The BEST Orange Juice Substitutes To Use (Plus Keto Options)

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As a home cook, you may be looking for orange juice substitutes to use in a recipe. I certainly have been there, and sometimes I get lazy and just don’t want to go to the store.

Whether you’re out of orange juice (my life story) or want to try something different, these substitutes will work well in most recipes. And if you are keto or watching your carbs…we got you covered as well!

From orange-like substitutes to going out of the box like pineapple juice and grapefruit juice, there’s sure to be a substitute that suits your needs. We will even look at some healthier and keto-friendly options. So try one of these substitutes the next time you’re cooking, baking, or making a smoothie or drink!

Orange juice substitutes

What Does Orange Juice Taste Like?

You may know exactly what orange juice tastes like. But it’s good to cover some of the characteristics of OJ. This helps us pick the best sub for our recipe!

Orange juice is one of the most popular fruit juices in the world. It is made from the juice of oranges, which are a type of citrus fruit.

The taste of orange juice is often described as tart and tangy, with a sweetness that can vary depending on the type of orange used.

Orange juice from concentrate and pasteurized versions tends to lose some of its orangey flavor because of heating. Fresh orange juice will bring the most brightness of flavor, but the sweetness and even color will depend on the type of oranges you have.

In addition to its unique flavor, orange juice is rich in Vitamin C. This essential nutrient helps to boost the immune system and protect the body against disease. As a result, orange juice is not only delicious but also good for you.

Orange Juice Substitutes: When Oranges Aren’t Around

These substitutes for orange juice all have that orangey like flavor you are looking for. And remember if you have fresh oranges at home. Making juice with them will be the closest thing to store-bought orange juice. We will talk more about that in the next section.

Also, you will not find any other fruit juice subs here. Those options will be at the end of the article.

Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate

Frozen orange juice concentrate is an obvious choice when it comes to orange juice substitutes. Simply mix the concentrate with water according to the package instructions, and voila—you’ll have a glass of OJ in no time.

And if you’re feeling fancy, you can even use frozen orange juice concentrate to make cocktails or mocktails. This is an awesome sub and something you can keep on hand in the freezer when a recipe calls for it.

Herbal Orange Tea (Keto | Low Carb | Sugar Free)

If you’re looking for a keto option, herbal orange tea is a great substitute for orange juice. Brewed with dried orange peel, this tea has a slightly bitter taste reminiscent of fresh-squeezed OJ.

Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants and other health benefits. You won’t get the sweetness you would get with orange juice, but you will get that citrus flavor you need. You can then add a sweetener of your choice.

This is actually one of the substitutes if you are watching calories or carbs is a GREAT option.

Blood Orange Juice

sliced blood orange

If you can find it, blood orange juice makes a delicious and slightly sweeter substitute for regular orange juice.

Blood oranges are in season from December through May, so you may be able to find them at your local grocery store or farmers’ market during those months. If not, you can always buy blood orange juice online.

Side note: blood oranges are usually a deep red color. If you are baking or cooking something, this may affect the color of the finished dish. Please keep that in mind if that will cause an issue.

Orange Soda (Keto | Low Carb | Sugar Free)

Not all orange soda is created equal, but many brands taste surprisingly similar to that citrus note in OJ. If you’re in a pinch, reach for a can or bottle of your favorite brand. This will give you an orange flavor and the sweetness you need.

orange soda fanta

This option can also be sugar-free and low-carb or keto-friendly. For example, I really enjoy Zevia sodas, and their orange soda would work great for getting that orange flavor without all the sugar.

Orange Extract (Keto | Low Carb | Sugar Free)

A little goes a long way with orange extract, so start by adding just 1/4 teaspoon to your recipe and then tasting. As with orange soda, many extracts use artificial flavoring, so be sure to read the label before buying if you tend to have allergies.

If you want a more natural option, look for an extract that’s made with 100% pure citrus oil.

Because you use such a small amount of orange extract, this can really mess up a recipe since the liquid ratio will be off. You may have to add additional liquid to the recipe like water or orange tea.

Orange Zest (Keto | Low Carb | Sugar Free)

orange zest for a recipe

If you have an orange on hand, then, of course, you can squeeze it and get some orange juice. But that might not be enough or you might be steering away from sugar.

Then you can simply zest the orange and use the peel to bring that beautiful orange flavor to your dish or drink.

This orange extract can even be used in combination with orange tea or orange soda to bring a brighter, fresher flavor to the substitute.

Orange zest is like orange extract in that it’s used in small amounts. This again affects the liquid ratio. Please keep that in mind when making your recipe and improvise if needed.

Example: add one 1/2 teaspoon of an orange extract with a cup of water or simple syrup (try my agave substitute!).

Orange Marmalade

Paddington Bear would be proud of this orange juice substitute. Orange marmalade is a jelly made with the flesh and zest of oranges. It is beautifully sweet, slightly bitter, and downright YUM.

Orange Marmalade peels

Because marmalade is condensed, you will have to dilute it according to your recipe. Start with a tablespoon and taste. Add more tell you to feel like it’s a good ratio of orange flavor and sweetness.

Infograph orange juice substitute

Fresh is Best: Using Fresh Fruit As a Orange Juice Alternative

Nothing beats fresh! And the same goes for orange juice. These are 4 fresh fruits you can use to substitute for OJ.

Juices substitutes for orange juice smoothies and drinks

Fresh Oranges

This is the most straightforward sub. If you have oranges on hand you can squeeze them by using a fork, citrus squeezer, or citrus juicer. A medium sweet orange usually produces about 6 to 8 tablespoons of juice.

Fresh Mandarin Oranges

Mandarins are looked at as being their own type of orange. They are smaller than your typical oranges like naval, and their flavor is different yet very similar. About 5-6 mandarins should produce a cup of juice.

Fresh Tangerines

Tangerines are a type of mandarin orange. It’s easy to think of it this way… all tangerines are mandarins, while not all mandarins are tangerines. I was lucky enough once to find a jug of tangerine juice at the market. It made the most delicious tangerine chicken. It was sweet, bright, sticky, and everything you could want. Juice wise, these are like your typical mandarine 5-6 will produce a cup.

Fresh Clementine

Clementines are also a type of mandarin orange. They are known for their easy-to-peel skin. Because of their small size, you would need quite a few to produce a cup of juice. On average one, Clementine will produce about two tablespoons of juice.

Using a Different Juice Completely

Well, let’s say you don’t like orange juice, or you want to try a different twist on flavor. Here are the three juices I would consider swapping OJ for. Great for smoothies, cocktails/mocktails, and more. Remember, you are looking for a juice that is sweet, tangy, bright, and citrusy.

*Juice ratio is the same no matter the juice

Pineapple Juice

Pineapple juice is a great change of pace and gives you that sweet, bright flavor that orange also has. It also adds a tropical flare which is fun.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit is part of the citrus family and can work well in being an alternative to orange juice. Grapefruit juice tends to be on the more bitter side. So, you may need to add additional sweetness to the recipe.

Lemonade or Limeade

Lemonade and limeade make for a great substitute for orange juice. You get everything orange has to offer except with tanger and brighter taste. These especially work well in swapping in desserts.

Juices I DON’T Recommend

It’s true you can technically use any fruit juice to replace orange juice, but sometimes you shouldn’t. I’ve seen a lot of people make some odd suggestions that can potentially ruin your recipe. You want to stick with a juice that has similarities to orange juice’s flavor. These are juices I can’t, in good faith, recommend:

  • Apple Juice
  • Pear Juice
  • Nectarine Nectar
  • Peach Nectar
  • Apricot Nectar
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Carrot Juice
  • Grape Juice
  • Pomegranate Juice

FAQ and My Final Thoughts on Orange Juice Replacements

Here are some common questions people have about swapping out OJ. If you a question you would like to see answered, please reach out to me via my contact page!

Q: Can I use water instead of orange juice in a recipe?

A: While water can technically be used, it won’t provide the same flavor or acidity that orange juice does. If you’re really in a pinch, consider adding a bit of lemon or lime juice to the water to boost the flavor. And If you don’t even have that then apple cider vinegar. I would add a pinch of sugar to help balance the acidity.

Q: What’s a good orange juice substitute in marinades?

A: In marinades, you can use alternatives such as pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, or even a mix of lemon juice and honey to replicate the sweet and acidic balance that orange juice provides. Plus those options will help tenderize the meat!

Q: Is there a non-citrus substitute for orange juice?

A: If you’re avoiding citrus, try using peach, pineapple, or mango juice. These options provide a different flavor but still bring that brightness and a slight tang.

Q: What can I use instead of orange juice in a cocktail recipe?

A: Depending on the cocktail, you could use another citrus juice like grapefruit or lemon, or even a splash of pineapple juice (YUM).

Q: What’s a good substitute for orange juice in salad dressings?

A: For salad dressings, vinegar (like apple cider or white wine vinegar) or lemon juice can work well. They both provide the necessary acidity and tang. Just remember to add that pinch of sweetness.

Well to wrap things up, next time you’re making a recipe and realize you’re out of OJ, reach for one of these substitutes.

From frozen concentrate to herbal tea, fresh citruses, and even other juices, there’s an option on this list that’ll suit everyone’s preferences and needs. Even those who need a healthier or keto/sugar-free option. Happy Cooking!

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