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Substitutes for Lemon or Orange Peel

by Shailynn Krow, studioD

A recipe that calls for lemon or orange peel is relying on these ingredients to add acidity and lightness to the end product. When you’re out of these citrus fruits or you’re just not a fan, there are suitable alternatives that offer the same result. While substitutes can offer you the tart kick of lemon or orange peel, they might create a different texture or color in your end product.

Candied Peels

Candied lemon or orange peels can be used in place of fresh peels. Candied peels are cured chunks that have been candied in sugar. They are much sweeter than fresh lemon or orange peel, but still have a tart aftertaste. You can use candied peels at equal portions to fresh in your recipes, but you might want to reduce the amount of peel since you’re adding extra sweetness.

Other Citrus

Other fresh citrus peels can be used in place of lemon or orange peel. Substitute in equal parts using a grapefruit, lime, tangerine, clementine, or citrons. You can also use citrus juice in place of lemon or orange peel.


Citrus concentrates pack a powerful, tart flavor and can be used in place of fresh peels. These are not juice concentrates, which are reconstituted with water and used to drink. Since citrus concentrates are powerful, use 3/4 teaspoon for every 1 teaspoon of fresh peel required in your recipe.


A citrus juice, like lemon or orange, works as a suitable replacement to fresh peel. You won’t have the same light taste as the peel, but you’ll have that distinct citrus flavor. Since juices are weaker than the peels, use double the amount of juice to peel. For example, 2 tablespoons of juice to every 1 tablespoon peel. Other citrus juices can work if you’re looking to replace the flavor or lemon or orange, such as grapefruit or lime juice.


Extracts are powerful concentrations of an ingredient. They’re often made from steeping lemon rinds, flesh and juice to create a strong flavor. You can find extracts in lemon or orange as well as other citrus flavors. Use only a pure extract -- no imitation. Imitation extracts don’t use the same ingredients and often have a bitter aftertaste. When using extract, substitute half of what is required in the recipe. So, if your recipe needs 1 tablespoon of peel, use a 1/2 tablespoon of extract.


If the lemon or orange peel is strictly used for acidity, you can replace the peel with another acidic ingredient, such as vinegar. Vinegar has a distinct taste; therefore it should be used sparingly in your recipe so that you do not alter the final taste. Substitute vinegar for lemon or orange peel using a 1/2 teaspoon per 1 teaspoon required.

About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

Photo Credits

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