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The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract

Lemon extract is a popular flavoring for sweet and savory dishes.

It imparts a sour taste without adding actual lemons or lemon juice, which can be harsh or bitter.

The extract comes from oils commonly found in lemon zest and limonene, a chemical compound found in citrus fruits.

There are many reasons why someone may consider a substitute for lemon extract, such as the extract being too expensive, not having easy access to it, or not wanting to use it for health reasons.

However, many other ingredients can be used instead of lemon extract in a recipe.

This article will provide a list of 5 different substitutes for lemon extract.

What is Lemon Extract?

what is lemon extract

First used by the Romans to add a tangy taste to foods and wines, the lemon extract is a flavoring used for baking, drinks, and sauces.

But why should you use it instead of fresh lemons?

First imported from Europe, the lemon extract has been popular in North America since the 1800s because of its convenience.

While using real lemons takes time, the lemon extract is fast and easy to use.

The lemon extract has a cleaner and more intense flavor than fresh lemons in terms of taste.

The lemon’s essential oils do not mix with water like its juice, and it is also free of pulp and seeds.

Lemon extract can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, versatile for cooking with breakfast foods to dinner recipes.

While you can buy pre-made lemon extract or make your own using fresh lemons, the flavor of fresh lemon juice isn’t as strong as its concentrated counterpart.

If you are looking for a more intense lemon flavor, you should use lemon extract.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract

If you are looking for an easy substitution for lemon extract, here are the 5 top choices you can use.

1 – Lemon Juice

lemon juice

First, citrus juice is a great substitute because it has a similar flavor profile to lemon extract.

It does have pulp and seeds, so keep that in mind when substituting citrus juices for lemon extract.

When using lemon juice, make sure you pay attention to the timing of your recipe.

It’s crucial to note that anything with a short cooking time shouldn’t be made with fresh lemon juice because it causes an indigestion-like reaction (this is due to the chemical citric acid).

Keep in mind that citrus juices are acidic and will alter the recipe’s flavor if it isn’t reduced.

2 – Lime Juice

lime juice

Although lime juice is a great substitute for lemon extract, keep in mind that your dish may have a different taste profile.

This is because the two have distinct flavors.

In addition to this, lime juice has pulp and seeds, altering your recipe if it isn’t reduced.

The benefit of this substitution is that lime juice has a more intense flavor than lemon extract.

Some even recommend using pisco in place of lemon extract.

Another benefit of using lime juice – it won’t alter your recipe’s acidity, so you can use it with recipes that have short cooking times.

3 – Lime Extract

lime extract

Lime extract is a great substitute for lemon extract because it has a more intense flavor than fresh limes.

This is because lime extracts contain higher concentrations of citric acid and flavonoids.

To use lime extract, you can add it in place of lemon extract at a one-to-one ratio.

This alternative shouldn’t alter the flavor of your recipe.

Lime extract is not as strong as lemon extract so that you can use it with recipes requiring longer cooking time.

4 – Orange Extract

orange extract

Orange extract is a great substitute for lemon extract because it has a sweet and sour flavor.

It’s crucial to note that orange extract has an intense flavor, so you should use one-fourth the amount of orange extract than what your recipe calls for if using instead of lemon extract.

This alternative won’t alter your dish’s acidity, so it’s suitable for recipes requiring longer cooking time.

Another benefit of using orange extract is that it won’t alter your dish’s color or texture.

It can, however, affect the flavor profile of your dish if you go overboard with the amount you use.

5 – Orange Juice

orange juice

Last but not least, you can use orange juice as a substitute for lemon extract.

Just like lime juice, be aware that it has pulp and seeds, so your dish may have a different taste profile than the original recipe intended.

Orange juice is more acidic than lemon extract, so keep in mind that this alternative will alter your recipe’s acidity.

This means you should be mindful of your dish’s cooking time and adjust as necessary.

Be aware that orange juice is a great substitute for lemon extract; however, orange juice does not contain as much citric acid as its alternative.

This means that it won’t give your dishes as much flavor or intensity as lemon extract would.


Lemon extract has become quite popular in recent years.

However, some alternatives can be used when making baked goods and other recipes that call for it.

Although lemon and lime juice and extracts can be used as substitutes, some alternatives will not alter your dish’s flavor profile or acidity.

In addition to this, consider using orange extract or orange juice as a substitute because they have an intense citrus flavor – which is the key characteristic of lemons.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Lime Extract
  • Orange Extract
  • Orange Juice


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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