8 Best Substitutes for Orange Zest


Orange zest is a wonderful natural flavoring agent that gives a tangy citrus flavor to many different foods and beverages.

It is the colorful part of the peel of fresh oranges that can be added directly into recipes to add an orange flavor.

8 Best Substitutes for Orange Zest

The best substitute for Orange Zest are – Orange Extract, Orange Liqueur, Orange Oil, Marmalade, Candied Orange Peel, Citrus Zest, Orange Concentrate, and Orange Juice.

They are discussed in detail here –

Orange Extract

Orange extract is the most accessible replacement for orange zest. It may have an extremely potent flavor and must be used sparingly to achieve the same taste as orange zest.

You can find it easily in confectioner’s shops, bakeries or supermarkets.

The natural extract of orange is the way to go when using this alternative.

Artificial extracts or flavorings may not provide any health benefits; in turn, there is a chance that they may cause damage to one’s body.


Orange extract is an easy-to-find replacement for orange that will yield an identical flavor. It is recommended that natural extracts be used, as opposed to artificial flavorings.

Orange Liqueur

Orange liqueur is an excellent option to replace zest in beverages.

You may add liqueurs like Cointreau to liquids to enhance the orange flavor in the preparation. It may also be used in flambés.

However, orange liqueur is an alcoholic option, which may not be suitable for everyone. Moreover, the usage of orange liqueur is, for the most part, limited to beverages.

Studies have also suggested that 4-85% of the alcohol added to foods cooked on a flame instead of the common myth that all alcohol added to cooked foods evaporates.


Orange liqueur is a liquid substitute that works best in beverages. The alcohol content in the liqueur may make it an unsuitable alternative for many people.

Orange Oil

This is a good replacement for orange zest in almost all recipes. Orange oil comes closest to the flavor of zest after natural extract.

It is also highly concentrated and must be used carefully.

Around two drops of orange oil can easily replace one teaspoon of orange zest. Orange oil may lack the slightly bitter taste of zest, but this is not noticeable in most dishes.


Orange oil is a substitute for orange zest that is very similar in flavor. It is highly concentrated and must be used with caution.


Marmalade is an unorthodox replacement for orange zest, but in sweet dishes, marmalade works very well to provide an orange flavor.

It also contains orange rinds, which can add the texture of natural orange peel to recipes.

Unfortunately, you can only use marmalade in desserts and beverages. The high sugar content will not work in most savory dishes. Marmalade is also missing the bitter flavor of orange zest.


Marmalade is an excellent alternative to orange zest in desserts and beverages. However, this sugary preserve may not work in savory preparations.

Candied Orange Peel

Candied orange peel can be a suitable replacement for orange zest in most preparations.

Made by drying orange peels cooked in sugar syrup, this is also high in sugar and does not have the zest’s bitter flavor.

This alternative works best in dessert and beverage recipes due to its high sugar content. This alternative works best in baked recipes.


This is a dry version of orange peel that can be used to replace orange zest in sweet recipes and beverages.

Citrus Zest

Citrus zests entail the zest of any citrus fruit- lemon, grapefruit, tangerines, clementines, and even sweet limes. These have an almost identical flavor profile to that of orange zest.

These may be used in virtually any recipe that calls for orange zest. It’s the only alternative that may provide the same bitter taste that orange zest has.

Particularly, lemon zest works well with most preparations that orange works well with.


The zest from any citrus fruit may be used as an excellent replacement for orange zest in almost all dishes, whether savory or sweet.

Orange Concentrate

Orange concentrate is created by removing most of the liquid from orange juice.

This leaves a highly saturated, significantly flavor-rich, and thick concentrate, which you can use to replace zest in most dishes, sweet or savory.

Concentrates may be easy to find but must be selected carefully. High fructose corn syrup is often added to concentrate to sweeten it, which can be harmful to the body.

The healthiest type of concentrate will be labeled 100% juice concentrate. You may also use lemon or other citrus fruit juice concentrates.


Orange concentrate may be used as a replacement for zest in most recipes; however, 100% juice concentrates are the healthiest option to use.

Orange Juice

The last resort to replace the flavor of zest in your recipes is orange juice. This is to be used carefully since the water content is very high. In baked goods, a small quantity can do the trick.

Orange juice should be sourced from a natural and organic source.

Sugary boxed orange flavored beverages and drinks must be steered clear of at all costs, given the high quantity of preservatives, added sugars, artificial flavoring, and color added to them.


Unprocessed and naturally sourced orange juice can be used instead of zest. It must be proportioned well since it has a very high water content.


Is orange peel the same as orange zest?

No. Orange peels contain a white part called the ‘pith’. This has an unpleasant bitter taste. The zest is the colorful part of the peel.

Is orange extract the same as orange zest?

No, orange extract is made by dissolving strong oils of orange in alcohol. The zest can be extracted directly from orange peels without any processing.

What does orange zest do?

It adds a flavor of orange to recipes. It has a bitter taste and a strong citrus fragrance.

Bottom Line

You can achieve a citrus flavor by using orange zest.

But when you cannot get your hands on any, you can try any of these alternatives and reach a very similar result.

We hope one of these substitutes works out in your subsequent recipes!

Show Some Love by Sharing!

About Barbara Foster

Barbara is a traveler who has traveled to more than 25 countries. She loves the variety of food she gets to experience on her trips and maintains detailed journals of her travels which she plans to publish as a book someday. She loves to bake. Her favorite cuisines are Italian, French, and Mexican.