When it comes to ingredients for apple pie, the most important thing is the apples.
After that, one of the most important things is lemon juice.
But what if you’re out of lemon juice?
There are tons of other options that you can use to keep your pie tasting great.
So, what’s the best substitute for lemon juice in apple pie?
The best substitute for lemon juice in apple pie is orange juice. Orange juice provides a similar acidic taste as lemon juice, but it’s sweeter, so you may need to add a dash of salt to bring out the sourness in the pie.
Other substitutes include lime juice or pineapple juice—both of which can be used in place of lemon juice in apple pie.
15 Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie
Lemon juice provides a sour and acidic flavor to apple pie, and its presence in the recipe is crucial to the overall flavor profile.
Unfortunately, lemon juice is not always readily available, and substitutions are sometimes necessary.
Below, are a list of substitutes for lemon juice in apple pie so your pies never taste bland again:
1. Orange Juice
I swear by orange juice in apple pie.
It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
I like to use fresh-squeezed orange juice when I can, but if it’s not available, you can totally just buy a carton of orange juice—just make sure it’s 100% pure OJ.
You don’t want any added sugars or anything like that—just use the real stuff!
2. Lime Juice
This was my second favorite!
Lime juice is also very sweet and tart, but not quite as sweet as orange juice.
This might be a good option if you’re looking for something a little less intensely flavored than orange juice.
3. Pineapple Juice
A great substitute for lemon juice is pineapple juice.
It has a similar consistency and sweetness to lemon juice but it also adds a tropical vibe to your apple pie.
If you want to use pineapple juice in your apple pie, simply pour 1 cup of pineapple juice into your bowl of apples before adding them to the crust (you may want to add less if you’re making a small pie).
This will give the apples some sweetness and flavor that lemon juice would have normally provided.
If you don’t have time to shop for pineapple juice at a grocery store, then try making homemade pineapple juice from scratch!
You can easily do this by blending frozen pineapple chunks with water until they become liquidy enough to work as an ingredient in your recipe—just be sure not replace all of the lemon juice with pineapple because otherwise there won’t be any tanginess left in your dessert.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also fantastic in a pie—it’s an excellent natural preservative with a slightly sweet, acidic taste.
It’s not as sour as lemon juice and it adds a nice mellow flavor that goes well with other ingredients in the pie (apple and cinnamon, for example).
Honey is another great substitute for lemon juice.
It’s even sweeter than sugar, so it might make your apple pie taste a little bit sweeter than usual—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
6. Citric acid
If you don’t want to spend all that money on lemon nectar then citric acid is another great option.
The citric acid will give your apple pie a nice tangy flavor without being overpowering like the lemon juice can sometimes be.
It’s also easy to find at any grocery store or even online so no need to worry about where you’ll get your hands on some citric acid because chances are it’ll already be sitting in your pantry waiting patiently.
7. Lemon juice concentrate
Lemon juice concentrate can be used in any number of baking recipes, including apple pies, where it’s a great alternative to the traditional lemon juice.
It’s also a great ingredient for fresh lemonade and other recipes that call for lemon juice.
8. Lemon zest
Lemon zest is also a great option.
You can add it directly to the apples, or you can make a quick lemon glaze by mixing together some powdered sugar and lemon zest to drizzle over the top.
This will add a bit more citrus flavor and aroma to the pie.
Limoncello is a great option for apple pies.
It adds a nice citrus flavor, but with a bit more alcohol than lemon juice, so it might add a bit more of an adult taste to your apple pie.
You might want to start with just a dash or two and taste-test as you go—you don’t want to end up with too much alcohol in your pie!
Lemongrass has a lot in common with lemons—in fact, they’re from the same family of plants!
Lemongrass imparts a citrusy flavor that’s more subtle than lemons, and it also has a sweet note that makes it not only a great substitute for lemon juice in baking, but an interesting spice to use in savory dishes.
To use it instead of lemon juice in apple pie, simply follow the same amount ratio.
If you don’t have fresh lemongrass on hand, consider using this dried option!
11. White vinegar
This one adds a lot of tanginess but no noticeable sweetness or flavor beyond that.
The best part about using vinegar as opposed to lemon juice?
You probably have it stocked in your pantry at all times!
12. Orange extract
If you’re looking for something that will add a citrusy sweetness to your apple pie, orange extract is a great substitute.
And it’s super easy to find at any local grocery store! Just add a few teaspoons into the dough, and you’ll be good to go!
13. White wine
White wine adds a light and bright flavor! White wine is great if you want to have a light dessert after dinner.
It pairs perfectly with apple pie and makes you feel like you’re enjoying a fine meal at a five-star restaurant.
14. White wine vinegar
White wine vinegar adds acidity and brightness, but has a more floral taste than lemon juice.
It’s also sweeter than regular vinegar, so it will brighten up your pie without adding a sour taste.
15. Water and sugar
Water and sugar adds just enough sweetness without adding much of a flavor of its own.
This is a great option if you don’t mind the extra sweetness in your pie and want something that’s less acidic than lemon juice or white wine vinegar (which is still pretty acidic).
Is Lemon Juice Necessary for Apple Pie?
In short, no, lemon juice isn’t necessary for apple pie. That said, some people will add it to the recipe to help keep the apples from turning brown; that’s because of a chemical reaction that occurs when certain types of fruit are exposed to air.
There are other ways to keep your apples from browning in an apple pie if you don’t want to use lemon juice: you can use other types of fruit juices, like pineapple or orange juice, or even vinegar. Some recipes will call for a different type of acid than what’s found in lemon juice.
15 Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie
- Orange Juice
- Lime Juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Citric acid
- Lemon juice concentrate
- Lemon zest
- White vinegar
- Orange extract
- White wine
- White wine vinegar
- Water and sugar
- Pick one of the alternatives from this list to use in your pie.
- Prepare the rest of your meal.
- Be ready to munch in no time!