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Cooking with Zest: 5 BEST Substitutes for Sumac

Sumac’s out of stock again? No problem. We’ve got you covered with the top 5 swaps that’ll save your dish.

Sumac packs a tart, citrusy punch that’s hard to beat.

Yet, we often find our pantry missing this red gem.

Thankfully, other ingredients can step in to bring that tangy zing to your meals.

These swaps are not just stand-ins; they bring their unique flair.

From lemon zest to pomegranate molasses, each substitute offers a flavor twist.

And the best part? You probably have most of them at home right now.

So, let’s dive in and keep your cooking game strong, even without sumac.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sumac

For many people, sumac is an acquired taste.

The tart and tangy flavor of the spice is not for everyone.

If you’re one of those who doesn’t love sumac, don’t worry.

There are plenty of other herbs that can give your food the same zing without the intense flavor.

Here are 5 of the best substitutes for sumac:

1 – Lemon Juice

lemon juice

Lemon juice is a sour liquid that is produced by lemons.

It is high in citric acid and has a strong, acidic taste.

Lemon juice is used to add flavor to food or make it sourer.

It is also used as a cleaner and degreaser.

Lemon juice can be bought at the store or made at home.

Store-bought lemon juice is usually less sour than homemade lemon juice.

Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a cup to make lemon juice.

You can also use a juicer to get the lemon juice out of the lemon.

Lemon juice can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

2 – Za’atar


Za’atar is a spice blend that originates from the Middle East.

It typically includes sumac, thyme, and sesame seeds, and it can be used in various dishes.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy za’atar is by sprinkling it on flatbreads or dipping bread into a mixture of olive oil and za’atar.

It can also be used to flavor couscous, rice, and meat dishes.

Za’atar has a unique flavor that is both earthy and tangy, and it is an essential ingredient in many Middle Eastern recipes.

Whether you use it as a dip, a seasoning, or a marinade, za’atar will add flavor to your favorite dishes.

3 – Lemon Pepper Seasoning

lemon pepper seasoning

Lemon pepper seasoning is a popular spice blend that combines the tartness of lemon with the heat of black pepper.

The combination of these two flavors makes it a versatile seasoning that can be used on various dishes.

Lemon pepper can add flavor to chicken, fish, and vegetables.

It is also a common ingredient in Italian and Asian cuisine.

In addition to being a flavorful seasoning, lemon pepper also has some health benefits.

Black pepper is known to aid digestion, and lemon is a good source of Vitamin C.

So, lemon pepper seasoning makes your food taste great, but it may also help you stay healthy.

4 – Tamarind


Tamarind is a fruit that originates from Africa, and it’s become quite popular in recent years.

The fruit itself is encased in a hard shell, and inside is a sticky, sweet-tart pulp.

Tamarind is often used in Asian cuisine, and it’s known for its unique flavor.

The pulp can make several different dishes, including curries, stews, and sauces.

In addition to its culinary uses, tamarind has also been traditionally used as a medicinal remedy.

The fruit contains high levels of vitamins and minerals, making it beneficial for treating various ailments.

Today, tamarind is celebrated for its versatility and health benefits, and it’s sure to continue gaining popularity in the years to come.

5 – Vinegar


When it comes to cooking, cleaning, and even gardening, vinegar is a true powerhouse.

This tart and tangy liquid is produced by fermentation and has been used for centuries in various ways.

In cooking, vinegar can add flavor to salads, sauces, and marinades.

It can also be used as a natural cleaning agent due to its ability to cut through grease and grime.

And for gardeners, vinegar can be used as an eco-friendly weed killer.

Vinegar is a versatile and affordable household staple no matter how it’s used.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sumac

Craving the vibrant taste of sumac but need a substitute? Your search ends here! Check out our list of the 5 best alternatives that seamlessly replace sumac, ensuring your dishes maintain that distinctive tangy kick.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Lemon Juice
  • Za’atar
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Tamarind
  • Vinegar


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for sumac
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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