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Orange Zest Substitute

Orange zest is great when used in a glaze or in a muffin or scone to really bring out that orange taste. It’s light but really adds a string punch of true orange flavor.

If you have a recipe that calls for orange zest and you don’t have any oranges or maybe you don’t have the tools to make orange zest.

In this post I am going to go over the best substitutes for orange zest, whether it’s using another citrus fruit or using the peel of the orange another way, or in some cases, you can use orange juice as well.

I am going to cover each alternative for orange zest one by one. Which one to use depends on the recipe at hand and the measurement ratio as well.

Zesting tool with a pile of orange zest on it on a wooden cutting board and an orange in the background.

Best alternatives for orange zest

When you zest an orange you are getting the essential oils from the citrus fruit that give you the true orange favor.

Depending on what you are trying to achieve in your recipe and what you have on hand will help you decide what to use as an alternative for orange zest.

Vegetable peeler laying next to an orange with a few peels of orange on a cutting board.

Orange peel

Using the peel of an orange you can get just about the same texture and taste of orange zest. See how to zest an orange.

You want to use the same amount of chopped orange peel as you would if you were to use zest it.

You want to be sure that when you use the peel you do not incorporate the white of the peels as that will give you a very bitter taste.

It will take away from the orange flavor that you are trying to get.

Lemon sitting next to a mircoplane with a pile of lemon zest in front of it on a cutting board.

Lemon zest

One of the best substitutes for orange zest is lemon zest! But remember lemon will give you a bold lemon flavor as opposed to orange zest which will give you a sweet orange flavor.

Lemon zest or any other citrus zest will give you very similar results to orange zest but it will alter the taste profile. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing as long as you get that sweet fresh taste.

If you are substituting one zest for another one you are going to use the same amount. If your recipe asks for 1 tablespoon of orange zest then 1 tablespoon of lemon zest is what you will want to use.

Wondering if your lemon is still good or not to use in place of your orange zest? Check out my post on how to tell if lemon is bad.

Mircoplane with a pile of lime zest in front of it on a cutting board and two limes sitting on the side.

Lime zest

Lime zest can work as a substitute for orange zest as it will give it that fresh citrus taste but beware that your recipe will taste like lime where it would have tasted like orange.

Using a 1:1 ratio will assure you that your recipe won’t change as far as the baking goes but it will bring on a lime taste rather than an orange flavor.

Orange juice

The reason that I list orange juice last is that the difference between using a liquid versus a solid can change a recipe greatly.

Freshly squeezed juice is going to give you more of a true orange taste rather than store-bought orange juice.

You can get the great orange flavor using orange juice but you will have to be careful that you don’t make your recipe too wet as it might not cook as it should. I have an entire post on how to cut an orange.

When using orange juice instead of orange zest you want to use half of what the recipe calls for. For every tablespoon of orange zest, you should use 1/2 tablespoon of orange juice.

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