Can You Freeze Lemons?

Yes, you can freeze lemons! From slices to zest, find out how to freeze lemons.

A lemon slice on a designed frozen background
Photo: Getty Images / Hachio Nora / ROTTSTRA / © Santiago Urquijo

When you need to add acidity to a dish, lemons are the perfect go-to ingredient. For recipes like Creamy Lemon Pasta with Shrimp or Lemon-Blueberry Dump Cake, lemons lend a delicious tart note. So, keeping a bag of lemons on hand is a smart idea, especially since lemons can last a few weeks when stored properly (learn more about how to store lemons). When you need a longer-term storage solution, though, turn to the freezer.

Can You Freeze Lemons?

Yes, you can freeze lemons. Freezing lemons extends their viability by months, so it's a great solution when you can't finish a whole bag of lemons or your backyard tree yields a surplus. Read on to learn how to freeze lemons, from the whole citrus to the zest.

How to Freeze Whole Lemons

  1. Place lemons in a freezer-safe plastic bag and remove any excess air.

That's it! Whole lemons will last in the freezer for up to four months. When you're ready to use one, thaw it in cold water for about 15 minutes or microwave it for about 15 seconds, until soft.

How to Freeze Lemon Slices

  1. Cut lemon into slices and place on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid.
  2. Transfer the frozen lemon slices to a freezer-safe plastic bag and remove any excess air.

Lemon slices will also last in the freezer for up to four months. Frozen lemon slices are a refreshing garnish in drinks like Whipped Frozen Lemonade or Basil Lemonade.

How to Freeze Lemon Zest

  1. Using a microplane or the small holes on a box grater, grate zest from lemon, being careful not to grate any of the bitter white pith, into a small, freezer-safe container. Store in freezer.

If you plan to use the juice of a lemon in a recipe, but not the zest, don't let it go to waste! Instead, grate the zest first and freeze it for future use. Frozen lemon zest can be stored in the freezer for up to four months. While frozen lemon zest won't have the same fragrance or depth of flavor that fresh lemon zest offers, it can still be used in any recipe that calls for it.

How to Freeze Lemon Juice

  1. Using a reamer or citrus juicer, juice the lemon into a large bowl. (We recommend a reamer or citrus juicer to extract as much juice as possible. Check out the best citrus juicers, according to our test kitchen.)
  2. Pour the lemon juice into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Freezing lemon juice into individual cubes makes it easier to grab the exact amount you need when it's time. Frozen lemon juice cubes can be used to keep a pitcher of lemonade or a big-batch cocktail cold, without diluting the flavor of the beverage.

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