What is the Best Substitute for Orange Extract?

by Charlie
Orange Extract Substitute

Orange extract is a juice made from orange rind oil, water and alcohol. Orange oil only makes up 5% of the recipe, with 80% being alcohol and the rest made of water. The extract is available in many grocery stores, although you can also make it at home by soaking orange peels in unflavored vodka and water.

Orange extract has a stronger strange taste with a fresher tang than orange juice, mostly because it is gotten from the peel. It is used in recipes for flavor baked goods, and sweets and can be added to marinades.

Orange extract especially adds a rich flavor and sweetness to cookies, cupcakes and similar confectionaries. It is often recommended to use orange extract in small quantities while cooking because the strong taste can overpower other ingredients.

What is the best substitute for orange extract? The best substitute for orange extract is orange juice. It is a toned-down version of orange extract, without the alcohol or concentrated sweetness. Orange juice offers tons of health benefits while also being easily accessible. You can also make orange juice at home if it’s unavailable at your local grocery store.

Overview of Orange Extract

Orange extract does not contain as many nutritional benefits as most people think. Even though it has an orange taste, it only contains trace quantities of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Its primary use is flavoring for baked goods. If you want the full benefits, it’s better to drink orange juice or eat the fruit. 

Orange extract has, however, been shown to have some skin health benefits. It is often used as a topical agent and is believed to protect the skin from acne and sun damage and promote recovery from these conditions. Orange extract is also often used as an anti-inflammatory agent to promote skin health.

Orange extract has many culinary uses, and even though many people use it for baking, it can be used for other meals as well. For example, orange extract can be used to compound butter, syrup and chocolate sauce. It can also be used to flavor veggies.

Why Replace Orange Extract?

  • You’re avoiding alcohol: Orange extract recipe is made with 75% to 85% alcohol. You may not notice this because most recipes only require a few drops of the extract. But if you’re avoiding alcohol altogether, orange extract may not be best. Luckily, there are non-alcoholic substitutes.
  • You can’t find it: Orange extract is available in stores where you would usually get cooking ingredients. But if you can’t find it or make it at home for some reason, there are readily available substitutes that work just as well.
  • You want some nutritional benefits: Orange extract doesn’t have any nutritional benefits. This isn’t a problem for most people since their recipes contain plenty of nutritious foods. But if you’re trying to maximize your nutritional benefits, some orange extract substitutes might be better for you.
  • You’re in a pinch: Orange extract requires preparation. If you can’t find it in the store, it takes upwards of a week to create a usable batch. If your recipe can’t wait, instant alternatives will give you all of the flavor and none of the hassle. 
  • You want a distinct flavor: As pleasant as orange flavor is, you may crave a different taste profile. Some people are also not used to tasting citrus in their baked goods or vegetables. If you fall into any of these categories, orange extract replacements are your best bet.

Best Substitute Options for Orange Extract

Best Overall Substitute for Orange Extract: Orange Juice

Replacing orange extract with orange juice has pros and cons. On the one hand, it is non-alcoholic and won’t give you the intensely sweet flavor associated with orange extract. On the other hand, you can use more orange juice in your recipe because of its dilute taste.

Orange juice is also more readily available than orange extract, and you can find it almost anywhere. You can also easily make your orange juice at home with some water, sugar or salt, depending on what you want. Orange juice also has tons of vitamin c and antioxidants, both of which are lacking in orange extract.

Best Substitute for Flavor: Orange Zest

Orange zest isn’t a liquid, unlike orange extract, making it suitable for a different set of recipes. It also has a distinct bitter taste and tangy scent. Orange zest is excellent if you’re looking for a change from the sweet flavor of orange. The zest is made by peeling off thin layers of the orange’s exterior. This is usually done with a microplane, grater, or paring knife. 

Orange zest is mostly sprinkled on recipes instead of mixed into baked goods. Some of the best uses include sprinkling on coffee cake muffins, cooking with meat, or tossing with fruit salad. Orange peel contains provitamins, calcium, and polyphenols. This makes it one of the most nutritionally beneficial substitutes for orange extract.

Best Substitute for Alcohol Content: Orange Liqueur

Orange liqueur is very similar to orange extract. They both contain orange juice and alcohol and have a very similar taste. Orange liqueur may not be suitable for many people because it is quite expensive. The liqueur is sold under name brands like Triple Sec and Curacao. Some of these have a neutral orange flavor, while others will contain an intense alcoholic undertone.

Orange liqueur mostly delivers calories to your diet and not much else. Therefore, it may not be suitable if you’re looking for a nutritional substitute.

Best Substitute for a Thick Texture: Orange Marmalade

Orange marmalade has a similar texture to orange jam — it is thick, condensed, and excellent for making sauces and pastes. However, unlike orange jam, marmalade is made with the entire fruit, not just the juice. The preparation process also usually involves sugar and gelatinizing substances. 

Orange marmalade can be used for most extract recipes. It can also be mixed in with tasteless salads to provide a rich flavor. Its sugar and caloric content isn’t as high as orange extract, so most recipes will require two teaspoons of orange marmalade for every spoon of orange extract.

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