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Can I substitute lemon juice for lemon extract?

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Want to make a cake tonight that was in today's Chicago Trib, but it calls for lemon extract. None at home, but I do have 3-4 nice lemons. No time to go to the store today. Can I juice the lemons (and then how much would I need)?

The recipe already calls for lemon zest.

Other suggestions?

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  1. Perhaps not, depending on the recipe: the lemon juice will be much more acidic than lemon oil, so it may affect the chemistry of the cake.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S

      Agreed...In fact, lemon extract and extracts in general don't have acid. In addition, the extract is very strong, so you would need to add alot of lemon juice, drastically altering the chemistry. If anything you can add more zest, as it as essential oils, but not acid, though personally I would just try to track the extract down.

    2. I would substitute finely grated lemon zest for the lemon extract. Lemon extract is more like lemon oil from the peel than like lemon juice. Different flavors and I think the flavor from real lemon oil is tastier than lemon extract..but more work too of course.

      1. You should use the zest of the lemons. Zest has more lemony flavor than juice and juice adds unwanted liquid. Grate the the lemons on the finest grater you have. I don't know how much extract your recipe calls for, but I'd say the zest of the 3 lemons would equal the bang of a teaspoon of extract. Go lightly with the grater as you do not want the white pith under the zest. It's bitter.