11 Best Citric Acid Substitutes for Baking

Some pastries need a little zing on the tongue from citric acid, while others just require their preservation characteristics to provide a longer shelf life!

To make every baking session a success, you should have all of your ingredients on hand. But what if you don’t have citric acid and your recipe requires it? What are your plans then?

Here are 11 citric acid substitutes for baking

  • Lemon Juice
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Cream of tartar
  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Ascorbic Acid/Vitamin C
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Lime Juice or Orange Juice
  • White Wine

If you want to know why these items are acceptable for completing your baking recipe until you can get hold of citrus acid again, keep reading.

The Complete Substitutes For Citric Acid List

Citric acid is used in baking for a variety of purposes, including flavour, preservative, and texture. You would never want to miss it for any reason.

Unlike cooking where you can just eyeball your ingredients, baking needs exact measurements to achieve a particular texture and form on the finished product. Cakes can’t be too liquidy or too tense, or they won’t be called cakes!

Using the fast citric acid substitution cheat sheet, you’ll never miss a recipe again. Just a quick note: this one is for the bakers!

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice easily earns the top place on the list. It not only makes an excellent alternative for your missing citric acid, but it is also conveniently accessible in your kitchen. It has a comparable sour taste (particularly if you wish to add some vitamin C).

To determine how much lemon juice you will need to replace citric acid, multiply four to five teaspoons of lemon juice by one tablespoon of the missing component. One juiced lemon has around three grams of citric acid.

Aside from the juice, you may use your lemon to generate lemon zest and lemon extract, both of which are good substitutes for citric acid in baking.

However, bear in mind that if you want to reach a certain consistency, you may need to lower the amount of liquid components.[Source]

Tartaric Acid


Still don’t have any lemon juice? Tartaric acid is the next best option after lemon. It is available as a powder and is most typically used as an acidity ingredient in wines. Although the acid has a grape flavor, it has a harsh taste.

If you use tartaric acid as a replacement, lower the quantity from what is called for in the recipe. One-fourth teaspoon of tartaric acid can already replace a whole teaspoon of citric acid.

Quick Tip

Many individuals mistake tartaric acid with citric acid since the two are almost identical. The only thing to keep in mind is that tartaric acid has a more sour taste, which is why it should be used in lower amounts.

Cream Of Tartar


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Tartaric acid and cream of tartar are not the same thing, so don’t get them mixed up. Tartaric acid is a water-soluble alternative, but cream of tartar is a cream that is not water-soluble.

Cream of tartar has a strong sour flavor, making it an excellent alternative for citric acid as well as tartaric acid. It tastes similar to lemon juice, which is the best substitute for citric acid.

White Distilled Vinegar


White vinegar was also included on the list due to its comparable sour taste. This is one of the more available alternatives on the list, although its acid is less potent than citric acid. That being said, you’d need to use a lot of vinegar, which would undoubtedly influence the consistency of your baked goods.

Three tablespoons of vinegar are required for every tablespoon of citric acid. It is triple the amount of liquid, so youd have to adjust to your recipes other liquid ingredients. If you already have the ones indicated above, use them instead of the helpful vinegar!

Ascorbic Acid/Vitamin C


It may come as a surprise, but vitamin C pills, also known as ascorbic acid, are a decent alternative for citric acid. Apart from being formed from citrus fruits (which also made this list), it also has similar properties to citric acid.

If you use citric acid in your recipe to preserve your pastries, you may replace it with Vitamin C, which is also a fantastic preservative! What we like most about this alternative is that you may use the same amount as in the recipe, just as you would with citric acid.

Vitamin C is simple to include into your recipes. Simply crush the Vitamin C pills you have on hand, and you’re ready to go!

Apple Cider Vinegar


Apple cider vinegar has a high acidity. As a result, it may be substituted for white distilled vinegar or citric acid. When using apple cider vinegar as a replacement, the identical amount of white vinegar is requiredtriple the amount from the recipe.

For the same reason as white vinegar, apple cider vinegar did not rank as high on this list. You’ll also need to alter the other liquid components, which might be time-consuming if you’re simply following a recipe. If you add too much, the minor sweetness might also alter the flavor. If you already have white vinegar, substitute it for the apple cider vinegar!

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This will not work on all recipes, but it is worth noting. It is just for individuals who need citric acid for coating.

If the recipe asks for a sour coating on your gummy candy, but you want something sweet and crunchy, use sugar instead. Aside from that, don’t use sugar as a full replacement for citric acid! You won’t get a whiff of the sour smell or food preservation that you’re searching for.


Here’s another that, depending on what you’re baking, may or may not work as a substitute for citric acid. Salt, as we all know, is already used in baking.

A pinch or a teaspoon of salt is often used to preserve baked products, thus it may absolutely be used in place of citric acid. That instance, if the recipe simply includes citric acid for its food preservation properties.

Again, like sugar, do not use salt as a replacement for anything else since it lacks any sourness.

Lime Juice or Orange Juice

These two juices are extremely similar to the first runner-up (lemon juice). All three were derived from citrus fruits, which are naturally sour.

If you don’t have lemon juice but are used to using it in place of citric acid in your recipes, you may substitute lime juice or orange juice.

Quick Tip

Keep in mind that too much lime or orange juice will most likely affect the taste of your pastries.

Nonetheless, we believe it will be lemony and sour.

We prefer lime juice over orange juice since the latter has a greater influence on the taste owing to its different flavor profile. Meanwhile, lime juice is the most comparable to lemon juice in terms of flavor and acidity.

White Wine

This one is a strong replacement for citric acid. If you’re using white wine, you’ll just need a tiny quantity. It’s a little tough to utilize since the acidity will undoubtedly accentuate your baked goods.

It will undoubtedly enhance the taste, but white wine is more suited to savory foods than sweet treats. You may use this as a last option, but pay great attention to every drop![Source]

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Citric Acid Substitutes Related FAQ

Is there a way to make my own citric acid at home?

Yes, you can create citric acid at home! It won’t be simple, however, since you’ll need to look for citric acid crystals, which are even more difficult to come by. If you happen to have any on hand, you may combine it with water to generate a citric acid solution.

Another popular method indicated as an alternative above is to use lemon or lime juice. Using a pH strip, see whether the juice is at two or three levels to make citric acid.

Again, a pH strip is not easily accessible in every household. To make things simpler for you, we’ve already specified the quantities of lemon juice per citric acid requested in the recipe.

What Fruits Have Citric Acid?

Citric acid may be found in a variety of fruits. Sour lemons, limes, and oranges are among the most popular. It will contain citric acid as long as it is a citrus plant.

Citric acid may also be found in grapefruits, pineapples, cherries, tomatoes, berries such as raspberries and cranberries, and other acidic foods.

Citric acid is found in all citrus trees and most acidic fruits.

How And Where Can I Purchase Citric Acid?

Citric acid is available on the market in powder form, with an odorless and sour taste. It has a large number of distributors, which you may discover in your local market.

If you can’t locate it in a real shop, internet e-commerce companies will almost certainly have it accessible for delivery right to your door!

Can citric acid harm my health or give other harmful effects to my body?

Natural citric acid is not harmful to your health and is quite safe to use, with the exception of people who are allergic to it. Rashes, red skin, and itchy eyes are frequent symptoms of allergic people who are exposed to their allergens. However, since citric acid allergies are uncommon, they pose little risk.

Aside from that, citric acid may only be harmful if used excessively. You will have swollen or stiff joints, stomach and muscular discomfort, and even shortness of breath. Too much of anything, as the adage goes, is bad for you!


What can I use in baking instead of citric acid?

C vitamin.Lemon Juice Has 4 Amazing Citric Acid Substitutes. This is a common home item that works well as a replacement for citric acid.
Tartaric acid is a kind of acid. If you don’t have lemon juice, tartaric acid is a good substitute.
Vinegar, White Distilled.
Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C)

Is apple cider vinegar considered citric acid?

ACV may also include trace amounts of malic acid and citric acid in addition to acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of roughly 2-3, which is considered slightly acidic.

Can I use baking soda instead of citric acid?

However, we have not conducted any tests using baking soda instead of citric acid.As a near substitute, we propose citric acid. If you can’t find citric acid, you may use baking soda.

What is a citric acid equivalent to?

Citric acid may be replaced since it adjusts the acidity (lowers the pH) of the fruit, which is what you want. 1 tablespoon lemon juice is equal to 14 teaspoon powdered citric acid. 1 teaspoon powdered Citric Acid equals 14 cup lemon juice (4 tablespoons).

What does citric acid do in baked goods?

Baking with Citric Acid

When citric acid is mixed with baking powder, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in the formation of carbon dioxide gas bubbles. This aids in the leavening, or rise, of baked foods.

Can we use lemon salt instead of citric acid?

Citric acid occurs naturally in various fruits and berries and is often used as a preservation or flavoring agent in many foods and drinks. It has a tangy flavor and is often referred to as lemon salt or sour salt.

How do you make citric acid at home?

Citric Acid Preparation
To extract a significant quantity of crystallized citric acid, 450 ML of lemon juice is necessary.
A drop of 10% strength sodium hydroxide should be added.
Transfer the solution to another glass using a coffee filter.
Put 28 g of calcium chloride in 70 ML of distilled water.

Which is stronger citric acid or vinegar?

When acetic acid (vinegar) comes into touch with nickel and other metals, it is more aggressive and corrosive than citric acid, according to Fabrizio Zago’s* experiments on both products when used in a washing machine.

What household item is citric acid?

Citric acid is an active ingredient builder found in a variety of home items such as laundry detergents, shampoos, and cleansers. Citric acid may also be found in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and limes.

Is cream of tartar a substitute for citric acid?

4 tablespoons citric acid.Yes. Because cream of tartar is meant to be an acidifier, you may use it. To be precise, replace 3 tbsp cream of tartar with 1 tbsp cream of tartar.

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