Preserved Lemons are easy to make and great to have on hand! Keep them in your refrigerator and add them into all of your favorite dishes, sauces, sandwiches and dressings for a burst of zingy, citrusy lemon.
Preserving lemons dates back centuries. Earlier cultures didn’t have refrigeration, and with changing seasons, hot weather, and limited access to fresh lemons...people got creative. Lucky for us, the tradition of lemon preservation is still alive and it gives incredible flavor to your favorite dishes! These are primarily used in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cooking, but we think once you give them a try, you’ll find countless uses for your Preserved Lemons!
What are Preserved Lemons?
Preserved lemons are essentially pickled in salt and their own juices, then left to sit for weeks or even months before using. This adds a concentrated, intense citrus flavor without the bitter tartness usually associated with lemons. YUM!
Ingredients in Preserved Lemons
Here’s the shocking thing: it’s just a handful of ingredients, and most of them are spices! We’d bet you could make preserved lemons today. You’ll need…
- Lemons (of course)
- A little olive oil
- Paprika (both sweet and hot)
- Jars - We like Bon Maman jam jars!
How to Make Preserved Lemons
Start with your lemons! Use 2-2 ½ lemons per jar (you may use Meyer lemons). Wash them really well before slicing into thick slices. Squeeze the juice out of one lemon slice into the bottom of the jar.
Sprinkle with a bit of each of your seasonings, then layer another lemon slice, then more seasonings, and on and on until the jar is full.
Finish it off with a splash of olive oil.
Close the jar and shake it well. Let everyone get to know each other in there!
Pop it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. After a day has passed, check to make sure enough juice has been released to fill the jar. If not, fill the jar to the top with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Now leave it alone! Let it rest for a week before using. It will actually keep in your refrigerator just fine for months!
What to Use Preserved Lemons For
This is the best part of having preserved lemons on hand. They make all of your favorite dishes EVEN BETTER. Our favorite dishes that you can add them to:
- Moroccan Vegetable Stew
- The Best Moroccan Carrot Salad
- Fennel and Chickpea Stew
- Moroccan Harira Soup
- Lentil Meatballs with Tahini and Turmeric Sauce
This preserved lemons recipe was published on June 12, 2012 and updated on July 29, 2020.
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Preserved Lemons are easy to make and great to have on hand! Keep them in your refrigerator and add them into all of your favorite dishes, sauces, and dressings for a burst of zingy, citrusy lemon.
- 2-2 ½ large lemons (per Jar) - You may also use Meyer lemons for a fruitier taste
- 1 tsp kosher salt (per jar)
- 1 tsp sweet paprika (per jar)
- 1 tsp hot pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper or hot paprika (per jar) - Optional if you want some heat
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (per jar)
- 1– 13 oz glass jars with a lid (we used Bonne Maman Preserves jars)
- Wash the lemons really well and cut off the ends. Discard them, then cut the lemons into ¼" slices
- Squeeze the juice out of one slice and place it at the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle each slice with salt, sweet paprika, and hot paprika, hot pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper.
- Repeat the process for each slice until the jar is full (approximately 7-8 slices)
- Drizzle the top with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Cover and shake well
- Refrigerate for 24 hours. Check the jar to see if the lemons have released enough juice to almost cover the jar. If they haven’t, fill it up with freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Refrigerate for a week before eating.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: one week refrigeration
- Category: condiments
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Moroccan
- Serving Size: ½ a lemon slice
- Calories: 10
- Sugar: .1
- Sodium: 88
- Fat: 1
- Saturated Fat: .2
- Unsaturated Fat: .8
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: .3
- Fiber: .2
- Protein: .1
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: how to make preserved lemons, what are preserved lemons, vegan, gluten-free