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The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Oil

If you enjoy cooking, you might have come across lemon oil.

It has a distinctive taste that is often associated with French cuisine, but it can also be used in other dishes.

Lemon oil can be a great replacement for lemon juice if you don’t have it on hand or want to add a little extra flavor.

When using lemon oil, you should only use it a little at a time.

It’s easy to add too much when it tastes so good.

If you aren’t careful, your food could turn out inedible.

However, using lemon oil can be a problem too.

For one thing, it’s very expensive and is often sold in small amounts.

It also doesn’t keep for long, so you would have to use it quickly or store it someplace cool and dark.

If you’re not interested in the cost or bother buying lemon oil, you can use some effective substitutes.

Keep on reading for five of the best substitutes you can use.

What is Lemon Oil?

what is lemon oil

Lemon oil is a thin, clear liquid that tastes like the skin of a lemon.

It adds a fresh and slightly acidic flavor to any dish you put it in, making it perfect for salads, soups, and sauces.

This oil is made by pressing the skin of lemons to release its natural oils and is very different from lemon juice.

Lemon oil will keep in the fridge for up to a month or on your kitchen counter for up to two years.

The oil is often used as a substitute for fresh lemon juice because it’s concentrated and comes without calories and sugar.

It is especially good to use in baking, where it will give your cakes a fresh and delicate flavor.

Lemon oil can be used as a garnish on top of pasta dishes or vegetables but should never be used to season cooking oil before you begin frying because it could become bitter from the heat.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Oil

If you’re looking for a substitute for lemon oil, you’ve got lots of options.

Here are some of the best replacements:

1 – Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

freshly squeezed lemon juice

Lemon oil is pretty similar to freshly squeezed lemon juice, and it’s what most people think of when they think about using lemon in their cooking.

It adds fresh, acidic flavor to any dish and is often used in baking.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice will keep for a few days in the refrigerator but will get sourer the longer you wait.

In terms of taste, fresh lemon juice has a sharper, more acidic flavor that will brighten the flavors in any dish.

To use fresh lemon juice as a substitute for lemon oil, try adding it to your salad dressing or making a sauce with it.

2 – Lemon Extract

lemon extract

Lemon zest is the coarse peel of a lemon, which has been removed from its fruit with the help of a grater.

It is made up of two parts – oil and lemon particles.

The latter contributes essential oils, vitamins, and minerals to your food.

Lemon Extract tastes like a real bite of lemon.

You can use it as an easy substitute for fresh lemon juice or zest in baked goods, salads dressings, sauces, marinades, and more.

It’s crucial to note that you should only use this extract to substitute for lemon zest or juice because it will make your food taste too lemony if you try using it anywhere else.

To use the extract as a substitute for lemon oil, add one teaspoon of the extract to whatever dish you’re making.

3 – Other Citrus Juice

other citrus juice

There are several different types of citrus fruit, and each one can be used as a substitute for lemon oil.

Lime Oil is made from the rinds of limes and tastes like freshly squeezed limes.

It has an earthy flavor that works best in Mexican dishes.

Orange Oil is made from the rind of oranges, has a sweeter flavor, and is most commonly used in desserts.

Grapefruit oil can be made from grapefruit rinds, but you’ll usually find it in the form of grapefruit juice instead.

This provides a new edge to most dishes, making them taste slightly bitter since grapefruits are less acidic than lemons.

Similarly, any citrus fruit has the potential to be used as a substitute for lemon oil because it will add that sour, fresh citric flavor your dish needs.

4 – Lemon Zest

lemon zest

You can substitute lemon oil with lemon zest.

Lemon oil tastes so much like real fruit because it’s made of citric acid, limonene, and pinenes.

Since the zest is just the yellow part of the lemon rind and not any white or bitter parts, it will give you a more subtle flavor that isn’t too strong or sweet.

As with lemon extract, you’ll only want to use the zest in baking or cooking dishes because it will make your food taste bitter if it’s exposed to heat.

Depending on the dish, you can either add it in its raw form or cooked into the food.

5 – Lemoncello


Lemoncello is not a common substitute for lemon oil, but it does come from lemons and has a unique flavor.

It’s made by infusing vodka with lemon and sugar and can be enjoyed on its own or added to other cocktails.

The taste of limoncello is crisp and sour, so it can be used in lots of dishes to add a punch of flavor.

Make sure to use it in either cold dishes or ones that will be refrigerated after cooking because heating it will make it lose its flavor.


Lemon oil is an essential ingredient in baking and cooking, so it’s important to know how to substitute it if you don’t have any on hand.

Fresh lemon juice and zest, extract, citrus juices, and even limoncello can all be used to add that bright flavor that lemon oil provides.

Don’t forget that it’s crucial to add any substitute during the cooking process because adding them on top of your dish will make your food taste bitter.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemon Oil

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


  • Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Extract
  • Other Citrus Juice
  • Lemon Zest
  • Lemoncello


  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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