Orange peel is versatile in that it can provide a distinctive flavor and texture to both savory and sweet dishes. You can use orange peel whole or add it to hot liquids where it will release its essential oil and thus its flavor, similar to a bouquet garni. While oranges are widely available, there are options for replacing their peels if you find yourself orange-less and don’t have time to make a special trip to the grocery store. Below are several excellent orange peel substitutes.
Your best bet: Lemon peel
Lemons have a relatively thick rind that is easy to remove whole. The thickness of the rind is just one of their similarities to oranges. They also have a strong citrus flavor that allows them to impart a lot of taste to dishes. Both the bulk and flavor of lemon peel are similar to that of orange peel, which means that it is perfect for being candied as a for topping cakes and other desserts. You can also use lemon peel in place of orange peel for making marmalades; in fact, lemon peel marmalade is considered an excellent alternative to standard orange peel marmalade. Add fresh or dried lemon peel to stews and sauces that require orange peel so that so that its flavors can infuse into the liquid and remove it before serving.
Use lemon peel as a 1:1 substitute for orange peel.
A decent second choice: Grapefruit peel
Grapefruit is one of the citrus fruits with what some might call a cult following. Not everyone likes them. The reason is that the flesh and the juice can be somewhat bitter. The good news is that that bitterness is concentrated in those two parts of the fruit. The peel itself is not any more bitter than the peels of other citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. You can use grapefruit peel to provide a strong citrus flavor in any recipe that requires orange peel. You can candy it like orange and lemon peel, or use it to make a marmalade that will have a similar flavor profile to that of orange peel marmalade.
Like lemon peel, you can use grapefruit peel as a 1: 1 substitute for orange peel.
In a pinch: Orange zest
Orange zest is the outer part of the orange peel. It can be scraped off with a zester or a cheese grater. It does not refer to the white pith underneath, which is edible but can be bitter. Zest is a great way to provide the orange flavor in dishes where whole peel might not be desirable. For example, you can sprinkle grated zest over a salad or into cheesecake filling. Because it does not include the pith, zest has less bulk and is therefore not a suitable substitute for peel if you need candied fruit or marmalade. Use in dishes where you want the orange flavor but not necessarily whole pieces of orange.
You can use the zest of one orange to replace the peel of one orange.
Orange juice or orange juice concentrate can be used in place of orange peel in dishes where it is used for flavor rather than to add texture. To get enough orange flavor and to compensate for the extra liquid, use it to replace all or some of the other liquids in the recipe.