Can I use citric acid instead of lemon juice?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can I use citric acid instead of lemon juice?” and will discuss other alternatives for lemon juice.

Can I use citric acid instead of lemon juice?

Yes, you can use citric acid instead of lemon juice. It’s no secret that lemon juice contains the naturally occurring acid citric acid, which makes powdered citric acid an excellent replacement for lemon juice for baking.

In terms of acidity, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of lemon juice is equivalent to approximately 5 grams of citric acid. Since the quantity needed is so tiny, you’ll have to make a few recipe changes. To preserve the proper dry-to-wet component ratio, you may need to add more liquid to your recipe. The citric acid in baked products may even prevent the cooking process from destroying key vitamins and antioxidants.

What is citric acid?

Citric acid is abundant in nature, and your body cells also produce it. Citric acid is produced in your cells when lipids, carbs, and proteins are burned for energy. Citric acid is broken down in the following stages of the energy-generating reaction pathway very immediately after it is produced. Despite the pleasant taste, citric acid in food has no nutritional benefit and cannot be used in the same manner that your cells produce it.

What is lemon juice?

Citric acid may be found in abundance in lemons and lemon juice. Approximately 3 grams of citric acid are found in a full lemon, according to Professor Glen Lawrence in his article “Depleted Uranium and Health.” Depending on the size and cultivar, this may vary. Lemon juice’s citric acid adds to the fruit’s sour taste. Lemon juice also includes water, vitamins, minerals, and other sour taste compounds in addition to citric acid.


Citric acid is sometimes mistaken for vitamin C, which is a frequent misunderstanding. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is a distinct molecule known chemically as ascorbic acid. Lemon juice’s primary nutritional value comes from the vitamin C it contains. Citric acid alone does not contain enough vitamin C to be useful. Dr. James Cook and colleagues wrote in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2001  that vitamin C aids in iron absorption. As a result, although pure citric acid will not assist with iron absorption, lemon juice will.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Lemon juice includes calories due to the presence of molecules other than citric acids, such as sugar. Citric acid, the main ingredient in lemon juice, has a negligible caloric content. According to Dr. A. Pajor in a 1999 paper published in “Seminars in Nephrology,”  even though citric acid is theoretically a calorie-containing meal, you eliminate the majority of the citric acid you eat. Citric acid, which you eat, is absorbed by your cells in negligible amounts.

Alternatives for lemon juice

Lime juice

If you want to replace lemon juice with something that tastes and has the same acidity level, then lime juice is your best option.

Because it has a comparable pH as lemon juice for canning or preserving food, it’s an excellent replacement. vinegar is a less acidic alternative that may lead to preserves that are hazardous for long-term preservation. storing. Lime juice has a somewhat distinct taste when used in recipes that call for a lot of lemon juice. The end product, on the other hand, will taste sour and lemony.

Orange juice

In most recipes, orange juice may be used in place of lemon juice in a 1:1 ratio.

In comparison to lemon juice, it’s sweeter, less acidic, and has a mellower tang. In addition, the taste profile is different from what you’re used to. The taste of lemon juice may be dramatically impacted by using orange juice in recipes that call for high amounts of acid.

Distilled white vinegar

When just a little quantity of lemon juice is required, vinegar is a great alternative. Lemon juice-like in tartness and acidity, it’s perfect for a summertime drink. These recipes allow you to use them as a direct substitute for the original ingredient. As a result, vinegar should not be substituted for lemon juice in recipes where lemon is a significant taste component.

Citrus rinds

Lemon zest, whether frozen or dried, may be a rich source of lemon flavor and acidity if you have it on hand. Lemon sweets and dishes benefit from the use of this herb. However, while baking, you may need to include more liquid in the recipe to ensure success.

White wine

In savory recipes when just a little quantity of lemon juice is required to enhance the taste or deglaze the pan, white wine is an ideal one-to-one replacement. Deglazing pans with white wine or lemon juice bring out the tastes of other ingredients in savory meals because of the acidity.

Other FAQs about Lemon that you may be interested in.

Can I use lemon peel instead of lemon zest?

Are lemon seeds edible?

Are lemon seeds toxic?


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I use citric acid instead of lemon juice?” and discussed other alternatives for lemon juice.


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