Lime Juice Substitute


Lime Juice Substitutes

Help! You need another ingredient to replace the lime juice called for in your recipe. No matter the reason you need a lime juice substitute, there are several different options to choose from, some of which you might already have in your house! 

limes on white wood

Check out our comprehensive list of lime juice substitutes below, along with a conversion chart on how much of your substitute ingredient to use, and some things to consider when choosing your replacement ingredient. Be sure to check out the details below to help you determine the best answer for your situation. 

25+ Best Lime Juice Substitutes

What happens when you run out of lime juice and need some right away? Below, we will cover the different uses for lime juice and the best substitutions for lime juice. There are many lime juice substitutes that you can choose from. Determining which substitute will work best for your situation is the key. After you choose your substitute, be sure to check out the substitution ratio for that ingredient as well. 

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Lime Juice Substitute

When you are choosing what lime juice substitute you should use, it’s important to note what you are making with it. Lime juice is often used when making various foods, drinks, desserts, or as a way of preserving foods in canning. Each of these different ways to use lime juice may have substitutes that work best compared to others. 

In Foods

In most foods, it’s not a big deal which lime juice substitutes you choose to use. Any from the list below that you can get your hands on will work well. However, it is important to note that some lime juice substitutes below may change the overall flavor, or texture of your dish slightly when a replacement is used. 

In Cocktails

In some beverages, cocktails, or drinks, lime juice is used to add citrusy flavor to your beverage. In most cases, you can easily use one of the substitutes below, such as another citrus flavor to add in place of lime juice without any problems. 

In Desserts

When you are baking desserts, lime juice is often used for flavor, or to enhance the overall flavor of your dessert. There are several kinds of lime juice substitutes you can use for this purpose. 

limes on a cutting board

In Canning

When you are canning something and need to substitute the lime juice called for in your recipe, this is going to be the trickiest case of a substitute.

You will want to be very careful that you use to substitute with as close of pH level as possible so that your canned food stays preserved as it should. When the ingredient you substitute contains a very different pH concentration, you may throw off your entire canning process. 

Be sure to research the specific food that you are canning to be sure it will work out right, however, in most cases lemon juice is going to be the best replacement for lime juice in canning recipes.  

Short on Limes? Try These Substitutes

Now, let’s dive into all the lime juice substitutes you can use. Below you can find a comprehensive list of substitutes for fresh lime juice, followed by the appropriate substitution ratios you can use. 

Best Substitutes for Lime Juice

Key Limes

Key limes that are different from Persian limes, which are what you typically purchase from your local grocery store, make good substitutes for lime juice.

The problem with Key limes is that they are often difficult to find. Limes taste very similar to your average grocery store lime, except that they are usually smaller in size, and come in a shiny green color.  

If you are able to find them, key limes make a great substitute for freshly squeezed lime juice.  

sliced citrus with light background

Bottled Lime Juice

Bottled lime juice is another good replacement for freshly squeezed lime juice. Bottled lime juice is usually available from any local grocery store and can be found usually in the juice aisle.

Although a bottle of lime juice does not have as much of a smell or flavor as freshly squeezed lime juice, bottled juice still makes a good substitute for most recipes. 

Lemon Juice

Freshly squeezed lemon juice is another great substitute for lime juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice will work great for almost any recipe.

No matter if you’re making food, desserts, drinks, or canning, freshly squeezed lemon juice will have that lovely acidity that will help your dish turn out amazing.

However, the downside of using lemon juice to replace lime juice is that your freshly squeezed lemon juice will have a lemon flavor rather than lime.

Bottled Lemon Juice

Bottled lemon juice is another great substitute for lime juice. Bottled lemon juice is easy and convenient, and it will work out well for most recipes.

However please note that this will change the overall flavor of your recipe to be lemon rather than lime.

lemons and limes

Lime Juice Powder

Lime juice powder can be used as another lime juice substitute. This is a powder that you can buy online, or from a store such as Whole Foods and keeps in your pantry. This powder will give your recipes a delicious lime and acidic flavor.

All you need to do is mix the powder with water and then add it to your recipe. Please note that the substitute is not recommended for canning but should work for all other scenarios.  

Lime Oil

Lime oil is squeezed from the lime and rind resulting in a strongly flavored lime oil. Please note that there is a difference between lime oil such as essential oils and lime oil for baking.

Be sure you are choosing the kind that can go in food. Lime oil for cooking is a good substitute for lime juice. Lime oil tends to be strongly flavored, so only use it sparingly in your recipe as a substitute. 

Lime Zest

Lime zest is a fabulous substitute for fresh lime juice. Lime zest is when you finely grate the peeling of fresh limes, just the colored part, and add it to your dish. Lime zest works the best for baked goods and food recipes. 

Lime Peel

Lime peel is a substitute for lime juice and is very similar to using the lime zest.

If you don’t have a fine grater, you can take a small paring knife, trim a lime peel, just the green part of the skin, and chop it up finely then add it to your recipe.

Using the green part of your lime peel can work well for food and baked good recipes. 

Pure Lime Extract

Pure lime extract is a form of liquid that is made from a lime peel. The lime extract has a lovely aroma and can add delicious lime flavoring to your recipes.

Although it is not as tangy as freshly squeezed lime juice, pure lime extract makes a good substitute for lime juice in drinks, baked goods, and other food recipes.

This is a good substitute that you can keep on the shelf in your pantry and have on hand when needed. Keep in mind that a little bit tends to go a long way. 

Black Lime

Black Iimes are also known as dried limes or loomi. These dried limes have a brown or black color and are flaky due to the dried nature of this ingredient. Black limes lack the sweet flavor of fresh-squeezed lime juice but otherwise match the tangy flavor and citrus smell. They also add a slight fermented flavor to the dish.

Using black limes or a lime juice substitute is only recommended when you are making soup, stews, or meats because of the lacking sweet flavor that the substitute is missing. You will not want to use a substitute for all recipes. 

Citric Acid

Powdered citric acid can be purchased and added to your recipes for a lime juice substitute. Citric acid is very potent, so only a small portion needs to be used to replace your lime juice.

Please note that if you choose to use citric acid in a recipe, you may need to add additional liquid as well as you are replacing a juice with a powder.

Although citric acid is not recommended for drinks or canning, it may be used in meal prep or dessert recipes. 

sliced oranges and grapefruit

Citrus Zest

For recipes where you are looking to simply replace the lovely citrus flavor and tang, you can easily use citrus zest for your substitute.

Simply zest other fruits such as oranges, tangerines, clementines, lemons, Meyer lemons, limes, key lime, grapefruit, or any others that are appropriate.

Citrus zest will help to add delightful citrusy flavor to your food or dessert recipes. 

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a type of acidic powder you can find in your local grocery stores usually in the baking or seasoning section.

The downside of using cream of tartar as a lime juice substitute is that your cream of tartar adds the acid to the recipe, but not the flavoring.

Baked dishes can use cream of tartar as an acidic substitute, however, you may need to use another ingredient to add flavoring if you wish. 

Crushed Vitamin C

What happens if you don’t have any of the other substitutions? You still need to substitute an ingredient for your lime juice, but you don’t have anything else available.

Never fear, there is a surprising substitute for lime juice that you just might have on hand. Crushed vitamin C can work as a substitute for lime juice that you can add to things such as salad, or other foods to get that acidic flavor. 

However, when choosing vitamin C, make sure that they are not capsules, so they can be crushed. Also, you want to be aware of the flavor of the vitamin C, whether it is orange, or lime flavored. Then simply crush up a little vitamin C and add it to your dish. 

Grapefruit Juice

This is another surprising, but ideal substitute for lime juice. Grapefruit juice tends to have more of a sweet flavor but is still citrusy, and acidic.

Although it may change the overall flavor, being grapefruit rather than lime, grapefruit juice makes a good substitute for dressings, marinade, and other food recipes.

When using the substitute, please be aware that it is not typically as strong as your lime juice might be. 

Orange Juice

Orange juice is another great substitute for lime juice. Orange juice provides a sweet citrus flavor, rather than one that is quite as sour as lime juice, but it can add good flavor.

You can use freshly squeezed orange juice or bottled orange juice. However, depending on what you are making you’ll want to be careful with the pulp content. 

sliced citrus

Orange Zest

Substituting lime juice with orange zest will give you a lovely orange citrus flavor. Orange zest will work really well as lime juice substitute in baked goods and food recipes. Keep in mind that orange zest is sweeter than lemon juice. 

Other Citrus Juices

There are other types of citrus juices that you can use as a lime juice substitute as well. Some of those other kinds of citrus juices include kalamansi, kumquat, and pomelo.

What are these juices will provide the citrus flavor, and some acid, however, some might be sweeter than others and may change the overall taste.  

Other Types of Citrus Zest

You can use any kind of citrus zest as a substitute for your lime juice. Citrus zest from kumquats, mandarin oranges, grapefruit, or any other fruit in the citrus family can be zested and used in your food or dessert recipes.

Be aware that when using other types of citrus zest for your lime juice substitutes, the overall flavor of your dish may be impacted. 

citrus variety cut opened

Sour Orange

Using a sour orange as a substitute for your lime juice is less common, but can make a good substitute. In some cases, your sour orange may be slightly sweeter than your lime juice, but it will still provide the lovely citrus and acidic components that your lime juice would. 


Tamarind pulp or paste can be diluted with water and used as a substitute for lime juice. Pulp from tamarind has a tangy flavor all its own, but can be used in place of lime juice to provide a mixture of sweet and sour flavors.

Adding the substitute to drinks, marinades, and food recipes works as a substitute for lime juice, then simply dilute it with water until it reaches your desired level of flavor. 

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

A less common substitute for lime juice can be apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a tangy, acidic flavor that can work as a substitute for lime juice and food and baked goods. We do not recommend using this as a substitute for drinks or canning. 


Vinegar is another good substitute for lime juice that can provide acidic, and tangy flavors, but does not provide the citrus element. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar as a substitute.

Vinegar is not an ideal replacement for lime juice and all recipes but can work well for marinades, salsa, guacamole, and some salad dressings. In other cases, you will want to seek an alternative substitute. 

White Wine

White wine contains less of an acidic flavor than lime juice, but can be used as a substitute for recipes such as marinades.

Using white wine as a replacement for lime juice will likely change the overall flavor of your dish, but it can work in a pinch. 

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is a combination of white wine and vinegar. This substitute can work well for some dishes such as dressings or marinade, but should never be used in your baked goods. White wine vinegar provides a fruity flavor to your recipe. 

Measures and Equivalents

Lime Substitute Conversion Chart


Is it safe to use a substitute for lime juice?

Determining if it is safe to use a substitute for lime juice will strongly depend on what you are making with it. If you are canning food, then be very careful what you choose as a substitute because you run the risk of completely ruining your canned foods. However, if you are simply making a baked good, drink, or food, you are typically safe to choose a substitute for lime juice. 

Will the taste change if any other substitute is used for real limes?

If you have a recipe that calls for freshly squeezed lime juice and you substitute it with another ingredient, you run the risk of your flavor changing slightly. For less of an impact, you will want to use bottled lime juice or freshly squeezed key lime juice. Otherwise, your flavor is likely to change to some extent.

Is lemon juice a good substitute for lime juice?

Yes, for most recipes, lemon juice is an excellent substitute for lime juice. However, the downside of using lemon juice to replace lime juice is that your flavor will change to lemon rather than lime.

What Can I Substitute for the Flavor of Lime Juice?

If you wish to change the flavor from lime to an alternative, you can use flavors such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, or other citrus flavors as a substitute for lime juice. 

fresh limes cut in half with water

How To Choose The Best Lime Juice Substitute?

Determining the best lime juice substitute will depend on what you are making. In most cases, the best substitute for lime juice is bottled lime juice, freshly squeezed Key lime juice, freshly squeezed lemon juice, or bottled lemon juice. 

What can I use instead of Lime Juice?

There are many options for lime juice substitutes. If you need to replace your lime juice, first determine if the lime flavor is important to your recipe, second determine what you hope to accomplish with your recipe. Then, depending on your answers to these two questions, choose an appropriate substitute from the list of substitutes above.

Excellent Lime Juice Replacements Are Right In Your Pantry

Most of the time, you can simply visit your pantry and select an appropriate lime juice substitute without running out to the grocery store.

There are many different options to choose from, some work better than others depending on what you are making.

In general, bottled lime juice, freshly squeezed lemon juice, bottled lemon juice, or freshly squeezed key lime juice works well as a substitute for fresh lime juice. 

lemons with limes

Lemon Juice – Your Best Bet

Bottled Lime Juice – Best Convenient

Best Substitute for Lime Juice

Get a substitute for lime juice, there are many options. Determining which one is the best for you, depends on what you are making with it. You will want to carefully examine your desired taste outcomes, as well as the acid level needed, and the texture of your finished dish, when choosing an appropriate lime juice substitute for you. 

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    Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

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