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Tasty Tweak: 5 TOP Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Cheesecake

Are you searching for something to substitute for lemon juice in a delicious cheesecake recipe?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Here you’ll discover the top five substitutes for lemon juice that will transform your cheesecake from satisfactory to superb.

Let’s explore each one and find out why they’re so effective.

What Does Lemon Juice Do in Baking?

what does lemon juice do in baking

When you’re substituting lemon juice in baking recipes, the main things to keep in mind are flavor and acidity.

Lemon juice adds a unique tartness and brightness to dishes, as well as a bit of acidity which can help to enhance other flavors.

It’s also an important ingredient in cheesecake recipes as its tart flavor helps balance out the sweetness of the dessert.

In baking, the acidity of lemon juice reacts with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide bubbles which help give cakes their texture and rise.

This reaction is known as “chemical leavening” which is why lemon juice is often used when making cakes or cupcakes instead of regular water which has no reaction on its own.

Why Use Lemon Juice in Cheesecake?

why use lemon juice in cheesecake

No two cheesecakes are ever quite the same – yet one key ingredient that can help elevate all of them is the humble lemon juice.

Not only does it provide a fantastic zesty twist, it also acts as an emulsifier to keep things thick and creamy and minimizes curdling when mixed with dairy ingredients or eggs.

To master the art of cheesecake making with lemon juice, freshness is key.

Choosing this natural fruit as your flavoring means you should use the very best to ensure maximum flavor – and don’t be afraid to experiment by adding small amounts at a time until you get just the right balance for your recipe.

Lemon juice not only adds delicious burstiness and surprise, but it also helps create a smooth consistency that holds its shape once sliced.

It plays an important role in balancing out sweetness, allowing you to create something truly special – so don’t forget to grab some citrus when creating your next masterpiece.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Cheesecake

Using lemon juice as part of the cheesecake recipe helps to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients and can help to change the texture.

However, some may prefer to use substitutes for lemon juice or might not have any available when preparing their cheesecake.

Here are five options that can serve as an alternative to lemon juice in any cheesecake recipe:

1 – Lime Juice

lime juice

Lime juice is a tried and true substitute for lemon juice in cheesecake.

In fact, for many cheesecakes, lime juice is preferred to lemon juice as it adds a hint of sweetness and milder flavor to the dish.

To make sure that the acidity level in your cheesecake remains the same when using lime juice, make sure you use equal amounts of lemon and lime juice or increase the amount of lime juice to make up for the difference in acid content between lemons and limes.

You can also substitute orange or grapefruit juices as well.

Generally, these are blended with other ingredients such as cream cheese or sour cream rather than being used as a single base ingredient so it’s important to adjust other flavors accordingly.

2 – Orange Juice

orange juice

An excellent substitute for lemon juice in cheesecake is orange juice.

It has a similar sour citrus flavor, but with a sweeter, milder taste that pairs well with the creamy texture of cheesecake.

To get the same tartness as you would from lemon juice, make sure to use freshly-squeezed orange juice and adjust it accordingly.

Add just a few teaspoons at a time until you reach the desired level of tartness.

When using orange juice as an alternative to lemon juice, adding more than one-third of a cup may make the flavor too strong and bitter.

Be mindful of that when making adjustments to your recipe.

3 – Vinegar


Vinegar is one of the best substitutes for lemon juice in cheesecakes.

It imparts a tangy flavor to the cheesecake, much like lemon juice.

The key is to use a mild type of vinegar like white vinegar or apple cider vinegar which will leave no aftertaste.

Start by adding one teaspoon at a time and adjust it to your taste.

Since it lacks the sourness of lemon juice, you may need to add more than what you would normally include in your recipe if using lemon juice.

4 – Citric Acid

citric acid 2

Citric acid is a great lemon juice substitute for cheesecakes for several reasons.

It has a strong but clean tartness that won’t overpower other flavors and won’t leave an aftertaste.

It will help to break down the fats in the cream cheese, producing a silky texture to the cheesecake batter.

Citric acid is also light in color and won’t discolor your cheesecake as some of the other substitutes might do.

When using citric acid, use one teaspoon of citric acid crystals dissolved into three tablespoons of water to get approximately two tablespoons of juice.

It can also be found in its crystalline form in health food stores and some baking sections of larger supermarkets and should be handled with care as it may irritate sensitive skin.

However, when used appropriately and in proper concentrations, it can be an ideal replacement for lemon juice when making cheesecake.

5 – Lemon Zest

lemon zest

Lemon zest is a great way to add the flavor of lemon to your cheesecake without the need for extra liquid.

The zest comes from the yellow rind of a lemon, and it contains all of the flavorful oils that add so much flavor and aroma to your dish.

Lemon zest is also much more concentrated than juice, so you may find you don’t need as much.

To get started, just use a vegetable peeler or grater to remove strips or shreds of lemon skin.

Avoid getting too close to the white pith as it can be very bitter and won’t impart any lemony flavor.

You can add zest directly into your cheesecake batter, but you may want to mix it with some sugar first so it isn’t too overwhelming.

substitutes for lemon juice in cheesecake

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Lemon Juice in Cheesecake

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Lime Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Vinegar
  • Citric Acid
  • Lemon Zest


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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