the flavor, try this 2-ingredient fix that can jazz up any canned fruit.)