Lemons together with freshly squeezed lemon juice are very common ingredients that we use for baking desserts and pastry, cooking savory dishes (including salad dressing, marinades, and sauces). Thanks to lemons unique citrusy and tart flavor and so irresistible aroma, you get so delicious dishes. What do you do if you are out of lemon juice but, in no case, you cannot skip using it in the recipe? You will use the most appropriate substitute. In this post, I will share with three main groups of substitutes for lemon that you can use depending on the recipe.
What to Use as a Lemon Juice Substitute
There are several main types of products, which you can use instead of lemon. My main advice would be to stay precise with the ratio for substituting lemon juice. Also, try picking the best option, as lemon can be used in the recipe to add more flavor or aroma:
- Juice of other citrus fruits (lime, orange, even grapefruit). It is one of the easiest options to use the replacement is one-to-one. You should always remember when lemon is a flavor ingredient in the recipe than using different fruit will influence, for sure, the desserts whole taste. While lime will still give that tart, citrusy notes, but with the orange they will be much sweeter. There is another fact speaking in favor of lime juice. It has the same acidity and pH level as lemon juice that is why it would be a perfect substitute for preserving food (canning recipes, but use only bottled lime juice as only this type is acidic enough).
- Citric acid. It is the most reasonable substitute for lemon juice in baking. Simply mix citric acid with water and you can add it to your liquid ingredients. I will give your proportions to use below, in a separate section of the article.
- Different types of vinegar (apple cider, wine, white vinegar). It is a clever alternative to lemon juice to use for baking and cooking savory recipes as you use it in one-to-one volume. It is not very safe to use vinegar for preserving products for the long term because of its lower acidity. Moreover, I cannot recommend it for recipes where lemon juice is the main ingredient for taste and flavor.
As citric acid is one of the trickiest products to use instead of lemon juice, I decided to devote a separate section to explain in detail how you interchange them in recipes.
Citric Acid for Lemon Juice Conversion
When you decide to use citric acid as a lemon juice substitute, you should always have in mind the following proportions:
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon = 5 grams of citric acid = 1 teaspoon of citric acid.
While you are baking, it is very important to maintain the correct wet-to-dry proportions of ingredients for the recipe. That is why there is another way to use citric acid; you mix it with water. The ratio is the following:
5 g citric acid for 60 ml water
or in other words, 1 tsp. citric acid + 4 tbsps. water
For example, you need to use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in your recipe. Therefore, you get one tablespoon of water and you dissolve ¼ teaspoon of citric acid in it.
I hope that my explanation was clear to understand. Using this ratio, you easily can use citric acid instead of lemon juice for the recipe of your favorite pie. Only I would give you another tip, try mixing acid water warm (not hot) water, it will be easier to dissolve it fully in the liquid.
While measuring citric acid and water for the conversion I used metric spoons, where the teaspoon is 5 ml and the tablespoon is 15 ml. Therefore, I Metric teaspoon holds 5 grams of citric acid and 1 Metric tablespoon holds 15 grams of citric acid, respectively.
I have a separate post dedicated to measuring out the necessary amount of citric acid; you can check it out by clicking the following link.
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In the end, I would like to emphasize that if you have no lemon juice in your kitchen it is not a huge problem and I promise you that you have already had a solution, somewhere hidden in your cupboard. You only have to look and choose from the most appropriate lemon juice equivalent in your case. If you have any other ideas on which products you can use instead of lemon juice, please, share with everyone, leave a comment in a section below.