Peeled lemon zest on a white background
The Simple Ratio To Remember When Swapping Citrus Zest For Extract
Lemon zest is a flavor powerhouse, and this thin yellow layer of the lemon peel is sweeter and more aromatic than the tangy juice, meaning the two can't really be interchanged.
However, lemon extract is closer to the flavor of fresh lemon zest, and can be used as a substitute. Just remember to use half the amount you'd include when using zest.
You can always add more extract if you aren't getting the right lemony punch in your dish just yet, but it's impossible to remove the extract once it's in there, so be sparing.
You can even make your own lemon extract that tastes closer to the fresh fruit, but lasts longer. All you need are slices of lemon peel and a neutral alcohol like vodka.
Steep lemon slices in the vodka to extract the sweet lemon flavor from the peels, omitting the sourness. You can even spice it up by adding star anise or cinnamon.
Your alcohol container needs to be tightly sealed for the extract to remain safe to consume. It takes about three months for the flavor to fully develop, so plan ahead.