Even if life does not give you lemons, you can still make a lemonade.
Some would say that without lemons, a lemonade would just be horrible, and a lemon pie will not have its signature tart filing.
Sometimes, you just simply need a substitute for lemon juice.
Whether you are out of lemons and lemon juice, or you are just allergic to lemons, you need to find a way to substitute lemon juice.
There are many recipes that call for lemon juice, but they can also be prepared without lemons.
When you are cooking, finding substitutes for different ingredients is the biggest challenge.
It is the difference between a good cook and a master chef.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best options for a substitute for lemon juice.
When preparing a cocktail
In the summer hot nights, if you are out of lemons, you have a very simple and basic substitute.
Just use lime and lime juice instead of lemons.
Or you can go with orange juice.
For those allergic to citrus, it is best that you switch to a recipe that doesn’t have citrus as its main ingredient.
A good substitute option for citrus allergic people is a vinegar-based shrub.
You will still get the fruitiness and acidic edge, but no lemons.
If your recipe calls for a small amount of lemon juice, you can try using a fresh herb that has a lemon flavor.
Think lemon thyme, lemon verbena, lemon balm, or anything else.
Muddle the herbs to release the flavor, and enjoy your cocktail.
When baking sweet dishes
When you need to substitute lemon juice in baked goods and sweet dishes, use an equal amount of lime or orange juice as a replacement.
When your recipe calls for a splash of lemon juice, try to replace it with lemon extract.
Bear in mind, the flavor of the lemon extract is fairly concentrated, so you do not need more than a tablespoon to get that lemony flavor you want.
Dried or frozen lemon zest is another possibility, as long as you have them on hand.
For those allergic to citrus, replace lemon juice with a juice you are not allergic.
For example, a very close juice is apple juice.
The flavor of the dish will be changed, but it will still be a delicious dish.
It is important to note that substituting lemon juice in baked goods is done measure for measure.
Otherwise, you risk your recipe to turn out dry.
When there is baking soda in the recipe, see if there are other acidic ingredients besides the lemon juice.
If not, make sure you replace with an acidic ingredient that will make your dough/batter rise.
Some options include buttermilk and yogurt if you like to avoid citrus, or vinegar if you do not mind a little acidic flavor.
When preparing a savory dish
The simplest way to replace lemon juice in savory dishes is with an equal amount of lime or orange juice.
Another option is to use half the amount of lemon juice as white vinegar or white vine.
It is important to note that white vinegar and white wine do not work in large amounts.
These options for substitute are only possible when the recipe calls for small amounts of lemon juice.
When you need to prepare a canning recipe, lime juice is the only safe substitute.
Note: the lime juice has to be bottled.
Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice is not acidic enough to eliminate the risk of botulism.
Vinegar cannot be used as well, as it does not have enough acidity to be a suitable replacement.
Therefore, use vinegar only when the canning recipe calls for it.
Otherwise, use lime juice as a substitute for lemon juice.
How other ingredients taste?
We talked about some of the ingredients you can use as a substitute when you are out of lemon juice.
But before you jump into that train, let’s discuss a bit how these ingredients change the flavor of your dish, and when can you use them.
As mentioned previously, lime juice is the most common lemon juice substitute.
It is always nice to have fresh limes in your house.
Fresh lemons, not so much.
When using lime juice, you need to use equal parts of lime juice for lemon juice.
What to expect for flavor?
Lime juice has a slightly more acidic and milder flavor.
Therefore, you should be prepared for a variation of the flavor of your dish.
Another thing you need to pay attention to is lime is sweeter.
Therefore, you need to balance things out.
If your recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of sugar, reduce that amount due to the additional sweetness of lime juice.
In some cases, you want to keep the acidity of the dish, and do not care about the flavor as much.
Some examples: sauces, salad dressings, and marinades.
In these cases, acidity is more important than flavor for some people.
If that is the case, white vinegar will work as a perfect substitute.
However, as the acidity is very high, and the flavor more potent, you need to use different amounts.
Add half a tablespoon of vinegar for a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Similar to vinegar, white wine is very high in acidity.
That what makes it a good substitute for lemons, but also only good in small doses.
If your recipe calls for a small amount of lemon juice, you can use white wine instead.
The ratio is 1:2, meaning that you need half a teaspoon of white wine for a teaspoon of lemon juice.
How to make sure you are never out of lemon juice
Some people look for a substitute for lemon juice simply because they are out of lemons or lemon juice.
One way to make sure that does not happen to you is to think and act beforehand.
There are times during the year when you are more likely to find cheap lemons.
Buy a lot, and then squeeze half a lemon in each of the cavities of an ice tray.
Freeze, and after one day, remove the frozen slivers from the tray.
Put them in a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer.
You can use these units of frozen lemon juice for cooking and keep them for months.
Now, bear in mind, the frozen lemons are a bit less acid than fresh lemon juice.
However, they are still full of flavor.
You can also freeze limes.
It is all up to you and your preferences of acidic ingredients for cooking.