There are several options if you can’t use lime juice! Here are the best substitutes for lime juice in savory recipes, cocktails, and baking.

Substitute for lime juice

In the middle of making a recipe and don’t have a lime on hand? Or have an allergy to this bright green citrus fruit? We’ve got your back. Lime adds a brightness and tangy undertone to anything it touches. It’s notable in Latin and Mexican cuisine to bring a bright punch (and margaritas!). While fresh lime juice is hard to replace, there are a few things you can do in a pinch.

Best substitutes for lime juice

Note that how these options work depend on the type of recipe and how the lime is used.

1. Lemon juice (in baking & cocktails).

The best substitute for lime juice? The same amount of lemon juice! This is especially useful in cocktail recipes: even the margarita still tastes good! (Try our Lemon Margarita.) Using lemon instead of lime also works well in baking. Of course, we assume that you wouldn’t go so far as to substitute lemon in something like key lime pie!

Lemon juice can work as a substitute for lime in savory recipes too! But keep the following in mind: lime is a key flavor in Latin and Mexican cuisine. Lemon works as a stand-in, but nothing can fully replace the zing of a lime.

2. Lime zest.

If you’ve got an actual lime but no juice, here’s another substitute you can use: Lime zest. (Here’s how to zest a lime.) It adds a brightness that’s even more powerful than the juice itself. This is especially good in baking recipes. What’s the conversion? 1 tablespoon lime juice = ½ teaspoon lime zest

3. Orange juice.

Same idea as lemon juice! Orange juice doesn’t taste quite the same, but if it’s all you’ve got you can use it as a 1 for 1 substitute for lime juice.

4. White wine vinegar (in savory recipes).

White wine vinegar works as a substitute for lime juice in savory recipes and salad dressings! It’s not as useful in baking because the flavor can be overpowering. It can add a tang without a specific cuisine connotation. However, be careful with this one because the flavor is very strong. What’s the conversion? 1 tablespoon lime juice = ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar

Related recipes

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring lime juice:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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