Preserved lemons

Jars of preserved lemons in a solution of salt and lemon juice.

You can use preserved lemons to add a fresh twist of flavor to a variety of dishes (preserved lemons or pickled lemons are found in many dishes from South Asia or Northern Africa). Once you try it, you will look for ways to incorporate this tart and tasty ingredient in your other favorite recipes, like our lemon ricotta bruschetta. The process is simple but requires a few weeks to complete; then your preserved lemons can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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1-qt. jar, sterilized
¼ cup, plus 1 tsp. per lemon kosher salt
4 to 5 lemons, preferably Meyer lemons, scrubbed clean
Extra fresh-squeezed lemon juice if needed

Optional additions

Red chilies
Black peppercorns
Bay leaves
Coriander seeds


  1. In a sterilized jar, place 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
  2. Prepare the lemons by cutting ¼ inch off the tip of each fruit. Next, slice the lemons in half lengthwise starting at the top, but do not cut all the way—keep the lemons attached at the base. Make a second cut across so the lemons are now quartered but remain attached at the base.
  3. Open the lemons and generously sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt over the pulp and peel of each lemon, being careful to keep the lemons attached at the base.
  4. Next, pack the lemons in the jar, squish them down so the juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. (This is also where you can add chilies, peppercorns, bay leaves and coriander seeds, layering between the lemons as you go.)
  5. Fill the jar with lemons, making sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh juice as necessary and top with 2 remaining tablespoons of kosher salt.
  6. Seal the jar. Let it sit at room temperature for 2 days, turning the jar upside down occasionally.
  7. Place it in refrigerator and let it sit for at least 3 weeks more, turning the jar upside down occasionally until lemon rind softens.
  8. To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly to remove salt.
  9. Lemons can be stored in refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Check out more great fruit recipes for any occasion!