Home Substitutes 7 Best Lemon Extract Substitutes with Similar Citrus Flavor

7 Best Lemon Extract Substitutes with Similar Citrus Flavor

The best lemon extract substitutes are those with a similar flavor profile. Lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon essence all work wonders.

For a similar citrus taste, you can also turn to lime zest, lime juice, and orange zest and juice.

Homemade Lemon Extract in a Bottle
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The good news is, you likely have one of these alternatives in your kitchen. So you won’t need to make an emergency trip to the store!

With these substitutes, you can achieve the same bright and refreshing flavor of lemon extract. Each one is here to save the day!

What Is Lemon Extract?

Lemon extract is a concentrated flavoring. It’s used to add a strong and vibrant lemon flavor to recipes. 

It’s made by steeping lemon zest in alcohol, allowing the oils to infuse and create a potent extract. Use it in baking, desserts, and beverages to enhance the citrusy taste of lemon. 

Overall, it’s a very convenient and consistent way to incorporate the essence of fresh lemons into dishes. It works well when fresh lemons are not readily available, too.

Lemon Extract vs. Lemon Juice (What’s the Difference?) 

Lemon extract and lemon juice are both citrus-based. However, they have distinct differences in terms of flavor, composition, and usage.

Lemon extract has a highly concentrated and intense lemon flavor. It also has a slightly sweet undertone. It’s primarily used as a flavoring agent in baking and desserts. It produces a strong lemon taste. It’s typically added in small amounts due to its potency.

Lemon juice has a tangy, sour, and refreshing flavor. It’s widely used in cooking, baking, and as a garnish or ingredient in beverages. It provides acidity, brightness, and a natural lemon flavor to various dishes. It’s used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and cocktails.

It can be used in larger amounts than lemon extract. It all depends on the desired level of acidity and citrus flavor.

Lemon Extract Substitutes

Fresh Lemon Zest

1. Lemon Zest

While lemon extract is a popular option, some bakers prefer using lemon zest instead.

For starters, lemon zest is made directly from the peel of the fruit, providing a natural and fresh flavor. It also contains essential oils. It infuses a stronger aroma and taste compared to extract. 

Lemon zest can enhance the texture of recipes. It adds small specks of color and provides a subtle crunch.

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

2. Lemon Juice

The tart and zesty flavor of lemon juice adds the perfect citrus punch. Plus, lemon juice is a natural ingredient and can provide health benefits. It aids in digestion and supports immune function. 

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When you’re in a bind and don’t have lemon extract, grab a fresh lemon and squeeze away!

3. Lemon Essence or Flavoring 

Lemon essence (or lemon flavoring) is a good substitute for lemon extract because. It has a similar concentrated lemon flavor. 

Lemon essence is typically made using artificial flavorings. It may contain additional ingredients to mimic the taste of fresh lemons. 

It doesn’t offer the same complexity as natural lemon extract. But it still delivers a bright and zesty taste to your recipes.

Whole Lime and Lime Juice

4. Lime Juice or Zest 

Lime juice or zest can be a good substitute for lemon extract when you need a citrusy flavor in your recipes. 

Both offer a tangy and refreshing taste to enhance various dishes. 

Lime juice provides a similar acidic and tart flavor as lemon extract. And lime zest adds a bright and aromatic element. 

They’re perfect for desserts, sauces, or marinades. Using lime juice or zest can infuse your dishes with a delightful, citrusy kick.

Fresh Orange, Zested With a Grater on a Wooden Cutting Board

5. Orange Zest and Juice

Orange juice or zest can are two more great alternatives to lemon extract. They add a vibrant and citrusy flavor to your recipes. 

The tangy and slightly sweet taste of orange juice gives desserts and marinades a refreshing twist. Likewise, orange zest provides a burst of aromatic and citrusy notes. It enhances the flavor profile of your creations. 

Remember oranges are less acidic than lemons, so the flavor of your dishes will change slightly.

Lemon Oil In A Glass Bottle With Fresh Lemons On Wooden Background

6. Lemon Oil

Lemon oil serves as an excellent substitute for lemon extract because of its concentrated and intense flavor. 

It’s derived from the rind of lemons and carries a strong citrus aroma and taste. 

Just a small amount of lemon oil gives a potent burst of lemon goodness. It’s very similar to the impact of lemon extract.

Three Glass Shots of Limoncello

7. Limoncello

Limoncello is a traditional Italian liqueur made from lemon zest, sugar, and alcohol. It’s a delightful substitute for lemon extract. 

Its rich and vibrant lemon flavor adds a unique twist to recipes. It infuses them with a sweet and citrusy taste. 

Limoncello offers both the aromatic essence and the tangy zest of lemons. Once you try it, you’ll use it in recipes all the time!

7 Best Lemon Extract Substitutes with Similar Citrus Flavor

Try lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon oil for the perfect lemon extract substitutes. All work well in your favorite recipes.


  • Lemon Zest

  • Lemon Juice

  • Lemon Essence or Flavoring

  • Lime Juice or Zest

  • Orange Zest and Juice

  • Lemon Oil

  • Limoncello


  • Select your lemon extract substitute.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Lemon Extract Substitutes

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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