Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve needed lemon juice for some tangy, tasty recipe but you were either out of lemons or the ones you had were more of a moldy green than a vibrant yellow? Don’t worry… we’ve all be there before.
So what do you do when life doesn’t give you lemons? Here are some of the most useful and crafty lemon juice substitutes that can help you out in a pinch.
What Are The Most Common Substitutes?
There are quite a few different lemon juice substitutes out there – ranging from the obvious ones like lime and orange juice, to the more questionable yet just as effective substitutes like vinegar and vitamin C solution.
Let’s take a look now!
1. Lime Juice
This probably won’t come as a surprise — it shouldn’t at least — but lime juice is by far the best substitute for lemon juice. The two are closely related, have similar levels of acidity, and have very similar tastes.
Limes aren’t as sweet as lemons, however, and so you’ll need to make slight adjustments to the quantity you use when incorporating the citrus into one recipes. But don’t fret as the difference won’t be all that noticeable if you’re switching out the two fruits in cocktails or recipes that also include a variety of other flavors.
2. Orange Juice
Another fruit high in acidity is the orange, which makes it another ideal candidate to replace lemon juice. If a recipe calls for the acidity of lemon juice more so than the flavor, then orange juice is going to probably be your best option.
Orange juice, while different in taste and sweetness, has similar levels of acidity as those found in lemon juice. Using orange juice as a replacement will help you out in a pinch and not rat you out to those you’re serving. Orange juice should be avoided, however, if the overall taste of the recipe relies on the distinct sourness of the lemon juice.
3. Citric Acid
If you’re needing lemon juice for canning but don’t have any lemons but have powdered citric acid, then you’re more than covered. You will only need a very small amount of the powdered citric acid to replace the less concentrated lemon juice. To put this into perspective, one teaspoon of powdered citric acid is equal to 1/2 cup of lemon juice, which makes the powder about 10x more concentrated than the liquid.
Citric acid will also come in handy when baking, where it can even help prevent certain nutrients from being destroyed during the cooking process.
4. White Wine
Use white wine as you would use lemon juice. Be careful though, as too much white wine can make the dish too acidic and throw off the taste of the meal. It’s best to start small and work your way up.
5. Cream of Tartar
Similar to citric acid powder, cream of tartar also makes for a great lemon juice substitute. But, like citric acid powder, you will need to adjust the liquids in whatever you’re baking to account for the lack of liquid from the lemon juice.
When substituting cream of tartar for lemon juice, make sure to start with 1/2 teaspoon for every 1 teaspoon of lemon juice call for in the recipe.
If you aren’t looking for the lemony taste or sweetness of lemon juice but still need the acidity, substituting with vinegar is going to be a great option for you.
The acidity of vinegar will help break down other flavors and ingredients in most savory dishes and sauces, but it can be easy to overdo it with this liquid ingredient. Make sure to use about half as much vinegar as you would lemon juice because too much will quickly change the taste of whatever you’re cooking.
Vinegar should also be avoided if you’re making a dish that relies on the sweetness of the lemon juice; you don’t want to be left with a strong, overly pungent taste offsetting your lemon meringue pie.
If you have a small bottle of lemon extract sitting around collecting dust in your spice cabinet, then here’s the perfect time to use it. It’s going to be a lot more potent than your regular lemon juice, so only a drop or two will do the job.
You won’t be able to get any of the acidity of lemon juice with the extract but you will get a heavy dose of the taste, so extract is best reserved for flavoring purposes. Like the powders mentioned above, you will need to add more liquids to whatever you’re cooking to offset the loss of lemon juice.
This next substitute sounds crazy, but stick with us. Did you know that you can use lemon zest instead of lemon juice? Well, you can. There’s just one catch… who has lemon zest but no lemon juice? If you have dried or frozen lemon zest (maybe for composting), then take them out of the cabinet or freezer and take a grater to them.
You won’t get a lot of the acidity (if any at all), but you will get that sweet, lemony flavor for recipes that rely on it. Make to sure to account for the lack of juice when using lemon zest while baking.
Vitamin C Solution
Lemon juice has a high quantity of [vitamin C](https://www.organicfacts.net/lemon-juice-substitutes.html#white-.
Lemon juice is a key ingredient in everything from cocktails to desserts and savory dishes and sauces. Whether you’re using it for its sourness and sweetness or using the acidity to break down meats and other dishes, lemon juice is one of the most versatile liquids in the culinary world.
Here are a few of the most useful ways to incorporate lemon juice in your great culinary adventure.
Lemon juice, like other citrus juices, is key to a number of cocktails. Here are a few of our favorites.
Everyone loves a clean tasting and lemony dessert, so let’s take a few of the best options out there.
And what would a savory dish or sauce be without a squirt of lemon juice to add some life to the recipe? If you haven’t tried this out, here are a few places to start:
- Meyer Lemon Pizza
- Honey Lemon Garlic Chicken
- Pork Scaloppine With Prosciutto, Sage, And Caramelized Lemon
So now, you should be able to get yourself out of just about any near disaster in the kitchen (or at the bar) if you don’t have any lemon juice sitting around. Be careful, though, as something as delicate as lemon juice (both for flavor and acidity) can be hard to replace or replicate.
It’s always best to make sure you have all of the proper ingredients before you start your next cooking adventure, but if you don’t have the time or forget to double-check, you should be more than covered with any of the substitutes listed above. Just keep an eye on those measurements!