Skip to Content

11 Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie

So you’re making an apple pie.

You almost have all the ingredients ready, but you realize: you don’t have lemon juice!

What now?

substitute for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie

What’s the best substitute for lemon juice in apple pie?

The best substitute for lemon juice in apple pie is to use a similar amount of lime juice, or even orange juice. The acidity will help keep the apple slices from browning, and the flavor will be very similar.

In most recipes, lemon juice is used for its acidity, to help balance the sweetness of the fruit.

But don’t worry—you can still make that pie!

11 Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie

We know that sometimes you’re itching to make an apple pie, but you might not have lemon juice on hand.

Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

Here are some great substitutes for lemon juice in apple pie:

1. Lemon zest

Lemon zest

Using lemon zest instead of actual juice may not seem like a good substitute… at first.

The zest has a more concentrated flavor than the juice, so it’ll give you more acidity than you need.

But if you use enough apples, they’ll mitigate the extra sourness and give your pie that perfect balance of sweet and tart.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

You can totally use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for lemon juice in apple pie.

My mom taught me this, and it’s been a lifesaver whenever we’re out of lemons and I want to make the perfect apple pie.

Just add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your pie filling, and you’re on your way to the best apples you’ve ever had in your life.

My husband swears that it’s better than the lemon juice, because he likes the way it blends with the cinnamon.

What I love about this substitute is that it’s always in my house, which means I never have to worry about running out of it when I’m baking.

3. Lime juice

Lime juice

You know those limes you have hanging around in your produce drawer from the time you made limeade last week?

Just use one of those instead of a lemon in your next batch of pie.

Lime juice will add an extra zing to your pie that traditional lemon juice doesn’t have.

Plus, you’ll have more room in your fridge since those limes are taking up space anyway!

4. White wine

White wine

Here’s another ingredient that makes a great substitute for lemon juice in apple pie.

You’ll love it—and your family will be none the wiser.

What is this magical ingredient, you might ask?

White wine.

Yep, white wine is the perfect way to substitute for lemon juice in your apple pie recipe.

When you cut up your apples and add them to your pie crust, just sprinkle a little white wine over them along with your spices and sugar.

The white wine does the same thing as lemon juice: it helps keep the apples from turning brown before they’re baked in the oven.

It also adds a nice hint of acidity to balance out all those sweet ingredients.

5. Lemon extract

Lemon extract

Lemon extract can be found at any grocery store or online!

You can add it to your recipe the same way that you would add lemon juice – just be sure to mix well before pouring over fruit filling or crusts (if using) so they don’t get too soggy from sitting out at room temperature overnight before baking.

6. Orange juice

Orange juice

One of the simplest substitutes you can use is orange juice.

You can get the same acidic punch by using orange juice in place of lemon juice.

It’s a great choice if you don’t want to alter the taste of your pie, but still need a little acidity to bring out the flavors of your apples.

7. Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice!

The tartness from the cranberries is a great match for the tartness from the apples, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a very straightforward substitute.

Plus, it’s a gorgeous jewel-toned red color that will look absolutely stunning once it’s baked into your pie.

8. Grapefruit juice

Grapefruit juice

The second is grapefruit juice.

Grapefruit juice works really well when you need to add liquid to your filling.

It’s super easy to use: just replace part or all of the liquid called for in your recipe and use grapefruit juice instead!

You can also use it after your pie is baked to give it a little extra flavor on top—just squeeze some on before serving and enjoy!

This one tastes so good and takes almost no effort at all!

9. Lemonade Concentrate (not Diluted)

The water and sugar in the lemonade help prevent browning while still adding some sweetness, so it’s a great way to get both benefits at once.

It’s especially good if you’re worried that the pie is too sweet and not tart enough—the lemonade concentrate will help balance that out for you.

10. Champagne vinegar

Champagne vinegar is a great way to bring some acidity to your baked goods without changing the flavor too much. (And if you don’t have champagne vinegar on hand, any vinegar will work.)

11. Rosewater (if You Want to Feel Fancy)


Another option is rosewater, which is a fancy-pants way of keeping apples from turning brown.

It’s made by distilling roses (duh), and it adds a floral flavor to the pie that pairs really well with cinnamon.

Just be careful: rosewater can be overpowering if you use too much, and even if you don’t use too much, people might still think your pie tastes like perfume!

Can I Use Vinegar Instead of Lemon Juice for Apples?


You can totally use vinegar instead of lemon juice to keep apples from browning.

The reason people use lemon juice, though, is that it tastes better than vinegar.

If you’re using the apples in a dish that’s going to be cooked, then you don’t have to worry about taste at all—you’ll just want to make sure the apples are kept from browning. Vinegar will do the trick just fine.

But for recipes like fruit salads or apple pies where the apples are eaten raw, you’ll want to stick with lemon juice or another acidic flavor that works well with apples.

Apple Pie

11 Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie

In baking, lemon juice is often added to apple pie to reduce the amount of browning. However, it also adds a tartness that may not be desired by everyone.
Other acid-containing ingredients can be used in place of lemon juice, such as vinegar (like white vinegar or cider vinegar), lime juice, or orange juice.
If you plan to substitute for lemon juice in apple pie, consider the following:
– If you have a particularly sweet variety of apples, consider adding something extra tart like orange or lime juice.
– If you want to add a bit more flavor, consider using something flavored like rice wine vinegar. Just use 1/2 tsp. per tablespoon of lemon juice called for in your recipe.
– If you want to give your pie an apple cider kick, consider substituting with apple cider vinegar. Just use 1/2 tsp. per tablespoon of lemon juice called for in your recipe.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 285 kcal


  • Lemon zest
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Lime juice
  • White wine
  • Lemon extract
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemonade concentrate (not diluted)
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Rosewater (if you want to feel fancy)


  • Pick any of the alternatives from this list to use in your apple pie.
  • Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  • Be ready to munch in no time!
Keyword Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Apple Pie