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Lime Zest Substitute

Lime zest is a great way to add fresh citrus flavor to many recipes. What if you do not have lime to zest or a zester for the recipe you are making?

You are in luck because there are a few alternatives to lime zest that you can you use and I am going to go over each substitute in this post.

Pile of lime zest in front of a mircoplane with two whole limes sitting together off to the side.

Top Lime zest substitute

When you are in a pickle and need lime zest but you do not have lime or a zester at your fingertips other things can be used in its place.

Lime zest is used for the lime flavor in a dessert or recipe. When deciding which substitute to use keep in mind what you are making and what flavors you are trying to achieve.

Zest from citrus fruits gives you the flavor itself whereas juices will give you more of the sour or tangy taste.

Little pieces of lime peels on a cutting board with a whole lime sitting behind it.

Lime Peel

Maybe you have lime but you don’t have a Microplane or a testing tool. Well, you can still make zest using the peel of the lime.

If you use a pairing knife and peel just the green part of the peel, then chop it up as finely as you can. It will act just as a zest would in any recipe.

You will want to make sure that when you do use this method you do not get the white part just under the green skin as it will give you more of a bitter taste.

I have a post on just how to zest a lime that you can check out. If you have a lime but aren’t sure how to tell if it is bad or not, learn how to tell if a lime is bad in my post.

Lemon zest with mircoplane and a while lemon on a cutting board.

Lemon Zest

Lemon zest is a great alternative for lime zest as it will give you a similar texture and citrus flavor. The only difference is that your recipe will give you a taste of lemon and not lime.

For instance, if you were making key lime pie and you ended up having to use lemon zest, your key lime pie will be more of a Lemon pie in taste but the textures would be the same.

The same goes for frosting or a glaze. Using a little lemon zest instead of lime zest will be perfectly fine and give a great citrus flavor.

When using lemon zest as a substitute for limes zest you want to use the same measurement, a 1:1 ratio. Learn more here about lemon zest!

Spoon full of orange zest on a cutting board with two oranges and a microplane leaning on one of the oranges.

Orange Zest

Much like using lemon zest, orange zest can be used in place of lime zest in most recipes. For every tablespoon of lime zest, your recipe requires you want to use a tablespoon of orange zest.

I have a post on just how to zest an orange if you would like to check it out!

Orange zest will give you that fresh light citrus taste similarly as lime would. Of course, it would change a bit as it will give you the flavor of orange rather than lime so it is important to keep that in mind.

Lime juice

Depending on the recipe you are following lime juice will work as a lime zest substitute. The thing to know about lime juice is that it takes on the sour tangy taste of lime rather than the taste of fresh lime itself.

Note that lime juice is wet whereas lime zest is not so take that into account when you use it as a lime zest substitute.

The ratio for lime juice as a lime substitute would be 1/2 tablespoon of lime juice for every tablespoon of lime zest.

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