Substitutes for Lime Juice: Refreshing Citrus Flavors

Lime juice is used in many dishes, cocktails, mixed drinks, sauces, marinades, fruit salads and sweets. It’s a citrusy and flavorful juice that you can replace with other juices, flavors and seasonings to have a similar taste in your dish. 

In case, you have no limes in hand for a particular recipe or have allergies from citrus fruits, we have a guide to the most appropriate substitutes for lime juice to use instead. 

The best substitutes are lemon juice, lime juice powder, lime oil or lime extract, black lime, key lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, vinegar, white wine and tamarind

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is one of the best and easiest replacers for lime juice. It has many similarities with lime. Since you need to have that sour and fresh taste in your dish, dessert or drink, you can safely use lemon juice instead of lime juice. 

The color is the same and the flavor is so close that you may hardly notice a difference, which means Lime juice is the best alternative to lemon juice, too. As for the ratio it is 1:1 for this substitute in any dish. 

2. Lime Juice Powder

Some other varieties of lime can also help to achieve the desired taste. One of them is lime juice powder. Choosing this substitute you may have many limitations in your choice of recipes, but there are recipes that ideally work with it.

You can use it in soups, sauces and as a dressing in salads and other matching dishes. Lime juice powder brings the same flavor as lime juice. You can mix 1 teaspoon of powder with 2 tablespoons of water to replace 2 tablespoons of lime juice. 

3. Lime Oil or Lime Extract

Besides lime juice and powder you can also find lime oil and lime extract in stores. They are enriched with lime flavor and acidity and are meant for a variety of recipes. There’s no oil added in lime oil and it’s just a jar of natural and organic fruit flavor.

You can use lime oil in desserts, drinks, ice-creams, pies and other baked goods. Just one drop of it is enough to replace 1 teaspoons of lime juice. 

As for lime extract, it is lighter in texture and you can use half tablespoons of lime extract to substitute 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Just like lime oil, lime extract is mainly chosen for desserts, drinks  and baked goods. 

4. Black Lime

As for black limes, they are dried limes with no liquid inside, but they are used as good condiments for many dishes and hot drinks. black limes are rare alternatives for lime but if you happen to find them, you can use them instead of lime juice too. 

You can find black limes in whole, sliced or ground versions from spice sections of Middle Eastern stores. They have a special place in Middle Eastern cuisine. 

Use black limes instead of lime juice in sweet desserts, pies, cookies and other baked goods. 2-3 tablespoons of sliced or grinded black limes can be used to replace 1 tablespoon of lime juice. 

5. Key Lime Juice

Key limes in their turn, are the smaller versions of limes with yellow skin. They have a thinner skin and more seeds inside but the flavor is similar to lime juice. 

Key lime juice comes with a high acidic level which allows you to choose it instead of lime juice in almost all recipes that call for regular lime juice.

Key limes are available throughout the year and you can get them from common markets and stores. 

6. Orange Juice

Although orange juice has a slightly sweet taste compared to lime, it still carries enough acidity as well as bitterness to choose as a lime juice substitute. 

Of course, you should choose suitable recipes for this one such as cocktails, other mixed beverages, baked goods, sweets as well as poultry dishes and salads. 

You can use  1 teaspoon of orange juice instead of 2 teaspoons of lime juice. Don’t over flavor your dish with orange juice to avoid that distinctive sweet taste. 

7. Grapefruit Juice

Compared to other citrus fruits, grapefruit has a unique flavor, taste and color. It is sour, sweet and bitter at the same time and has a bright coral color inside. However, grapefruit juice is so close to lime juice in its taste that you can safely use it in 1:1 ratio.

It’s suitable for drinks, smoothies, bakery and salads. Grapefruit juice goes well with other fruits, vegetables, nuts and spices. 

8. Vinegar

If you have apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar at hand, you can use one of them instead of lime juice, especially in cooked dishes and salads. 

Vinegar has a tangy flavor and it’s actually stronger in its taste. So, use half tablespoons of vinegar to substitute 1 tablespoon of lime juice. 

9. White Wine

If you are looking for less acidic alternatives to lime juice, then choose white white. You can use it in marinades and as a dressing. Half tablespoons of white wine is equal to 1 tablespoon of lime juice. 

Keep in mind that it’s an alcoholic substitute and differs from citrucy substitutes mentioned above. 

10. Tamarind Paste

And your final choice can be tamarind paste. This is the dried fruit of green mangoes and carries some acidity and citrusy flavor. 

Whole tamarinds are usually used as spices with poultry and other meat dishes. You may use it if you just need to have slight sourness in the dish.  

Some cuisines use tamarind paste in sweet recipes but in the majority of cases it is chosen for savory dishes. You can use it with cooked dishes, meats and in marinades. 


Can I substitute bottled lime juice for fresh lime juice?

No, you cannot substitute bottled lime juice for fresh lime juice. The taste will be different and the fresh lime juice will provide a more tart and acidic flavor. 

Bottled juice also contains concentrated juice, citric acid, and other types of preservatives.

Can I substitute lemon juice for lime juice?

The quick answer is yes, you can substitute lemon juice for lime juice in most recipes. In fact, lemon juice is the best substitute due to the similar acidity level and taste.

Is lime juice good for you?

Lime juice is a great source of vitamin C, which is important for immunity and skin health. It also contains citric acid, which can help to alkalize the body and improve digestion.

Lime juice is also a natural diuretic, so it can help to flush out toxins and excess fluids from the body. Overall, lime juice is a healthy addition to your diet!

How much juice is in one lime?

Depending on the size of the lime, typically there is 2 tablespoons of fresh juice in one lime. To get the most juice out of a lime, roll it on a cutting board before cutting it in half. 

Summing Up

So, if you’re looking for a substitute for lime juice and are all out of limes, any of the substitutes we’ve listed above will work in a pinch. However, our personal favorite is lemon juice – it has a similar flavor to lime juice but is a little bit more tart. What’s your go-to substitution for lime juice

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