Lemon zest for lemon extract

Joined Jul 17, 2010
Hi Everyone - I'm somewhat new here, and really enjoying reading and learning!

I love lemon desserts (cake, bars, cookies, etc.) and I'm wondering if there is a rule of thumb for using lemon zest in place of lemon extract in these recipes.  I prefer a natural lemon taste over artificial lemony flavoring --- though I understand that not all extracts are imitations of the real flavors.

I Googled this subject and found a few suggestions to use 2x as much lemon zest as extract.  I thought I'd turn to you esteemed chefs for the definitive answer. :)

I have a good plane grater, some nice lemons, and recipes that call for lemon extract.  So, how much zest should I use in place of the extract?

Joined Oct 2, 2010
Jen; I actually never heared of lemon extract! Are you sure they aren't talking about extract made of the flowers, in analogy to orangeflower extract, well known in arabic cuisine? Even then I only know orangeflower extract, no lemonflower extract, which doesn't mean it can't be made.

Anyway, nothing beats the powerful taste of zeste, not even the lemonflesh itself! It's simplicity at it best; just grate some zeste and you'll have the best lemon extract ever. Do be careful, it can be very overpowering and taste bitter if overused! How much to use depends on what you're making. Starting with just 1/2 teaspoon and tasting is always a good idea. Just make sure there's no white peel on the zeste.

In very ancient times, people used to grow lemons and oranges not as much for the flesh but for the fragrant and tasty peel.

Even nowadays the Maroccan pickle entire lemons in salt and lemonjuice. Afterward, only the thin peel is cut off and used, the rest goes in the bin.
Joined Jan 3, 2005
Actually lemon extract is made with lemon oil, which comes from the peel.  You can usually substitute about twice as much zest for extract.  

Don't be afraid to use either pure lemon oil or natural extract, as I feel they have a place in certain recipes.  It can allow you to get a stronger lemon flavor without bitterness.  
Top Bottom