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The 5 Best Substitutes for Lime

A few drops of lime can enhance a dish making it more aromatic and flavorful.

Like lemon, it’s versatile, and you can add it to desserts, savory dishes and salads.

Lime is available throughout the year, so you can always keep some in the kitchen.

However, if you use it every day and in multiple dishes, it will also run out fast.

But most citruses can take its place.

So, even if you don’t have it or can’t find it in the stores, you don’t need to panic.

You can choose from several citrus fruits, which we will mention below.

In the following sections, we will learn about the 5 best substitutes for lime that can work as an alternative during emergencies.

What is Lime?

what is lime

Lime is a green and round citrus fruit that may become light yellow when ripe.

However, the flavor and aroma remain the same, except it gets juicier when mature.

It’s grown in many regions around the world, and so it’s popular in many cuisines.

You can add lime to fried dishes, marinades, salads, soups, meat rubs, and much more.

Besides the juice, you can also use its zest as a garnish in different dishes according to preference.

Apart from foods, many products contain lime, such as creams and lotions, soaps, shower gels, perfumes, shampoos, detergent powders, dish cleaners, floor cleaners, etc.

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Besides, it’s high in vitamin C, antioxidants and other nutrients.

So, you can enjoy its taste and benefit health-wise too.

The 5 Best Substitutes For Lime

You can use the following five items in place of lime whenever it’s not available, or you wish to use something different.

1 – Lemon


Lemon is the first alternative that comes to mind as it’s similar to lime and abundantly available.

You can also grow a lemon tree and get an endless supply once it reaches its maturity.

Lemon juice, peel and zest are all suitable ingredients in different dishes.

Like lime, lemon is very tangy in taste but can make a dish even more delicious when combined with other ingredients.

You can use lemon juice in dressings or sauces and use it as a seasoning with the zest.

It enhances savory and sweet dishes, so you have plenty of options.

Fresh lemon juice and zest can be perfect in plenty of dishes.

You can use a grater to take out the outer peel and use an appliance to take out the juice.

Or you can simply cut it in half with a knife and squeeze it on your food while cooking.

You can use equal quantity for lemon and lime.

  • 1 tablespoon lime = 1 tablespoon lemon.

2 – Vinegar


If you are looking for a similar acidity as lime, vinegar can work great too.

You can use apple cider, rice wine vinegar, red and white wine vinegar (these don’t have any alcohol content), and balsamic vinegar.

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Vinegar is sharper in flavor than lime, so a small amount will bring out the best taste.

Apple cider is ideal as a natural preservative, so you can use it in pickles, and it works fine in a barbeque sauce too.

Rice wine vinegar is good in sushi rice and as a salad dressing.

You can add red and white wine vinegar in salad dressings, sauces, and spreads.

Balsamic vinegar works great in salads too.

However, you can also experiment sometimes and add vinegar to marinades and fried dishes.

Since vinegar is more acidic, use.

  • 1 tablespoon lime = 1/2 tablespoon vinegar (add more if necessary or until you get the right taste.

3 – Grapefruit


Grapefruit is bigger and less sour but can substitute lime in most dishes as they both belong to the citrus family.

A bottled version will also work if you don’t have the fresh fruit to make juice.

According to requirements, use it in salad dressings, desserts, sauces, and marinades.

You can also add a teaspoon or two to fried dishes and soups if you want some tang.

Grapefruit juice will also work fine in baked products.

Besides the juice, you can even add whole pieces of the fruit to salads and other dishes.

Grapefruit has few calories but contains loads of nutrients.

So, it can be an ideal addition to your daily diet too.

It can help boost the immune system and maintain weight.

Suitable ratio.

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice = 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice.

4 – Tamarind


The tangy fruit may not be the first choice for most people, but it can be an excellent alternative to lime.

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Though not of the same family, tamarind has a citrusy and sour flavor, giving a similar taste in most dishes.

When using it in dishes, mix the pulp with water before adding.

If you’re looking for a similar sour flavor like lime, you can add it to dressings, marinades, and sauces.

It can also work pretty well in desserts and soups.

It’s a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine, both in savory and sweet dishes.

They include the popular sweet and sour chutneys and also the spicy tamarind.

When using it instead of lime, the proper ratio would be.

  • 2 tablespoon lime = 1 tablespoon tamarind.

5 – White Wine

white wine

This alternative is only when there is nothing else to use.

White wine is less acidic than lime, but you can use it in various dishes without transforming the flavor significantly.

There are various ways in which you can use white wine just as lime.

Add it to risotto, make sauces for sautéed pork, chicken, fish and mushrooms.

You can also use it in stews and sauces.

Marinades will also taste delicious if you add some white wine.

You can also add it to other dishes that ask for lime and still get the flavor you desire.

Suitable ratio.

  • 1 tablespoon lime = 1 tablespoon white wine.


Just because you don’t have lime, it doesn’t mean your dish has to go without some tang and freshness.

You may add one of the above ingredients and make a great dish.

Besides these items, you can also use other citrus fruits, bottled lime juice, black lime and even red wine.

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If you love to cook, experiment with small quantities to get the best taste.

You can the ingredients not only to the types of cooking and dishes that we mentioned but you can add it to anything if you like.

Start with a tiny amount and continue till you achieve that perfect flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I use instead of lime or lemon?

Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines can all be used in place of limes or lemons.

Additionally, vinegar is also a great substitute for lime in a variety of dishes. Balsamic and apple cider vinegars both add a fruity tang to recipes that require citrus flavors.

What is a non citrus substitute for lime juice?

Non-citrus substitutes for lime juice include kiwi, mango, or pineapple juice. These can provide the same flavor and acidity as lime while avoiding the citrus notes.

You should adjust the amount of liquid in your recipe accordingly to make up for the higher sugar content in these juices.

What can I use instead of lime juice Thai?

Lime juice is a key ingredient in Thai cooking. A great substitute for lime juice in this cuisine is tamarind paste or concentrate, which has a similar sour flavor and can be used to balance the sweet and salty flavors of many Thai dishes.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lime

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


  • Lemon
  • Vinegar
  • Grapefruit
  • Tamarind
  • White Wine


  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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