substitute for lime in salsa

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Are you making salsa, but have no lime juice? You may be thinking that you can’t make the recipe and you have to wait for a later date and you would be wrong.

There are many ways to substitute for lime juice in salsa with other citrus juices or kitchen staples and you can see how below!

substitute for lime in salsa


Salsa is a Mexican-inspired chunky tomato and chili-based type of dip that is made with ingredients like tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

Salsa is usually served with chips, as well as chicken, beef, fish, baked potatoes, fajitas, scrambled eggs and so much more.

However, if you’re in the process of making some salsa, and you can’t find lime juice or limes, rest assured there are some good lime juice replacements that work. 

Keep reading to see exactly how to replace lime juice in any salsa recipe!

Why is lime juice added to salsa?

Lime juice is used in salsa as it contains citric acid that helps with preserving the freshness of many foods including salsa.

Substitutes for lime juice in salsa

Lemon juice

Lemon j


The best substitute for lime juice in salsa is lemon juice. Lemon juice is very similar to lime juice, save for the fact that lemons are slightly sweeter, while limes are slightly more bitter. 

Nonetheless, lemon juice makes the perfect replacement for lime juice as it is also a rich source of citric acid which can help to keep the salsa recipe fresh.

Substitution: 1 part lemon juice = 1 part lime juice

Orange juice



If you happen to have oranges on hand, then you can also use the freshly squeezed orange juice as a lime substitute in salsa for freshness.

The juice of an orange is sweeter and less tart than that of both lime and lemon juice. However, it does contain citric acid and will work in a pinch to add that nice brightness to salsa as well as a little sweetness so adjust your other ingredients accordingly.

Substitution: 1 part orange juice = 1 part lime juice

Bitter Orange (or sour orange juice)

sour orange


If you happen to have bitter orange on hand, you can also use the juice of this fruit as a substitute for lime juice in salsa. This fruit is sour with hints of bitterness and sweetness and will replace lime juice easily. 

Substitution: 1 part bitter orange juice = 1 part lime juice


grapefruit juice


Grapefruit juice will also work well as a replacement for lime juice in salsa recipes. Grapefruit juice is almost as sweet as orange juice compared to the more tart and acidic taste of lime. Thus, it will change the flavor of your salsa, but it is okay to use.

Substitution: 1 part grapefruit juice = 1 part lime juice




Vinegar is also a good lime substitute in salsa. This is so because vinegar also contains acids like lime juice. It will also help brighten the flavor of the salsa.

You can use either white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar. Vinegar can be used to make salsa that will be eaten right away, but it is also used a lot when making homemade salsa for canning.

Substitution: 1 part vinegar = 1 part lime juice

Salsa recipes for each specific substitute

Below, you will find a list of salsa recipes made with some of the substitutes listed above. Each will help you understand how to make salsa even when you have no lime or lime juice.

FAQs about the best lime substitutes for salsa

What can I use instead of lime juice in salsa?

Some effective lime juice substitutes in salsa include lemon juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, bitter orange juice, and vinegar.

Vinegar will have a similar effect as lime juice in a salsa recipe. Therefore, it is okay to employ a 1:1 substitute ratio for vinegar to lime juice when making a salsa recipe.

Final thoughts

There you have it! 5 effective alternatives for lime juice in any salsa recipe. The best part is that most people have at least one of these in their kitchen right now so you can make a quick salsa without lime quite easily. And it will still taste amazing!

More substitutes for lime juice

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