Adding a touch of citrusy, floral aroma to your desserts, beverages, and savory dishes — that’s what orange blossom water is all about. Orange blossom water, also called orange flower water, is a versatile product made from distilled orange blossoms.
But if you can’t find this treasured ingredient in your pantry or local store, don’t fret! There are alternatives that can step up to the plate and provide a similar flavor profile. In this article, we will take a closer look at the best orange blossom water substitutes that can elevate your culinary creations to the next level.
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is indisputably a culinary essential. It has a bright and zesty flavor that makes it an excellent substitute for orange blossom water. And while orange blossom water is recognized for its flowery aroma, lemon juice adds a tangy edge to dishes.
Lemon juice is a flexible culinary replacement for orange blossom water. It may be used in baked products, sauces, and marinades. It also tastes good in beverages like lemonade and cocktails and is a wonderful complement to salads. So, the next time you run out of orange blossom water, reach for the lemon juice instead!
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1 tsp. lemon juice.
2. Orange Juice
Orange juice is a great substitute for orange blossom water since it also has a sweet and zingy flavor profile. The flavor is a bit stronger, though, and it has a thicker viscosity than orange blossom water, which is softer and more subdued. However, it is also more widely available and less expensive, which makes it a more convenient option.
Many recipes, including those for baked products, sauces, marinades, and beverages, allow for the substitution of orange juice for orange blossom water. Depending on the intended result, the ratio may vary, but it’s best to start with less and progressively add more until you reach your preferred level.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1/2 tsp. orange juice.
3. Orange Zest
Orange zest, the fragrant outer layer of an orange’s skin, is a good substitute for orange blossom water due to its bright, citrusy flavor. Unlike orange blossom water, which is manufactured by distilling the orange tree’s blooms, orange zest is obtained by grating the fruit’s peel. Because of this, orange zest has a richer, more potent flavor that will add a burst of freshness to a number of dishes.
Orange zest may be used in a wide range of dishes, including sauces, marinades, and baked products. Simply grate the skin of an orange peel — make sure you don’t add the white pith underneath — and use it as a replacement for orange blossom water. It will give your dish the bright, citrusy flavor that you’re looking for!
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1/4 tsp. orange zest (Add more if needed.)
4. Rose Water
As its name suggests, rose water is a fragrant and flavorful liquid made from rose petals. It has a sweet, flowery flavor that contrasts with the zesty orange blossom water. However, rose water can work well in recipes that require a delicate floral flavor.
Rose water is a prominent ingredient in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine and is versatile enough to be used in a range of dishes, including baked products, beverages, and desserts. To use rose water as a substitute for orange blossom water, start with a very small amount. Keep in mind that the flavor of rose water is more pronounced, so use it sparingly and tailor the amount to your liking.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1/4-1/2 tsp. rose water.
5. Vanilla Extract
You won’t typically think of vanilla extract when looking for a substitute for orange blossom water, but it can work as a fantastic stand-in since it is a staple in both savory and sweet dishes. Although its flavor profile differs from that of orange blossom water, it adds a touch of refinement and sweetness to your dishes.
Orange blossom water and vanilla extract can both be used interchangeably. You can use vanilla extract in sweets, sauces, marinades, and other meals to add a mild, sweet flavor that complements the other ingredients. However, because vanilla extract has a considerably stronger flavor, it should be used in smaller quantities.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1/4-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
6. Almond Extract
Almond extract is a versatile substance that’s derived from bitter almond oil and can work well as a substitute for orange blossom water. It has a sweet and nutty taste that’s comparable to orange blossom water but stronger and more potent.
Almond extract is commonly used in baking as it provides a nutty flavor to recipes for cakes, cookies, and other sweets. Remember that almond extract has a much stronger flavor than orange blossom water, so start with a small amount and gradually add more to taste. Additionally, certain recipes, especially those that largely rely on the delicate flavor of orange blossom water, may not work well with almond extract as a replacement.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1/2 tsp. almond extract.
7. Grapefruit Juice
Due to its comparably fresh and zesty flavor to orange blossom water, grapefruit juice might also serve as a suitable alternative. However, it’s important to note that grapefruit juice is tarter and less sweet than orange blossom water, so it may not be a perfect match in all recipes.
Grapefruit juice can be used in various recipes such as cakes, syrups, and marinades. To use it as a substitute, you may use it in the same amount as the orange blossom water. However, note that using grapefruit juice may result in a different flavor profile, so taste and adjust as needed.
Suggested ratio: 1 tsp. orange blossom water = 1 tsp. grapefruit juice.