The Perfect Yuzu Juice Substitute

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You may not realize it, but if you've ever had ponzu sauce at a Japanese restaurant, you've also tasted yuzu juice, which comes from the yuzu fruit (also known as a Japanese lemon). However, since the fruit is hard to find in American grocery stores, many gourmands find themselves struggling to find the perfect yuzu juice substitute. While some say that there is no perfect sub, there are a couple of different ways that enterprising cooks have duplicated the flavor of yuzu.

Yuzu has a tart, sour flavor, sort of like a lemon mixed with a mandarin orange, but with a savory note that some liken to rice vinegar, says Sushi Modern. Yuzu juice is one of the main ingredients in ponzu sauce, a soy sauce-based dipping sauce often served with fried foods, dumplings, and sushi, while the zest from the fruit can be used to make a spicy condiment called yuzu-kosho. 

If you're lucky, you may be able to find yuzu fruit in Japanese specialty markets in the U.S., and you can buy the bottled juice online, but if those options fail you and you find yourself in need of a yuzu juice substitute, there are a couple different methods you can try.

First up? Meyer lemon (via Perfectly Imperfect). According to The Kitchn, Meyer lemons are a cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges. They have a sour but slightly sweet, floral, citrusy flavor, similar to that of yuzu. If you can find Meyer lemon, this is a simple, one-ingredient substitute for yuzu juice. 

But Meyer lemons aren't always widely available either. If you can't find a Meyer lemon, consider using a blend of citrus juices instead. The Everything Stir-Fry Cookbook recommends substituting lemon juice mixed with a few squeezes of orange and grapefruit juices, while Serious Eats recommends using a one-to-one ratio of fresh lemon and lime juice.

None of these yuzu juice substitutes will exactly replicate the real deal, but they're close enough to perfect that you'll be able to make your favorite yuzu juice-inclusive recipes without needing to fret at the outcome.