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Simple Substitutes For Lemon Extract (How To Use Them)

Simple Substitutes For Lemon Extract (How To Use Them)

Using lemon extract in your cooking often provides the perfect hint of flavor that makes dishes pop with zest. But not everyone likes the taste of lemon, and sometimes it just isn’t available. What can you do? Well, it turns out that there are a number of substitutes available to us! Below is a list of some substitution options for lemon extract.

So what are the best substitutes for lemon extract?

The best substitutes for lemon extract are lemon juice, lemon zest, and other citric extracts.

Keep reading for more on lemon extract alternatives and how to use them, but first let’s go into more about lemon extract so you can better use it, and it’s substitutes, when baking.

What Is Lemon Extract

Lemon extract is a flavoring agent that is made from real lemon peel using natural ingredients and processes. Lemon extract is used to add zest to foods like cakes, cookies, custards, and sauces. Lemon extract can also be added to drinks like lemonade or cocktails.

While the substance itself is just lemon juice, the flavor that it adds to dishes makes all the difference in many dishes. The primary lemon fruit used for creating this flavoring agent are peels and seeds.

Lemon Extract Alternatives

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is the most obvious option for a substitute. In fact, most people use this on a daily basis instead of lemon extract. It is also a great choice when you are out of lemon extract, or can’t find any. The difference between the two is that lemon juice adds a bit more tang to a dish or drink.

Lemon Zest

Using lemon zest in place of lemon extract works very well, but it has to be done right. The outer peel layers add the most flavor and should be used for maximal taste impact. Just like with lemon juice, zest can be used in place of lemon extract in baked goods like cakes and custards.

Citric Extracts

Of all the alternatives for lemon extract, citric extracts are the best choice. Citric extracts come from a number of fruits including apples, pears, oranges, and limes. Use a few drops to substitute for lemon extract in recipes. The only downside is that they are more expensive than many of the other options available to you.

Tips For Using Lemon Extract Substitutes

When using any of these substitutions for lemon extract you want to make sure that the amount is right.

Lemon juice can be added at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. The taste and zest will be subtler, so keep that in mind when making substitutions.

You can use lemon zest at a rate of 2 teaspoons per 1 teaspoon of lemon extract for the most flavor impacting taste.

Use citric extracts at 1 teaspoons per 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. These are more expensive, so you may wish to stick with the other options for your substitute.

How To Make Lemon Extract

Use this simple recipe for lemon extract and you won’t have to use a substitute next time!

The process for making lemon extract is very simple and only takes a few minutes. You may want to make a larger batch to keep on hand because different flavors are added to the dish when the freshly made extract is used.


3 teaspoons dried lemon peels 2 cups 190 proof grain alcohol or vodka 1 teaspoon glycerin (optional) Directions: Wash the lemon peels and dry them completely. Remove all of the white pith from the peels. Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a lid. Shake well for 15 seconds and then allow it to sit for 3 weeks before using. Make sure that you shake it each day during this time period for at least 10 seconds.

Bottom Line

Lemon extract is very useful for many recipes, but it may not be the best substitute in times when fresh lemon juice is not available or you need more of a lemon flavor. Citric extracts are great substitutes for lemon extract and work well in drinks as well.