* If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

13 BEST Orange Juice Substitutes + 2 To Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of orange juice substitutes to find the best one for every cooking or baking occasion.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.

Lemon juice is a great substitute for orange juice, but you’ll need to mix it with sugar or honey to sweeten it. Pineapple, grapefruit, or apple juice are easy swaps too. If you just need some orange flavor, try orange extract. Or use orange tea or orange blossom water for low sugar alternatives.

Ready? Let’s jump right in

The experiment 

I made mini bundt cakes to test different orange juice substitutes. 

Orange juice has a sweet taste with tangy notes and is packed with Vitamin C.

It’s acidic nature means it’s useful in baking and in marinades for tenderizing meat. And it’s used for flavor in salad dressings, sauces and glazes, and of course for drinking!

I was looking for a substitute that could deliver a close flavor profile and work seamlessly in everything – from cocktails to baked goods. 

Here’s the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesSubstitute DirectionsVerdict
Lemon JuiceMix with water and sugar, then 1:1 ratio10/10
Orange Juice VarietiesReplace in a 1:1 ratio, adjust sugar as necessary10/10
Orange Extract1 cup orange juice = 3-4 drop extract7/10
Pineapple JuiceReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Orange LiqueurReplace with 1/2 the amount8/10
Orange Blossom WaterReplace in a 1:1 ratio, add orange zest for a citrus boost7/10
Orange teaReplace in a 1:1 ratio7/10
Grapefruit JuiceReplace in a 1:1 ratio, add additional sugar as necessary8/10

Common uses of orange juice

Here are some popular ways to use orange juice and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • As a stand-alone drink and for cocktails or smoothies: Try using other orange juice varieties, pineapple juice, or orange liqueur. Orange extract alone also works for cocktails, or you can mix it with seltzer for an easy drink. 
  • For sauces and glazes: Try using lemon juice, other orange juice varieties, or pineapple juice. You can also use orange liqueur, but make sure you cook it long enough until the alcohol evaporates.
  • For baking (cakes, cookies, etc.): Try using lemon juice, other orange juice varieties, orange extract, or pineapple juice. You can also use orange liqueur if you don’t mind baking with alcohol. 
  • For marinades: you need something acidic, so use another fruit juice like lemon or pineapple. Or use a simple mixture of vinegar and water.

Lemon juice

From one citrus fruit to another – lemons!

Lemons are much more acidic than oranges, so lemon juice is very tart and has a strong sour flavor.

The acidity of the this substitute means it’s perfect for marinades, and it’s also great if you’re looking to brighten your dish and make it less sweet.

For most applications, you’ll need to mix the lemon juice with water and a sweetener like sugar or honey.

Psst… if you have a sweet tooth, be prepared to add a decent amount of sugar!

How to substitute: replace orange juice in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with watered down and sweetened lemon juice.

Pineapple juice

Pineapple juice is the tropical cousin of orange juice, boasting a slightly tangier flavor with a prominent sweet kick. It’s not in the citrus family, so ideal if you can’t have oranges or need to avoid citrus.

And unlike lemon juice, you can swap it for orange juice without making any adjustments!

It will work perfectly in desserts, marinades, sauces, and drinks.

Pineapples are also high in Vitamin C, so the nutritional profiles match. Yay!

How to substitute: replace orange juice in a 1:1 ratio with pineapple juice.

Grapefruit juice

After lemon juice and pineapple juice, grapefruit juice is the next closest match to orange juice.

It’s a citrus juice, so naturally loaded with vitamin C.

But the catch is it’s tarter and has a more pronounced bitterness. You might like this, but if not you can easily add some sugar to balance it out.

Most grapefruit juices have a pinkish color, which didn’t affect my bundt cake, but will be more noticeable in cocktail drinks. 

How to substitute: replace orange juice in a 1:1 ratio with grapefruit juice, adding additional sugar as necessary.

Orange extract

This potent liquid packs a powerful punch of orange flavor in just a few drops.

Mix it with seltzer water for a tasty, refreshing drink that won’t give you a sugar rush like regular orange juice. 

Or add it to yours cocktails and salad dressings for a citrusy kick.

Orange extract is great for baking with, but it’s not easy to swap orange juice for orange extract in a baking recipes because the volumes you need are so different.

I tried mixing orange extract with water, sugar syrup, and a splash of vinegar (for acidity) to make my bundt cake and it worked okay. But I can’t guarantee it will work well in your recipe!

How to substitute: 1 cup orange juice = 3-4 drops of orange extract

Orange liqueur

When you hear orange liqueur, you might immediately think of margaritas, but it’s also a decent substitute for orange juice in certain recipes.

You get the bright flavor of orange, mixed with a subtle bitterness and warmth from the alcohol base.

Liqueurs tend to be a lot richer and more syrupy than orange juice too, so you might want to mix in some lemon juice for a touch of tartness.

You can use liqueur for adding orange flavor to desserts and sauces. But steer clear of salad dressings or uncooked dishes because the alcohol won’t cook off!

How to substitute: replace orange juice in with 1/2 the amount of orange liqueur and make up the other liquid with water if needed.

Orange blossom water

This delicate liquid is ideal if you’re looking for a milder, sugar-free substitute for orange juice.

But be aware it has a bitter end note (because it’s made from the flowers of a bitter orange tree), which is pretty different to orange juice’s sweet-tangy goodness. 

My bundt cake was light and elegant, and I’ve also had success using this replacement in cocktails.

But its subtle flavor wont hold up too well in heavily-spiced dishes, where stronger flavors can overshadow it.

Pro-tip: mix this with fresh orange zest to intensify its flavor. 

How to substitute: replace orange juice in a 1:1 ratio with orange blossom water, add orange zest for a citrusy boost.

Orange tea

Another healthy, low sugar alternative to orange juice is orange tea or orange infused water.

You can make orange herbal tea made with fresh orange peel or dried orange slices. Or simply infuse water with fresh orange slices.

Both options offer a much more subtle flavor compared to orange juice.

But you can play around with adding other flavors in like mint leaves.

This substitute won’t work that well in sauces or marinades because of the mildness, but it’s perfect for drinking.

How to substitute: replace orange juice in a 1:1 ratio with your orange tea.

Other orange juice varieties

If you just fancy switching up the flavor, you can swap your regular orange juice with these varieties:

  • Frozen orange concentrate – okay, this isn’t a new flavour, but it’s a convenient way to always have orange juice on hand. To make it into orange juice, all you need to do is mix it with water. The video below shows a cool hack and uses an immersion blender to soften the frozen concentrate quickly.
  • Blood orange juice – this is less acidic than orange juice and sweeter. It also has a more vibrant red color (hence the ‘blood’ in the name), so expect a slight alteration in your dish or cocktail’s final appearance! 
  • Sour orange juice – true to its name, this variety is tarter than orange juice and it works wonderfully in marinades for chicken or fish. Yum!

If you want to bring these closer to orange juice, just adjust the sweeteners in your recipe.

How to substitute: replace orange juice in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with your chosen orange juice variety. 

Other substitutes to consider

The list above feature my top picks as substitutes for orange juice, but here are other options you can try:

  • Orange zest – using orange zest in your recipes can bring a potent punch of citrus flavor, but you’ll need to compensate for the missing moisture content.
  • Orange marmalade – for a quick and dirty substitute, mix some orange marmalade or apricot preserves with water and a splash of vinegar.
  • Vinegar + water – if you’re only after acidity then you can replace orange juice with a diluted vinegar. This will work in marinades and recipes like orange chicken.
  • Orange soda – Orange soda’s sweet and bubbly flavor that can work well to replace orange juice in certain recipes, particularly for glazes or cocktails. The downside is it’s more sugary.
  • Other fruit juices – these juice tend to be more sour than orange juice, but just like lemon juice, it’s nothing a pinch of sugar can’t fix. Try pomegranate juice, cranberry juice or even tamarind juice.

Substitute to avoid

While I was researching I came across buttermilk and citric acid as suggestions for orange juice substitutes.

But after the experiment, I don’t recommend them! Both have sour notes, but they lack the distinct fruity sweetness the other substitutes on the list have.

What can I replace orange juice with in orange chicken?

No orange juice for orange chicken? Don’t worry!

You can replace orange juice with pineapple juice. Or use lemon juice and make lemon chicken.

Another easy option is to replace the orange juice with a mixture of vinegar and water, it isn’t an exact flavor match but will add acidity. And if you have sumac on hand, a pinch of this will bring the citrusy flavor.

Read next: the best substitutes for apple juice

13 Best Orange Juice Substitutes + 2 To Avoid

I tested loads of different orange juice substitutes to find the best one.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: American
Keyword: orange juice substitutes, substitutes for orange juice
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 7kcal


  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp other orange juice varieties
  • ½ tsp orange extract, add more to taste
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water, add orange zest for a citrus boost
  • 1 tbsp grapefruit juice


  • Cook your meal according to the recipe.
  • Add your chosen orange juice substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 7kcal

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating