Though some recipes call for orange juice, the sweet, tangy juice is not necessarily a staple in everyone's kitchen. So what do you do when you have a recipe you want to make desperately without having to take a trip to the store?
Today we're going to look at the various substitutes one can use when orange juice isn't an option.
Best Orange Juice Substitutes for Baking
For Orange Flavor
Orange concentrate, which is essentially frozen orange juice, is a great substitute for fresh orange juice, especially in baking recipes that focus on the orange flavor. If you add water, according to the instructions on the packaging, you’ll have the best orange juice alternative.
Fresh squeezed Clementines, Mandarins, or Tangerines
Maybe you have some other citrus fruits sitting in your kitchen. If you’ve got clementines, mandarins, or tangerines, you can juice them and use them as a 1:1 substitute for the traditional Navel orange juice.
Any other orange types, such as Cara Cara or blood oranges could work as well! They offer a more unique, complex flavor to your baked goods.
*Note: Don’t use grapefruit for baking, it will become more bitter after baking.
A small quantity of orange extract packs quite a punch. In order to use it for baking, you will most likely need to dilute it for two reasons. For one, it’s strong. For two, you may need to compensate for the liquid that orange juice would usually provide.
Also, you may want to add sugar if you’re looking to replace the sweetness of orange juice; otherwise, no need!
Surprisingly enough, cola products make a wonderful baking substitute for orange juice. Though you’ll lose the orange flavor, you’ll gain a sweet component that will help your baked goods turn out nice and fluffy and moist.
It’s best to use cola for sweetness as opposed to acidity. Try it out! You might find the secret ingredient to all your sugary treats.
Lemonade is a great choice for baking if you don’t necessarily need the orange flavor. It’s an easy substitute because it takes out the middleman of adding water and sugar to lemons. So, if you’re running short on time and any sweet acid will do, try lemonade.
Meyer lemons, a slightly less acidic type of lemon, stands as a good substitute if you are okay with adding the water and a little sugar. Or, if you just need a small amount of juice, you can simply squeeze the lemon juice straight in, no extra work required.
Regular lemons will replace the acidity of orange juice without the sweetness. If your recipe already contains plenty of sugar and you need that extra acidity boost to add complexity, plain lemon juice is a great option. Fresh squeezed or bottled, either works!
If you need to add a strictly acidic component without any extra flavor or sweetness, then citric acid is your best bet. As an added bonus, citric acid helps with the leavening of baked goods as well as the final flavor. It can be used in cooking, too!
Best Orange Juice Substitutes for Sauces/Glazes/ Marinades/Dressings
Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to dressings and marinades, apple cider vinegar provides the acidity you need, as well as health benefits that other vinegars don’t. 11 If you want to cut the acid with sweetness, you can add sugar or honey.
Orange marmalade contains not only orange juice and sugar but orange rind/peel as well. Thus, it’s a fantastic addition to glazes for foods such as meat and veggies. The texture and sweet flavor will add a nice aroma and mouthfeel to your salty foods. 12
Best Orange Juice Substitutes for the Skillet
Orange liqueurs such as Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau act as the perfect cooking substitute for orange juice. In sauces and soups, as well as marinades, orange liqueur adds the orange flavor, along with a strong aroma.
In a skillet, you’ll be cooking off a lot of the alcohol while preserving the orange taste. If you aren’t consuming alcohol for any reason, though, choose a different alternative for orange juice.
Just as orange marmalade works for sauces and marinades, it’s also a great option for cooking. If you’re making something like orange chicken, the sticky texture will work perfectly with the fried batter of the chicken.
The same goes for anything you might cook in a skillet–veggies, meat, fish, etc. Just be aware that it’s high in sugar, so adjust your recipe accordingly!
Best Orange Juice Substitutes for Smoothies
Though pineapple is a very different flavor from orange, it still offers a sweet, refreshing flavor to smoothies. It’s both sweet and acidic, and it will work well in tropical fruit smoothies, especially.
Though it doesn’t work well in baking, grapefruit juice is a surefire option for smoothies! Its slightly bitter taste will balance out sweeter fruits perfectly.
Juice from Clementines/ Tangerines/ Mandarins/Blood Oranges/etc.
If you really want the orange flavor in your smoothie but you don’t have any Navel oranges, any cousin of the orange will do! From tangerines to clementines and on, just squeeze them right into your blender to get that orange taste. Watch out for any seeds that might sneak past!
Best Orange Juice Substitute For Acidity Only
- White vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Best Orange Juice Substitutes For Sweetness Only
- Lemonade (slightly tangy)
- Orange concentrate + water
- Orange extract + water + sugar
Any of these examples can, for the most part, be interchanged with one another, you just need to make sure to balance any acidity with sweetness and vice versa, as well as dilute when necessary.
Keep in mind that any substitute that’s not related to orange (i.e., citrus fruits like clementines and tangerines or orange concentrate/extract) will not provide the same orange flavor; however, they will provide the acidity, sweetness, and potential fruitiness that is required for any given orange juice recipe!
Now go bake/cook/glaze/prepare that dressing/do what you gotta do! Orange juice or not.