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The best Orange Blossom Water Substitute (11 Top Options)

Orange blossom water is a popular cooking ingredient in Middle Eastern and French cuisine. What do you do if your trusty bottle runs empty? We have a list with many options for you to pick the best orange blossom substitute. 

Orange flower water adds a citrus touch to dishes and makes the other flavors pop as well. The best orange flower water substitute should also share the same flavor. This way, you get the most out of your experience. 

tabletop with glass bottle with orange blossom water and sliced orange.

What Is Orange Blossom Water?

Orange blossom water is also called orange flower water. This is made by distilling the petals of the bitter orange blossoms in water.

It is different from orange extract, which comes from the fruit. Yet, the flavor of orange blossom water is similar to oranges. Think it’s like chewing orange peel – bitter and citrusy. 

The use of orange blossom water is not limited only to cooking. It is also added to skin care products. 

Uses of Orange Blossom Water in Cooking

Orange blossom water is a wonderful ingredient to use in cooking! Adding blossom water will give your food and drinks a floral flavor and add a quirky and bitter citrus twist. The taste is subtle, but it will make a difference. 

Some ideas for using orange blossom water in your recipes:

  • Add a few drops to salads or salad dressings. It works for both vegetable and fruit salads by giving them a fruity flavor. 
  • Use it as a substitute instead of vanilla extract when making desserts like cakes, orange flower water brioches, custards, and whipping cream.
  • Use it in drinks, cold or hot.
  • Add to make citrus-flavored ice cream.
  • Add it to honey to make orange blossom honey.
  • You can add it to strawberry-flavored desserts. It perfectly complements the strawberry flavor.
  • Add some drops to the drinking water. Doing so will give your water a delicious orange flavor and a more refreshing effect.

Orange Blossom Water Substitute

Here is the list with 11 top options to substitute for orange flower water.

It is important to use food-grade ingredients in recipes because they are specifically designed for consumption and have been tested for quality assurance. Make sure that the substitutes you choose are safe for consumption.

1. Orange Zest

Orange zest is among the best substitutes for orange blossom water. This will provide a citrus flavor to dishes, but it won’t offer the same sweet floral aroma that usually comes from orange blossom water.

This works best in baked dishes. Orange zest has a concentrated flavor.

You should use only a quarter to substitute a whole part of orange blossom water. 

2. Orange Oil

The best substitute for orange blossom water is orange oil. It perfectly captures the flavor of oranges, which you’re looking for. Plus, it has the same but a stronger aroma.

Since it’s made from orange rind, this oil is more concentrated; a 1:1 conversion would be too much. 

Start with a drop of orange oil for 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water. Add more if necessary. 

3. Orange Extracts

Orange extract is made from the zest of oranges, vodka, and water. This also makes a good substitute for orange blossom water. It is lighter than orange oil yet has the sought-after citrus taste. You can add it to almost anything that calls for orange blossom water. 

However, this extract is still stronger in flavor. You should only use half a tablespoon of orange extract for 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water.

4. Cherry Extract

Cherry extract as an alternative to orange blossom water also works. This is perfect if you just need a flavor enhancer and are not looking for the orange flavor in particular. The cherry extract gives you a strong floral flavor without the citrus taste. 

You can add this to almost everything that calls for orange blossom water. Just expect a significant but pleasant change in flavor.

Start with a lesser amount, and do a taste test as you go. 

5. Rose Water

Another unexpected substitute for orange blossom water is rose water. This is because it has the same consistency and intensity. Yet, since it is made from roses, the floral taste is strong here, but the citrus flavor is missing. That said, this should be your go-to if you are only after a floral flavor. 

Rose water has an intense flavor that might overpower the other ingredients in your dish. Start with ¼ tablespoon and go from there. 

6. Orange Flavored Liqueurs

Orange liqueur can also take the place of orange blossom water. Yet, since you are dealing with liqueurs, you’re basically adding alcohol to your dish. This might not be suitable for all, especially children.  

If you’re feeding adults, though, this is a great option. You’ll get the citrus taste you need. And depending on the liqueur of your choice, you can even have some floral notes. Lastly, liqueurs usually have more than one flavor note.

Start with twice the amount of orange blossom water required. Add more if needed. 

7. Orange Bitters

Orange bitters are yet another alcoholic orange blossom water substitute you can try. Bitters are liqueurs flavored with herbs and spices. These usually give them a bitter taste, hence the name. 

Orange bitters can give you the orange taste you need from the blossom water. But you should be prepared to take in much more bitterness. If you want, you can tone down the unpleasant bitter taste by adding a pinch of sugar.

Use a 2:1 ratio of bitters to blossom water when using it as a substitute. 

8. Orange Juice

One of the most accessible substitutes for orange flower water is orange juice. Most households have this on their fridge, so it is an easy swap. It will give you a strong orange taste but lack bitter and floral notes. You can try adding some orange zest and rose water to fix this.

Use a 1:1 ratio to substitute orange juice for orange flower water. 

9. Orange Flavor Enhancements

Like orange juice, orange flavor drinks can also be used. Orange flavoring, though, tends to have artificial ingredients. Looks for organic and all-natural versions as better and healthier alternatives. 

Note that flavorings have an intense taste, so start with a drop and add more if necessary. 

10. Vanilla Extract

If you are all out of the options mentioned above, you can use vanilla extract instead. You will obviously not get an orange or citrus flavor with this. Yet, it can add a pleasant taste to an otherwise bland-tasting food. 

You should be aware that this is not a direct substitute. Because of this, its uses are limited, as it only works best for baked goods and desserts.

11. Almond Extract

Like vanilla extract, the almond extract will not give you a similar flavor. Expect a significant change in the taste of your final dish, though. 

It does not have a bitter, citrus, or orange taste. Yet, it is an excellent flavoring option that can liven up your dessert.

How Do You Use Orange Blossom Water In Baking?

In baking, you can add orange blossom water to your brioche dough. You can add it to your cake dough. Doing so will give your baked goods a fresh citrus twist.

What Is The Difference Between Orange Flower Water And Orange Blossom Water?

They are the same as a flower is the same thing as a blossom. For this reason, orange blossom water is no different from orange blossom.

Is Orange Blossom Water Safe To Drink?

Yes, orange blossom water is safe to drink. Yet, it is not often consumed on its own. Rather, a small amount of orange flower water is added to a glass of water first before consumption.


There are a plethora of orange blossom water substitutes for you. Among the best alternatives are those liquids that have an orange flavor. These include orange oil, extract, and juice. Using an orange liqueur also works if you’re not using it for children. 

If you are in for a little adventure, use options with a different flavor. You can use vanilla, cherry, and almond extracts instead of orange flower water. 

You need some patience, though, as you might need to adjust the substitution ratio per option.

tabletop with glass bottle with orange blossom water and sliced orange.

Orange Blossom Water Substitute

Natalia-Flavorful Home
You will need only a few ingredients to make this orange blossom water.
5 from 1 vote


  • 1 tsp organic orange blossoms
  • 1 cup distilled water


  • Combine orange blossoms with water in the pot.
  • Gently bring to boil flower orange petals with water. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
  • Strain the liquid through a fine mesh or cheesecloth, pressing down on the orange blossoms to release all the liquid.


Store in the glass airtight container in the cold place away from direct sunlight.
Use within 2 weeks.
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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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