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Learn all the tips and tricks for how to freeze lemons to build a freezer stash of this versatile fruit. Freezing lemons is a great way to preserve without needing to know any special kitchen skills.

a silicone bag with frozen lemons and a glass of lemonade.
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While lemons are available year-round in every grocery store, it doesn’t mean you want to run to the store for just one of these incredible citrus fruits.

If you find a great deal on some lemons, it’s so simple to freeze them to use and enjoy anytime.

Looking for other citrus preserving tutorials? Check out our post on how to freeze oranges and how to dry limes.

Can You Freeze Lemons?

Yes! Lemons can be frozen whole, halved, sliced, sectioned, zested, and juiced. In the printable recipe card below, I will walk you through all the different methods for freezing lemons.

When lemons freeze, it changes the cellular structure, making them softer, juicier, and a bit mushier. Frozen lemons will still work if used when thawed, but the appearance won’t be exactly the same as a fresh lemon.

Just something to keep in mind if the appearance of the lemons is important to your particular recipe.

How to Freeze Lemons

*I’ll walk you through it here with some photos and tips, and you’ll also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post with exact measurements, etc. You can also click “jump to recipe” to skip down.

How to Freeze Whole Lemons

Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water. Place the lemons in a freezer-safe bag, seal, and remove any excess air.

Place the entire freezer bag in the freezer, and you’re good to go!

How to Freeze Lemon Slices

Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water. Cut the ends off of the lemon. Then, make additional vertical (round, not length) cuts into the lemon.

My favorite knife for creating even cuts is a serrated bread knife. You can pick out all the seeds from the slices if you’d like.

Get a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment, waxed paper, or a silpat. Place the lemon slices on the parchment and freeze for 4 hours.

Remove the frozen lemon slices and place them in a freezer-safe bag. Seal and remove excess air.

slices of citrus on a baking sheet.

How to Freeze Lemon Wedges

Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water. Cut the lemon in half from end to end, and then each of those halves in half. This should produce 8 total wedges.

Get a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment, waxed paper, or a silpat. Place the wedges on the parchment and freeze for 4 hours.

Remove the frozen lemon wedges and place them in a freezer-safe bag. Seal and remove excess air.

How to Freeze Lemon Zest

Zest the lemon first, then juice it. It’s much easier to zest a whole lemon! When zesting the lemon, make sure you only get the yellow part of the peel, not the bitter white pith underneath.

Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water.

Get a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment, waxed paper, or a silpat. Using a cheese grater or a microplane, grate the lemon directly onto the baking sheet.

Collect the zest together, and freeze in freezer bags or ice cube trays. I will often add a bit of water to the zest to create a “paste” so that it is easier to freeze in a solid form.

How to Freeze Lemon Juice

For just a few lemons, a handheld citrus squeezer or a small juicer will work perfectly.

If you are processing a lot of lemons for juicing and have a stand mixer, we love using this Kitchen Aid juicer attachment. It makes quick work getting every possible drop out of the lemons. 

If you’d like to strain pulp or seeds from the lemon juice, a mesh strainer is a great tool to have.

I recommend freezing lemon juice in single-serve portions. This allows you to not have to thaw a ton of juice when you only need a bit.

You can pour lemon juice into half-pint or wide-mouth pint mason jars, 1-cup Souper Cubes, ice cube trays, or freezer bags.

Pro tip: if using mason jars, allow for 1 inch of space between the top of the lemon juice and the top of the jar’s rim.

Thaw frozen jars of lemon juice at room temp or in the fridge overnight. Do not heat a frozen jar in hot water or the microwave as it might crack. 

frozen blocks of lemonade concentrate with sliced lemons on top.

How to Use Frozen Lemons

Frozen lemons are such a versatile ingredient, and you can use them in so many recipes!

Use whole lemons to make Lemonade Concentrate or Rose Lemonade.

Use sliced lemons for Air Fryer Green Beans, Asparagus Risotto, or Air Fryer Fish Tacos.

Use lemon juice in Blackberry and Apple Crumble, Instant Pot Potato Salad, Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs, or Homemade Tartar Sauce.

For lemon zest, try it in Whipped Feta Dip, Lemon Garlic Pasta, or Cheesy Green Bean Casserole.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do lemons freeze well?

Yes! Lemons are a perfect candidate for the freezer. They’re a frequently used ingredient that is great to have in your freezer stash.

Is it better to freeze lemons whole or sliced?

Both work great. It really comes down to how do you intend to use lemons once they have been frozen.

Whole lemons will take up more room in the freezer, so if space is an issue, lemon slices may be a better option for you.

Should you wash lemons before freezing?

Yes, I recommend washing them with a mild dish soap or a produce wash prior to freezing lemons.

How long do cut lemons last in the freezer?

You can store whole or sliced lemons for up to 12 months in the freezer. Lemon juice and lemon zest are best used within 6-9 months.

Is frozen lemon juice as good as fresh?

Yes. Once defrosted, you won’t be able to notice a difference in the flavor of fresh vs previously frozen lemon juice.

As many recipes only call for small amount of lemon juice, I highly recommend freezing it in 1-2 tbsp portions.

a baking tray with lemon slices.
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How to Freeze Lemons

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Freezing Time: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 10 minutes
a silicone bag with frozen lemons and a glass of lemonade.
Learn all the tips and tricks for how to freeze lemons to build a freezer stash of this versatile fruit. Freezing lemons is a great way to preserve without needing to know any special kitchen skills.

Ingredients 

  • lemons

Instructions 

How to Freeze Whole Lemons

  • Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water.
    lemons
  • Place lemons in a freezer-safe bag, seal, and remove excess air.

How to Freeze Lemon Halves

  • Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
  • Cut the lemon in half down the middle (not end to end).
  • Place lemons cut side down on the parchment. Freeze for 4 hours.
  • Remove frozen lemon halves and place in a freezer-safe bag, seal and remove excess air.

How to Freeze Lemon Slices

  • Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.
  • Cut the ends off of the lemon. 
  • Make additional vertical cuts into the lemon. Depending on the size of the lemon and the width of your slices, you'll get ~3-10 slices. Remove seeds if desired.
  • Place the lemon slices on the parchment and freeze for 4 hours.
  • Remove frozen lemon slices and place in a freezer-safe bag. Seal, and remove excess air.

How to Freeze Lemon Juice

  • Transfer lemon juice to wide-mouth glass jars (leaving 1-inch of headspace) fitted with a lid, or carefully pour into freezer bags, ice cube trays, or silicone freezer trays.
  • (If using bags), carefully remove excess air, and seal completely. Place flat on a baking sheet and freeze for 4 hours.

How to Freeze Lemon Zest

  • Wash the outside of the lemon and dry off excess water.
  • Zest lemon, making sure you only zest the peel and not the pith (white part).
  • Mix zest with a tiny bit of water, to create a "paste".
  • Press the paste into ice cube trays and freeze for 3 hours.
  • Remove frozen zest cubes and place in a freezer-safe bag. Seal, and remove excess air.

Notes

  1. Store whole or sliced lemons for up to 12 months in the freezer. Lemon juice and lemon zest are best used within 6-9 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1lemonCalories: 17kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: How To
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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2 Comments

  1. You’re a genius!  I’ve juiced and grated jest and then frozen lemon juice.   In all my born days, I’ve never thought of freezing the whole lemon.  Thanks for the ‘grate’ tip.