Sumac is a popular spice used in Middle Eastern cuisine. If you're out of sumac or need a sumac substitute, We have a list of 13 sumac substitutes for you to try! When substituting one spice for another, it's important to keep in mind the different flavor profiles and adjust accordingly.
Sumac And Its Uses
Sumac is a flowering plant that is native to North America. The plant produces a red fruit (sumac berries) that is often used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
It is most commonly used as a spice, but it can also be used to make tea or as a natural dye. The fruit is high in antioxidants and has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes.
If you don't have sumac, there are several substitutes that you can use in its place.
These substitutes include lemon zest, sorrel, vinegar, tamarind, and Za’atar. Each of these ingredients has its own unique flavor profile, so be sure to experiment until you find the perfect flavor for your dish.
We have a list of the 13 best sumac substitutes for you to try.
Recommended Reading: What is Sumac
1. Lemon Zest
Lemon zest is a great substitute for sumac because it has a similar tart and tangy flavor. To use the lemon zest as a sumac substitute, simply add it to any dish that calls for sumac.
- If you want to add a little extra flavor to your dish, try using fresh lemon juice instead of water when cooking rice or other grains.
- Try roasting lemon zest in a dry pan before adding it to your dish for a more intense flavor.
- Keep in mind that dried lemon zest is more potent than sumac spice, so you may need to use less of it to achieve the same flavor profile.
- Lastly, don't forget that lemons are also a great source of vitamin C, so using lemon zest as a sumac substitute can also help boost your immunity!
2. Lemon Pepper
If you're looking for a good sumac substitute, lemon pepper is a great option. It has a similar tart and acidic taste, with a hint of citrusy brightness.
- Start by substituting 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning for every 1 teaspoon of sumac spice.
- If you want a more intense flavor, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of lemon pepper.
- Lemon pepper seasoning can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Try it in baked goods, or sprinkle it on roasted vegetables or grilled meats.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a great substitute for sumac because it has a similar sour taste.
- To use lemon juice as a sumac replacement, add the same amount of lemon juice as you would sumac to your recipe.
- You can also add a bit of sugar to balance out the sourness if desired.
- When substituting sumac with lemon juice, keep in mind that the lemon juice will not provide the same color as sumac. If you are using lemon juice in a dish that is supposed to be red, like a beet salad, you may want to add a pinch of paprika or another red spice to achieve the desired color.
This tangy, lemony herb is a perfect stand-in for sumac in recipes calling for the latter's tart flavor. Though it doesn't have the same crimson color as sumac, sorrel will still add a beautiful green hue to your dish.
- When substituting sorrel for sumac, use about half as much of the former as you would the latter. You can adjust the amount of sorrel up or down depending on how tart you want your dish to be.
- Sorrel is a versatile herb that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Try adding it to fruit salads or smoothies for a tart twist, or use it to brighten up soup or fish dishes. It's also lovely chopped and sprinkled over grilled vegetables or cooked grains.
Vinegar makes an excellent substitute. It has a similar tartness to sumac and can also be used to add a sweetness to dishes. In addition, vinegar is widely available and relatively inexpensive.
- When substituting vinegar for sumac, it is important to adjust the amount used to suit your personal taste. A general rule of thumb is to use half as much vinegar as you would sumac.
- Vinegar can be used in many different ways in cooking. It can be used as a marinade or added to sauces and salad dressings.
- It is also delicious sprinkled over roasted vegetables or grilled meats. Vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can help you create sumac-flavored dishes even when sumac is not available.
Zaatar is a spice blend that is commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It typically includes thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt.
- Zaatar has a slightly earthy taste with a hint of citrus from the sumac. The thyme provides a subtle bitterness, while the sesame seeds add a touch of sweetness.
- Zaatar is often used as a seasoning for meats and vegetables or as a spread for bread. It can also be sprinkled over salads or used to make Herb Focaccia Bread.
- Here are some tips for using Zaatar spice:
- Add it to olive oil to create a dip for bread.
- Sprinkle it over roasted vegetables.
- Stir it into yogurt or hummus.
- Rub it on chicken or lamb before cooking.
7. Rose Hips
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant, and they can be used in many different ways. One common use for rose hips is as a substitute for sumac.
Sumac is a sour-tasting spice that is often used in Middle Eastern cuisine, and rose hips can provide a similar flavor profile. Additionally, rose hips are high in vitamin C, making them a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet.
- To use rose hips as a sumac substitute, simply grind them into a powder and add it to your dish. Y
- ou can also experiment with other uses for rose hips. For example, you can add them to tea or syrup for a unique flavor.
- Rose hips are also sometimes used in skincare products due to their high vitamin C content.
Tamarind is a good substitute for sumac because it has a similar sour taste. It is also less expensive and more readily available than sumac.
- To use tamarind as a substitute for sumac, first, soak the tamarind in water for 30 minutes. Then, remove the seeds and pulp from the water. Finally, use the tamarind water in place of sumac in any recipe.
- When substituting tamarind for sumac, keep in mind that tamarind is slightly sweeter than sumac. As a result, you may want to adjust the amount of sugar in your recipe accordingly.
- When using tamarind as a sumac substitute, it is also important to note that tamarind will impart a brownish color to your dish. If this is undesirable, you can try soaking the tamarind in lemon juice before using it in your recipe.
- Finally, keep in mind that tamarind is a much weaker acid than sumac. As a result, you may need to use more tamarind than sumac to achieve the desired flavor profile in your dish.
Marigold is a great substitute for sumac because it has a similar tangy flavor that can brighten up any dish. It's also very versatile and can be used in a variety of different ways. Here are some tips on how to use marigold as a sumac replacement:
- To add flavor to savory dishes, sprinkle marigold petals on top of the food after cooking.
- To add color and flavor to sweet dishes, use marigold syrup or extract in lieu of sugar.
- To make a sumac-infused oil, steep marigold petals in olive oil for 24 hours before straining out the solids.
Horseradish is a great substitute for sumac. Its taste profile is similar to that of sumac, but it is less bitter and has a more pungent flavor. It can be used in the same way as sumac and can be added to soups, stews, and sauces. Here are some tips for using horseradish:
- Start with a small amount and add more to taste.
- If you find the flavor too strong, add a little lemon juice or vinegar to balance it out.
- Horseradish is also good in cocktails, such as a Bloody Mary or a Moscow Mule.
- To make your own horseradish sauce, mix equal parts horseradish and sour cream or yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add diced onion, garlic, or herbs. Serve with roast beef or chicken.
Rhubarb is a tart and tangy fruit that makes an excellent substitute for sumac. Its sharp flavor is perfect for adding a zesty punch to salads, sauces, and marinades.
Plus, it's easy to use – simply chop up the stalks and add them to your dish. If you're looking for a replacement measurement, one cup of chopped rhubarb is equivalent to one tablespoon of ground sumac.
- If you're new to cooking with rhubarb, you should keep a few things in mind.
- It's important to remove the leaves from the stalks before cooking as they can be poisonous.
- Don't be afraid to experiment with different flavors – pairings like strawberry and rhubarb are classic for a reason, but you can also try pairing it with other fruits or even savory ingredients.
- When cooking with fresh rhubarb, be sure to cook it until it's soft – otherwise, it can be quite tough and stringy.
Nasturtium is a great substitute for sumac. It has a similar taste profile and can be used in the same way. Here are some tips for using nasturtium:
- Replace sumac with nasturtium in a 1:1 ratio.
- Nasturtium can be used in place of sumac in any dish, including salads, soups, and stews.
- To get the most flavor from nasturtium, use the leaves and flowers. The seeds can also be used, but they are less flavorful.
- Nasturtium is a good source of vitamins A and C, so it can also be used as a nutritional supplement.
Currant is an excellent substitute for sumac because it has a similar taste profile. It is slightly tart with a hint of sweetness, while sumac is citrusy and tangy. Both spices are used to add flavor to dishes, so they can be swapped out interchangeably.
- When substituting currant for sumac, use the same measurement. As always, taste the dish as you go and add more spice if needed.
- Currants can also be used in place of other spices, such as allspice or cloves.
- When substituting currant for other spices, start with half the amount and adjust to taste.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
If you require a quick sumac replacement, there are still plenty to choose from. The top five alternatives for sumac are Za'atar, Lemon zest, Lemon pepper, vinegar, and tamarind.
Wrap Up: Sumac Substitute
- There are many spices that can be used as a sumac substitute.
- Some of the most popular substitutes include Za'atar, Lemon zest, Lemon pepper, vinegar, and tamarind.
- When substituting one spice for another, it's important to keep in mind the different flavor profiles and adjust accordingly.
- Taste the dish as you go and add more spice if needed. With a little experimentation, you're sure to find a sumac substitute that you love.
The Best Homemade Sumac Substitute
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Zest
- ⅛ tablespoon Sea Salt or pink salt
- 1/16 teaspoon Citric Acid
- 1/16 teaspoon Red Color optional
- Start by zesting a lemon into a bowl. You'll need about 2 tablespoons of lemon zest.
- Add sea salt, citric acid, and red food coloring (optional) to the bowl and mix well.
- Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and let it dry for 24 hours.
- Once it's dry, grind the mixture into a fine powder using a coffee grinder or food processor.
- Your homemade sumac is now ready to use.