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Best & Simple Lemon Zest Substitute Ideas

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Lemon zest is an excellent ingredient for adding a citrusy flavor to baked dishes. And a pinch of lemon zest can bring magical flavor to your lemon custard pies or bars. However, working with a lemon zest substitute is also possible if you don’t have the ingredient at home.

Lemon zest is the outermost skin of lemon in grated form. And you can make it yourself if you have a lemon in your hand. And for this, a zester or Microplane grater is suitable to scrape off the peel. Then you can use the tiny bits of the lemon peel as a flavored ingredient. However, it is to note that the white spongy portion underneath the bright peel of lemon is bitter. So it will help if you don’t go too deep while scraping off the peel.

Lemon zest provides a zing and glossy texture to every recipe. It’s the yellow portion of the lemon peel, and it tastes like pure lemon. It is because the ingredient contains the essential oils present in this citrus fruit. And adding it to a recipe provides the pure lemon flavor to your dish.

Nevertheless, sometimes your kitchen may be out of both lemon and its zest. And in such a case, you will need another lemon zest substitute. So today, we will discuss some common lemon zest substitutes that you can use in your recipe.

Best Lemon Zest Substitute

Best Lemon Zest Substitute

Lemon zest is the yellow outer skin of the citrus fruit that we know as the lemon peel. And it provides the pure taste of lemon when you add it to any dish. However, you may notice there is no lemon or its zest in your kitchen. And your recipe will go in vain without this ingredient. In such a case, you can use a substitute for lemon zest if you are aware of it. So here are the best simple lemon juice substitutes for your reference.

Any Citrus Fruit

Any Citrus Fruit

Orange or lime zest will provide almost the same effect as lemon zest. And you can add the same amount of this ingredient as the lemon zest. However, there may be slight differences in the color and texture of this substitute ingredient.

It is to note that lime is a typical flavor in Asian and Latin dishes. And lemon has a strong bond with the Mediterranean dishes. So you shouldn’t add lemon zest to arugula Parmesan salad or use lime zest in cilantro lime dressing. It means you need to make sure that an ingredient is suitable for a particular recipe.

Lemon Extract Or Lemon Juice

Lemon Extract Or Lemon Juice

If you have fresh lemon, you can scrape off the peel to get the zest. But in case there is no zester or grater available, you can use the lemon extract or juice. For this, you should use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract in place of 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. And two teaspoons of lemon juice in place of 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.

It is to note that you shouldn’t substitute lemon zest if the recipe needs it in large amounts. It is because, with lemon juice or extract, you will add more liquid to the content. And it will change the texture of your dish. Also, the lemon juice is more acidic that can react with the baking agents creating more bubbles.

Also, highly acidic lemon juice can have a sour flavor. So you should avoid it if the liquid tends to spoil the recipe. For example, adding liquid juice to a whipped cream may ruin its fluffiness.

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Dried Lemon Peel

Dried Lemon Peel

Dried lemon peel is a common substitute for lemon zest. However, its flavor is much more intense. So you can add less amount of dried lemon peel than the zest in a recipe. The ideal rule is, one tablespoon of lemon zest equals 1/3 tablespoon of dried lemon peel.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar

You will find this acidic powder in the baking section of your nearby superstores.
This ingredient has practical use in different recipes. However, it is an ingredient commonly used to stabilize whipped cream or white egg foams. It’s also popularly present in baking powder.

The cream of tartar is acidic. So you can easily use it as a lemon zest substitute. Also, it works best when you are preparing a baked recipe. The ideal rule is, one tablespoon of lemon zest equals 1/2 tablespoon of cream of tartar.

It is to note that your recipe may need additional liquid. It is due to the lack of fluid in the cream of tartar.

Citric Acid

Citric Acid

It is a common natural acid found in lemon juice. And powdered citric acid is available in the market that can be an ideal substitute for lemon zest. Also, it works best in baked recipes.

You need to add a minimal amount of citric acid as a substitute for lemon zest. And the definitive rule is, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest equals one tablespoon of citric acid. However, you can adjust the fluid amount according to the recipe needs.

Also, your recipe may need additional liquid to adjust the dryness and wetness of the ingredients.

Additionally, adding citric acid to your recipe will save the vitamins and antioxidants of other ingredients. So it is a healthy substitute for lemon zest.

Vinegar

Vinegar

Vinegar can be an excellent lemon zest substitute. It is suitable when you cook or bake a dish with a small amount of the ingredient. Also, it’s tart and acidic, like lemon juice.

However, it is to note that vinegar has a robust, savory flavor. So it will help if you do not use it to replace lemon zest in large amounts. Also, it will help if you avoid vinegar in a dish where lemon is one of the essential flavors.

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Limoncello (or Other Liqueur)

Limoncello (or Other Liqueur)

Limoncello is an amazing Italian liqueur. This lemon-flavored drink goes through the process of soaking lemon peels in alcohol. And as a result, it gives the liquid the flavor of citrus acid. And it is an ideal lemon zest substitute for any recipe.

In a recipe, you can use 1 to 2 tablespoons of limoncello instead of 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. Moreover, you can use other liqueur with a different flavor as a substitute for lemon zest.

It may bring a different flavor to the dish. However, sometimes it may complement the food with a different taste and flavor. As we have already described, using lemon juice may increase the liquid content in your recipe.

Citrus Juice

Citrus Juice

Citrus juice has a similar flavor to lemon zest, but it’s very acidic and less concentrated. So before using any citrus juice, it’s crucial to consider what you’re preparing.

However, citrus juice is a great substitute when you use it in dressings or marinades. In such a case, the added acid won’t change the dish anyway.

It will help if you take special care while making a dairy-based batter or custard. Here you should add the juice at the end and not directly into the batter. Else, the acid may cause the dairy to separate. For this, you should use 1/2 teaspoon of citrus juice in place of 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.

When you make a baked dish, reducing the other liquid ingredients in the batter is crucial. And you can reduce up to 2 spoons of liquid to balance the content.

FAQs

Q. What can you use as a lemon zest substitute?

Ans. Lemon zest is an excellent ingredient for adding a citrusy flavor to baked dishes. And you can replace the lemon zest with any citrus ingredient. However, the best lemon zest substitutes are citrus fruit, lemon or juice, dried lemon peel, cream of tartar, citric acid, and vinegar.

Q. Can I replace the lemon zest with orange zest?

Ans. You can certainly replace the lemon zest with orange zest. Orange or lime zest will provide almost the same effect as lemon zest. And you can add the same amount of this ingredient as the lemon zest. However, there may be slight differences in the color and texture of this substitute ingredient.

Q. Are lemon zest and lemon peel the same?

Ans. Lemon zest is the outermost skin of lemon in grated form. And lemon peel is the whole coat of the fruit, including the white inner portion.

Conclusion

You need not worry if you notice no lemon zest in the middle of cooking a dish. It is because you know about a bunch of lemon zest substitutes that you can use in your recipe.

Lemon zest is the yellow outer skin of the citrus fruit that we know as the lemon peel. And it provides the pure taste of lemon when you add it to any dish. If you have fresh lemon, you can scrape off the peel to get the zest. But in case there is no zester or lemon available in your kitchen, you will look for another substitute.

This article includes some common lemon zest substitutes that you can use in your recipe. So we are hopeful that you will like the post and share your thought with us.

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