The best sumac substitute replicates the citrusy tartness so notorious of sumac. We love adding lemon juice at the end of cooking or mixing lemon zest & black peppercorns.
Best Sumac Substitutes Lemon Juice Lemon pepper seasoning Amchoor Zaatar (Za'atar from RawSpiceBar) Tamarind or Vinegar
Lemon Juice You are worried because your grilled lamb kofta kebabs wouldn’t be complete without ground sumac. Well, worry no more! Look around your kitchen and look for lemons. Sure enough, you wouldn’t run out of a lemon. Fresh lemon juice has the same souring agent that can perfect your dish. Just measure the amount of lemon juice that you’re going to put properly otherwise the taste of your dish will change.
Lemon Pepper Seasoning Lemon pepper seasoning consists of dried lemon zest and cracked black pepper. This spice blend is available everywhere and if you are out of it, you can easily combine the two ingredients yourself. The flavors complement each other perfectly and make an excellent replacement for sumac’s acidity. Sumac was used before lemons were brought to the Middle East by the Romans. Lemon has become a very popular way to provide sourness in Middle Eastern dishes, so food flavored with this substitute will still taste authentic.
Amchoor Another alternative if you want to use sumac because of its citrus flavor is the dried mango powder that is also known as amchoor. It’s perfect for cooking fish and chicken because of the accurate level of sourness that it can provide.
Za'atar (RawSpiceBar Za'atar - $12) You might want to look around your kitchen cabinets and look for the spice blend za’atar because sumac is one of its main ingredients. Hence, it seems reasonable to say that using za’atar will provide you the exact flavor, aroma, and sourness sumac can offer. Aside from that, with the help of other spices blended in za’atar such as salt and sesame seeds, rest assured that your dish will be more tasty and flavorful compared to using sumac alone. Sometimes, it’s better to mix various herbs in one dish instead of following the traditional ingredients and take your recipe to a whole new level.
In a pinch: Tamarind or Vinegar Talking about sour fruits, tamarind can be a great alternative to sumac because of its tartness and sweetness. Most Thai cuisines utilize tamarind especially in making beverages. There are dried pods and paste forms of tamarinds that you can buy on the market. Considering the fact that the tartness of the tamarind is heavily concentrated, make sure that you’re going to put a small amount of it in your dish. You can adjust the tartness later on after you’ve gotten a taste of your dish.
Vinegar is considered as last resort in replacing sumac because it’s readily available in anyone’s kitchen. If you are preparing a dish and the sumac only contributes to the sourness of it, then you should consider using vinegar instead. If you want to achieve the tartness that the sumac can provide you should be mindful of the amount of vinegar that you’re going to use in your dish.
Buy Sumac Spice, Freshly Ground In Small Batches Since the main factor of sumac is its souring agents, there are lots of alternatives that you can find in your own kitchen. All spices and ingredients that are concentrated on tartness are acceptable since sumac does not generate a specific color to the food when used. Hence, there’s no need to worry the next time you run out of sumac because these alternatives can save your day!