7 Best Kumquat Substitute That Will Make You Surprised

Recently, kumquat has become increasingly popular in the cooking community. There is lots of good feedback about its citrusy, acidic, tart, mildly sweet, and tangy flavor profile. The fruit can also be eaten raw or cooked in sauces, desserts, curries, sandwiches, and more.

However, there is one concern that we have thought about for a long time: if all kumquat is sold out, what can I use instead of kumquat to keep the authentic taste for the dish that requires it?

In our opinion, there are seven fruits like that. Scroll down this post to find out the top 7 alternatives and choose your suitable kumquat substitute!

What Is Kumquat?

Kumquat Substitute

First, what type of fruit is a kumquat? In short, kumquat is an edible, blood-orange fruit that is grown native to Southeast Asia. This fruit is usually mistaken for orange because it resembles orange in shape and color. However, to compare, kumquat is smaller – about the size of an olive with a round or oblong shape.

The word “kumquat” seems weird. In fact, it is not an English word but a Cantonese word meaning golden orange or golden tangerine. With the name coming from Chinese, you can guess, “Where do kumquats come from?” right? – Of course, China.

The kumquat tree can survive in low temperatures, but it grows best with large and sweet fruits in warm climates of Southeast Asian countries.

What Types Of Kumquat Are There?

In fact, there are five types of kumquat. Let’s have a closer look at each in the section below!

Round (Marumi) Kumquat

The first type is Marumi round kumquat, which has a golden yellow color with a round shape. You usually encounter them as ornamental houseplants.

In terms of taste, kumquat is sweet, tart, and juicy. It is not common to eat marumi raw because the rind is too raw!

Meiwa Kumquat

Compared to Marumi kumquat, Meiwa is paler. It is often eaten raw and can be bought at most local markets at an affordable price.

How does Meiwa kumquat taste? Well, it seems like the combination of Marumi and Nagami kumquat – sweet and juicy with a smooth and thick rind.

Oval (Nagami) Kumquat

Oval kumquat is quite famous for its distinctive shape – others are round, but it is oval. Besides, this dark orange tint fruit is edible, both raw and cooked.

The more it matures, the more aromatic it is. The ripe Nagami kumquat contains a sweet, tart taste while the flesh is acidic. There is lots of juice and oil extracted from an oval kumquat fruit.

Jiangsu (Fukushu) Kumquat

Looking from outside, it is large, round, and has bright orange skin. Compared to other variants, Jiangsu kumquat or Fukushu kumquat is thinner.

What about the taste? Well, the fruit tastes quite acidic and has a comforting citrusy smell. You can eat the whole Jiangsu kumquat – fruit, peel, seeds, and all.

Nordmann & Other Seedless Kumquats

If you are looking for a kumquat variety to cook, we suggest trying seedless kumquats, especially Nordmann. There is no seed inside this fruit, which means you don’t have to waste time removing it before cooking.

Typically, people use Nordmann kumquats to make candies and marmalades.

What Does a Kumquat Taste Like?

After going through the variant list of kumquats above, you can see how kumquats taste. All variants share the same flavor profile – citrusy, acidic, tart, mildly sweet, and tangy. Unlike our expectations, kumquat’s peel is surprisingly delicious! Compared to the flesh, it is even sweeter!

What makes us love kumquat is that most of its compositions are edible. From the flesh, the peel, fruit, extracted juice to the seeds – all are tasty.

Top 7 Recommended Kumquat Substitutes

In the section below, we will list down some of the best replacements for kumquat!

1. Clementine or Tangerine Segment


Clementine and tangerine are similar if we compare them together. They are both sweet, sour, and tart but less acidic than the orange. The good news is that their peel is super thin, so you can easily peel it fast.

Therefore, trying clementine or tangerine as kumquat replacements in the salad will be a good idea! You can zest the peel, chop the fruit into smaller pieces, squeeze the flesh, etc.

However, these ingredients are fresh fruit so that they will be spoiled after a short period. Please check carefully how long clementines last before buying them. The same case goes for tangerine.

2. Diced Oranges, Without Peel

Diced Oranges
Diced Oranges

The second option to think of is diced oranges but without the peels. It is unnecessary to describe the taste of orange because this citrusy, juicy fruit is too famous, right?

Orange is a great choice to replace kumquat in many recipes with a tart, acidic, sweet, and comforting fragrance. Please note that you should peel the oranges before cooking, as their peels are quite thick and bitter. Therefore, some people will find it too bitter to handle.

Let’s compare kumquat vs orange: Oranges are larger, and the flesh is thicker. So, we advise you to cut the fruit into small dice.

3. Lemon slices With Jam or Marmalade

Lemon slices With Jam
Lemon slices With Jam

Lemon slices, with their acidic and juicy flavor, seem to be the most compatible kumquat alternatives.

In particular, lemon is much sourer than kumquat. Based on the variant, the lemon can be smaller or bigger than a kumquat, but the juice, oil, and flesh are much bigger.

For some people, the acidity of lemon is unbearable. So, they should add jam or marmalade to the lemon to reduce the taste. Some substitutes for the jam to consider are sugar, honey, agave syrup.

4. Calamansi Quartered


For those who don’t know, calamansi, also known as calamondin, is a Philippine lemon or lime. It is an economically important citrus fruit in the Philippines. You can find its variants in other Southeast Asian countries, especially the Borneo island of Indonesia.

If you put calamansi vs kumquat on the scale, you can easily see that calamansi’s peel is thin and edible. In terms of taste, it is very sour, much more than the kumquat. That is the reason why we preferred using only the “quartered” of the calamansi.

Calamansi has green (if unripe) or orange skin (if ripped). Don’t be surprised if you see the seller give you a green fruit later!

5. Orangequat/Mandarinquat


Even though it is called orangequat, it tastes nothing like orange. To compare, we think “mandarin” best resembles it.

More specifically, the orangequat or mandarinquat is acidic but not too strong as the calamondin mentioned above. The more you chew, the sweeter it becomes. The juice is also abundant, making orangequat a good choice for making salads and soups.

Compared to the size, kumquat is a bit smaller than mandarinquat. However, the flavor is quite similar.

6. Limequat


Limequat is a Mexican lime hybrid. Different from the orangequat, the limequat has a similar flavor profile to lime.

So, how does it taste? There is one word to describe: distinctive. If you eat the peel, you will find it sweet. However, when chewing the pulp, it tastes bittersweet! How amazing!

Compared to other options on this list, limequat is smaller, oval-shaped with many seeds. But don’t worry, you can eat the whole fruit, from seeds, peel, to the flesh!

7. Berries With Lemon Juice

Berries With Lemon Juice
Berries With Lemon Juice

In our opinion, this is the least compatible fruit to substitute for kumquats. Yet least suitable does not mean unsuitable!

You can use any berries you like, no need to select. Then, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on top (or another citrus fruit with the same acidity). We suggest you use the berries with a lemon juice “cover” to alternate kumquat.

Another idea is to squeeze the clementine, orange, tangerine, orangequat, or limequat juice on the top of the berries. It is compatible, as well!

How To Eat Kumquats?

If you are interested in dishes that serve with kumquat, here is some relevant information you might want to learn:

Eat Kumquats Whole

Do you peel kumquats? No. Unlike most fruits, you don’t have to peel kumquats before eating. Just buy fresh and raw fruits from markets, wash them carefully, rinse and then eat.

In our opinion, the skin is sweeter than the flesh, while the pulp is more watery and tender. Additionally, kumquats’ juice is an abundant source of vitamins.

Preserve Kumquats

The second way to eat kumquats is to preserve them and make them seasonings for other recipes later. With this approach, you need to refrigerate or freeze the kumquats carefully to maintain their sweet-tart flavor.

How to store kumquats? You can squeeze, add honey and sugar to the extracted juice, then store the juice in a closed jar and refrigerate.

The preserved kumquats are suitable for dessert recipes like ice cream, cakes, or plain yogurt.

Cook a Kumquat Marmalade

If you have a habit of eating bread for breakfast, we suggest making a kumquat marmalade container. It is simple to prepare:

  • Wash the fruit.
  • Chop it into small pieces.
  • Mix with sugar.
  • Boil until the stir is thick.

The final jam received can last up to 2 months if kept in the refrigerator or six months if you freeze it.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this blog has covered some of the best alternatives for kumquat and how to eat or serve them. Hope that you can select the best suitable kumquat substitute for your dish from this list! If you cannot choose one, maybe combining them is also a good idea. Just pick two citrus fruits mentioned above, mix and then taste!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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