11 Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract

Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract
Photo by Markus Spiske

If you’re looking for the best substitute for lemon extract, you might consider using one of these options instead.

Lemon extract isn’t an essential ingredient in many recipes. You might even find that the following substitutes for lemon extract provide better results than the extract itself. 

Here are some alternatives to substitutes for lemon extract you can use in your favorite baking recipe and beyond. Let’s go through them together.

Table of Contents

  1. Pure Lemon Juice
  2. Orange Extract
  3. Juiced Lemons
  4. Vinegar
  5. Fruit Cocktail
  6. Lime Juice
  7. Grapefruit Juice
  8. Pear Juice
  9. Cranberry Juice
  10. Apricot Nectar
  11. Pineapple Juice

Pure Lemon Juice

When a recipe calls for lemon extract, using pure lemon juice as one of the substitutes for lemon extract is always best.

If you don’t have any, adding a drop or two of pure lemon oil will do. The advantage of using juice is that it’s usually significantly less expensive. 

Additionally, you can use as much or as little as possible without affecting other flavors in your recipe. Plus, a little goes a long way.

Only one teaspoon of lemon juice equals about two teaspoons of extract! There are some other advantages to using fresh lemons. 

Most importantly, they have nutrients not found in the lemon extract (like vitamin C). They add flavor to recipes that can be used in multiple ways, thus saving you money. It will also add an unmistakable freshness (and aroma) to baked goods.

Orange Extract

Have you ever seen a recipe that calls for lemon extract and thought you’d like to try it? But unfortunately, when you saw how much it costs (one tiny bottle can cost more than $15), you were discouraged. It would help if you thought about one of the substitutes for lemon extract. 

Orange extract is made from bitter oranges, giving it a solid citrus taste similar to lemon. For example, instead of adding one teaspoon of lemon extract to your cookie recipe, add 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract.

You can even add a bit more if you want some zing! Finally, Orange extract has a less intense flavor than lemon and soaks into dough faster.

Therefore, use less in recipes where the flavor isn’t as crucial. Orange extract is one of the fantastic substitutes for lemon extracts.

Juiced Lemons

One of the flavors in baking is lemon. I like using fresh lemons, but it’s hard to get a lot of juice out of them. This is why you need excellent substitutes for lemon extracts.

Also, in some recipes, such as lemon bars or lemon curd, it’s essential to use an equal amount of juice as butter. The problem is that you can only get about two tablespoons from a medium-sized lemon. Fortunately, you have another option. 

Add 1/4 cup of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar to your juicer, and four lemons (peeled). Juice all four lemons and add the resulting mixture instead of lemon extract to your recipe.

You won’t notice any difference in flavor. However, you will have at least double (and possibly triple) the amount needed.


Some might think vinegar is just for cooking. But fortunately, its acidity makes it a natural stand-in as one of the substitutes for lemon extract in recipes. Try adding it to batters when baking or drizzling it on fish before cooking. 

Additionally, as a bonus, It won’t curdle as eggs would if you accidentally add too much. If you’re making a recipe that calls for lemon zest, it’s simple. Just replace one tablespoon of zest with one tablespoon of vinegar. 

Further, the taste will be slightly different but still delicious! The same goes for grapefruit juice and lime juice. If you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand, give these substitutes a try! You’ll be surprised at how well they work in place of your favorite citrus extracts.

Fruit Cocktail

One of your best substitutes for lemon extract can be found in your local grocer’s produce section. A fruit cocktail is a. mixture of dried fruit such as apricots, plums, and apples. It can be used to lend sweet flavor to desserts and salads. 

Moreover, the amount needed will vary based on what you are trying to make. Often, most packages contain four ounces of dried fruit per pound. You can also opt to purchase just one type of fruit or all three together. 

However, this depends on what you plan on using it for. Homemade is best when it comes to substitutes for lemon extract. You should know that there’s no shame in picking up a bag from your local market!

Lime Juice

Sure, you could try lemon juice, but it’s not one of the proper substitutes for lemon extract. The taste of lemon and lime can be very similar. Lime is even referred to as a key in many recipes, but they do have distinct differences. 

Besides, juice from fresh limes has a more sour, tangy flavor than lemon. On top of that, lime rind (zest) can add an extra kick to baking desserts.

If you don’t have access to fresh limes, try substituting with one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. In conclusion, you’ll also need 1⁄2 teaspoon of lime zest.

You can also use bottled lime juice if need be. Whatever choice you make, you have one of the best substitutes for lemon extract on your hands!

Grapefruit Juice

If you don’t have fresh lemons, grapefruit juice is one of the suitable substitutes for lemon extract. You can use either freshly squeezed juice or bottled juice.

Since it’s acidic, grapefruit juice can help replace lemon’s natural acidity, but it doesn’t have as strong a flavor. However, keep in mind that some people think grapefruit tastes better when added to sweet desserts instead of savory dishes.

One teaspoon of grapefruit juice is equivalent to one teaspoon of lemon extract. To keep your recipe balanced, reduce sugar accordingly. 

Pear Juice

Although lemons are delicious and essential to many dishes, they are not always available. This is why we have recommended these fantastic substitutes for lemon extracts. Pear juice can be used in place of lemon juice, although it does have a sweet taste. 

In addition, if you add a pinch of sugar to your recipe, pear juice will dissolve and taste similar to lemon extract. Another benefit is that pear juice is cheaper than lemons or lemon extract.

To substitute one cup of pear juice, dilute 1/4 cup of regular water with 3/4 cup of fruit juice.  
Also, you can use apple or grape for the fruit juice.

A small amount of sugar also helps with substitution (1 teaspoon per cup). Just mix well to get your desired taste. Finally, consider adding a drop or two of yellow food coloring.

It looks more like natural lemon extract if you want to make it. If these recommendations on substitutes for lemon extract have been helpful, we’d like to know.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is tasty, but it’s also packed with antioxidants. Substitutes for lemon extract with antioxidants are good for your health.

You can find fresh or frozen cranberries in most grocery stores and supermarkets. Besides, you can try picking up a juice bottle at your local market.

Just make sure you read the ingredients carefully. So you’ll ensure there are no added sugars in your beverage of choice.

Apricot Nectar

Cooking fish, making a cake, or dressing a fruit salad, requires one of these substitutes for lemon extract. There’s no substitute for one of the summer’s best-tasting fruits, apricots. 

However, not all apricot nectar is created equal. Be sure to choose brands that are 100 percent pure with no added sugar, flavors, or preservatives.

It contains just 55 calories per serving and has no cholesterol and only 3 grams of fat. In conclusion, consider apricot nectar as one of the healthier substitutes for lemon extract when baking or making jam. You’ll be happy you made a healthy choice!

Pineapple Juice

When you’re in a pinch and need one of the best substitutes for lemon extract, use pineapple juice. This tasty, tropical juice makes an excellent stand-in; add it to your recipe at a 1:1 ratio.

The flavor is subtle but will add some nice tang. Also, if you’re planning on using lots of pineapple juice in your recipe, we recommend using fresh fruit. The canned variety tastes too artificial (and isn’t as healthy!).

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Nutritional values of Lemon Extract?

Lemons are one of nature’s power foods. The Substitutes for lemon extract also are a healthy choice. They contain as much Vitamin C as oranges. Also, they contain a host of other nutrients that make them a bonus to your health. You’ll be disease free because you have the firm immunity lemons give!

What is a lemon extract?

So what is a lemon extract, exactly? The simplest way to describe it is a flavor extract (which means liquid) made from lemon peel. It’s used in all sorts of recipes, the most common ones which use lemons in some way. However, baked goods and desserts are common uses, but you can also find them in marinades and other sauces or toppings. In essence, anything that requires a bit of lemony goodness could benefit from using lemon extract. Finally, rather than using actual lemon juice or zest, use these substitutes for lemon extract instead! It just adds so much more flavor! Many people also like to use a combination of quotes and citrus zest to give an extra boost to their baking.

What is the Shelf-Life of the lemon extract?

Since it is a concentrated extract, it may last as long as five years. Store at room temperature in a dry environment away from direct sunlight and heat. The best way to determine whether or not your lemon extract has gone wrong is to smell and examine it. 


Lemon extract is an excellent flavoring agent and can be hard to find. This is why there are many similar tasting substitutes for lemon extract available. Also, if your favorite baking recipe calls for lemon extract, make sure to try out some of these alternatives. You would get that sweet and sour taste you’re craving!

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