Guacamole is an incredibly versatile dip to have around the house. While it is traditionally used in Mexican cuisine, it has made its way into the core of many others too!
One of the best things about guacamole is its slightly tart and acidic flavor. But unfortunately, limes aren’t always available! Not to mention, they can be quite pricey if they’re not in season!
So, what are the best lime substitutes for guacamole? You will never go wrong with a citrus fruit substitution. Lemon juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and kumquats would be our first choice. But, pomelos and sour oranges work too.
Then, you can even try some more unique alternatives to which you may need to make some flavor adjustments. These are vinegar and white wines.
If you are intrigued by what you have read so far and would love to learn more, in today’s article we are doing just that! We have compiled an in-depth list of the best substitutes and exactly how and why to use them. So, let’s jump right in!
What Do You Need To Make Guacamole?
If you’re a foodie, you definitely know what guacamole is! If you are new to this incredible dip, welcome to the club. You will be obsessed for the rest of your life!
This is a delicious avocado-based dip that originated in Mexico. It is so popular that you will likely find some in almost all dishes! Or at the very least, some versions out there of Mexican dishes will contain guacamole.
Making this dip is incredibly easy and can even be quite nutritious. As we have said, the main ingredient is avocados. And they have to be ripe! Then, a few basic flavoring ingredients are added like salt, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeños.
Some variations also include sour cream, chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, peas, and onions.
While these ingredients may seem basic, their function is extremely important. And lime juice is one of three must-add ingredients for add guacamole recipes.
So, why is this? Well, along with salt, lime juice helps create a balanced flavor and gives the guacamole a slightly tart (acidic) flavor. This ingredient is used over others because of its unique flavor profile.
That’s why, if your biggest concern with limes is that they’re not in season or you can’t find them, we recommend freezing your limes or lime juice when they are available so you have a long lasting supply.
If you need a recipe to start with before you can substitute specific ingredients, here’s a great video from Natasha’s Kitchen on YouTube explaining 3 methods for making the perfect guacamole.
How To Choose The Best Substitute For Lime In Guacamole
Unfortunately, limes are quite seasonal depending on where you are. If your country or state doesn’t import them, you will have a hard time getting your hands on some.
Sure, you can try and find lime juice, but this is often super expensive and not nearly as good in flavor.
So, that is where our list comes in handy! We have included some easy-to-find options that are also available year-round. And, most of these are very affordable, even if they are very seasonal and regional! But how do you choose a substitute?
It all comes down to the flavor. After all, the reason you use lime juice in guacamole is because of the distinct flavor! So, if you want to mimic it, you will have to go for one of the below-mentioned options with similar notes.
But, if you are looking to change things up, think about what specifically you want to change. For a less acidic option, rather use orange juice.
But, if you want to move away from fruity flavors all together, then vinegar or wine is the way to go!
The Best Lime Substitutes For Guacamole
Here are our favorite substitutes for lime juice. These work in virtually all guacamole recipes! But, if you choose a substitute that you are unfamiliar with, just check whether or not it pairs with unique flavors in your recipe, like basil.
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is by far the easiest and most obvious substitute for lime juice. But, always use juice from freshly squeezed lemons. They will give you the best copy-cat tart and acidic flavor, whilst still being fruity.
Lemon juice is slightly sweeter than lime juice, but you will likely not notice it. It is also a great option for someone who doesn’t like a very tart flavor profile.
You can substitute lemon juice for lime juice with a one-to-one ratio. So, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of lime juice, you can use 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
2. Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruits have become just as accessible as lemons. These citrus fruits are much sweeter than limes, but they also have a bitter flavor to them.
If you do use fresh grapefruit juice, make sure to cut away all of the rind (skin) and remove the white pith.
You can counter the sweetness that this fruit adds with a little bit more salt or a drop of vinegar. Other than these minor adjustments (which you don’t have to do) you can substitute this juice in equal amounts.
3. Orange Juice
Orange juice is completely different from its above-mentioned siblings. This citrus fruit isn’t nearly as acidic and is primarily fruity and sweet. And, like all citrus substitutes on this list, you should preferably use freshly squeezed juice.
You can also use this substitution in equal amounts. And, if you want to add an acidic flavor profile, add some citric acid or vinegar.
4. Kumquat Juice
Full disclosure – we have never personally seen kumquat juice. You can find a lot of kumquat-flavored liquids, but none is just pure juice. So, using the fruits, in our opinion, is your only option.
Depending on where you are located, you may not be able to use this alternative. But, it made its way high up this list because of its amazing flavor.
These tiny citrus fruits pack a big punch! They are extremely acidic, but still have some sweetness to them. And, you can pretty much use their juice as an equal substitute to lime juice.
5. Pomelo Juice
Pomelo and grapefruit are often confused. The main difference is that pomelos are green or yellow while grapefruit is more yellow-orange or even pink.
The flavor of these fruits is naturally very similar to grapefruit. But, it is sweeter and you won’t have the same problems with the bitter undertones.
You will also not likely find pre-made pomelo fruit, but it is for the best. Fresh juice is always a lot more flavorful.
6. White Wine Vinegar
Vinegar is a somewhat obvious choice. An acid for an acid, right? But the reason it hasn’t been included higher up in our list is that it doesn’t have the fruity flavors that the others do.
While this doesn’t make it a bad alternative, it just makes it different. Vinegar is also a lot more acidic than lime juice and it isn’t usually as tart.
If you want to use vinegar as an alternative, use white wine vinegar or white spirit vinegar. You can use other options (like apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar), but the flavor tends to be too distracting from the hero, avocado.
And, no matter which vinegar you use, only use about half the amount than the lime juice needed. So, if you need 1 teaspoon of lime juice, only add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar.
7. Sour Orange
You may or may not be familiar with this fruit. We only found out about it recently! Just like kumquats, this fruit is regional and seasonal.
So, it may be difficult to find and even a little bit more pricey as compared to other alternatives.
If you do manage to find some, it can be the best alternative! It has a bitter flavor with a prominent tartness. However, it is less sweet than lime juice.
You can still use a one-to-one substitution. And if you need to add sweetness, add any type of sweetening ingredient.
8. Citrus Zest
If you can manage to find a citrus fruit alternative, then definitely use the juice as a substitute. But, by adding a little bit of the zest too, you can create a much more complex flavor profile.
Almost all types of citrus zest have a very bitter tart flavor which is much more concentrated as compared to the juice. But, in some recipes, this is needed to create a balanced flavor!
If you only want to use the citrus zest, add twice the amount! So, for every teaspoon of juice you would have used, rather use 2 teaspoons of zest in its place.
9. White Wine
Last, but certainly not least, the most unconventional option we have added today, is white wine. If you can find the right type of white wine, it can add a fruity, slightly acidic, and even tart flavor to the guacamole.
And, what makes this so amazing is that each white wine (even if they come from similar varietals) will have a different flavor profile. So, you can essentially create an endless amount of flavor options!
The best option to choose is Pinot Grigio (also known as Pinot Gris). Alternatively, Sauvignon Blanc is easier to find and often more affordable.
Use white wine in a one-to-one substitution and adjust the flavor with sugar and salt if needed.