Substitutes for alum

In this brief guide, we will address and answer the query, “Substitutes for alum” and answer other related questions like “What are the best substitutes which can be used as an alternative to alum?”

What are the substitutes of alum?

You can use many other substitutes for alum. Though alum is most preferred when it comes to pickling and using it as a preservative, However, in case of non-availability there are other alternatives available that can be used such as lime, horseradish, herbs, ascorbic acid, tartaric acid, vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid, and baking powder.

  • Lime

There are many uses of lime. It is a good alternative to using alum. For making dishes such as tortilla, corn-chip, etcetera. It is used for fruit and vegetable storage. Lime is often also used in the process of producing sugar.

  • Horseradish 

Horseradish is part of the cabbage family. It has long leaves. It is often used for meat vegetable-based dishes. It has many medicinal and culinary qualities. This is a popular alternative to alum. And is often used as a substitute. It is used as a condiment. It is added to food, typically after cooking. This will impart a specific flavor, enhance the flavor, or complement the dish.

  • Herbs

Herbs too have certain elements which are popular options when using them as a substitute to alum. There are many different types of herbs. Each has a specialized quality and taste factor. 

  • Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid is vitamin C. It is found naturally in many food products. When it is used as a substitute for alum, it helps in the preservation of certain dishes such as bread, cured meats, jams and jellies, from spoiling. It is also added to enhance the flavors of many foods and beverages such as fruit juices, cereals, fruit-flavored candies, dried fruit, cured meats and frozen fruits, to fortify or add citrus flavor.

  • Tartaric acid

Tartaric acid is a white, crystalline organic acid. In many fruits, most notably in grapes, it occurs naturally. It is also found as a natural element in bananas, tamarinds, citrus etcetera. In the process of fermentation, the cream of tartar also forms naturally. It is a good type of antioxidant. This is a well-preferred substitute for alum. It enhances the quality and stability of a variety of foods.

  • Vinegar 

Vinegar is a popular choice when it comes to preservatives. It has an acidic and sour flavor and taste. The flavor of foods can be easily enhanced with the help of vinegar. It adds a balance to any rich dish. Vinegar is a popular kitchen staple and is used in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, mayonnaise, ketchup etcetera. 


  • Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a valuable source of flavonoids. It is prepared using the juice extracted from fresh lemons. It adds a tangy flavor to dishes. It greatly enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to. This is the best natural alternative to alum. Just like vinegar, lemon juice adds flavor to baked goods, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, desserts etcetera. It also is a source of vitamin C.

  • Citric acid

Citric acid is a chemical organic compound. It is used in small quantities in a variety of dishes. As the name suggests, it is high in citric compounds such as in fruits and vegetables like lemons, lime, orange, etcetera. Citric acid acts as a strong flavoring agent and preservative. 

  • Baking powder

Food recipes call for baking powder when the lift is needed. It is a chemical agent. It is made from baking soda, corn starch etc. Baking powder increases the volume and improves the texture of baked goods. It is widely used in baking. When used as a substitute for alum, it yields an equally good result. It also helps in preserving the tangy flavor of a dish.

What is an alum?

Alum is a chemical compound. Alum can easily be made by precipitation from an aqueous solution. Alums are commonly used in pickling, baking powder, as astringents in medicine etcetera. 

They, therefore, have many uses. Powdered Alum, Iron-Free Aluminum Sulfate, Potassium-Free Aluminum Sulfate or Alum Baking Powder are some of the names alum is known by. More than its flavor, alum is used for its chemical properties. In a lot of cases, in food products, alum is used as a preservative and to retain crispness.


In this brief guide, we have addressed and answered the query, “Substitutes for alum” and answered other related questions like “What are the best substitutes which can be used as an alternative to alum?”


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