Here Are 10 Recipes That Are Made Better With Calamansi

This tiny citrus fruit is the perfect substitute for lemons and limes.
crispy lechon kawali drizzled with calamansi and patis glaze

We have a tiny local lime called calamansi. Also known as the calamondin, it’s tangy like a lime or lemon and just as versatile in when used as an ingredient. Whether you’re baking or cooking, the calamansi can be used as the ingredient substitute in almost every recipe that calls for lemons or lime juice. 

It’s the essential ingredient in the Tagalog bistek recipe. The calamansi is also just as important in inihaw na liempo recipes since it’s the tenderizing ingredient. Most of all, it’s the tangy citrus we grew up with before we discovered that there was a such a thing as its bigger cousin, the lemon. 

The calamansi is a commonly used citrus in Filipino food, so if you’re curious how else to use the tiny lime in your cooking and baking, you’ll love these recipes that showcase its potential!

Here are calamansi recipes you should try:

1 Calamansi Muffins Recipe 

Calamansi muffins on a white plate
These calamansi muffins are sweet, tangy, and irresistible!
Photo by Riell Santos

It’s a rare ingredient to use in baking but there are delicious dessert recipes that take advantage of its tangy taste and fantastic flavor to mix into something irresistible like these muffins. Real Coffee in Boracay made these famous but it’s easy to recreate and relive those moments at the beach. These are topped with a crunchy crumble but these are just as delicious without it or even mixed with some warm coconut flavor. 

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Try this calamansi muffins recipe, or watch how to make calamansi muffins!

2 Calamansi Fish Fillets Recipe 

Fish fillet in calamansi sauce with calamansi slices on the side
Light and tangy calamansi fish fillet.
Photo by Patrick Martires

Fish fillets are fantastic for quick meals. So it’s not surprising that a simple fish fillet recipe would use calamansi as the main flavoring. It’s a great combination that marries tender fish, tangy calamansi, salty fish sauce, and herby cilantro into a dish that’s fast, easy, and incredibly tasty. 

Change things up by making a steamed fish with calamansi cream sauce that you can drizzle on top or serve with simply fried fish fillets you can pack for lunch.

Try this calamansi fish fillet recipe or watch how to make this calamansi fish fillet!

3 Calamansi and Patis-Glazed Lechon Kawali Recipe 

pan fried lechon kawali drizzled with patis glaze on a plate
This pan-fried lechon kawali is made even more flavorful with its calamansi and patis glaze.
Photo by Majoy Siason

Lechon kawali is always an instant hit whenever it’s served. Who can resist that crisp, crunchy pork rind with the tender, succulent pork underneath its fatty layers? This crispy fried pork recipe takes that same lechon kawali and jacks up the flavor profile with a sweet, salty, and tangy calamansi and patis glaze. It elevates this recipe from delicious to memorable. 

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Try this Calamansi and Patis-Glazed Lechon Kawali Recipe!

4 Calamansi Walnut Bars Recipe

Calamansi walnut bars on a turquoise surface, topped with powdered sugar.
Lemon bars who? These calamansi walnut bars are the best if you want a sweet and tangy treat.

There are many ways to make brownies but there are only a few which incorporates an entire cup of calamansi juice into one of its layers. These are like lemon squares but made better, more tangy, and made local by using calamansi in the curd that tops the walnut crust. 

Try this calamansi walnut bars recipe, or if you want to add a twist, this calamansi-coconut bars recipe is the way to go!

5 Papaya-Calamansi Sorbet Recipe 

papaya calamansi sorbet in a bowl, topped with calamansi slices
This papaya-calamansi sorbet is refleshingly tangy on a hot summer day!
Photo by Lilen Uy

Sorbets are the icy big sister of the ice candy and the granita. What makes it different from these two is its smoother consistency. It’s usually churned like ice cream, but it’s a step that can be skipped with this easy tweak: freeze the fruits before processing it. This sorbet recipe uses that technique to make this no-churn sorbet

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Try this papaya-calamansi sorbet recipe!

6 Calamansi Fried Chicken Recipe 

calamansi chicken on a bed of rice in a cast iron skillet
The tang of the calamansi cuts through the delectable crunchiness of the chicken!
Photo by Michael Angelo Chua

Fried chicken is irresistible. So imagine how easy it would be if this were boneless and paired with a fried rice recipe that had a hint of tangy calamansi. You can even make these into skewers or this delicious fried chicken sitting in a tangy calamansi-infused sauce. 

Here’s a great calamansi fried chicken recipe, a garlic-calamansi chicken skewers recipe, and a pan-fried chicken with calamansi sauce recipe!

7 Calamansi Fried Pork Chops Recipe 

Fried calamansi pork chop on rice and calamansi on a white plate
Adding calamansi to your pork chop marinade adds a delicious tangy twist to your favorite pork chop recipe!
Photo by Bianca Laxamana

If you loved the fish fillet recipe with a squeeze of calamansi, these pork chops will satisfy just as much, if not more. The hearty pork chops are similarly easy to cook, and it gets its pop of flavor from the calamansi as it cooks for maximum infusion into the pork. 

Try this fried calamansi pork chops recipe, or watch how to make fried calamansi pork chops!

8 Calamansi Fried Rice Recipe 

calamansi fried rice with tofu, green and black olives, and carrots in a bowl
If you haven’t tried this calamansi fried rice recipe, you’re missing out!
Photo by Dairy Darilag

Leftover rice can be more than just fried rice! Take the batch of leftover rice and instead of tossing it in a wok, mix it in with other ingredients to make a perfectly easy rice salad that you can serve with your favorite ulam dish or as is. 

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9 Spaghettini with Shrimp and Calamansi Recipe 

spaghettini topped with garlic and shrimp
Calamansi adds a fresh flavor to this garlicky shrimp pasta.
Photo by David Hanson

If you have calamansi on hand, it’s a great substitute for lemons in any garlic and shrimp pasta recipe and takes advantage of its wonderful tanginess. The citrus flavor is doubled in this recipe by using both the juice and the zest of the tiny calamansi to amp up the flavor. The shrimp provides the wonderfully warm, sweet flavor contrast that marries the flavors together into a highly satisfying shrimp pasta dish

Try this Spaghettini with Shrimp and Calamansi Recipe!

10 Soy-Calamansi Tuna Belly Recipe 

Soy-calamansi tuna with tomatoes and lemon slices on a white plate.
Putting tuna in a soy-calamansi marinade is simple but creates complex flavors.
Photo by Dan Rivera

Simple fish recipes are common and it takes advantage of the fact that we have access to incredibly fresh seafood. Tuna belly is delicious on its own, even with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, so it’s easy to make a tiny tweak to its recipe to make it better. There’s no sacrificing the fresh flavor of the tuna belly when it’s marinated lightly. In fact, it’s an enhancement that will make you love this recipe more. 

The calamansi can be used in so many ways in the kitchen, and not just as an ingredient in your dishes. As an ingredient, it’s a distinct flavor that’s similar to lemons and limes. It requires effort to equal the amount of juice you would get from one lemon from a bunch of calamansi since these are much smaller. However, your effort is not wasted as the flavor you get from the calamansi is comparable to the lemon or the lime. After all, your bistek just won’t taste the same if you use lemons instead of the calamansi. 

For more recipes and tips on how to use the delicious calamansi, check these out: 

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