The last time I wanted to make my Orange Marmalade Cake Loaf Recipe, I realised that I didn’t have any marmalade in the house. I still wanted to make my cake loaf, so I ended up improvising and using what I had in the kitchen cupboard to replace the orange marmalade – both in flavour and in texture and the end result was surprisingly good!
Next time I tested my list of orange marmalade substitutions on my Orange Brownies Recipe and now I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned with you.
So, here is my favourite list of orange marmalade substitutions to help you to make the next recipe that calls for orange marmalade, when you might not have any at home.
If you need the flavour of orange and not necessarily the texture of marmalade, orange flavouring or essence is a perfect solution. Orange essence can be used in any food recipe that calls for orange marmalade, but I would always add the essence towards the end of the cooking process, to make sure that the flavour won’t burn off or change with high heat (from cooking for example).
Orange oil is perfect for cold recipes or to be added towards the end of the cooking process. It’s also great for any recipe that calls for oil based essence, such as flavouring solid chocolate bars.
Orange zest is quite concentrated in flavour, using a teaspoon of orange zest would be like using a tablespoon of orange marmalade. Make sure that you use non-treated citrus fruit.
Other orange citrus fruit zest, such as Tangerine, Grapefruit, Clementine
If you don’t have fresh orange, just use another orange citrus fruit which will be the closest to the flavour of orange.
Lemon or Lime Zest
If you don’t have oranges or orange citrus fruit, you can also use lemon or lime zest. If you have orange essence you can combine the two together – the lemon zest will give you the bitterness you need and orange essence will give you the orange flavour you need.
Concentrated orange marmalade compound
I remember one of my friends always wanted me to bring them a tin of concentrated orange marmalade so that they could make their own marmalade at home. You can buy this very inexpensively all year round and use part to replace your marmalade in the recipe.
Normally you need to boil it with water and sugar to get the right consistency to make marmalade, but you can use it as it is for savoury dishes. For any sweet dishes, you can adapt your recipe by adding more sugar in or keeping it as it is to achieve a slightly less sugary cake.
Use, zest and the juice from the orange to replace the orange marmalade in your dish recipe.
Other citrus fruits, such as Tangerines, Clementines, Lemon, Grapefruit or Lime
Any citrus fruit will work as a flavouring that will add a hint of bitterness and sharpness to your dish.
Lemon, Lime or Grapefruit Marmalade
These types of citrus fruit marmalades are particularly good substitutes for orange marmalade, because they are quite sharp and tart at the same time. If fancy making your own grapefruit marmalade, I have quite an easy recipe on my blog or you can always use a shop bought one.
Orange coloured citrus fruit marmalade such as Tangerine or Clementine
There are not going to be as strong flavoured as an orange marmalade made from Seville Oranges, but you can always add extra orange flavouring. Homemade tangerine marmalade is a great replacement for orange marmalade, but any shop bought one will do too.
Even regular oranges a great marmalade and the great thing is that you can make it any time. My Sweet Oranges & Lime Marmalade Recipe can be made any time of the year and doesn’t take as long as you think.
Apricot jam + lemon juice + orange essence
If you can’t find any jam or preserve with orange or citrus fruit, then the next step would be to go for something like an apricot jam. This as at least the same colour and paired up with lemon juice or zest (for tartiness) and rounded with the orange essence can do really well in mimicking orange marmalade in various dishes.
Use any orange juice, add to a small saucepan and leave to simmer to reduce. Use as it is or add orange zest or/and orange essence if you have it or think the flavour needs it.
Quick homemade orange marmalade replacement
You can, of course, make your own Seville Orange Marmalade, but no matter what recipe you follow, it’s not going to be a quick process.
But, what you could do is to make a kind of shift make marmalade from any citrus fruit and use it in your recipe. It will be more like a concentrated orange sauce, but it will give you enough flavour that you need to make your recipe.
The chances are that if you don’t have orange marmalade, you won’t have Seville Oranges either, but you can use any citrus fruit or any other oranges substitutes, such as sweet oranges, lime, lemon or tangerines.
To achieve that bitter taste, make sure you use some lemon or lime with the sweet orange or tangerines to balance out the flavour.
To make your orange sauce, take one large sweet orange and a lemon or lemon juice (or use any other citrus fruit). Zest the orange and lemon and then squeeze out as much juice as possible even taking out all the bits (but not the membranes or pips).
Place everything in a small saucepan and simmer until it reduces in volume and thickens a little. Add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on your taste and let the sugar dissolve. Boil for a bit until it thickens a bit more. Use instead of orange marmalade and carry on with your recipe.
This blog post was originally written on 16 January 2022 and last updated on 13 March 2023
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