Lime contains a liquid extract that we know as lime juice. It consists of a potent acid known as citric acid, which we commonly define as Vitamin C. The power of lime juice is characterized by its taste and versatility where it tastes close to lemon juice but has a sweeter flavor.
You can utilize it in many ways for chicken, tacos and salmon. It is also common to use them in dressings, dips and desserts like cake or smoothies.
The main challenge comes when you run out of it when you need it the most. Luckily here are some of the best alternatives you can grab from your kitchen.
- Tartaric Acid
- Cream of Tartar
- White Vinegar
- Apple Cider
- Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid
- White Wine
Hope you managed to get one replacement out of the list above! If not, you may like to read on the find out the full comprehensive list of the best Fresh Lime Juice substitutes you can use for your recipes.
But first, let us have a closer look at the benefits of using this versatile ingredient.
15 Best Fresh Lime Juice Substitutes
Studies showed that raw limes consist of 1% fat and protein, 10% carbohydrates, and 88% water. Its vitamin C content is approximately 35%.
In comparison to lemon juice, lime juice contains relatively less citric acid, while it is twice as acidic as grapefruit juice. Around 19.4 million tons of limes and lemons combined were produced in 2018. India, Mexico, China, Brazil, Turkey, and Argentina are the top lime producers.
If you are looking for the best fresh lime juice substitute, we recommend using lemon juice which has similar acidic taste but is less sweet when compared to lime. You will be able to use them interchangeably.
If you are using it for baking, then we recommend using lime oil.
Of course, if you run out of both then you will need to test out the remaining alternatives below.
As mentioned above, lemons would be the best substitute for lime since it comprises more significant citric acid and their properties are somewhat similar to limes.
Lemons can add that unique sour flare that you might be looking for in your pastry. Much like limes, lemons have that vitamin C-rich taste that you might need to create a masterpiece of a dish. Its juice contains 5-6% citric acid with around 64% vitamin C.[Source]
The most common uses of lemon juice are lemonades, carbonated drinks, and cocktails. Furthermore, many use it to neutralize the amines present in fishes to yield a nonvolatile ammonium salt.
Also, it serves as a meat tenderizer in which the acid hydrolyzes the collagen fibers.
In terms of baking, ideally, you can replace lime juice in a 1:1 ratio.
Tartaric acid is characterized by a white powder generally used as an acidic agent for wines. Grapes have the highest tartaric acid content of around 5 to 10 grams per liter, while their acidity is approximately 6.5 to 8.5 grams per liter, making them one of the stars for winemaking.
It is extracted from bananas, citrus fruits, and tamarinds. Tartaric acid is more acidic compared to lime juice and may alter the taste of your end product.
It is noteworthy that in baking, ¼ teaspoon of tartaric acid is equivalent to a teaspoon of citric acid.
You may like to experiment with your recipe if it is your first time using tartaric acid as alternative
Cream of Tartar
The cream of tartar is a product of tartaric acid and potassium hydroxide by fermentation. This white powder is less acidic compared to tartaric acid.
It is a highly recommended ingredient when beating eggs to create meringue since it stabilizes eggs when whipping them up. The recommended substitution is ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar for every one teaspoon of lime juice.
With its kindred smell to lime, both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are some of the ideal lime juice alternatives.
Aside from having the same savory flavor, vinegar is easily accessible and economically viable. Also, vinegar has a higher acetic acid content (5-8% volume) than citric acid, produced via the fermentation process.
Acetic acid is a much weaker acid than citric acid, which gives that sour taste, suitable for creating luscious pastries that balance the sweetness and sour flavors, such as in baking.
It is vital to note that a single tablespoon of citric acid requires three tablespoons of white vinegar. It also stabilizes to make your goodies have that delicious vibe.
A malodorous, brownish-gold type of vinegar, apple cider came from fermented, crushed, and squeezed apple that turned into a nutritious vinegar.
The use of this kind of vinegar comes with benefits. It can lead to weight loss as it improves metabolism by boosting the enzyme responsible for decreasing fat and the production of sugar in the liver.
It also lowers blood sugar levels by reducing insulin levels, thus, favoring the burning of fats.
Apple cider vinegar gives that invincible kick to certain pastries and baked goods since it produces carbon dioxide, which helps raise the dough, creating an enhanced texture and taste in the product.
Additionally, it is a good substitute for eggs for vegans. The ideal measurement is ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for every one tablespoon of lime juice.
Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid
If you search for a much healthier substitute, your immune system and bacteria-killing cells will thank you for unearthing ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, as it would be the best choice.
It is found chiefly in citrus-rich foods such as limes, oranges, lemons, etc. Studies show that it is an antioxidant and generates collagen by stimulating fibroblasts.
Ascorbic acid is an excellent substitute to weaken the gluten from your long-fermented dough. It enhances the wheat flour and increases the volume, insinuating a preferred tolerance to optimal conditions, thus, deemed as a dough conditioner.
Take note that one teaspoon of Vitamin C equals one teaspoon of citric acid. Ascorbic acid, as a dough conditioner, was discovered in 1935 by incorporating minor amounts of ascorbic acid, about 20-30 mg to a kilogram of flour, resulting in a 20% increase in flour bread volume.
White wine is a nice substitute for lime juice. It is fermented without skin contact, which means that the skins of the grapes were discarded before proceeding with the fermentation process.
Notably, using white wine for baking can leave that strong grape kick to your pastries.
Also, white wine is perfect for savory dishes and baked goods where you add delectable ingredients like bacon. Remember that one tablespoon of white wine equals one tablespoon of lime juice.
Orange juice is just as zesty, tangy, and citrusy as lime juice, making it a great substitute. It is also tummy-friendly as it is less acidic than lime juice.
Also, it has a much sweeter vibe compared to lime juice, giving your baked goodies an equal distribution of sweetness and sourness.
Another advantage of using orange juice in pastries and other baked goods is that it prevents mold growth. Adding orange juice stops the molds from growing so that you can still enjoy your food even if it’s stuck for five days in the fridge.
It makes succulent crumbs due to fructose, which makes it an excellent tenderizing agent. Also, its zest can add an extra sparkle to your goodies. One tablespoon of orange juice is equal to 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
Grapefruit juice is the liquid extract from grapefruits. Grapes and grapefruits are different, just to be clear. Grapes are thrice smaller than grapefruits.
Grapefruits are tropical fruits with a citrusy yet sweet vibe like an orange, with an equal citric acid content to lime juice.
Grapefruit juice has fewer calories, perfect for getting that summer-ready body.
It also showed the benefits of having a much healthier and more robust circulatory system by reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases by decreasing “bad” cholesterol, thus, reducing having trouble with high blood pressure.
For the same result, grapefruits serve as antioxidant agents in our bodies.
Furthermore, grapefruit juice is an excellent leavening agent due to the carbon dioxide produced, which helps raise the dough. The substitution ratio between grapefruit juice and lime juice is 1:1.
Tamarinds are a legume-based tropical fruit originating from Africa and first introduced in Central America and Mexico.
Asian cuisines also utilize tamarinds. Filipinos, for one, use tamarinds for their “sinigang,” a sour, citrusy stew made from pork, beef, or fish.
If you’re baking and searching for a lime substitute, this would be a perfect alternative, specifically, tamarind paste. It also has a sour taste; however, it is not because of the citric acid. Instead, it contains tartaric acid.[Source]
The paste can be made by only diluting the crushed tamarind until you have a thick consistency as well. It is less concentrated. It is also important to note that one tablespoon of tamarind paste equals two tablespoons of lime juice.
Limes and Other Citrus Fruit Zest
Peels are not just peels. They have this incredible magic that you might not know. But, it seems pretty clear that lime zest is a powerful substitute if you are having a hard time squeezing its juice.
The outer vibrant colored part of the peelings of citrus fruits is known as its zest due to its incredible zesty and sour powers.
Zests are a fantastic alternative to lime juice as they can add a concentration to produce a tangy taste with a hint of bitterness, resulting in a mouth-watering recipe.
To get the zest, combine your force, the peels, and a Microplane to unleash the zest from the peels. The equivalent measurement between the citrus zest and lime juice is one teaspoon to 2 teaspoons.
As mentioned above, Lime oil is one of the best substitutes for lime juice, especially in baking. You’ll get the same zesty, tangy, citrusy vibe of lime juice.
This pale yellow liquid was extracted from the skins of the lime. However, since it is much more concentrated than fresh lime juice, you should be mindful of the use and measurements of your lime oil before injecting it into your dishes and baked goodies.
It is noteworthy that a single drop of lime oil is equal to 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
If you aim for a dish or a baked good with a smoky and citrusy vibe, look no further as Black Lime would save your day.
Dried and ground limes with ebony color are known to as black lime, nicknamed Loomi, are Middle Eastern spice utilized for cooking.
These have brittle and flaky textures. The acidic, aromatic, fermented, and concentrated aura gives that superb sour, bitter, and a little bit of sweetness of heavenly umami, perfect for stews, soups, and even for baking.
The ideal equivalence between black lime and lime juice is a 1:1 ratio. This means one tablespoon of black lime equals one tablespoon of lime juice.
Citric acid is considered as sour salt due to its white, flaky, and powdery appearance, perfect for candies, snacks, beverages, and pastries. It is also used as a preservative.
Utilizing it in your dishes and pastries can release that umami taste, and give your recipe a unique succulent vibe. The ideal measurement between the citric acid powder and lime juice is 1:1.
The lime juice that you commonly use is from Persian lime. Key lime results from hybridization between Citrus hystrix and Citrus medica, which originated in Southeast Asia.
Key lime has more seeds and a more vibrant green color than the standard lime. It has a sourer, tangier, and bitter taste, and less juice volume. On the negative side, though, it is pricier than regular lime.
The ideal measurement would be 2 or 3 tablespoons of key lime to 1 tablespoon of regular lime juice.
The combination of sour and bitter works like magic for Seville oranges, especially in making marmalades. The only downside is that it doesn’t give off the same acidic vibe as that of lime juice.
However, it still works and tastes like heaven. Use the 1:1 substitution ratio when using sour orange in place of lime juice.
If you are near an Asian market or grocery store, you must have seen that green, round, and small fruit. Filipinos call it “calamansi,” or the Philippine lime.
This small yet powerful fruit is a hybrid formed between a kumquat and a mandarin orange that mainly originates in Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines.
This is a staple ingredient for various Filipino dishes, primarily used in stews, juices, and more. It has a powerful citrusy vibe, which can also be a good alternative for lime juice.
The equivalent measure between calamansi and lime juice is a ratio of 1:1.
Powdered Lime Juice
This would be your last resort if you have no other choice, but lime juice powder. Powdered lime juice is a synthetic composed of chemical known as Maltodextrin, a processed carbohydrate, lime oil, and lime juice to add that tangy vibe of lime juice to your dish.
Just add water, mix, and let its tartness work its magic. It is economically efficient and always available in grocery stores and supermarkets.