Last Updated: August 12, 2022

Don’t Have Limes At Home? Try these Lime Juice Substitutes to Get the Best Result

Substitutes for lime juice

Lime juice genuinely casts a tart flavor and brightness to your cooked dishes. But if you don’t have limes at home or are somehow allergic to lime? Find an appropriate substitute for lime juice.

In this article, we will talk about the best lime juice substitutes that are very common, and you can find them easily in the supermarket.

Best Lime Juice Substitutes

When I was cooking, I found that I had no limes available at home. And I could not go to the market and buy limes because it became pretty late at night.

So I studied and wrote a whole article based on the insights I gathered. If I put all those lime juice substitutes on a list, it would look like this:

  1. Lemon Juice
  2. Lime Zest
  3. Orange Juice
  4. White Wine
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. Tamarind

But each one comes with some other side features that I think you should know. Let’s start with-

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can be used to substitute lime juice for baking items and making cocktails because it can fulfill the purpose of lime juice here.

But it is not expected to be used to make dishes like key lime pie, essential lime cookies, or key lime cakes. Because in these recipes, lime is the specialty, and lemon can’t be the substitute for it.

In addition, lime includes a key flavor in Mexican and Latin cuisine, and there is no true replacement for it.

2. Lime Zest

You can use lime zest instead of lime juice, especially in baking dishes, and it will add a unique flavor to your food.

You know, there is a comparative measurement between lime juice and lime zest-

1 tablespoon lime juice = ½ teaspoon lime zest

3. Orange Juice

Like lemon juice, you can also use orange juice as an alternative to lime juice because oranges are citrus fruits and taste primarily sour.

4. White Wine

White wine can substitute for lime juice, especially in savory foods and salad. It has an overpowering taste, and it’s not suitable for baking dishes. The flavor of white wine is very strong compared to lime juice.

Look at the measurement-

1 tablespoon lime juice = ½ tablespoon white wine
white wine in a bottle and glass
Image credit: Shutterstock

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Substances like apple cider vinegar contain the same acidity as lime juice. But vinegar is more aromatic than limes. For you, whether the acidity is the reason for using lime juice; in that case, vinegar works as an excellent substitute. You can also use wine vinegar as a substitute for lime juice.

Look at the conversion-

1 tablespoon lime juice = ½ tablespoon vinegar

6. Tamarind

I find tamarind can be a crucial substitute for lime juice. It is pretty popular for the marinade, salad dressing, and pickles. Its tangy taste and acidic component make it an essential substance for lime juice.  

See the conversion-

1 tablespoon tamarind paste= 2 tablespoons lime juice

Before we talk about some more substitutes, let’s look at the chart below:

Substitute/Replacement for Lime JuicePreferred Dishes
Lemon juiceBaking items, cocktails
Lime zestBaking dishes
Orange juiceBaking items, cocktails
White wineSavory recipes
Apple cider vinegarCeviche, salad dressing, salsa, and guacamole.
TamarindMarinade, salad dressing, and pickles
Citrus zestFish, meat, soup, baked items, and cilantro lime rice
Bottled lime juiceCocktail, mojito, and other drinks

Some Other Replacements for Lime Juice

  • Citrus Zest

I wondered if citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange) can be used as a substitute for lime juice. Yes. Suppose you use lime juice for flavor (especially in cooking fish, meat, soup, baked items, cilantro-lime rice, and others). In that case, you can use citrus zest in 1:2 measurement instead of lime juice.

  • Bottled Lime Juice

I find that bottled lime juice works similarly to natural ones. You will easily find them either in supermarkets or in grocery stores. It is slightly more acidic than original lime juice because it is processed to sell. It is better to use them in moderation.    

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  • Black lime

In Middle Eastern Cuisine, black lime is used as a spice. It has a particular sour lime flavor, and it is mainly used in savory dishes. Black lime can be used as a substitute for lime juice.

  • Citrus Fruit Juice

We know that lime is a citrus fruit. But there are other citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, pommels, etc. These citrus fruit juices can be a great and helpful replacement for lime juice.

  • Grapefruit Juice

Yes. Grapefruit juice can also be used to replace lime juice because they belong to the same fruit category.

grapefruit juice served in a glass.
Image credit: Shutterstock

How to Choose the Best Lime Juice Substitute?

Here are a few points that we need to consider before choosing a substitute for lime juice.

1. Find the purpose of using lime juice. Because if it is used for flavor, you can use the lime zest as an alternative, but if it is for taste, you have to choose citrus fruit juice to maintain the taste.

2. You can consult cooking experts regarding this issue. They will let you know which substitutes suit savory dishes and which are for dessert items.

3. According to experts, for skincare and hair packs, curd can be the best substitute for lime juice.

4. You can also substitute limes for lemons

Can You Substitute Limes for Lemons?

Yes, you can. But not in every case. Certain factors determine whether you can substitute limes for lemons or not.

 Lime juice contains the same pH level as lemon juice. Therefore, it can be used in food preservation instead of lemon juice.

You can alternate between lime and lemon in dishes according to your taste. That is perfectly okay. I also do the same thing sometimes for bringing a change to taste. But if lemon is the main ingredient of a dish like lemon cake or lemon pie, it is not suggested to substitute it with limes.

Both the zest of lemons and limes contain essential oils which add intense flavor to your dishes. They are also used in skincare products to add a natural taste.  

Lemon based recipes-


Which is the best lemon juice substitute?

It mainly depends on the recipes. But lemons are pretty similar to limes in flavor. On the contrary, bottled lime juice is also recommended. But it has added preservatives in them.

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

Not really. Though you may feel a slight difference in taste, it will not spoil your dish.

What is the best lime juice substitute?

Depending on recipes and usage, lemons, citrus fruit juice, vinegar, white wine, and tamarind are some common substitutes for lime juice.

What are the recommended substitutes for lemons?

Limes, oranges, black limes, sour oranges, vinegar, and citrus fruits are recommended substitutes for lemons.

Can you use the lime zest as a lime juice substitute?

Yes. Lime zest substitutes lime juice, especially in baking dishes.


The discussion ends here. Find the best lime juice substitute for your dishes and tell us if you find any difference in taste in the comment section. Thank you.

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