The 7 Best Orange Extract Substitutes (#2 Might Have NOW!)

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If you’re a baking fanatic, then you most likely have a bottle of orange extract in your kitchen pantry. After all, it’s an extremely versatile ingredient used in many baked goods, desserts, savory dishes, and even beverages!

But picture this: You’re already in the middle of your recipe and check the cupboard or pantry for orange extract… Gasp! Where is the orange extract?

You might have forgotten to replenish it, and it’s too late to head to the grocery store to grab a bottle. Or you’re in the supermarket, but they ran out of stock!

Whatever the case may be, you can use a substitute for an orange extract that still captures the essence and flavor you want. Check out our list of the best substitutes for orange extract! 

Quick Answer:

You can try orange zest, orange juice, orange marmalade, orange liqueur or another citrus extract as an effective replacement for orange extract.

Why Do You Need To Replace Orange Extract, Anyway?

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There are many reasons why one may need to replace orange extract, and it isn’t only because you ran out of it in the kitchen or supermarket!

  • The orange extract contains some alcohol, and while it isn’t noticeable, those totally avoiding alcohol will most likely want a non-alcoholic substitute.
  • You might be after nutritional benefits to adding to a dish, which orange extract can’t offer.
  • You want a distinct flavor, but not from oranges! Orange extract substitutes give your dish a different yet pleasant flavor profile rather than an orange taste!

What’s a Good Substitute for Orange Extract?

One of the best orange extract replacements is orange juice, but if you have none or are up for something different, there are more ingredients you can try!

From non-alcoholic orange extract substitutes to creating your own, consider using any of these alternatives:

#1. Orange Zest

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One of the best substitutes for orange extract is orange zest, which is a bit easier to use than orange juice because you won’t worry about liquid content.

If a recipe asks for ½ teaspoon of orange extract, add one teaspoon of orange zest! Note that each fruit will have different flavor levels in the orange peel to vary slightly.

You can zest an orange yourself, but make sure you spread the flavor properly and prevent having large chunks of rind in your recipes by using very fine and chopped shavings rather than large chunks or long strips of orange peel. Furthermore, do not use any white pith in your recipes, which tastes very bitter!

Learn more: Top 8 Orange Zest Substitutes for Your Recipes!

#2. Orange Juice

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As mentioned, orange juice is the best substitute for orange extract on the list, which has health benefits. It’s made from squeezing fresh oranges, which you can make on your own or purchase from grocery stores.

What better way to substitute orange extract than with its juice?

However, the issue here is the higher liquid content you’ll need to add to capture the flavor orange extract offers. If you only want a hint of orange flavor, then replace any liquid in the recipe for orange juice.

For instance, a pancake recipe asks for half a teaspoon of orange extract and one cup of water. Use one cup of orange juice instead.

If you want more than just a subtle orange flavor in your dishes, we recommend adding some orange zest into the mix.

Another alternative is using frozen orange juice concentrate to give you more flavor than orange juice without much of the liquid. However, note that it isn’t as strong as an extract.

This is great for recipes that use liquids like milk. So, if a recipe needs milk rather than water, use one tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate and a bit of orange zest.

Lastly, if you aren’t in a hurry, you can reduce orange juice, so you’re left with more flavor but less liquid. Reducing orange juice will remove some of the liquid but leave the flavor.

There aren’t exact recommendations on how much orange juice you should reduce to receive a certain amount, as the water content and flavor vary depending on how long you’ll reduce it for. All you need to do is to pour orange juice into a pan and let it simmer over medium-low heat, stirring it frequently.

Start with a small amount of reduced orange in your recipe and taste test, adding more until you reach the desired flavor.

Learn more: What Can I Substitute for Orange Juice in Cooking, Drinking?

#3. Orange Marmalade

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Orange marmalade is condensed, thick, and sticky. It’s made from extracting orange juice, which is then mixed with sugar, then gelatinized. (*)

Given its texture and flavor, it’s great to use for preparing sauces that require orange extract. However, remember that marmalade has an intensely sweet flavor, so it’s good for sweeter sauces of baked goods that need more sweetness than acidity.

Orange marmalade isn’t only for making sauces, but it works well in condensing and blending. It’s great for pastes and salad dressings.

But again, the acidity levels are low in orange marmalade, while it’s sweeter than orange extract. Around three spoonfuls of orange marmalade is equivalent to one teaspoon of orange extract.

#4. Orange Liqueur 

Orange liqueur is a good substitute for orange extract, and if you’re worried about the alcohol content, you don’t need to. The alcohol burns off from the baking process!

We recommend orange-flavored curacao or triple sec, which are made with neutral spirits. The orange liqueur will give you a similar flavor to orange extract.

Another excellent option would be Grand Marnier, the most popular orange liqueur. However, this is made with brandy, so you get a slightly different and distinctive flavor to recipes.

The biggest drawback is the price, as orange liqueur doesn’t come cheap! But hey, if you have your mini-bar or happen to have orange liqueur, then it’s a great option as a one-off emergency.

Or you can just use it as an excuse to buy orange liqueur, whatever works for you. We’re not judging!

Learn more:

#5. Orange Oi

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Orange oil, or orange essential oil, is another excellent substitute for orange extract as it’s highly concentrated as well! While it would add oil to your recipe, though it shouldn’t gravely impact your recipe’s outcome since you’re adding a small amount.

While orange oil isn’t as pure as an orange extract, it’s cheaper! All you need is two drops of orange oil to achieve the flavor orange extract offers.

#6. Homemade Orange Extract

If you have the time, you can always create your orange extract, so you won’t have to worry about running out of it. Many home-brewers use inexpensive vodka as their base, which is cheap and safe, plus you don’t need to care about the taste since it burns off as you cook.

All you need is the zest of one orange, one cup of vodka, and a mason jar.

Place the zest in a mason or wick jar, then cover it with your chosen alcohol, ensuring that the orange zest is submerged completely. If one cup of alcohol doesn’t cut it, you can add more.

Seal the lid tightly, then store the jar in a cool, dry area for two months or more, without any light exposure. The longer, the better, as the orange flavor becomes even stronger!

Once you’re ready and like the flavor, strain all the orange zest, then transfer your liquid to an extract jar.

Get Recipe:

#7. Any Other Citrus Extract

If you don’t have anything orange as mentioned above, then you can opt for other citrus extracts if you already have some in your kitchen or the supermarket. You can use the same amount as the recipe calls for, though note that the flavor would alter.

Good extracts include lemon extract, lime extract, tangerine extract, and the like, giving your dishes a new flavor but slightly acidic tanginess.

You can also use vanilla extract as a last resort (since vanilla extract is a popular staple), but you won’t get many acidity flavors to it!

Orange Extract Fun Facts

Did you know that there’s more to orange extract? You might not have been aware of these facts:

  • Orange extract is a highly-concentrated product combining orange water into an alcohol base. Most bases have an alcohol level of at least 35%.
  • The orange extract has a citrusy and herb-like aroma. It’s also very sugary and mildly acidic.
  • When using orange extract, remember that it’s a highly concentrated ingredient, and a small amount goes a long way. Follow what your recipe says and only add a few drops if unsure.
  • While oranges are healthy, their extract has no positive or negative health benefits. If you want to get the nutritional benefits oranges can offer, then it’s best to get it from the fruit or juice. However, you can use the orange extract as a topical treatment for skin conditions, which helps with acne, sun damage, and other issues with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrapping It Up

Finding an orange extract substitute is pretty easy regardless of the reason!

You’ll be surprised that you can find many of these substitutes in the kitchen or supermarket, whether you need a non-alcoholic one or not.

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