Citrus fruits have a special place in our everyday diet. The whole citrus family offers a range of refreshing flavors to the food.
Besides their sweet and sour juices, the citrus fruits like oranges also give us an aromatic peel and zest, which is great to season plenty of dishes.
The orange zest, in particular, is used in making bread, cakes, muffins and several others desserts or side meals.
If you are making anything that calls for orange zest but can’t find some in the kitchen, then there are several other ingredients like orange juice, orange extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, lime zest, grapefruit zest, clementine zest etc. that you can definitely use to substitute the orange zest in baking and cooking.
What Is Orange zest?
When you lightly grate the juicy peel of an orange, you get the orange zest. The orange peel contains all the citrus-y aroma, essence, anti-oxidants and fibers, so to add all that goodness to the food, the outermost layer of this peel is removed and used to season a variety of meals.
The orange zest has a citrus-infused bitter flavor; that is why it is only used in a small amount. Even a teaspoon of orange zest is enough to add citrus-like flavors to the food.
How to make homemade orange zest?
The zest of one orange is equivalent to 2-3 tablespoons. And you can get this zest at home by using basic peeling techniques.
Usually, a Microplane or a box grater is used to peel the strands of orange zest from its surface. Hold this Microplane at a slanted angle and hold the orange in your other hand. Drag the Microplane holes across the orange peel to grate the orange zest. In case if you don’t have the Microplane then you can use the vegetable peeler as well to zest the orange.
Uses of orange zest in cooking
The refreshing orange zest’s aroma and its citrus flavor complement many recipes. So, you can use this zest to make:
- Sauces like cranberry orange sauce
- Salad dressings
- Condiments like this berry or bacon jam
- Baked goods and sweets like cookies or orange muffins
- Savory recipes like Caribbean pot roast
Besides these basic meals, orange zest and peel also make a great topping and garnish for cocktails and other beverages.
11 Best Substitutes for Orange Zest in Recipes
In case you run out of orange zest while you are cooking in full swing, then you can always try the following ingredients as substitutes.
1. Orange Juice
If you have some orange juice lying in your refrigerator, then you are just in luck to replace the orange zest.
Among all the alternatives, this juice is the closest match to orange zest’s aroma and flavor. It is sour, sweet and refreshing. So, you can add this juice to cakes, muffins, bread, cookies, drinks, sauces, marinades and even salad dressing.
The best part about using the orange juice is that it is neither too bitter as the zest nor too sour as the lemon juice, so it never messes up with the flavor of the recipe even when you use a little bit extra.
You can substitute orange zest with orange juice in a 1:1 ratio which means a teaspoon of orange juice is enough to replace 1 teaspoon of orange zest. Using the same conversion rate, you can substitute orange juice for orange zest as well.
2. Orange Extract
Next in line is the orange extract which is more concentrated and potent than the orange juice. So only a small amount is enough to replace orange zest and get a similar taste and aroma. You can substitute 1 teaspoon of orange zest with ½ teaspoon of orange extract according to the 2:1 conversion ratio.
3. Lemon Zest
Lemon is another popular citrus fruit that we all have in our homes. In fact, some people like me love to grow lemons at home so that they could enjoy their refreshing flavor and aroma anytime.
The lemon zest also contains a citrus-like taste and smell, which is suitable to replace the orange zest in desserts, baked goods and other recipes. All you need to do is to take an equal amount of lemon zest; let’s just say 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to substitute orange zest.
4. Grapefruit Zest
Since grapefruit also belongs to this citrus family, its zest is a good replacement for orange zest. However, it is sweeter and lighter in taste than the others on this list. The grapefruit zest can substitute the orange zest in a 1:1 ratio, a teaspoon of it is enough to replace orange zest in drinks, desserts, snacks, and salads.
5. Clementine Zest
Clementine is a type of sweet-mandarin hybrid oranges with shiny skin and juicier flesh. So, you can try it as a mandarin zest substitute or replace orange zest. Use the 1:1 conversion ratio to replace the orange zest with clementine zest. It is particularly suitable to add to garnishes, salads and dessert toppings.
6. Lime Zest
The green-coloured lime zest is loaded with a refreshing citrus aroma. It has a strong kick and a bitter, acidic flavor which is more potent than the orange zest. You will have to use ½ a teaspoon of lime zest to substitute a teaspoon of orange zest. Use this zest in drinks, sauces and condiments.
7. Lemon Juice
Like orange juice, lemon juice can be a great substitute for the orange zest. But remember that it has a stronger kick and acidic taste than orange juice. So, you will have to readjust its flavor by adding 2 teaspoons of sugar or honey to a cup of lemon juice.
Mix these ingredients well until the sweetener is dissolved, and then add a teaspoon of this mixture to replace orange zest in baking recipes or sauces, condiments and salad dressings etc.
8. Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit juice is so full of refreshing flavors and good nutrients. If you want to have something healthy in your meal, then this juice is a great replacement for orange zest.
It is best to extract the fresh grapefruit juice at home and then add it to the recipes. Otherwise, the market bought grapefruit juice is also fine when you are using it in a small amount.
Grapefruit juice is less potent than orange zest, so you will have to use 1½ teaspoon of this juice to replace 1 teaspoon of orange zest.
9. Clementine Juice
Like the clementine zest, the fruit’s juice is equally great to replace orange zest. Clementine juice is more like orange juice, only a little sweeter. So, it is the best replacement for orange zest in baking and making all sorts of desserts. You can simply substitute 1 teaspoon of orange zest with 1- 1½ teaspoon of clementine juice to enjoy more of its sweet and sour flavors.
10. Lime Juice
Lime is a surprisingly great substitute for any citrus fruit and its juices. Lime juice is more similar to lemon juice in taste and flavors. So, you will also have to mix a cup of this juice with 2 teaspoons of honey and then use it as a perfect substitute for orange zest in all sorts of recipes.
This can be any vinegar, the regular one or the apple cider vinegar! The aim of using vinegar as a replacement for orange zest is to get a strong sour taste.
It is true that vinegar is more concentrated in the sourness, and it does not have that citrus-y aroma. So, you can only use a small amount of it in recipes that require some sour flavor like marinades, fillings, condiments and glazes etc.
The orange zest to vinegar substitution ratio depends on the strength and kick of the vinegar you are using. If it is strong, then use only ½ teaspoon to replace a teaspoon of orange zest. If it is not too strong, then replace it in a 1:1 ratio.
|Sr. No||Orange Zest Substitutes||To Replace 1 teaspoon of Orange Zest|
|1||Orange juice||1 teaspoon|
|2||Orange extract||½ teaspoon|
|3||Lemon zest||½ teaspoon|
|4||Grapefruit zest||1 teaspoon|
|5||Clementine Zest||1 teaspoon|
|6||Lime Zest||1 teaspoon|
|7||Lemon juice||1 teaspoon (mixed with honey or sugar)|
|8||Grapefruit Juice||1 ½ teaspoon|
|9||Clementine Juice||1 teaspoon|
|10||Lime Juice||1 teaspoon (mixed with honey)|
|11||Vinegar||½- 1 teaspoon|