Best Substitutes for Lemon Juice

Best Substitutes for Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is both sweet and tart. It gives a citrus taste to many recipes, and a healthy touch for best of health. Lemon juice is rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin C, manganese, citric acid, and many other vital nutrients.

If you are short of lemons, then you must know the best substitute for lemon juice. Some of the best options to replace it in cooking or medicinal uses are vinegar, lemon zest, lime and orange juice, Vitamin C solution or citric acid powder.

They are meant to use for different applications. But all have one or the other qualities of lemon juice to act as its replacement.

Best Substitutes for Lemon Juice

If you have issues of allergy with lemon juice or you are simply short of the lemons, you will need to replace it with other substitutes. There are many alternatives that you can choose from depending on the intended use and the effect of lemon juice that you want to duplicate.

  1. Lime Juice - Best Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Cocktails

As limes and lemons are related closely to each other. Lime juice is the most commonly used and best substitute for lemon juice. Lemons have a slightly sweeter taste, but if used in a cocktail, it will be difficult for the used to identify the difference with lemon juice.

The good thing is, lime juice is also rich in Vitamin C and other ingredients which are common in lemon juice. If your reason to use alternative to lemon juice is an allergy to citric acid, then use another sweeter option as apple juice.

  2. Orange Juice - Multiple Applications

Because of the special acidic and tarty flavor of lemon juice, it gives a unique taste to many dishes, salsas, and sauces. If you want to replace the lemon juice, choose an alternative that has the good part of citric acid in it to be able to give the distinctive flavor of the lemon juice.

Orange juice thus can be a suitable replacement of lemon juice. It also has a high content of potassium and calcium, vitamin C and other benefits.

So, Orange juice is one of the best substitutes for lemon juice for multiple applications.

  3. White Wine - Best Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Savory Dishes

White wine can also be a suitable replacement for the lemon juice because of the high content of its high acidity.  For a savory dish, the quantity of white wine is about half of the amount of lemon juice required. If you put the equal ration, the food will have high acidity, and final taste will also be spoiled.

  4. White Vinegar - Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Marinade

Vinegar can also be a suitable replacement for lemon juice for its high level of acidity. But vinegar lacks sweetness, so it is to be used to replace lemon juice only in savory dishes. It is required for dishes as marinades, salad dressings, and sauces.

The vinegar quantity is also to be carefully selected else it will overwhelm other flavors. Usually, the required vinegar quantity to replace is half the lemon juice for getting a similar result.

  5. Lemon Zest - for Beverages and Cocktails

Lemon Zest can be taken from the thing yellow skin on the outer lining of lemon. To efficiently get it to use a good zester. You can typically get half spoon of lemon zest for a medium size lemon.

Zest is a suitable replacement for lemon juice for many uses as it gives the same smell and flavor in beverages and cocktails. It also has a high content of many nutrients similar to the lemon juice. If you do not havea zester, you can also buy the dried zest from the market.

Usually, you can add half spoon of zest to replace one spoon of the lemon juice for same smell and flavor.

  6. Citric Acid Powder - Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Canning Items as Jams and Jellies

The lemon juice acidity is useful for canning items as jams and jellies. But if you do not have lemon juice, you can instead use the powdered citric acid. It is almost ten times more concentrated than the liquid lemon juice so, use a minimal quantity in the dish for a given amount of lemon juice.

  7. Packaged lime juice - for Overall

If you can avoid bottled lemon juice, do it as it lacks the fizz of the original juice. But, if you do not have the fresh lemons, you can use it as a replacement. Many good brands are available in the market that sells bottled lemon juice. While buying one, make sure that the seller stores it in a cold and dark place and check for expiry before completing the purchase.

Usually, you need to add bottled lemon juice in similar quantities to that of the natural juice. We suggest you may add about 10% more quantity of packaged lemon juice compared to the fresh option.

  8. Black lime - Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Dressings and Marinades

Tamarind or Black Lime is another suitable replacement for the lemon juice. It is one commonly used spice in Indian cooking. Black Lime has little sweetness but comes with deep sour lime taste with fermented tinge. It is a perfect replacement of lemon juice in savory dishes.

It can be effectively used in recipes of dressings, marinades, and drinks with the tangy taste. Make sure to dilute the tamarind pulp with water to get the required savory taste.

  9. Others

You can use the above substitutes for lemon as they are most useful for the purpose. However, there are some other options. These are:

  • Red Wine
  • Tomato Juice
  • Soy Sauce with sherry

These ingredients can also replace lemon juice in some specific uses, but cannot be used as all-purpose substitutes. They all have acidic nature and provides an excellent replacement to lemon while cooking meat. They help the cooking process by softening the meat fibers. 

You can also do your experimentation and try new ways to replace lemon juice after all cooking is nothing but trying new things and testing.

Read more: Best Citrus Juicer


Here we come to the end of our search for the best substitute for lemon juice.

The option to replace lemon juice suggested above can be used without any worry. You will be able to get the same taste. But, do this only when you are short of lemons, or you have some medical issues. It is because of the health benefits of lemon juice.

The Health Benefits of Lemon Juice

  • It is rich in potassium and sodium. One cup of lemon juice can provide 300 mg of potassium and 2 mg to sodium.
  • Lemon juice also lacks any fats or carbohydrates. The vitamin C in it also helps in healing sore throat and tonsils.
  • It is also an excellent herbal remedy for general issues as acne, bruises, cuts, etc. Asthma and high BP patients are recommended regular use of lemon juice as an herbal cure.

So, if you have to replace lemon juice for a shortage of lemons, make sure that next time you have your stock or you will miss so many of its benefits. Alternatively master the art of preserving lemon juice which can maintain it good for as long as 3 to 4 months.

If you do it properly, not only you can buy and preserve the lemon juice during season when they are cheap, but you will have an option better that other alternatives which are only close to natural lemon juice.

But if the issue is an allergy to lemons, then, of course, it is wise to use the other substitutes that we have suggested here.

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