In the kitchen, orange juice is more than just a refreshing beverage. It has a flavor and acidity that’s useful for baking as well as a range of classic dishes. Duck a l’Orange followed by orange poppyseed cake anyone? But what if you’re allergic to oranges, don’t have any, or the taste isn’t to your liking? You’ll need a substitute for orange juice that doesn’t mess with your recipe too much. Of course, no ingredient will entirely replace orange, but we can certainly come close.
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10 alternatives to orange juice
1. Lemon juice
Baking cakes is as much a science as it is an art. The process of leavening is what makes a cake rise into an airy, light masterpiece. A precise ratio of base and acidic ingredients are required to produce carbon dioxide bubbles which result in leavening. Recipes that call for orange juice are taking the acid into account from the citrus juice. So, if you’re removing the orange juice, replace it with a 50/50 mix of lemon juice and water. In other words, replace one tablespoon of orange juice with ½ tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ tablespoon of water.
For recipes that call for larger quantities of juice, you’ll need to factor in the lemon’s sourness. Counter this with the addition of a sweetener: molasses, simple syrup or honey are all suitable options.
2. Orange concentrate
Orange concentrate makes an excellent orange juice substitute for practically any recipe. It is made from processed fresh orange juice that’s had the water content removed. The end product is usually sold as a convenient pasteurized product that is frozen for extended shelf-life. If you choose to use orange concentrate in your cooking, keep in mind that its consistency is much thicker. The addition of water is recommended.
How to replace orange juice with a concentrate
|Orange Juice||Orange Concentrate||Water|
|¼ cup||1 tablespoon||3 tablespoons|
|½ cup||2 tablespoons||⅓ cup|
|1 cup||¼ cup||¾ cup|
|2 cups||½ cup||1 ½ cups|
3. Orange extract and water
Orange extract is made with water, alcohol, and oil from orange rind. Its flavor is stronger than fresh orange juice and provides a clean, citrus taste to your cooking. Combine the extract with some water to tone down the flavor. If you’re baking food that required acidity, then add a squeeze of lemon juice as well.
In addition to baked goods, orange extract is suitable for flavoring marinades, sauces, and homemade liqueur. As a salad dressing, it is also a possibility.
4. Grand Marnier
Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored cognac liqueur and works well as a substitute for orange juice in chicken recipes. It is also useful in marinades and sauces. The flavor intensity provided by Grand Marnier will be less than orange juice so increase the ratios where it is suitable.
Keep in mind that there is alcohol content, so if it is exposed to a flame, it will flambe (flame up). Reduce sauces to ensure the alcohol is cooked out before serving.
Other suitable liquors you could use as an alternative to orange juice include Triple Sec, Kirsch or Cointreau.
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5. Citric acid
Citric acid is a useful chemical substitute. If you don’t enjoy the flavor of orange juice but need some acidity, then citric acid can be added. It is helpful for baked goods that need to rise, such as cakes, muffins, and banana bread.
Orange juice is also in recipes for carnitas. The flavor of orange is barely detectable in the final dish so you can use citric acid effectively as a replacement.
6. Orange marmalade
Orange marmalade is perfect as a backup option in marinades or sauces. It is generally quite sweet, so reduce the quantity used so that the dish isn’t overwhelmed. Add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to counter the sweet flavor if necessary.
Orange marmalade isn’t a good option for baking.
7. Meyer lemon
The Meyer lemon is a hybrid fruit that is native to China. It is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. The benefit of this fruit is that it’s not as sour as a lemon and works well as an alternative to orange juice. For smoothies that call for orange, Meyer lemon could be your answer.
If you need more than two tablespoons, then add some water and a sweetener like honey to counter the tart flavor.
Limettas are another excellent substitute, but they aren’t commonly found in supermarkets.
This option is out of left-field, but Coke is a surprisingly effective ingredient for replacing orange juice. It brings an airy, fluffiness to cakes and is also useful in cookies. Just keep in mind that the sugar content will get ramped up using this beverage. You may want to counter this by reducing the sugar a little.
If you don’t want the orange flavor but need the equivalent liquid with acidity, then vinegar is a useful backup. Consider a good quality balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar that has a suitable taste for the recipe. A sprinkle of sugar will help to counter the sour undertone.
10. Almond milk
You can make buttermilk by combining almond milk and a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Use this milk for baking in equal ratios to the required orange juice. You can get more substitutes for buttermilk here.
- Grapefruit juice is not recommended as an orange replacement. It is overly bitter, and the flavor doesn’t reduce once cooked.
- Tang may sound like an appealing option if you have it in the cupboard but only use this at a pinch.
- Using tamarind paste mixed with equal parts of water and a sprinkle of sugar is also possible.
- Apple juice, pineapple juice, and lemonade are also valid options for replacing orange juice. These juices are best used in baking rather than for use in making marinades and dressings.
Do you need an orange juice substitute? Your best options for baking are lemon juice, orange concentrate, or orange extract. Citric acid is also a suitable replacement if you don’t enjoy the taste of citrus fruit but need the acidity in your baking. When cooking savory dishes, Grand Marnier is useful so long as the alcohol is cooked out. Similar orange-flavored liqueurs in your liquor cabinet will work equally well.
Do you have a favorite ingredient to use instead of orange juice? Let us know in the comments below.