sumac substitute and alternatives to use in kitchen

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many people loves to have sumac in their recipes across the world, mainly in middle east region, africa and north America region because it gives a distinct taste to the dish but some time you cant get it when required that’s when you need to make use of sumac substitutes shared below to get a similar taste just like sumac in your recipe.

Sumac is used to give kick to your recipe due to its zesty nature. we have shared ideal sumac alternatives to use in place of sumac below incase you don’t like to add sumac to your dishes or is not available in your region.

What is sumac

sumac originates from middle east region and come with little bit lemon like and tangy taste. it sour in nature and is extracted from berries which are crushed to get sumac powder after being dried for few days in sun or in spice dehydrator in factories.

it is red in color and can be found on supermarket shelfs and online sites from where you can buy and try it for yourself, but if you don’t get it then use sumac substitutes shared below.

sumac comes with antioxidants which helps to reduce your cholesterol levels. it helps with heart issues and also makes skin smooth in long term.

sumac substitute and alternatives

Uses of sumac

  • Sumac can be used in lot of dishes across the world but mainly in middle east area. some of the popular ones includes soups, falafel, manakeesh, fattoush etc.
  • you can add it to salads or other dishes which are dry in nature but requires little bit lemon zest. some people also add sumac powder to popcorns to give it tangy flavor instead of your normal cheese or bbq flavor, add little bit and get lemon like flavor in your popcorn, it would be different but you will like it which makes it worth a try.
  • if you are making some savory dish then sumac powder would definitely compliment the flavor of the dish which makes it work for many dishes from Israel and similar regions and many other parts of world.

Best sumac substitutes for making tasty recipes


if you are looking for sumac alternative in liquid form then vinegar can work as it is sour and comes with tartness in nature just like sumac and has extra power to it, so add it in little quantities till you get the desired taste level and you will be fine.

you can also checkout balsamic vinegar substitutes to use when its not in house and market.

lemon juice

lemon juice is yet another liquid sumac alternatives which gives tangy and zesty flavor to dishes when sumac is not available with you. add it to your dishes and get the citrus flavor of the lemon in dish to make it taste good. you can also add small lemon slices for garnish and better presentation on grilled dishes made with bbq grills.


tamarind also gives tart flavor which makes it a worth it substitute for sumac. it comes in form of paste or cubes, you can add as per your taste level as it is very tarty in flavor and extra can make the dish really zesty. it is easily available in market and many dishes from region across Thailand and India use it in the preparation.

lemon zest

lemon zest also works as sumac alternative if you don’t have anything to add in the dish which can give tangy and zesty flavor like sumac. you can add salt and pepper with the zest to get more authentic flavor and close resemblance to sumac.

it is perfect to use in salads and dry rubs as it is dry in nature can be easily found in every kitchen which makes it a quick fix to make tasty dishes of sought when sumac is running low in kitchen and nearby market.

mango powder

it is made from green and raw mango. the mangoes are dried and converted to powder to get the mango powder. it has high tangy and sour flavor to it which makes it an alternative to sumac but it is advised to use it in less quantity as high sourness can make recipe bad. it come in small packaging and you can get in grocery store’s spices section.


it is a mixture of some of the different spices to give the dish good flavor similar to sumac. if you are looking for some authentic middle east flavor then zaatar is the mixture you want to add to the dish, not to forget it also contains sumac in it which makes perfect alternative if you cant get pure sumac from market.

Tips for using sumac and its substitute’s

  • sumac and its alternatives are sour and tangy in flavor so high quantity can change the dish taste completely by over powering other ingredients and herbs so it is advised to use sumac and its substitutes in small quantities to get the right amount of sourness in the dish for everyone to enjoy happily.
  • to increase the shelf life of sumac and its alternatives make sure to use air tight containers for its storage in cool and moisture free place.
  • if your recipe is liquid in nature like marinades, soups, dips, dressings, sauces etc. then use lemon or vinegar as sumac alternatives but if you are working with dry recipes like tangy rice made in cooker, spice mix, dry rubs etc. then use dry sumac substitutes shared above for best taste and experience with sumac alternatives.

Checkout: rosemary substitutes and replacements


Hope you like our collection of some of the common and easy to find substitutes of sumac to make your recipe taste good even in absence of sumac.

these sumac alternatives not only will help you get the sumac like flavor but are also easy to find unlike sumac which is not available in some place around the world.

Try these sumac substitutes and let us know which one works best with which dish as per your liking. if you have any other alternative you use then let us know in comments below.

share this post with your friends to give their recipes some tangy sumac like flavor with these sumac substitute and make your friendship bond stronger over the lunch while eating tasty dishes with them.

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