What is Orange Extract?
Orange extract is concentrated orange flavor used in cooking and baking. The extract is made by soaking orange zest or fruit in alcohol to extract the fragrant and flavorful orange oil. This mixture of alcohol and orange oil adds lovely bursts of flavor, and the alcohol burns off when cooking or baking. You can make orange extract easily, it just takes some time. The best orange extract substitute is orange zest, as it is easy to make with an orange, and it imparts strong flavor. Read below for even more options.
Orange Extract Substitutes
1. Orange Zest
Orange zest is simply grated orange peel, and is a perfect orange extract substitute because the peel has tons of flavor. It’s best to remove the white part of the peel, called the pith, because it could be bitter. About one tablespoon of orange zest is a good substitute for 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract. Wash the peel, then grate the peel using a microplane, or simply just chop the peel finely.
2. Orange Juice
Orange juice is a good orange extract substitute, although it might not be concentrated enough for some uses. It is likely that you might have it on hand, though, which makes it a good option. It’s best to use pulp-free juice so the pulp doesn’t clump up. You’re going to have to use significantly more orange juice for each teaspoon orange extract, so be aware as this extra liquid might throw off a recipe.
3. Orange Liqueur
Orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, Triple Sec, Patrón Citrónge, Aperol and Grand Marnier, is a sweet and tangy liqueur that is a great orange extract substitute. These liqueurs are very similar to orange extract because they are composed of alcohol and orange oil. The alcohol will burn off, just as it does in orange extract. You can use the same measurements as orange extract.
4. Orange Oil
A food-grade orange oil is an adequate orange extract substitute, as it is extremely concentrated flavor. Be careful to only use food-grade, edible orange oil, and not an aromatherapy-grade essential oil. Since orange oil is more concentrated, use only around a drop or two.
5. Other Citrus Extracts
6. Other Citrus Zests/Juice
Of course, lemon, lime, and any other citrus fruit zest and juice would be a good replacement for orange extract. They obviously won’t have the same flavor as orange, and might not be as sweet as orange, but they will provide the general acidic citrus flavor that you want.
If you’d rather make your own orange extract, check out the recipe below:
Easy Orange ExtractDifficulty: Easy
- Put the zest of one orange (with pith removed) in a jar with one cup vodka. Make sure all of the orange zest is submerged.
- Put the cap on, and let sit in a cool, dark place for about two months. You can gently swirl the mixture every so often.
- At the end of the two months, you should smell a strong orange flavor. Strain out the zest pieces, and you have orange extract!