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How do you freeze fresh lemon juice?

Lemon juice is a versatile ingredient that can add bright, tangy flavor to everything from marinades and dressings to baked goods and beverages. While fresh lemon juice is best for optimal flavor, it’s not always possible to use it right away. Fortunately, freezing lemon juice is easy and allows you to preserve the bright taste of fresh lemons to use anytime.

Why Freeze Lemon Juice?

There are several benefits to freezing lemon juice:

  • Preserve fresh flavor – Freshly squeezed lemon juice has superior flavor compared to store-bought bottled juice. Freezing locks in the bright, citrusy taste.
  • Longer shelf life – Frozen lemon juice will keep for 6-8 months compared to just a few days when refrigerated.
  • Convenience – Having frozen lemon juice on hand means you can quickly add it to recipes without juicing fresh lemons.
  • More affordable – Buying fresh lemons in bulk when in season and freezing the juice can save money compared to buying smaller amounts year-round.
  • Reduce waste – Freeze leftover lemon juice that you can’t use up right away rather than letting it go bad.

Tips for Freezing Lemon Juice

Follow these tips for best results when freezing lemon juice:

  • Use fresh lemons – Juice lemons soon after purchase for optimal freshness and flavor.
  • Juice them first – Don’t freeze whole lemons. The juice can absorb unpleasant flavors from the rind and pith when frozen.
  • Strain out pulp – For a smoother consistency, strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove excess pulp.
  • Freeze in ice cube trays – Pour juice into trays and freeze, then transfer cubes to a freezer bag. This makes it easy to grab a measured amount.
  • Use freezer-safe containers – Mason jars or plastic freezer bags work well. Leave some headspace to allow for expansion.
  • Exclude air – Minimize air exposure by sealing bags tightly or covering jars.
  • Label and date – Note the quantity and date frozen so you know how long it’s been stored.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Follow these simple steps for freezing lemon juice:

  1. Wash and dry several fresh lemons. Roll them on the counter while pressing down to soften them up before juicing.
  2. Cut the lemons in half crosswise. Juice them using a manual or electric citrus juicer.
  3. Pour the fresh juice through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup or bowl. Use a spoon to press out as much juice as possible while straining.
  4. Discard any seeds and pulp. Measure how much lemon juice you have.
  5. Pour the juice into ice cube trays, leaving a little headspace. Place the trays in the freezer until completely frozen, about 24 hours.
  6. Transfer the frozen cubes to freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air and seal the bags tightly. Label with the quantity and date frozen.
  7. For juice not being frozen in cubes, pour it into freezer containers like mason jars or plastic freezer bags. Leave about 1/2 inch of headspace and seal tightly.
  8. Lay bags flat in the freezer to freeze faster. Jars can be stored upright or on their sides.
  9. Once frozen, lemon juice cubes or containers can be stored for up to 8 months.

How to Use Frozen Lemon Juice

Frozen lemon juice can be substituted for fresh juice in any recipe. Here are some ways to use it:

  • Add cubes to a glass of water for lemon-infused water. Start with 1-2 cubes per 8 oz glass.
  • Blend frozen juice cubes into smoothies, lemonades, or cocktails.
  • Mix into sauces, marinades, salad dressings, or soups. Start with 1-2 tbsp and adjust to taste.
  • Add to baked goods like lemon pie fillings, cakes, cookies, or scones. Use several cubes for intense lemon flavor.
  • Stir into yogurt, oatmeal, or overnight oats for a citrus kick.
  • Squeeze over fish, chicken, or vegetables before baking or grilling.
  • Mix with olive oil and herbs for a marinade for meats or veggies.

For the equivalent of 1 tablespoon fresh juice, use:

  • 1 lemon juice cube
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons frozen lemon juice concentrate

Let frozen juice thaw a bit or run the container under warm water to make it easier to mix and measure if not using ice cubes.

Can You Freeze Lemon Zest?

Along with the juice, you can also freeze grated lemon zest to help preserve the bright citrus flavor. Here’s how:

  1. Wash lemons and pat dry thoroughly. Use a vegetable peeler or zester to remove just the thin, yellow zest layer avoiding the bitter white pith beneath.
  2. Chop or mince zest until very fine. Measure out amounts like 1 tablespoon.
  3. Spread zest pieces in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in freezer until frozen.
  4. Transfer to freezer bags or jars, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.

Use frozen grated zest in the same ways as fresh zest – baked goods, marinades, dressings, etc. It will add nice lemony flavor and aroma.

Storing and Thawing Frozen Lemon Juice

Properly store frozen lemon juice cubes or containers to maintain quality:

  • Keep frozen at 0°F or below. Use within 8 months for best flavor.
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations which can cause icy crystals to develop.
  • When thawing, keep refrigerated and use within a few days.
  • Microwave in short 10 second bursts to quickly thaw a few cubes.
  • Let containers thaw overnight in the fridge or run under cool water.
  • Do not refreeze thawed lemon juice.


Here are some common problems and how to avoid them when freezing lemon juice:

Problem Cause Prevention
Loss of flavor Juice was left at room temperature too long before freezing Freeze juice within 1-2 hours of juicing
Bitter, unpleasant taste Some pith got mixed into the juice Carefully strain juice through a fine mesh sieve
Liquid separates after thawing Juice thawed and refroze Do not refreeze thawed lemon juice
Ice crystals or grainy texture Large temperature fluctuations during storage Keep frozen juice at a stable 0°F or below

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays?

Yes, ice cube trays work great for freezing measured portions of lemon juice. Just pour the strained juice into the trays, freeze, and transfer the cubes to freezer bags for longer term storage.

How long does frozen lemon juice last?

Frozen properly at 0°F and in airtight packaging, lemon juice will retain optimal quality and flavor for 6-8 months.

Is frozen lemon juice as good as fresh?

While not quite as fresh-tasting as juice just squeezed, freezing locks in a lot of the bright, citrusy flavor. Thawed frozen juice can be used in place of fresh in most recipes calling for lemon juice.

Can you freeze lemon juice concentrate?

You can freeze reconstituted lemon juice concentrate the same way as fresh lemon juice. Measure it out in ice cube trays or containers leaving headspace, seal tightly, and freeze for up to 8 months.

What happens if you freeze lemon juice pulp?

For the best quality and flavor, it’s best to strain out the pulp before freezing lemon juice. The pulp can become bitter and absorb off-flavors more easily when frozen.


Freezing lemon juice is an easy, budget-friendly way to preserve the bright flavor of fresh lemons to have on hand anytime. Squeeze juice from fresh lemons, strain out the pulp, and freeze in ice cube trays or containers leaving a little headspace. Frozen properly at 0°F, lemon juice will keep for up to 8 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or microwave briefly before using in place of fresh juice in sauces, baked goods, marinades, and more for a tangy citrus kick.