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10 Best Lemon Zest Substitutes That You Can Try

10 Best Lemon Zest Substitutes That You Can Try

If you enjoy a tangy flavor in your cuisine, you’ve likely used lemon zest at least a fair few times. Lemon zest is used in many recipes, from cakes to salads. It is also a fantastic addition to foods like Asian and Mediterranean curries and a range of desserts. Today we will discuss the best lemon zest substitutes.

I’m sure you’ve encountered instances where you wanted lemon zest in a recipe but couldn’t find a decent lemon to make one. So, what are your plans? Stop preparing food? For foodies, quitting is not an option. Why not use a lemon zest substitute in these situations?

Are you looking for a good lemon zest substitute? Think no more! Lemon extract, lemon juice, dried lemon, orange zest, berries, lemon pepper, and Tajin are great options for lemon zest substitutes.

Even though lemon is a well-known fruit, lemon zest may be unfamiliar to many of my readers. Before we get into the alternatives, let’s take a closer look at the much-loved lemon zest. This will assist you in better understanding how to substitute it.

What’s In The Post

Quick Peek: Lemon Zest

lemon zest

When life gives you some lemons, make some lemon zest! Lemon zest is a magical ingredient that can give your favorite dish a new twist. This section will help you with every detail of lemon zest. You’ll learn what it is, how it tastes and feels, and how to use it. Continue reading to learn more!

What Is Lemon Zest?

The yellow outer layer of the lemon is used to make lemon zest, which is an important ingredient in many recipes. There are two layers to a lemon: yellow zest (flavedo) and white pith (albedo). 

Lemon zest is scraped from the flavedo part of the lemon, which is the outermost part. It has a bright yellow color and is commonly used in baking and garnishing salads. It adds a distinct citrus flavor to the dish without being bitter.

Describing Lemon Zest: Flavor and Texture.

Lemon zest is the outer lemon peel. It has a bright yellow color and is scraped out in a thin style. They are normally not ingested directly but utilized as an ingredient as they have a very pungent flavor and scent. It is not toxic or inedible in its natural state.

When I describe the flavor of lemon zest, I think of citrus with a hint of bitterness. Lemon zest contains vital oils that make it tasty and give your food a fresh flavor. Even though lemon juice and lemon zest are both elements of lemon, they have distinct flavors.

Uses of Lemon Zest

Lemon zest is used in a wide range of recipes worldwide. It’s used as a flavoring additive to make foods taste better. While baking, it can be added to give the meal a distinct aroma and flavor. Salads or marinades can also be garnished with it. It adds just the right amount of flavor to your salad.

It’s not only flavorful and fragrant, but it’s also a great way to dress up your favorite recipes. You may use this beautifully scraped yellow beauty to give your favorite food a perfect look, whether it’s an iced cake or a cupcake.

Lemon Zest On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

In most meals, only a modest amount of lemon zest is utilized. As a result, the nutritious value it provides to our food is reduced. However, we can not completely dismiss the health benefits it provides.

Lemon zest contains a significant amount of fiber and vitamin C. It also has a minor quantity of calcium, magnesium, and potassium in addition to these two. Lemon zest is used in a number of drinks since it is proven to increase immunity. It also helps to maintain healthy gut health, which is beneficial to general health.

Various herbal medications contain lemon zest. They’re also utilized to treat a wide range of oral problems. Lemon zest also has antibacterial and antifungal effects. I believe we’ve covered enough lemon zest! Now it’s time to consider the primary point of this essay, which is the best lemon zest substitutes.

10 Best Lemon Zest Substitutes

We’ll talk about which substances can be utilized as the best lemon zest substitutes in this part. Furthermore, instructions are provided on employing each alternative to achieve the greatest outcomes. Keep reading to find out all about the best lemon zest substitutes!

1. Lemon Extract

Lemon extract

When it comes to baking cakes or cookies, lemon extract is the best lemon zest substitute. It has the same citrus flavor as lemon zest without the sourness.

Lemon extract is a liquid that is made by steeping lemon zest in alcohol for a long time. This is done to extract the flavor of the lemon zest and keep it fresh for longer. It has an extremely similar flavor to lemon zest.

When it comes to adding lemon extract to your favorite recipe, keep in mind that the lemon extract has a higher concentration of lemon flavor. As a result, mix one teaspoon of lemon zest with half a teaspoon of lemon extract.

2. Dried Lemon Peel

Dried lemon peel

Don’t throw away the lemon peels when you’re through with your lemonade. Dry them in the sun or bake them for 30 minutes on the lowest heat setting in the oven. In no time, your dried lemon peel will be ready. This is, without a doubt, the best lemon zest substitute.

The flavor of dried lemon is stronger. When compared to fresh lemon zest, it is also much more bitter. Because both are dry limonoids, this is one of the best substitutes for lemon zest.

One teaspoon of lemon zest can be compacted with a third teaspoon of dried lemon peel. Since both of them are in a dry state, it won’t affect the consistency of your recipe either.

3. Lime Zest 

Lime Zest

Although lime and lemon seem similar, they are two different fruits. Lime is considerably smaller and tart when compared to lemon, which is larger and sweeter. Lime zest, like lemon juice, has a more acidic flavor. With a flavor and smell that are strikingly similar, lime zest is one of the greatest lemon zest substitutes.

Lime zest has a sour taste. It has a flavor extremely similar to lemon zest when applied in the proper amount. Also, because both are grated, lime zest can be substituted for lemon zest in recipes when the texture is crucial.

When using lime zest, keep in mind that it has a highly sour flavor that may not suit some Mediterranean foods that are more on the sweet side. However, when it comes to Asian cuisines that require a touch of sour, lime zest is unquestionably the greatest and most appropriate lemon zest substitute.

4. Orange Zest

Orange Zest

Look for oranges if life doesn’t offer you lemons. Orange zest offers a lovely, sweet flavor when compared to lemon zest. It has a pleasant, natural scent and is one of the most popular lemon zest substitutes.

Unlike lemon zest, which is bright yellow in color, orange zest is vivid orange in color. Orange zest can be considered one of the best substitutes for lemon zest because of its vibrant color and distinct flavor. Orange zest will be a better substitute for lime zest when it comes to Mediterranean cuisine. It will taste like lemon zest with a touch of sweetness.

5. Pomelo Zest


The pomelo is the citrus family’s largest fruit. It tastes similar to grapefruit but is a little more bitter. It has a delicious, citrus-like aroma and can be substituted with lemon zest.

However, one disadvantage of pomelo zest is that it is not readily available and might be costly depending on the season. Many people also like to add candied pomelo zest in salads, teas, jams, etc.

6. Calamansi Zest 


The citrus fruit calamansi is another member of the citrus family. It has a strong tangy flavor and can be used as a lemon zest substitute. 

Calamansi zest is a versatile ingredient that may be used for everything from baking to garnishing. It has the same effect as lemon zest. Calamansi, like pomelo, isn’t always readily available and might be difficult to get. If you do have some calamansi zest, it’ll be a great alternative to lemon zest.

7. Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass

Lemongrass has a stronger and more intense fragrance than lemon zest. It has a mild citrus taste with ginger undertones. Lemongrass has a lemony, almost flowery scent that isn’t quite as bitter as lemon zest. It has a lovely scent and can be substituted for lemon zest.

If you don’t have lemon zest, substitute lemongrass in your favorite Thai or Vietnamese cuisine. Lemongrass, both fresh and dried, can be used as a replacement. For every half spoon of lemon zest, use one stalk of lemongrass.

8. Berries

Mixed berries.

Berries are an excellent way to incorporate the sour lemon flavor into your favorite cuisine. Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all possibilities. You may generate a great flavor that can substitute lemon zest by combining different fruits.

If you want more sweetness than sourness in your dish, blueberries and strawberries are the best choices. But blackberries are ideal if you want more of that sour, lemony, and acidic flavor.

Berries are an excellent lemon zest substitute. They are both healthier and more delicious. The berries can add a distinctive flavor to the dish and can also be used as a garnish. Berries are a great addition to salads and other dishes.

9. Lemon Pepper

Lemon Pepper

Lemon pepper spice is created with black pepper and granulated lemon zest. It combines the flavors and aromas of lemon and pepper. Lemon pepper is a great substitute for lemon zest as it’ll give you a citrus flavor with a kick of pepper.

Make sure you get the lemon pepper spice the next time you go grocery shopping. When substituting lemon pepper for lemon zest, use a half-to-one ratio because lemon pepper has limited spicy content.

10. Tajin


 Tajin is a Mexican condiment that can be used as a lemon zest substitute. It’s a great blend of salt, lime, and chili that complements spicy foods perfectly.

It won’t have the same intensity as lemon zest, but it will give your food a citrus flavor. However, because tajin already contains salt and other spices, keep an eye on them while adding them.

Short Recap

Are you still undecided about which of these substitutes you should choose? Don’t worry; here’s a little clip that may assist you in escaping this difficult predicament.

Most appropriate: Lemon extract is the most acceptable lemon zest substitute since it can practically match the flavor and taste of lemon zest.

Easily accessible: Orange zest or lime zest is the most readily accessible option. Even if they don’t have the same flavor as lemon zest, both of these fruit zests will make you forget about it. Both of these options can be used safely for baking, garnishing, vegetable salads, and non-vegetarian illnesses.

Best flavor combination: When lemongrass is employed, the flavor profile is the best.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found the answers you were seeking now that we’ve reached the end of the post. Lemon zest is such a versatile ingredient that it may add a new dimension to various meals. Although most of the listed ingredients can be substituted, there is no precise match for lemon zest. 

If lemon zest is a key component of your meal, it’s preferable to use the zest rather than the substitute. However, if you know of any other alternatives to the ones listed above, please share them in the comments area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much lime juice equals 1 teaspoon of lemon zest?

For every teaspoon of lemon zest, use half a teaspoon of lime juice.

 Is there a distinction between the lemon peel and lemon zest?

Lemon zest only includes the lemon’s outermost yellow coating, while lemon peel includes both the yellow and white sections.

 Which zest is the most delicious; lime or lemon?

Although both zests have distinct flavors, lemon zest is more typically utilized than lime zest.

When replacing the lemon zest, how much-dried lemon peel should be used?

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried peel.

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