Don’t have lemon peel, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here are the best lemon peel substitute options to use in just about any recipe!
What is lemon peel?
Lemon peel, also called lemon rind is the entire outer layer of the lemon including the pith and of course the zest. In other words the lemon peel refers to everything but the flesh of the fruit.
The pith is the white bitter layer underneath the zest, while the zest is the bright yellow outer layer which has a bright intense lemon flavor.
Technically, lemon peels are not lemon zest – which refers to only the outermost yellow layer of the lemon. But, lemon peels always contain lemon zest in its mixture.
Most manufacturers who make and sell dried lemon peels, carefully remove the white bitter pith, and only use the thin outer layer for the lemon to avoid the unpleasant bitter undertones in this spice.
Lemon peel can be used both fresh and dried and in both sweet and savory recipes.
Lemon peel has a zesty lemon citrusy flavor, with some tartness, and is used for adding that nice bright zesty flavor to all sorts of recipes including baked goods, lemon bars, yogurt, fruit salads, seafood, chicken, pasta, vegetables, marinades and even used for brewing.
If you realize that you have no lemon peel in your kitchen at the last minute, here are some lemon peel substitutes you can try out:
The best lemon peel substitute options include:
- Orange peel
- Grapefruit peel
- Lime peel
- Lime zest
- Lemon zest
- Grapefruit zest
- Orange zest
- Lime juice
- Lemon juice
- Lemon extract
- Lemon Oil
Let’s discuss each in more detail below including flavor, recipes they’re able to be used in in place of lemon peel, and substitute ratios.
Best substitutes for lemon peel
A great substitute for lemon peel is orange peel. It can be added to any dish that calls for lemon peel although its flavor is sweeter and less tart.
Orange peel has that nice bright citrusy flavor that will enhance the flavor of your dish. You can use it either in its fresh form or in the form of orange peel granules (or dried orange peel).
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon lemon peel = 1 teaspoon orange peel
Lime peel is another great substitute for lemon peel. If using fresh, the color of lime peel will stand out from the color of lemon peel, but, their flavors are both very similar.
So lime peel can easily replace lemon peel in most recipes that call for lime peel including baked goods like muffins, tarts, bars, cookies or in savory dishes.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon lemon peel = 1 teaspoon lime peel
Grapefruit peel is the outer layer of the grapefruit. Grapefruit peel can also be used as a substitute for lemon peel in both its fresh form and as dried grapefruit peel granules.
Grapefruit peel has a strong citrus flavor with some bitter and sweet notes. Use grapefruit peel to replace lemon peel on a 1:1 ratio in most recipes.
Lime zest is the outermost green layer of the lime fruit. Like other citrus peels, lime zest will impart a flavor that is tangy, citrusy and concentrated to a dish.
This makes lime zest a really good substitute for lime peel in baked goods, drinks, marinades, for garnish, in pies, muffins, meats, seafood and more.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon lemon peel = 3 teaspoons lime zest
Lemon zest is the yellow outermost layer of the lemon fruit. Lemon zest makes another great substitute for lemon peel as it has that robust citrusy, lemony flavor. Use lemon zest in all recipes that call for lemon peel.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon lemon peel = 3 teaspoons lemon zest
If you have grapefruit on hand, you can zest one and use this grapefruit zest as another easy lemon peel substitute.
When zesting grapefruit, stay far away from the pith as it is very bitter. In fact, even the grapefruit zest has some bitter notes, but it can work in a pinch as a lemon peel alternative.
If you have oranges on hand, you can zest one and use it as another easy lemon peel substitute.
Orange zest has a flavor that is citrusy and tangy, but it is sweeter and less tart than lemon peel.
Nonetheless, it will work in baked goods like muffins, as well as salad dressings, sauces, main dishes and drinks as a replacement for lemon peel.
Fresh lime juice
Lime juice is the fresh juice from the lime fruit. Lime juice is tart and acidic with a sour flavor.
Lime juice has a more subtle lime flavor as most of the flavor of the fruit is found in the peel or zest.
Lime juice will also not work in every single recipe that calls for lemon peel as some recipes do not need the extra liquid. But, in many recipes you can substitute lime juice for lemon peel.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon of lemon peel = 2 teaspoons of lime juice
Fresh lemon juice
Like fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice is another alternative for lemon peel. This ingredient has a more subtle lemon flavor and is very acidic, so use in only recipes where the acidity won’t hurt the dish and the liquid won’t pose a problem
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon of lemon peel = 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Lemon extract is a potent lemon flavored liquid made using the essential oils from the lemon peels. Lemon extract can work as a great substitute for lemon peel for drinks, baked goods, desserts and more.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon of lemon peel = 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract
Lemon oil has a very concentrated flavor and is even more potent than lemon extract. Therefore, this ingredient can be used as a great substitute for lemon peel in baked goods and for drizzling on meats, fish and vegetables.
Use it to add that nice lemon flavor with just a few drops.
Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon of lemon peel = 1/2 teaspoon of lemon oil
FAQs about lemon peel
What is the best substitute for lemon peel?
The best substitute for lemon peel is lime peel. It is very similar in flavor and texture and can be used in any recipe that calls for lemon peel, except specialty recipes.
Is lemon peel the same as lemon rind?
Yes they are the same thing. Lemon peel and lemon rind are often used interchangeably and refer to skin, or the entire outer layer of the lime including the white pith and yellow zest.
Now, you have eleven lemon peel alternatives to choose from when making a recipe that calls for lemon peels. Not all of these substitutes are easily available or even in your kitchen right now, but there are some that are. So, you can pick the ones you have and continue on with making your recipe.