9 Best Substitutes for Lemon Extract

Lemon Extract

If you want to use lemon extract in your dishes but are missing it from your kitchen, don’t need to panic. Lemon extract can be replaced, even if it is not as common as other products.

Lemon extract is different than lemon juice. It is a concentrated extract from lemon oil and you can use it in different cakes, sorbets, sauces, ice creams, or other recipes. 

The best substitutes for lemon extract are lemon juice, lemon oil, Lime juice, Lime extract, Lime oil, Orange extract, Grated lemon peel, Lemon essence and Vinegar. 

Substitutes for Lemon Extract

The following lemon extract substitutes can help you enjoy your favorite dishes and desserts with no concerns. 

1. Lemon juice 

Lemon Juice

The most accessible replacement for lemon extract is lemon juice. However, you might have to use more lemon juice than lemon extract in order to get the same flavor.

Lemon juice is not as concentrated as a lemon extract but it can add the lemon flavor to any of your dishes. You can use it in sweet as well as regular dishes and you will not regret it. 

Use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. However, taste your food to make sure this is the ratio you want for your recipe and preference. 

2. Lemon oil

Lemon oil can replace lemon extract successfully. Lemon oil is an ingredient of lemon extract, so you can use it in all the dishes that require lemon extract.

Lemon oil is more concentrated than lemon extract. Meaning, you should use less of it. The best dishes to use lemon oil in are cakes but also sorbets and different cookies.

It will go best in sweet dishes such as desserts. The ratio for this substitute is 1/8tyh teaspoon of lemon oil for each teaspoon of lemon extract. 

3. Lime juice

Lime Zest

Lime juice is also a common replacement for lemon extract. It has a similar taste but the flavors will not be identical. Lime’s flavor is more intense and potent than lemon flavor.

If you use lime juice, expect your recipe to taste fairly different. You can use lime juice in salads as well as desserts but make sure you taste your dish as you are making it to check if the flavor is right. 

As far as the ratio goes, you can use the same ratio as in the case of lemon juice. So, replace one teaspoon of lemon extract with two teaspoons of lime juice.

4. Lime extract 

Just like lemon extract, the lime extract will flavor your food with the bitter, citrus taste you want. It is the second-best thing to use instead of lemon extract, after lemon juice or lemon oil.

You can successfully use the lime extract in cakes, ice cream, or any other desserts. Use the same quantity of lime extract as you would use lemon extract. They have the same strength. However, the flavor is a little different. Taste your lime extract before using it. 

5. Lime oil

Lime oil might be harder to find but if you do have it handy, it can make for a great replacement for lemon extract as well. It goes great in both savory and sweet recipes.

Lime oil is similar to lemon oil and you might want to use it in the same way.  Use 1/8 teaspoon of lime oil for every teaspoon of lemon extract and you should get a delicious dish. 

6. Orange extract 

Both lemon and orange are citrus fruits that can replace each other in certain dishes. However, you might be surprised to discover that orange extract will not work in all the dishes you want to replace lemon extract in.

The orange extract has a sweeter taste and your dish will taste different as well.  If you like the flavor of orange extract you can add the same quantity as you would add lemon extract.

However, if you don’t like the orange flavor so much or if it doesn’t go so well with your dish, you can always add less of it. 

7. Grated lemon peel

Lemon zest

Grated lemon peel could also replace lemon extract. The difference between the grated lemon peel and the lemon extract is the texture.

While lemon extract is a liquid, lemon peel is in a grated form and can be used in any dish but you have to consider that not all lemons have an eatable lemon peel.

So, choose an organic type of lemons with the peel untreated. Use this lemon extract substitute in cakes, or any types of desserts as well as salads. 

The ideal ratio is one teaspoon of freshly grated lemon for each teaspoon of lemon extract as they offer your food a similar flavor. 

8. Lemon essence 

Lemon essence is a good replacement for lemon extract when it comes to desserts. It might not be ideal for salads or cooked dishes such as soups or stir fry but it is ideal for cookies and cakes.

Keep in mind that lemon essence will give your food the lemon taste without the acidity. So, if you want an acidic taste this substitute might not work for your recipe. 

As far as the ratio goes, you can add as much lemon essence as you like. Taste your food and keep adding lemon essence according to your preferences. 

9. Vinegar 


Vinegar is definitely one of the possible lemon extract substitutes but it is not one of the first choices you should consider.

You can’t use it in desserts but it can taste great in salads and even cooked dishes. Keep in mind that vinegar keeps the acidic taste of the lemon but it doesn’t have the citrus flavor.

So, your dish will not taste lemony but acidic. Use half a teaspoon of vinegar for each teaspoon of lemon extract. Use less vinegar as it is more acidic than lemon extract.

Related Questions

What’s the difference between lemon juice and lemon extract?

Many people confuse lemon extract with lemon juice. However, the truth is that these products are different. Lemon extract is made of lemon oil with a base of alcohol and if you see the word “pure” before lemon extract that means no artificial flavoring was used. 

On the other hand, lemon juice comes from freshly squeezed lemons. It doesn’t have any other ingredients and it has a shorter shelf life. The flavor is similar to the observation that lemon juice tends to be more acidic than lemon extract. 

Can you substitute lemon oil for lemon extract?

Lemon extracts come from lemon oil with alcohol to get the extract in the most concentrated form. With that being said, you can use lemon oil instead of lemon extract.

Follow the instructions in this guide and be careful with the application. Lemon oil is stronger in taste than lemon extract so you will use it a lot less. 

How do you make a lemon extract?

Making your own lemon extract is easier than you might think. But this is not a recipe you can enjoy right away as there is a waiting time after you prepare it. 

You will need the fresh peel from 2 lemons and 8 ounces of vodka. Flavored alcohol can alter the taste of your lemon extract, so use plain vodka only.

Put the lemon peel in a jar and add the vodka. Be careful not to fill the jar more than 3 quarters. Close the lid and allow it to sit for up to six weeks before you can use the lemon extract.

During this time, store your jar in a dry, cool place away from any sunlight. Once your extract is done and ready to use, you can keep it for several years with no fear of going bad. 


If you want to use lemon extract in any recipe but don’t have it on hand, you can replace it with one of the alternatives above.

It’s also easy to make your lemon extract, so you can always go with this option. The recipe we shared can be applied to making any type of extract as well. 

What’s your opinion on today’s article? Do you have any cooking tips and tricks for us? If so, drop a comment below.

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