Orange extract is used for making lot’s of delicious desserts and dishes. It’s a versatile ingredient and tastes magical. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find orange extract in the stores and even harder to find the best substitute for this cooking marvel if you don’t already know what to use.
That’s why we’ve gathered up all of the best substitutes for orange extract, complete with information on what these substitutes are good for as well as how to use them.
What are the best orange extract substitutes?
The most effective orange extract substitutes are orange zest, orange oil, orange juice, another citrus extract, or orange liqueur.
You can find which orange extract alternative to use and how to use it below, but first a bit more about orange extract so you can better bake without it.
What Is Orange Extract Used For
Orange extract is a flavoring that is used in cooking for desserts and drinks while adding its citrus flavor. Orange extract is used for its strong citrus flavor and sweet, orange taste.
In fact, one of the best ways you can use orange extract as a substitute for real orange zest (the outer skin of oranges) is in cakes and breads. The same goes for foods that contain other types of citrus extracts, such as lemon or lime.
Some of my favorite desserts to make that use orange extract are orange macaroons and orange cupcakes, both of which end up with a sweet citrus taste that compliments any kind of other ingredients.
Orange Extract Alternatives
The simplest substitute for orange extract is orange zest, which is the outer skin of oranges. You can simply grate off the outer skin of an orange and use this as a replacement for the extract. Be sure not to include any of the white pith with your zesting, however.
Related: Orange Zest Substitutes
Other Citrus Extracts
If you can’t find orange extract, another good substitute that can be used in certain desserts is lemon or lime extracts or citrus oils. For example, if you enjoy a Brie-like cheese that has a lemony flavor to it and can’t find orange extract to use in your recipes, try lemon or lime extracts instead.
Or if you couldn’t find orange extract, another good alternative is orange juice. Orange juice has a much more subtle taste than the extract. When using orange juice, though, be sure to use an orange juice that is high in natural flavors. Pure squeezed or freshly-squeezed orange juice will both work and taste great in your recipes.
Related: Orange Juice Substitutes
Orange oil is one of the best substitutes for orange extract and will work well in baked goods, especially cakes and cupcakes. Orange oil can be easily found in stores that sell extracts or oils as well as in many online shops.
If you don’t want to use orange zest, orange juice or orange oil but still want a way to get that citrus flavor into your desserts, try using an orange liqueur instead.
How to Substitute Orange Extract
The best way to find out which substitute for orange extract will work best for your recipe is to simply try them all and see what you like best. If you do not want to do that, here are a few tips on how to use orange oil and other citrus extracts so you can get the same results as the orange zest and juice:
1) To substitute orange oil in recipes.
Orange oil is used the same way as orange extract. Simply use a ½ teaspoon of orange oil instead of 1 teaspoon of orange extract. The flavor will be much more subtle than that of orange extract.
2) To substitute orange juice in recipes where it is used for flavoring and not as a liquid ingredient.
If you’re using orange juice as an ingredient, simply substitute ¼ cup of orange juice with the same amount of other citrus extracts.
3) To substitute orange zest in recipes.
Orange zest is used more like a spice than a liquid ingredient. To substitute it in a recipe, just add ½ teaspoon of orange zest into your recipe. This will give your dish a light, citrus flavor without any of the other tastes and textures that are present in oranges.
4) To substitute another citrus extract.
To substitute another citrus extract, such as lemon extract or lime extract, simply replace the amount of orange extract in your recipe with the same amount of one of these other extracts. You can also try using more than one type of orange extract substitute if you want to add more flavor to your dish.
Baking Tips for Orange Extract Alternatives
If you’re looking to substitute orange extract, you should also know a few baking tips that will help you out. Here are a few of my favorite tips about using these substitutes.
1) Be sure to store your orange oil somewhere cool and dry in order to prevent the oil from breaking down with time. Orange oils should last for six months, but you can test an old sample of it and see how it tastes after a couple days to make sure it’s still good.
2) If you are using orange juice, be sure to use fresh squeezed orange juice that is high in natural flavor. You can tell by the flavor if it is not fresh.
3) When using orange zest instead of the extract, I recommend buying an organic orange zester to save yourself some time and trouble. Most of these tools have a thicker blade that will easily remove the white pith from the skin when you are zesting your oranges. Plus they have nice handles which are great for gripping while you grate.
4) If you are using orange zest, you should add the zest as soon as you are finished with your orange juice or orange oil. But if you need to use the zest as a substitute for an ingredient where it is not recommended to add it after preparation, such as in baked goods, you can surely just leave the zest in after your oranges have been prepared.
All of these tips will help you substitute orange extract in recipes.
The primary reason people use orange extract is because it carries the same flavor of the natural orange peel. If you want to try using citrus extracts in your cooking, I recommend using orange extracts like lemon and lime instead of orange because they carry a more subtle flavor and will give your recipe a bright citrus flavor without any of the other tastes. You can also substitute orange zest for certain ingredients like pastry dough or cakes as well as other citrus extracts like lemon extract, lime extract, or grapefruit.