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The 10 Best Substitutes for Lemon Lime Soda in a Recipe

Whether you are just out of lemon-lime soda as an ingredient or whether you want an alternative for health concerns, you have come to the right place. Let’s dive into the most suitable alternatives for one of our favorite fizzy drinks.

The best substitutes for lemon-lime soda in your recipe include lemon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and orange juice. You can also make substitutes using baking soda, mineral water, club soda, tonic water, seltzer, and ginger ale.

Let’s take a look at them in more detail, and I’ll show how each one can be used instead of lemon-lime soda.

1. Lemon or Lime Juice

Half of lime and lemon isolated on white background

The first choice when replacing lemon-lime soda is lemon juice. The citric flavor and tangy, sour taste are essential to recreating the lemon-lime soda flavor.

The lemon juice and water ratio should be 1:8. You should use two tablespoons (29.57 ml) of lemon juice with 1 cup (237 ml) of soda water. For extra bubbles and lightness, you may use sparkling water.

If you wish to replicate the sweetness of the soda, especially if you are making a dessert, add some simple syrup. To make simple syrup, use sugar and water in a 1:1 ratio. There should be eight times more water than lemon juice and twice as much syrup as lemon juice.

Using Lime Juice

Lime juice is quite similar to lemon juice. Therefore you may use it in the same way we described before. Replace lemon with lime in a 1:1 ratio.

Lime contains six times more citric acid than store-bought lemonades. Therefore, adding lime would add quite a bit of sourness. Be sure to use sugar or simple syrup. Adding a pinch of salt will balance the citric aspect and enhance the sweetness.

2. Grapefruit Juice

Glass of fresh grapefruit juice next to a grapefruit cut in half

You may use one tablespoon (14.79 ml) of juice and 1 cup (237 ml) of water when replacing lemon lime soda with grapefruit juice. You can choose any water, including:

  • Mineral
  • Sparkling
  • Tap

Grapefruit has the highest concentration of citrate in comparison to other citrus fruits. Besides the sourness, you would notice some bitterness in the flavor. Do not forget to add some sugar to compensate for the bitter note.

Related The 14 Best Substitutes for Grapefruit.

3. Orange Juice

Fresh orange juice and fresh fruit oranges

Another citric fruit that is an excellent substitute for lemon-lime soda is orange juice. Orange juice is less acidic than lemon and lime and is sweeter. 

When adding orange juice, use less water. Add half a cup (118.3 ml) of orange juice to one full cup (237 ml) of regular or sparkling water. The ratio is 1:4. You may also use less sugar.

Your recipe will still get that sour note and the right amount of liquid. 

4. Baking Soda

Baking Soda Box with a Glass Bowl of Baking Soda in Front

Suppose you forgot to buy sparkling water and have some baking soda around the house. In that case, you can recreate the leavening effect of carbon dioxide using baking soda. 

You should add ⅛ teaspoon (.42 g) of baking soda to 1 liter (4.23 cups) of water to your batter. If you use the liquid to marinate meat, let the meat sit in the liquid for 15 minutes to half an hour. 

If you do not wish to dissolve baking soda, you should use one teaspoon (3.4 g) of baking soda with 1 pound (450 grams) of meat. 

Baking soda is handy for tenderizing chicken meat. Rub 1 pound (450 grams) of chicken in 1 teaspoon (3.4 g) baking soda. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours, and then rinse before cooking.

5. Mineral Water and Fruit Juice

Bottle of san pellegrino mineral water

Mixing sparkling water with any citric fruit is probably the closest you can get to lemon-lime soda. Add a tablespoon (14.79 ml) of citric fruit juice to one cup (237 ml) of mineral water, and you are good to go. Mix at least two tablespoons (28.3 g) of sugar or simple syrup for extra sweetness.

Carbon dioxide found in soda and mineral water lowers the PH value of the drink, making it acidic and creating bubbles. The bubbles are responsible for creating lightness and lifting the batter.

6. Club Soda

A six pack of schweppes club soda

Unlike mineral water, club soda contains minerals that contribute to a salty flavor. The saltiness enhances the sweetness. Therefore, any recipe containing club soda would appear sweeter.

To mimic lemon-lime soda, add some freshly squeezed citric fruit of your choice to your batter. If you are marinating meat in club soda, you may add half the amount of club soda as you would usually add lemon-lime soda. Club soda has a more intense flavor.

7. Tonic Water

A six pack of canada dry diet tonic water

You can achieve the carbonation needed to marinate and tenderize meat with tonic water. It contains carbon dioxide but also quinine. Quinine makes tonic water taste a bit bitter. 

To balance out the bitterness of quinine, manufacturers add sugar. Therefore, unlike regular sparkling water, you will get some extra calories in your meal.  

To further compensate for the bitterness of tonic water, add a splash of citrus fruit, preferably lemon juice. Add one tablespoon (14.79 ml) of juice to ½ cup (118.29 ml) of tonic water.

8. Seltzer

Seltzer is carbonated water without any additional minerals. It is the best choice if you wish to have the carbonated kick of the soda without all the sugars. 

Just like with the rest of the carbonated types of water, you would need to add some citrus fruit. Squeezing some lemon or lime into seltzer, at least one tablespoon (14.79 ml) into ¼ liter (1.06 cup), would improve the flavor and acidity of the drink.

9. Ginger Ale

Canada Dry ginger ale mini packs

As the name suggests, ginger ale is a carbonated non-alcoholic drink with a ginger flavor. The ginger flavor is sometimes made by combining ingredients other than ginger, such as lemon and lime. Therefore you can easily replace ginger ale for lemon-lime soda in a 1:1 ratio.

The difference between the two is the flavor. Adding ginger ale to your meal contributes some substantial sweetness. Always add a few drops of citrus fruit to mimic the lemon-lime flavor.

Related The 14 Best Similar Yuzu Juice Substitutes.

What Is Considered Lemon-Lime Soda?

Lemon lime soda is a type of carbonated lemon-flavored non-alcoholic drink. It has been the go-to summer drink for decades because it is refreshing and thirst-quenching.

The most popular lemon-lime soda brands worldwide include 7UP, Sprite, Mountain Dew, and Fanta Lemon. Click on each one to be taken to the product website for detailed nutrition info.

Typical ingredients found in commercial sodas:

  • Carbonated water
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Citric acid
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Potassium citrate
  • Calcium disodium

Knowing what store-bought lemon-lime soda is made of, you can easily replicate it at home. Like other soda drinks, they contain carbonated water, sweeteners, and acidulants. In other words, use citric fruit juice, simple syrup, and sparkling water. 

Lemon Lime Soda Properties and Replacements

Lemon-lime soda is a popular ingredient in many dishes, including cakes and cookies. People also use it when cooking meat. 

You can replicate the carbonation by choosing any carbonated water drink, including:

  • Club soda
  • Tonic water
  • Mineral water
  • Seltzer

The end result will have only slight differences in taste. Carbonation acts as a leavening agent creating bubbles in the batter, but also as a meat tenderizer.

When replacing lemon-lime soda, it is important to choose a sugary replacement or add sugar. Drinks that do not require any sugar are tonic water and orange juice. You will get the caramelization you desire, resulting in tastier meat and more flavorful desserts.

Lemon, lime, and other citrus fruits enhance the flavor of the dish. The slight sourness makes everything sweeter, as funny as it may sound. You can sometimes add some salt when making recipes that use lemon-lime soda or its replacements. The salt enhances the sweetness and balances the bitterness. One large pinch of salt would do the trick.

Lastly, adding soda to your meal makes the batter, dough, or even marinade more juicy and moist. Be careful with the amount of soda you use and the replacement ratio. You do not want to go too far with adding water because it will dissolve the natural minerals, sugar, and salt found in the drinks.

Is Mountain Dew a Lemon-Lime Soda?

Mountain Dew is a lemon-lime soda because of its core ingredients, which include citric acid, carbonated water, and high fructose corn syrup. It also contains caffeine and beta-carotene color, unlike other lemon-lime soda brands. 

Best Substitute for Lemon-Lime Soda in Marinade

It is best to replace lemon-lime soda in your marinade with either lime or lemon. Like lemon-lime soda, these citrus fruits will add flavor and acidity to the marinade. Marinate the meat for up to two hours to preserve its texture and color, making it tender and juicy.

For more, don’t miss 7 Best Substitutes for Teriyaki Sauce.