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9 Genius Lemon Extract Substitutes For Your Lemon Bars

Finding a lemon extract substitute is very easy and you probably have at least one of the substitutes already in your home. Lemon extract is the perfect way to get that citrus flavor without using the actual fruit. 

For those of you who don’t really like the sour taste of lemon but still want to bake some lemon pies or any other type of dessert then the lemon extract is the perfect choice for you.

So, now that we established that lemon extract is a great invention, what do you do when you can’t find it anywhere or you just don’t want to waste your money on a bottle of lemon extract for only one use?; Can you use something else instead? We have some ideas in the article down below. 

Substitutes For Lemon Extract Are 

  1. Lemon Juice 
  2. Lemon Zest/Peel
  3. Lime Zest/Peel  
  4. Lime Juice 
  5. Orange Juice 
  6. Orange Zest 
  7. Citrus Fruit
  8. Lemon Essence 
  9. White Wine Vinegar/White Vinegar

Make sure to follow us through the rest of the article to learn how to make your own lemon extract.

Lemon Extract Substitutes

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is the obvious way to go when you’re looking for substitutes for lemon extract. You can add it directly to your baked desserts and even use it to add a little bit of acidity to your salad dressings recipes. 

The difference between lemon juice and the lemon extract is that the fresh lemon juice has an acidic taste and lemon extract doesn’t.

Lemon extract simply gives your dishes a lemon flavor without actually interfering with the sweetness of your dessert. Substitute one teaspoon of lemon extract with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. 

[Related Article:9 Acidic Substitutes For Lemon Juice]

Lemon Zest/Peel

Lemon zest and peel make great substitutes for lemon extract and it works best in baked goods and savory recipes. Lemon zest is perfect for when you don’t want the acidity from the lemons and you want just the fresh lemon essence and a little bit of a bitter flavor. 

Lemon zest is pretty easy to find since lemons are sold literally in every market that you can find but, if you want to invest a little bit more, you can find powdered lemon peel online or in the more equipped grocery stores. Be careful to avoid the white layer under the lemon flesh because it can give your dishes a very bitter taste.

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Lemon peel also makes a great substitute for lemon extract in cocktail recipes and stock recipes. Substitute one teaspoon lemon extract with one tablespoon of lemon zest

Lime Zest/Peel

Lime Zest Peel

Lime zest or peel is a smart replacement for lemon extract when you don’t have the time to go out and buy lemons for your recipes for your lemon bars or a simple lemon cake. Limes have a slightly more acidic taste and a more fresh aroma.

The zest of limes gives your baked goods or whatever you’re cooking a nice, fresh taste without using the juice to make it sour. You can use the lime peels for cocktail twists and stock or soup recipes. 

Substitute one teaspoon of lemon extract with one tablespoon of lime zest. You can even find dry lemon zest in grocery stores or health food stores if you don’t want to grate the fresh lemon zest. 

Lime Juice

Limes are lemons’ first cousins and they closely resemble their taste and sourness, although fresh limes are a little bit sourer than lemons, their acid pH level it’s the same, meaning they can behave the same when using it as one of your baking ingredients. You can substitute one teaspoon of lemon extract with 3 tablespoons of lime juice in your recipes. 

Orange Juice 

Orange Juice 

Although orange juice has a much more sweet taste than lemons, this can make a decent substitute for lemon extract if you have nothing else in your home. Orange juice is also a great alternative for those people who don’t like the sour food or the tartness that lemons bring.

Substitute 1 teaspoon of lemon extract for 2 tablespoons of orange juice. I recommend using freshly squeezed orange juice from fresh oranges, not the store-bought one since it’s full of sugar and artificial flavoring. 

Orange Zest

For your sweet recipes and baked goods like banana bread recipes, you can go ahead and add a little bit of orange zest; it makes a great substitute for lemon extract, even though it does taste kinda differently. 

You can substitute lemon extract with orange zest using a 1:1 ratio or you can simply eyeball it and use as much as you need to. Orange zest isn’t as bitter tasting as lemon zest.

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Citrus Fruits 

Citrus Fruits 

Citrus juices and fruits are also a good way to go when you’re out of lemon extract or lemon juice. You can go with grapefruits, citrus, oranges, and even some tangerines(especially great in salads and savory dishes).

All these types of fruit have a citrus taste even though some may be slightly sweeter than others. Substitute one teaspoon lemon extract with 2 tablespoons of citrus juice. You can add citrus fruits/juice to salad dressings, baked desserts, and savory dishes. 

Lemon Essence 

Lemon essence is a highly concentrated liquid, extracted from fresh lemons and it’s used for icing, cake recipes, and other desserts. Be careful when using this product as it is pretty intense in flavor and it can dominate the flavor and even have a bitter taste. 

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar(or just white vinegar) will make sure do to the right job in your salads and savory dishes and add a little bit of acidity.

Yes, I know that this substitute is considered to be more of a lemon juice substitute but if you absolutely are in a hurry and you simply just can’t find anything other than white vinegar then you can make it work.

How To Make Homemade Lemon Extract 

How To Make Homemade Extract

Making lemon extract is actually not that hard to make; I admit, it does take a while for this recipe to actually turn into an actual extract but believe me, it is worth the wait. The only four things you’re going to need to make this recipe are vodka, lemons, and a jar


  • 3 cups unflavored vodka
  • 3 lemons
  • An air-tight jar /a glass bottle

Take the lemons and start peeling the skin with a potato peeler(the lemon peel should be cut into thin slivers) and try to avoid the white layer since it tastes bitter and it will give your extract an unpleasant taste.

Take your jar and fill it about 3/4 with lemon slivers you just peeled. Then fill it to the brim with vodka and shake well. Close the lid of the jar and leave it in your pantry for 4-5 weeks. Remember to check on its progress, and shake it at least once a week. 

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When the time has passed, take your finished product and strain it from the peels. Pour your homemade lemon extract into a clean jar or container, and put it in a dark place or the refrigerator. The extract should have faded yellow color. 

You can do any other types of flavored extracts using this technique like orange extract, vanilla extract, lime extract, etc. 

Related Questions And Other FAQ’s

Lemon Extract For Baking 

Lemon extract gives your baked goods a lemony taste and an amazing aroma. If you don’t have lemon extract at home, you can always use lemon juice or a teaspoon of zest.

How To Make Lemon Extract

Take 3 cups of unflavored vodka(you can use a cheap vodka) and freshly peeled lemon peels from 3 lemons. Put the peels into a jar, and fill the jar with vodka.

Close the lid, and shake well before you store it in a dark room for 4-5 weeks. Shake the jar once a week while you wait for the extract to be done. 

After 4-5 weeks, strain the liquid to get rid of the batch of lemon peel and store it in another, clean jar. 

Can I Use Lemon Juice Instead Of Lemon Extract

Yes. You can substitute one teaspoon of extract with one tablespoon of lemon juice, or a tablespoon of zest. 

Lemon Extract Vs Lemon Juice In Baking 

Lemon extract is a great substitute for lemon juice and vice versa but they do have some differences. The taste of lemon juice isn’t as strong and powerful as the lemon extract and it may not be as dominant in your recipes. Also, lemon juice has a much more sour taste than its opponent.