Lemon juice is a common ingredient in cooking, baking, and medicinal applications. It adds a tart, citrusy flavor to any savory and sweet dish, a refreshing burst to cocktails, and improve your health.

Due to its natural pH level, this juice helps baked goods to rise properly and preserve jellies and jams. [1, 2]

However, some people are sensitive or allergic to lemon, which makes them avoid this amazing ingredient. In that case, there are some substitutes for lemon juice that can deliver almost similar effects.

Let’s have an idea about these amazing alternatives that may perform the role of lemon juice if you’re allergic to it or simply run out of the lemon.

Substitutes for Lemon Juice

1. Lime Juice

With a similar acidity level and taste, lime juice can be the best lemon juice substitute, especially when it comes to preserving food. [3]

Due to its low pH level, lime juice is considered as a safer option for canned or preserved food than commercial vinegar.

Lime juice can perfectly replace lemon juice in a dessert with its tart and citrusy taste. However, the flavor of that dish will be a bit different.

2. Orange Juice

Orange juice is rich in vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, and can offer similar health benefits as lemon juice.

However, when used in recipes, it may bring a slightly different flavor as it’s sweeter and less acidic than lemon juice. [4]

Nevertheless, it can still be a great ingredient to use in sauces and salsas if used in a pinch.

substitutes for lemon juice

3. Lemon Zest

Using lemon zest is the easiest way to bring a similar flavor and acidity to your baking dish when you run out of the juice. Simply use it that you have on the rinds of this yellow, citrusy fruit.

When used in cocktails or other beverages, lemon zest can provide numerous health benefits as it has higher concentrations of many nutrients. [5]

4. Vinegar

Vinegar can be an excellent substitute for lemon juice if your recipe requires an acidic bite rather than sweetness. [6]

It comes with a strong, pungent flavor and should be used in a recipe where lemon juice is the key ingredient. Instead, you should use vinegar in cooking or baking, where only a small amount of lemon juice is needed.

5. Citric Acid

When baking, you can also use powdered citric acid as it’s a naturally occurring acid in lemon juice. [3]

This alternative is quite popular as only a small amount is needed. With the adjustment of other ingredients, one teaspoon of citric acid can provide similar acidity of about a 1/2 cup of lemon juice.

The best part is, when used in cooking, citric acid can prevent some vitamins and antioxidants from being destroyed. [7]

6. Lemon Extract

This highly concentrated lemon flavor can easily be found in the baking section of the supermarkets.

It can be a perfect choice to add in desserts where lemon juice is the key ingredient. Only a few drops can give the desired flavor in your recipe.

However, the lemon extract is highly concentrated, meaning that you need to add more liquid in the dish.

7. Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is an acidic powder that has many culinary uses. It’s a byproduct of winemaking that is commonly used to stabilize whipped cream or frosting cakes. [8]

You need to use a moderate amount of this product to replace lemon juice in baking as it’s quite acidic. A 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar can be good enough to replace one tsp of lemon juice.

As the cream of tartar lacks water, you may need additional liquid while preparing your dish. 

Note that, cream of tartar contains a high level of potassium, which may lead to a life-threatening condition called hyperkalemia. You are highly suggested to avoid this ingredient if you have kidney problems. [9]

8. White Wine

White wine can be an excellent one-to-one alternative to lemon juice due to the acidity present in the liquid. 

This option is particularly popular to use in savory dishes and to deglaze pans, where a certain amount of lemon juice can be replaced by half of that amount of white wine. [10]

Do not overuse this product as it may drastically change the flavor of the dish.

Final Word

Whether you’re cooking, baking, or making a cocktail drink, there are various ways to replace lemon juice.

While lime juice is known as the best lemon juice substitute, other ingredients may work just fine.

However, make sure to add extra liquid when using a highly concentrated or powdered ingredient, such as the lemon extract or cream of tartar.

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