Lemon Juice Substitute – 8 Common Ingredients Worth Using

Run out of lemon juice or don’t like lemon?  If you are on with a recipe that calls for lemon juice and you just realized that you don’t have it. Nothing to worry about! There are enough alternatives to lemon juice to save your recipe. This article brings home to you 8 simple and easy substitutes for lemon juice.

The juice is extracted by crushing the pulp of lemon fruit. This juice has a wide range of culinary and non-culinary uses.

More than ever, lemon juice is a common ingredient in cooking and baking. Also, it’s an important ingredient in several home remedies for both health and beauty.

This citrusy juice is highly acidic with low pH levels. It’s an effective natural ingredient for fermentation and leavening that helps the baked goods to gain volume.

Lemon juice is also used in several dishes across the world for its wonderful citrusy flavor and aroma.

8 Convenient Substitutes For Lemon Juice

Fortunately, other substitute ingredients can also very well play the role of lemon juice in your cooking. So, you can manage your cooking even without lemon water. Here are 8 substitutes for lemon juice:

1. Lime juice

Lime juice is the number one substitute for lemon juice; it’s difficult to distinguish one from the other as they both have the same taste and acidity level.

Lime juice can very well be used in any recipes that call for lemon juice as they both produce the same tart and citrusy flavor.

Their same pH level is very significant for it allows lime and lemon juice to be used interchangeably in preserving or canning food.

2. Lemon zest

Lemon zest, grated lemon skin, contains all the flavor qualities of lemon juice. If you have lemon zest at your disposal, it’s a wonderful swap for lemon juice to produce the same lemon flavor and acidity in your dish.

Lemon zest works best in desserts, dressings, and in all dishes that call for lemon juice. Sorry, it won’t help in canning or preserving food as lemon juice does.

3. Citric acid

Lemon juice is naturally endowed with citric acid which is responsible for its citrusy flavor and fragrance.

Pure citric acid is highly concentrated, thus just one teaspoon of citric acid is equal to ½ cup of lemon juice in terms of their acidity.

You can comfortably replace lemon juice with citric acid, especially in baking. Some say that citric acid is a better option than lemon juice in baked goods as it helps to protect the vitamins and antioxidants from being destroyed in the process of cooking.

Using citric acid in place of lemon juice will definitely work, but the strong acidic content in citric acid can overpower your dish if not careful.

4. Lemon extract

Lemon extract is made with lemon peel, or zest, on the other hand, lemon juice is extracted from the flesh of the fruit. Lemon extract is a highly concentrated form of lemon flavor and citric acid. It’s enough to use two to three drops of lemon extract to flavor your dish.

Lemon extract is mostly used in desserts and baked goods as a replacement for lemon juice.

5. Orange juice

Orange juice is sweeter, less acidic, and tart than lemon juice. The flavor of orange juice is more appealing than lemon in baked goods, desserts, and candies.  Overall, orange juice is a worthy substitution for lemon juice, especially in sweet recipes.

While substituting, use orange juice in more quantity than lemon juice to achieve the same level of citrusy flavor.

6. Vinegar

In baking, you can easily swap in vinegar in place of lemon juice. Like lemon juice, vinegar is both acidic and tart.

In most dishes, vinegar can be used as a one-to-one replacement for the juice of a lemon.

However, everyone won’t enjoy the strong pungent flavor and aroma of vinegar. Thus, use vinegar in place of lemon juice when other better replacement options are absent.

7. White wine

White wine is popularly used in baking for its sweet, acidic, and tangy flavor. Undoubtedly, it’ll work as a good lemon juice substitute in most recipes, especially for baked goods and savory dishes.

It’s enough to use a small amount of white wine to achieve the desired acidic flavor. White wine is commonly used to deglaze pans, and also for magnifying the sweet acidic flavor of savory dishes.

8. Cream of tartar

Also known as potassium bitartrate, cream of tartar is the powdered form of tartaric acid that is extensively used in baking.

This cream is a popular ingredient used in whipped cream and for stabilizing egg whites. The baking powder you use in baking usually contains cream of tartar.

It’s a decent alternative to lemon juice for its acidic profile. Use about ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar for every 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.

How To Choose The  Best Substitute?

The replacement ingredient for lemon juice that you choose to use in the recipe should complement the overall taste profile of the food. Here are the tips for choosing the right substitute according to the type of dish:

Savory dishes

In place of lemon juice in savory dishes use one of the following:

  • An equal amount of lime juice
  • An equal amount of orange juice
  • Half the amount of white vinegar
  • Half the amount of white wine.

Baked and sweet dishes

In place of lemon juice in baked goods or sweet dishes using one of the following:

  • An equal amount of lime juice
  • An equal amount of orange juice
  • Few drops of lemon extract
  • Dried or frozen lemon zest
  • An equal amount of apple juice (for those who’re allergic to citrus)
  • Baking soda that includes cream of tartar
  • Vinegar, buttermilk, or yogurt (ingredients without citrus).


In place of lemon juice in cocktails use one of the following:

  • An equal amount of orange juice
  • Vinegar-based shrub (for those who’re allergic to citrus)
  • Any fresh herb that has a lemon flavor (lemon balm, lemon verbena, or lemon thyme)

Canning recipes

In place of lemon juice in canning recipes use one of the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is lemon juice flammable?

Lemon juice isn't flammable. It's mostly water (around 90%), with citric acid and other non-flammable substances. If heated, it would just evaporate without reaching a temperature to catch fire.

Does lemon juice keep strawberries fresh?

Lemon juice can extend strawberries' freshness. Its acidity stops mold and bacteria. Mix 1 part lemon juice with 3 parts water, soak strawberries for 5 minutes, then refrigerate. This method keeps strawberries fresh for an extra 2 days.

Is lemon juice low in FODMAP?

Lemon juice is low in FODMAPs, especially in usual servings like 3/4 cup. Most people handle smaller amounts well. But, concentrated lemon juice might be high in FODMAPs, so always check the label before using.

Where to find lemon juice in the grocery store?

In grocery stores, find lemon juice in the produce section near lemons and citrus fruits or the juice aisle alongside other fruit juices and drinks.

How much lemon juice from concentrate equals one lemon?

To replace the juice of one medium-sized lemon, use 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice concentrate. This amount can vary slightly based on the concentrate's strength.

What does lemon juice taste like?

Lemon juice tastes sour and citrusy, being one of the most acidic fruits with a pH near 2.2. Its sourness comes from citric acid, a natural organic acid found in lemons.

Is lemon juice gluten-free?

Lemon juice is gluten-free because it does not contain wheat, barley, or rye, which are grains that contain gluten.

Do you need lemon juice for apple pie?

Lemon juice isn't essential for apple pie, but it's used to stop apples from browning and add tartness to the flavor. It also boosts the taste of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in the pie filling.

How long will canned tomatoes last without lemon juices?

Canned tomatoes last 18-24 months without lemon juice. They might be less acidic than those canned with lemon juice, as lemon juice lowers the pH, making them more resistant to bacteria.

Final Thoughts

When you’re out of lemon juice or prefer an alternative, there are eight effective substitutes. Lime juice is the top choice, offering a similar taste and acidity.

Lemon zest can replicate the flavor in non-preservative uses. Citric acid, with a higher concentration, is great in baking. Lemon extract, a potent flavor option, works well in desserts. Orange juice provides a sweeter, less acidic substitute. Vinegar, with its tartness, can replace lemon in various dishes.

White wine offers a sweet, acidic taste for savory dishes and baking. Lastly, cream of tartar is a good acidic alternative, especially in baking.

Always add additional liquid when the replacement ingredient is a powder or in a highly concentrated form.

Related articles: