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8 Optimum Lemon Zest Substitutes That Can Save Your Recipes

So finally, you’re trying your hands-on experimenting with lemon zest and making the recipe that you have previously taken notes for from your favorite cooking show. Everything is going just right bit by bit, but wait…..what? Did you just realize lemon zest just skipped off your mind? Though that isn’t the core ingredient of your recipe, it has a tangy freshness that won’t be in your dish now, and you just can’t ignore the elephant in the room. This can happen to anyone. Nevermind, this article is at your rescue for such a scenario.

Oftentimes when we run out of lemons meanwhile a recipe is in progress, it seems like, in the end, we won’t reap the same fruits that we’re expecting to. Or if you need to add lemon’s freshness to your dish but don’t want to get so much of the sour taste and it doesn’t ring the bell, what can be used as a lemon zest substitute. Well, there is no need to beat your head around complaining as this article will lift the curtails and enlists lemon zest substitutes that would suffice in its place.

Lemon Zest Substitutes

Lemon is just so great, isn’t it? I mean, you can use its pulp and its peel (or skin) as well. So here’s a list of lemon zest substitutes that would come in quite handy in case you’re out of lemon zest. 

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1. Lime Zest

Lime zest would be an avant-garde lemon zest substitute. Its flavor does proper justice to being related to lemon zest. Nevertheless, it must be noted that lime’s natural concentration of sweetness and sourness is higher than that of lemon, which means one needs to be a little conscious while using it.

Quantity Swap

1tsp lemon zest = 1 tsp lime zest

2. Orange Zest

8 Optimum Lemon Zest Substitutes That Can Save Your Recipes

Orange zest is also used as a lemon zest substitute, especially in baking. Orange zest is a quintessential lemon zest substitute for desserts. Though orange zest would add its own flavor and aroma to the dish (a little distinctive from that of lemon zest), it maintains quite a similar texture to that of lemon zest. 

Quantity Swap

1tsp lemon zest = 1 tsp orange zest

3. Zest Of Other Citrus Fruits

Orange zest and lime zest are more closely related to lemon zest than other citrus fruits. Nonetheless, you can also opt for grapefruit, pomelo, yuzu, and tangerines.

4. Lemon Extract

You can buy lemon extract from the market and put it to use if you don’t have lemon zest. It is generally made of alcohol-drenched lemon peels. Drenching lemon peels in the vodka for around 2-3 weeks can bring it right to your table.

Lemon extract is oft-times added to dishes to give them a tangy flavor, just like lemon zest, but it isn’t too sour in flavor. So you can use it without any worries but still be certain not to go for adding it wholeheartedly. It can be used in half the quantity of lemon zest that you actually need.

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Quantity Swap

1 tsp lemon zest = ½ tsp lemon extract

5. Edible Lemon Oil

8 Optimum Lemon Zest Substitutes That Can Save Your Recipes

Edible lemon oil is flavored oil to which preservatives have been added to increase its shelf life. It’s a taste enhancer and exquisitely aromatic if found in unadulterated form (which is not that easy).

Quantity Swap

1tsp lemon zest = ¼ tsp edible lemon oil

6. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is also a close lemon zest substitute with quite a strong flavor. You can find it easily in the market or on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Grofers, etc.

Quantity Swap

½ tsp lemon zest = 1 stalk of lemongrass

7. Lemon Peel (Dried)

Dried lemon peels can never go wrong if used in place of lemon zest because it’s the same thing but just in dried form. When you don’t have fresh lemons, or any other citrus fruit such as orange or lime, dried lemon peels will do for you.

In fact, you can prepare and store it at home, and it’s really not a biting a bullet kind of task. Just grate or peel off the yellow skin of the lemon prior to squeezing out its juice, and, of course, instead of throwing it away, grate the peel (don’t grate/peel and stock the white part). Now, it just needs to be dried, so keeping it under the sunlight for a few days would suffice, or else if you are in any hurry, then put your oven to use for this. The temperature and timings would differ depending upon the quantity, but here’s the pro tip for you: there’s no need to preheat the oven for drying lemon peels.

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Quantity Swap

1tsp lemon zest = ½ tsp dried lemon peel

8. Lemon Juice

Quite obviously, for lemon juice, you require lemon, and if you had that in the first place, why would you be looking for lemon zest substitutes? But you can consider this for times when you feel like experimenting with the ingredients. Well, you can give it a shot! But, forget not that it can have a sour taste, so keep in mind that you can’t pour loads and loads of lemon juice into anything you feel like. Also, some recipes forbid the use of lemon juice, especially in the case of desserts.

Quantity Swap

½ tsp lemon zest = 1 tbsp lemon juice

Consider Skipping It

8 Optimum Lemon Zest Substitutes That Can Save Your Recipes

If you aren’t willing to indulge in lemon curd, lemon ice cream, or lemon butter cookies, you can consider skipping adding lemon zest, the reason being no doubt it has an exquisite flavor and aroma, substituting it with a wrong pick can make your recipe a total bizarre. So you better either analyze the texture and flavors of the substitute you are opting for, or you can just move on with the recipe casually.

Gurleen Kaur
• Content Writer at Mind Mingles• Has presented her work in International Conference On Guru Nanak Dev Ji: Life, Philosophy and Legacy held at Mata Sundri College For Women and was awarded the title of "Best Paper Presenter" under College Student Category for the same (Dated: 27th and 28th September, 2019)• Has a strong grip over creating interesting, unique and informative content pieces for a wide range of niches.• A firm believer that words have an impact.

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