Lime juice adds a bright acidity to pico de gallo that contributes to its fresh taste.
If you don’t have lime juice on hand, there are several ways you can substitute it in your recipe!
So, what’s the best substitute for lime juice in pico de gallo?
The best substitute for lime juice in pico de gallo is lemon juice because it’s more acidic and has a similar flavor profile. The acid in the lemon will help to reduce the bitter aftertaste that lime can sometimes leave behind. It also has a similar flavor profile, so you won’t be able to tell the difference between the two!
For more alternatives, keep scrolling!
10 Substitutes for Lime Juice in Pico De Gallo
Pico de gallo is a fresh tomato salsa. It’s great for dipping tortilla chips and for adding to sandwiches, tacos, and salads.
Pico de gallo has a lot of ingredients—onions, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice—but one of the key ingredients is lime juice.
If you don’t have limes on hand, here are 10 ways you can substitute for the lime juice in your pico de gallo:
1. Lemon Juice
While lime juice is a great addition to many dishes, it’s not always easy to find.
When you’re in a pinch and want to make your pico de gallo, try substituting lemon juice for the lime.
The flavor profile is similar and lemon juice works well with cilantro and onion.
In general, citrus juices are often interchangeable in recipes as long as you keep the ratio of lemon/lime juice to vinegar and salt the same.
If you’re using lemon juice instead of lime, you can use more salt than usual to balance out the flavor.
You could also add some extra onion or garlic if needed!
Vinegar is another great substitute for lime juice in pico de gallo.
The acidity of the vinegar will help to balance out the tomatoes and peppers, and it won’t add any extra flavor beyond that.
You can use any kind of vinegar you like—white or cider vinegar will do just fine.
You’ll probably want about 1/4 cup of vinegar for every 2 cups of chopped vegetables you’re using.
If you don’t have any vinegar on hand, another way to get that acidity is by adding a pinch of baking soda to your bowl before adding the tomatoes and peppers.
3. Bottled Lime Juice
If you haven’t already, try switching out bottled lime juice for the fresh stuff in your pico de gallo.
The ratio of bottled lime juice to fresh lime juice is about 1:1, so if you’re substituting 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice for one tablespoon of bottled lime juice, that should be about right.
However, taste is subjective, so it’s always best to add just a bit at a time and taste as you go!
Keep in mind that while bottled lime juices can vary slightly from brand to brand, they are all made from real limes.
4. Bottled Lemon Juice
While the flavor of lime is quite different from that of lemon, you can use roughly one part bottled lemon juice to two parts water to get a similar effect.
You may also want to add a bit of sugar and salt to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice.
You’ll want to be careful not to overdo it with this substitution, though.
If your recipe calls for 1/4 cup of lime juice, try using no more than 1/2 teaspoon of bottled lemon juice and adding some water until you reach your desired consistency.
Remember: Bottled lemon juice is much more acidic than fresh-squeezed lime juice, so make sure you adjust your measurements accordingly!
5. Lemon Zest
Lemon zest is a great option because it’s easy to find and inexpensive, and it has a very similar flavor profile to lime juice.
It will give your pico de gallo the tangy zing it needs to be delicious.
To substitute lemon zest for lime juice, use one tablespoon of lemon zest for every tablespoon of lime juice called for in the recipe.
The ratio should be about 1:1, but you can add more or less depending on your preference.
In addition to this substitution, feel free to add more garlic or onion powder if your recipe calls for it—just be sure not to overdo it!
6. Orange Juice
Orange juice has got the same tartness and acidity, but it also has a sweeter flavor that makes it taste more like fruit than lime.
To make your own orange juice substitution, use 1/2 cup of orange juice instead of 1/2 cup of lime juice.
You can use fresh-squeezed or bottled orange juice—whichever you have on hand!
The ratio is different depending on whether you’re using fresh or bottled juice:
If you’re using fresh-squeezed orange juice, use 2 tablespoons per 1/2 cup of lime juice.
If you’re using bottled orange juice, use 3 tablespoons per 1/2 cup of lime juice.
To get the best results from your substitution, make sure to stir the pico de gallo well before serving so that all the flavors are mixed together evenly!
7. Lemon-Lime Soda
You can also make it with lemon-lime soda.
To substitute one tablespoon of lime juice, mix together 1 tablespoon of lemon-lime soda with 1 tablespoon of water.
If you’re using two tablespoons of lime juice, replace those two tablespoons with three tablespoons of lemon-lime soda and three tablespoons of water.
The ratio is important to get right: it’s not just a matter of adding more liquid to make up for the missing lime juice—you need to measure out your sweetener or else it will overpower the flavor of your other ingredients.
And while it’s not exactly an exact science, the point is that if you’re missing one tablespoon of lime juice and substituting with lemon-lime soda, then double all your measurements (two tablespoons becomes four tablespoons; three tablespoons becomes six).
8. Lime Salt
Lime salt will give the dish more of a kick and is a good alternative to just using more lime juice.
To make 1 cup of lime salt, mix together 1 tablespoon of kosher salt with 1 teaspoon of zest from a fresh lime.
9. Grapefruit Juice
To substitute grapefruit juice for lime juice in pico de gallo, use 1 part grapefruit juice to 3 parts water.
The taste is similar, but the acidity of grapefruit juice is lower than the acidity of lime juice.
This means that you will need more water than you would if you were using lime juice.
If your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of lime juice, use 1 tablespoon of grapefruit juice and 3 tablespoons of water instead.
The key to making this substitution is to use the same ratio of pomelo to other ingredients as you would lime juice.
For example, if your recipe calls for 1/4 cup of lime juice, use 1/2 cup of pomelo instead.
As far as tips go, pomelo has a lot of pulp and seeds, so you may want to remove those before adding it to your recipe.
If you don’t mind having some in there, though, by all means go right ahead!
The flavor of pomelo is similar to that of lime—it’s sweet and sour with a hint of bitterness (but not as much as limes).
10 Substitutes for Lime Juice in Pico De Gallo
- Lemon Juice
- Bottled Lime Juice
- Bottled Lemon Juice
- Lemon Zest
- Orange Juice
- Lemon-Lime Soda
- Lime Salt
- Grapefruit Juice
- Pick any of the alternatives from this list.
- Prepare the rest of your mexican meal.
- Be ready to munch in no time!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.