6+ Substitutes For Lime Juice

Lime juice is a multi-faceted ingredient in the kitchen. Lime is a small citrus fruit that has acidic juice vesicles. It is a rich source of Vitamin C and is known for its sour, acidic taste. It is used in baking, making cocktails, and in savory dishes. This powerful ingredient can be the difference that would take your dish or cocktail from good to extraordinary.

Lime can be used for its refreshing acidity or floral aroma of its zest. It features heavily in Mexican, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine. Lime juice is an essential ingredient in cocktails, especially gin-based drinks and margaritas. Lime juice can be obtained from freshly squeezed lime or purchased by the bottle in the grocery stores. There are both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. 

But what happens when in the middle of a recipe you need that fresh tangy element that lime brings? This article lists six substitutes that you can use when you’re in a pinch.

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon is a citrus fruit with a lot of culinary uses. They come from an evergreen tree native to South Asia. Its juice is used to make beverages like lemonade and cocktails. It can also be used as a marinade.

Lemon and lime juices have a great deal in common, making lemon an excellent substitute for lime. They both have similar amounts of citric acid and tartness. Lemon juice works well in replacing lime in cocktail recipes, baking, and some savory dishes. However, some dishes like Latin and Mexican cuisine and key lime pie require that refreshing lime flavor.

2. Orange Juice

Orange juice is the liquid gotten from squeezing or reaming orange tree fruit. Orange juice is sweet with a hint of tart notes. It is gentler than lemon and lime in acidity and can act as a flavor enhancer in cooking.

Orange juice is a great lime juice substitute in cocktails. However, they don’t taste the same. Orange juice is sweeter than lime juice and has gentle acidity. It can be substituted in the ratio 1:1. 

3. White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is one of the most essential ingredients in Italian cuisine. It is made from fermenting white wine and bottling the strained product. It can be used to prepare sauces, act as a marinade, and as a dressing for fish, meat, and salads.

White wine vinegar can be used to substitute lime juice in savory dishes. It is not suitable for baking as it has an overpowering flavor. It has a tangy flavor, so it should be used carefully. Use half the usual amount of white wine vinegar when replacing lime juice. 

4. Tamarind

Tamarind is the edible fruit of a leguminous tree native to tropical Africa. It has fleshy and juicy pulp, which can be used in Asian, Caribbean, and Mexican cuisine. It is rich in tartaric acid and B vitamins. 

Tamarind is an excellent replacement for lime juice with its unique sweet and sour taste. It has a sweet-sour tang that can mimic the sourness of lime juice. It can be used in marinades, salad dressing, and even cocktails. 

5. Citrus Zest

Citrus zest is a food ingredient obtained by grating the unwaxed rind of citrus fruits. It could be from lemons, lime, oranges, etc. Citrus zest is often used in baking to add flavor and freshness to baked goods like cookies, cakes, biscuits, etc. 

Citrus zest is a terrific substitute for lime juice as it adds brightness and flavor to the dishes. It has a stronger flavor than lime juice, so the conversion should be half tablespoon of citrus zest to one tablespoon of lime juice. 

6. Vinegar

Vinegar is made from the double fermentation of sugars using yeast and acetic acid bacteria. It is a very flavorful condiment and is always present in the kitchen. It is a staple in the culinary world and is mainly used for its acidity and flavor. It is used for pickling, making sauces, and as a part of marinades.

Any form of vinegar, including red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc., can be used as a substitute for lime juice in salad dressings and sauces. It is an excellent alternative for dishes that need acidity. Vinegar is more acidic than lime juice, so the substitution ratio should be half tablespoon of vinegar to one tablespoon of fresh lime juice.


Lime juice is one ingredient that you may not want to run out of when making cocktails, marinades, or cooking. This is due to the freshness and acidity it brings to your dish. But the substitutes listed above would do a fantastic job standing in for lime juice.