substitute for lemon extract for citrus flavor

lemon extract is made from lemon oil and is popularly used in making sorbets, citrus soda drinks, cakes, sauces, ice creams and other similar recipes to add a tinge of tanginess and citrus flavor in your dishes. substitute for lemon extract are required in case you cant get your hands on authentic good quality lemon extract from market.

If you are wondering how to make lemon extract then let me give you the basic recipe for homemade lemon extract. take couple of lemons and add about 6-7 ounces of vodka, you can take other spirits also if you like some food based or fruit spirits for your extract making. if you like non alcohol based option then choose food grade glycerin for making lemon extract but it will take longer to make as infusion of lemon peels take longer time in glycerin.

you need to add lemon peels in the jar and then add vodka in it filled till 3/4 level of jar. now allow it to sit in kitchen shelf for about 6-7 week. Once done you can keep it in kitchen or fridge as per your choice for very long time to consume whenever you want.

substitute for lemon extract

If you don’t have lemon extract or cant make at home then use the below shared substitutes for lemon extracts for better taste from your dishes and recipe.

lemon extract substitutes and alternatives

lemon oil

lemon oil is used in preparation of lemon extract so it can work as an alternative for lemon extract without any issue. the concentration of lemon oil is more when compared to lemon extract so the amount of oil required when replacing extract would be less.

it would great for sweet dishes like cakes, pastries, pies etc. you can add about 1/6 spoon of lemon oil for every 1 spoon of lemon extract for replacement purposes.

some of the less know but well received benefits of lemon oil includes its helpful properties to treat arthritis, act as natural antiseptic, remove dandruff and make your hair shiny. to give your dishes a distinct aroma and mild citrus flavor you can add it in your curries and savory dishes also. it also works great when used in grilled food rubs,  marinades and similar food choices to make it a great tasty meal platter.

lemon oil

lemon juice

lemon juice is commonly found alternative for lemon extract to add in your dishes for better sour lemon lie take. it is little less concentrated then extract so the quantity of the lemon juice require to replace extract would be little extra, rest it depends upon your liking of lemon flavor in your dish weather is juice or extract you can adjust as per your liking to get perfect flavor.

you can add about 2 spoons of juice for 1 spoon extract when substituting the juice for works for both sweet dishes like lemon cake, lemon pies etc. and savory dishes like salads, pies, grilled chicken etc.

lime extract

lime extract also comes with sour, citrus and little bitter favor you require in your food items. it is mainly used in preparation of desserts like cakes, pies, ice creams, and other similar desserts. you can use 1 spoon lime extract for every 1 spoon lemon extract replacement it works the same.

it has little different flavor than lemon so checkout with few recipes to see if you like the overall taste of dish else don’t use it in future and buy some other alternative for lemon extract.

lime juice

if you are looking for something more intense than lemon for replacement then lime can work for you as the flavor of lime is intense when compared to lemons. it will give you little different flavor in different recipes like drinks, smoothies, pies, cakes, salads etc. so test it out in recipes to see if you like the taste of lime or not.

you can add about 2 spoons of lime juice for every one spoon of lemon extract in your dishes. they are packed with lots of vitamin c and lot of anti oxidants which helps to improve the body immunity and makes your skin clear. people have also found many benefits for kidney stone removal and reduction of unwanted heart issues. lime water is very popular among fitness and health enthusiasts as it helps to maintains good body metabolism and protects you from unwanted infections.

lime oil

lime oil is potent just like lemon oil with a little flavor and can works in all kinds of dishes to replace lemon extract. the quantity for replacement would be 1/6 spoon of lime oil for every 1 spoon lemon extract in dishes of your choices.

lime oil are popular with treating outside body ulcers and mouth ulcers effectively. if you take it internally then it helps clean the body and get rid of toxins from your body.

lime oil image

lemon zest

lemon zest is basically grated lemon peel in small sizes. it can work as an replacement for lemon extract. lemon peels are solid and have different texture than extract. you can add it in dishes in which you want a lemon like flavor without using lemon extract. you can add it in your favorite cakes, salads, pies and other similar desserts and dishes.

some lemons don’t have peels while have so buy the one which have peels to get tasty lemon zest. you can add 1 spoon of lemon zest to your dishes for replacement of 1 spoon lemon extract. add it gradually at the rate of 1/2 spoon per iteration to get best taste from the food as per your liking.

lemon zest


vinegar can also be used in place of lemon extract if you don’t have anything else to replace it with. it gives good taste in pickles, salads, cooked food, tacos, grilled food etc. it has acidic flavor with no lemon like taste. your dish wont taste like lemon but would have acidic flavor to it. add it in 1/2 spoon iteration as it is more acidic than lemon and may spoil your dish if added in excess quantity. you can use white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar etc. as per your dish and recipe requirement.

vinegar is quite popular and used to add acidity in the recipes with its strong citrus taste which makes it popular alternative when you don’t have lemon in your fridge to make lemon extract. their are many varieties of vinegar like balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, malt vinegar, wine vinegar etc. to make your dish tasty as per your liking.

lemon essence

lemon essence is a popular choice to use when you don’t have extract as it works wonderfully in all kinds of desserts like cakes, whipped cream preparation, cookies etc. It does not suit savory cooked food items so choose some other alternative if you want to add in savory dishes.

if does not add lemon like citrus and acidic taste to your dishes but only gives flavor similar to lemon so if you want citrus taste then choose something else. it is used in all kinds of  sweet desserts to make tasty recipes like never before in flavor if you haven’t tried it before. people adds it in puddings, lemon pies, fruit pies, dips and marinades for savory dishes. lemon pickles also gives good aroma when introduced with little bit of lemon essence.

orange extract

orange extract can also be used to replace lemon extract if you like flavor of orange. it will work great in some dishes like cakes etc. but may not work in pies and savory recipes due to difference in taste from lemon extract. it has little sweetness to it which is not present in the lemon extract.

orange extract

Add it it small quantities gradually to see if you like the taste in your dish to enjoy with your family.

orange extract recipe is very simple, all you need to take it is orange zest or outside orange peels and add it in a jar with some water, cider(optional), 1-2 orange slices, vinegar and some vodka/liquor of your choice and shake the jar every week once.

keep this for 4-7 weeks and your extract would be ready to use in dishes of your choice including sweet dishes like cakes, cookies, fruit pies, fruit cakes, pound fruit cakes, gelatin pastries, fruit salads, make orange sauce, duck sauce, ponzu sauce with it, add it in different variety of fruit jams etc.

if you are looking to use it in savory dishes then you can use in rice platter, tofu-veggies platters, chicken dishes, salad bowls etc. to give them orange like tangy tinge in the recipe

Frequently asked questions

what is difference between lemon juice and lemon extract?

both the lemon products are different as lemon extract is made from lemon oil and if the oil is made without any impurities and added substances then it is pure and you may find pure label on its bottle. it does not have artificial flavor added to it.

lemon juice is extracted from fresh lemons. it has citrus flavor with smaller shelf life due to no preservatives added. it has more acidic taste when compared to lemon extract.

Is lemon extract stronger than vanilla extract?

vanilla extract gives a unique flavor and aroma to the food recipe in which it is added. generally it is added to desserts for its unique flavor properties which are instantly recognizable in first bite and are pleasant to your taste buds too. whereas lemon extract on the other hand has slight bitter and stronger citrus flavor in it which makes dishes citrusy and acidic in which it is added. you can add it in lemon pie, roast bbq marinades and other savory and sweet dishes as per your liking in small quantities due to its stronger taste and flavor profile when compared to vanilla extract.

what is substitute for lemon extract in cake?

if you don’t have lemon extract with you to add in your cake recipes then you can use vanilla extract, lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar or baking soda, lime zest to add some citrus flavor and aroma in your cake recipes. some people also prefer to add little bit orange zest or orange juice or any other citrus fruit of their liking like berries, grapes etc. to get the similar taste profile like lemon extract in its absence for delicious sweet desserts including cakes and pastries.

can i use cream of tartar in absence of lemon extract?

yes cream of tartar can be used as substitute for lemon extract upto some extent in some recipe if you like its taste. like it can be added in cake and fruit pastries etc. for fruit and lemon like citrus flavor in subtle under tones. you can checkout our list of substitutes for cream of tartar if interested in them.


hope you like my collection of some of the possible lemon extract alternatives to add in your dishes and recipes for adding citrus and acidic flavor in them. you can also make lemon extract at home if you have lemons but if not then use substitutes for lemon extracts shared above.

let me know in comments below in what all recipes you like to add lemon extract and its alternatives to make the dish tasty and delicious. To know more about mint alternatives checkout our post.

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