Knowing how to use lime juice substitutes in cocktails and recipes is important when fresh limes aren’t available. Quite simply the juice extracted from limes, this tangy liquid is a basic ingredient in margaritas and other drinks, dips like guacamole, and many dressings and marinades.
Lime juice is also a common garnish for seafood dishes, and in Central American and South Asian cuisine. In addition to the flavor, vitamin C in lime juice can also act as a natural preservative, for example, to keep the avocados in guacamole from browning as quickly.
Lime juice substitutes are important because limes are a tropical fruit, and their availability in less temperate climates can be spotty. Extreme weather events and difficulties with shipping have also been known to restrict the availability of limes. Fortunately, there are many replacements for lime juice that are readily available.
Lime Juice Substitutes
The best and most popular lime juice substitutes include bottled lime juice, lemon juice, orange and grapefruit juice, citrus zest, vinegar, and white wine among others. Let us take a look at them in detail below.
Bottled Lime Juice
Since it is more stable than fresh limes, the bottled lime juice is more widely available than fresh limes. While it is not as potent as freshly-squeezed lime juice, it will still give recipes the same distinct lime flavor.
The most similar to lime juice in flavor and acidity, fresh lemon juice can replace lime juice in nearly any application. Bottled lemon juice is also quite easy to find.
Orange & Grapefruit Juice
Although they tend to be sweeter, orange juice and grapefruit juices are also good substitutes for lime juice, particularly in cocktail recipes. Grapefruit juice makes a good garnish on seafood as well.
If a citrus taste is called for in a dish, the zest, or shredded rind, of lime, lemon, or other citrus fruit will be an effective replacement.
Distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar work well when the acidity of lime juice is more important than the citrus flavor, such as when you are preparing ceviche. Use a smaller amount of vinegar, as the acidity can be quite strong.
Especially in marinades, dressings, and sauces, a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, or regular cooking wine, can be an excellent substitute for the tanginess of lime juice.
So which alternative are you using today?