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Golden Raisins

When a recipe calls for golden raisins, your choices are surprisingly limited. But which is the best brand?

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Winner

Sun-Maid California Golden Raisins

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What We Learned

When a recipe calls for golden raisins, your choices are surprisingly limited. Only a few brands are available nationwide; they are processed practically the same way, and from the same grapes usually grown in the same region (California). Thompson Seedless green grapes (which are also the source for dark brown raisins) are dehydrated in ovens and treated with sulfur dioxide. This preservative keeps them golden yellow and moist.

A handful of specialty-food purveyors carry organic golden raisins, which are sun-dried Black Monukka or Sultana seedless grapes. They aren’t processed with sulfur dioxide, so the raisins turn pale green or a very light tan. We mail-ordered organic golden raisins called Hunza (the grapes are grown in a Himalayan valley), to see if they differ from the golden raisins we found at the supermarket. The Hunza cost nearly twice as much.

The first thing we noticed about the organic raisins, apart from their color, was that they tended to be drier and less plump than the national brands. Sampled plain, we liked the organic raisins fine, but not as much as we liked the plump sugariness of conventional golden raisins. A stalwart minority preferred the organic raisins over both conventional brands, praising their “lively” and “kiwi-like” taste, but most tasters found the “malted” and “honeyed” flavors and tender texture of conventional golden raisins more to their liking. Would it matter which kind of golden raisin we used in Morning Glory Muffins? No: All three brands passed muster in this round.

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*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.