What are the main ingredients of orange juice?

Orange juice is a popular beverage enjoyed around the world. It is made by squeezing or mechanically extracting the natural liquid from oranges. The main ingredients in orange juice are water and citric acid from the oranges themselves. However, there are some additional ingredients commonly found in commercial orange juice production.


Water makes up the majority of orange juice. An 8 ounce glass of orange juice is typically 85-90% water. The water content comes directly from the juice inside the oranges used to make the beverage. Orange juice has a high water content which contributes to its refreshing quality.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is a natural preservative and flavoring found in citrus fruits like oranges. It gives orange juice its characteristic tart, tangy taste. The citric acid content of orange juice varies depending on the type of orange used. On average, there is about 1.44 grams of citric acid per 100 ml of orange juice.

Vitamin C

Orange juice is packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient and antioxidant. One 8 ounce serving of orange juice has around 97 milligrams of vitamin C, surpassing the recommended daily intake for adults. Vitamin C comes naturally from the oranges and is important for immune function, collagen production, and iron absorption.

Folic Acid

Folic acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9, is another micronutrient found abundantly in orange juice. A glass contains around 40 micrograms of folic acid, about 10% of the recommended daily value. Folic acid assists in DNA synthesis and preventing birth defects during pregnancy.


Orange juice contains good amounts of the mineral potassium with around 200 milligrams per 8 ounce serving. Potassium supports nerve signaling, muscle contraction, heart function and maintaining fluid balance in the body. Many people do not get enough potassium in their diets.

Other Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to the main micronutrients, orange juice has smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals. An 8 ounce glass typically provides around 1 milligram of calcium, 0.5 milligrams of iron, 0.2 milligrams of zinc, 60 International Units of vitamin A, and trace amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, copper, manganese, selenium and B vitamins.


The natural sugars in orange juice come from the orange fruit itself. An average glass contains around 21 grams of total sugars. The main types of sugars are glucose, fructose and sucrose. The sugar content gives orange juice its sweetness.

Dietary Fiber

Orange juice contains a small amount of dietary fiber, providing 0.5 grams per serving. The fiber comes from the flesh and pulp of the oranges. Though not a significant source, the fiber adds health benefits and texture.


There are about 21 grams of carbohydrates in an 8 ounce glass of orange juice, coming primarily from the natural sugars. The carbohydrate content makes orange juice a source of energy and glucose for the body.

Acidity Regulators

Some commercially produced orange juice has citric acid or other acidity regulators added. This helps balance and enhance the tart, acidic taste. However, many brands rely solely on the natural citric acid from the oranges.


Preservatives are sometimes used in commercial orange juice production to extend shelf life. Common preservatives include sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite. However, most brands offer preservative-free options as well.

Sweeteners and Flavorings

Some orange juice varieties contain additional natural or artificial sweeteners and flavorings to enhance taste. These include sugar, corn syrup, ascorbic acid, vanilla extracts, aldehyde chemicals and terpenes extracted from the oranges.


Thickeners like guar gum or carrageenan are added to some orange juice products to adjust the texture and mouthfeel. This helps create a smooth, uniform consistency.

Fortification Nutrients

Many commercial orange juice brands enrich their juice with extra vitamins and minerals. Common fortification nutrients include calcium, vitamin D and iron. This makes orange juice more nutritious and helps consumers meet daily requirements.


Pulp refers to the membranes, segments and particles left over from juicing the orange. Some orange juice varieties contain pulp which provides texture and added nutrition. Terms like “some pulp” and “lots of pulp” indicate how much pulp is present.


Water makes up the majority of orange juice. An 8 ounce glass of orange juice is typically 85-90% water. The water content comes directly from the juice inside the oranges used to make the beverage. Orange juice has a high water content which contributes to its refreshing quality.

Pasteurization and Processing

Many commercial orange juice products undergo pasteurization and processing to deactivate bacteria and extend shelf life. Methods include heat pasteurization, high pressure processing, freeze concentration and flash pasteurization. Processing can impact the flavor and nutrient content.

Juice Extract

Orange juice labeled as “juice extract” has had most of the oxygen removed to prevent deterioration. This helps maintain the flavor, color and vitamin C content. Juice extract typically contains additives like flavorings and preservatives as well.

Not From Concentrate

“Not from concentrate” orange juice is freshly squeezed and packaged without having water removed. This provides a “fresh-squeezed” taste but has a shorter shelf life than concentrated juice.

From Concentrate

“From concentrate” orange juice has had excess water removed and gets reconstituted with water during production. This allows longer storage but can slightly alter the flavor.


Organic orange juice comes from oranges grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. It does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives. Organic production methods may impact the nutritional content.


The primary ingredients that make up orange juice are water and citric acid from oranges. It also contains natural sugars, potassium, vitamin C and other micronutrients from the orange fruit. Commercial types may have additional ingredients like sweeteners, preservatives, flavorings, and fortification nutrients. While ingredients can vary between brands, the main components of orange juice are derived from fresh oranges.

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