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12 Orange Zest Substitutes in Baking/Cooking (Easy to Get)

Orange zest is a popular flavor for most people. It adds an aromatic crunch to your food and can be used as a sprinkle on anything. But sometimes, you’re tired of the same flavor and want something completely different.

That’s why we will introduce the top orange zest substitutes here.

What Can You Substitute for Orange Zest?

The following options can perfectly substitute orange zest in fresh, grated, finely chopped, or processed forms.

1. Fresh Orange Juice

orange juice

If your recipe calls for orange zest and you don’t have any in your pantry, fresh orange juice would be a great alternative.

Fresh orange juice(without food coloring or added sugar) can replace orange zest in dishes like salads or baked foods. The orange taste or flavor might be more pronounced, but it would still be enjoyable.

How to Substitute

A ratio of 1:1 is enough to replace orange zest.

Can’t find this, here are some orange juice substitutes for you.

2. Orange Flower Water

orange flower water

Orange flower water [1] is a diluted form of orange juice. It’s made by the addition of distilled water to the flowers of an orange. Orange flower water is not as sweet as orange juice because of its water content, but it still possesses a subtly sweet, citrus aroma and flavor.

So if your recipe is already on the sweet side and you would like a substitute that doesn’t heighten the sweetness, go for orange flower water.

How to Substitute

Substitute orange water for orange zest in a ratio 2:1. This ratio should give you the right citrus flavor.

3. Orange Extract

orange extract

Can you substitute orange extract for orange zest? The short answer – yes!

Orange extracts are rich, heavily concentrated orange flavors extracted from an alcohol base. Usually, 33% of alcohol is used in the extraction process, once this burns off during cooking or baking, the product is a delectable orange flavor.

Due to its strong flavor, orange extracts work perfectly in baking recipes, ice creams, and even beverages.

By adding the orange extract with fresh orange juice to carrots, sweet potatoes, green peas, and even broccoli you add depth and weight to your meal.

How to Substitute

Substitute orange extract for orange zest in a ratio of 1:4, it will bring you an impressive experience.

4. Lemon Zest

lemon zest

So you are looking for a premium orange zest substitute? Try Lemon zest!

Lemons and oranges are like “cousins” belonging to the citrus family. Both have the same sour taste and flavor, although oranges are sweeter than lemons.

You can’t go wrong with lemons, as they possess the same nutrients as oranges. Vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium are present in oranges and lemons, so you don’t just have a great flavor replacement but one with similar nutrients too.

To make your recipes sweeter, you can add about half a teaspoon of honey to them.

How to Substitute

Substitute lemon zest to orange zest in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio.

5. Lemon Extract

lemon extract

Like oranges, lemons can be extracted too. Lemon zest is also an excellent substitute for orange zest. It’s popular in making cheesecakes and lemon cakes.

A lemon extract is prepared by placing lemon peels in suitable alcohol (suitable alcohol is neutral alcohol that doesn’t add its flavor to the zest) and left for a while.

You can create your extract at home with lemon peels and vodka (a cup would suffice).

Put your peels in a container, add your vodka and leave them for about 4weeks, which is about enough time to extract the lemon flavors into the alcohol.

It’s important to note that lemon extract is pretty strong and acidic, so the flavor can be dominating. If you are not a fan of this, you might want to skip this substitute or use it moderately.

How to Substitute

You can use a substitute ratio of 1:4 for the lemon extract to orange zest.

6. Lemon Juice

lemon juice

You can extract lemon juice directly from the fruit or use a packaged one. It depends on your preference.

However, when you choose to extract lemon juice, keep in mind that lemon juice is sour and bitter, as there are no added sweeteners or sugars.

  • In marinades and vinaigrette, you don’t have to worry about the taste of lemons; they blend just perfectly, so you don’t need to add sugar or honey.
  • But for your regular baking recipes, honey might be handy to replicate the sweet taste of orange.

How to Substitute

The substitute ratio of lemon juice to orange zest is 2:1.

7. Grapefruit Zest

grapefruit zest

Like lemon, grapefruit [2] is another “cousin” of oranges. When it’s ripe, its sweetness is appealing. Grapefruit is a large fruit, so you have more zest to work within your recipe.

Like other citrus members, grapefruit is embedded with rich nutrients. And its zest is not as bitter as lemons, so you can be sure this would be a great replacement.

The taste difference is quite negligible, so feel free to try this option.

How to Substitute

The substitute ratio of grape zest to orange zest is 1:1.

8. Grapefruit Juice

grapefruit juice

Grape juice is another option to replace orange zest in your recipes, it works just as fine as the zest. You can either squeeze them fresh yourself or pick up grape juice on your next trip to the grocery store.

The taste of grapefruit juice can be described as a blend of sweet and sour, so if you like that taste, grapefruit will be your best choice. Remember that the darker the fruit, the more flavor the juice has.

You can use grapefruit juice in salads, gravies, and desserts.

How to Substitute

The substitute ratio of grapefruit juice to orange zest is 1:1. But you can always increase the balance if you love grapes.

9. Lime Zest

lime zest

Limes are similar to lemons; the difference between these fruits is that limes are smaller and green.

Lime is a great marinade ingredient that gives your meat or seafood a “zing” in the right direction!

Although a bit strong flavored and bitter, lime zest is a great replacement for orange zest, you probably want to use a little zest to hide its bitter taste.

How to Substitute

Use a ratio of 1:½ teaspoon of orange zest to lime zest in your recipe.

10. Clementine Zest


Can clementine zest substitute for orange zest? Yes, you can!

We saved the best of the citrus family for last. Clementine is a hybrid product of a cross between a mandarin orange and a regular orange. Its deep color and sweet flavor are just an all-around attraction.

Clementine zest is sweeter than orange zest, it will be your best choice if you love sweet and tasty.

How to Substitute

If you have clementines in your local fruit market, you should explore them. A 1:1 ratio is enough for your recipes when using clementine zest.

11. Tamarind Paste

tamarind paste

Tamarind paste is not made from a citrus fruit, but it can be used as a replacement for orange zest.

If you like meals with smoky undertones, you would be making the right choice with tamarind paste. And you would be glad you left your “citrus” zone to try this one out!

Although a great but unconventional choice, you might want to try a taste test before actually using it to be sure it’s a flavor you would like in your sauce or meat.

How to Substitute

You can replace orange zest with tamarind paste in a ratio you prefer, but you can also use 1:1. It will give your meal a different aroma and a more tangy taste.

12. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar might come as a shocker to you, but it really shouldn’t. The tangy flavor makes it a great raising agent for your baked foods.

How to Substitute

Use a ratio of ½:1 to substitute apple cider vinegar for orange zest. If its sourness is a bit too strong for you, then add some honey to balance it out.

You may like: Apple Cider Vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: What’s the Difference?

FAQs About Orange Zest

Is orange zest the same as orange peel?

They are not the same thing. Orange peel is the outer skin with a pitch backing of an orange, while orange zest is just the outer skin. But they share the similar flavor.

Can I substitute dried orange peel for dried orange zest?

You can use dried orange peel instead of dried orange zest; just use a 1:1 ratio.

How much dried orange peel equals orange zest?

The answer differs for a dried orange zest and a fresh orange zest.

  • For dried orange zest: 1 teaspoon of dried orange peel equals 1 teaspoon of dried orange zest.
  • For fresh orange zest: 1 teaspoon of dried orange peel equals 3 teaspoons fresh orange zest.

How much zest in one orange?

The quantities differ when you have different sizes of oranges. In general, one orange yields about 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated orange zest.

How do you make orange zest?

This video will show you how to make orange zest on your own.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, orange zest is a special ingredient. It has a distinctive sweetness and fragrance that makes it a popular topping. However, if orange zest is not an option, there are many other citrus zests you can use to create the same taste and aroma.

If you want an orange zest substitute for a specific recipe, feel free to leave a comment below, I’ll try my best to give you a satisfied answer.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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