How long does fresh lime juice keep?

Limes are a versatile citrus fruit that can add flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Fresh lime juice is a key ingredient in many recipes, from guacamole to margaritas. But if you’ve ever squeezed a bunch of limes to make lime juice, you may wonder – how long does fresh lime juice last in the refrigerator or freezer? Here’s a comprehensive guide to how long fresh lime juice lasts, how to tell if it’s gone bad, and how to store it to extend its shelf life.

How Long Does Fresh Lime Juice Last at Room Temperature?

Freshly squeezed lime juice will only keep for about one day at room temperature. After 24 hours, the quality and flavor of the juice will start to deteriorate.

This is because exposure to oxygen starts to break down the natural enzymes and acids in the lime juice. Warm temperatures also accelerate this process. For best quality and flavor, lime juice should be refrigerated or frozen within a few hours of juicing.

How to Tell if Lime Juice Has Gone Bad at Room Temperature

Here are some signs that lime juice has gone bad if left out at room temperature:

  • Cloudy appearance
  • Mold growth
  • Fermented smell and taste
  • Fizzing or bubbling
  • Change in color to brown or pinkish tones

If you see any of these changes, it’s best to discard the lime juice and squeeze a fresh batch.

How Long Does Lime Juice Last in the Refrigerator?

Properly stored in the refrigerator, fresh lime juice will keep for about 5 to 7 days. The cold temperatures inside the fridge slow down the rate of enzyme breakdown. This helps preserve the original tart, citrusy flavor.

To get the longest shelf life, store lime juice in an airtight container. This prevents moisture loss and blocks exposure to air.

How to Tell if Refrigerated Lime Juice Has Gone Bad

Here are some signs that lime juice has gone bad when refrigerated:

  • Mold or fuzzy growth
  • Strong fermented odor
  • Bitter, unpleasant taste
  • Fizzing or bubbling
  • Watery, diminished flavor

A small amount of separation between the juice and pulp is normal. But if the juice is very cloudy or separates extensively, it’s best to discard.

How Long Does Lime Juice Last in the Freezer?

For long term storage, fresh lime juice will keep for about 6 months in the freezer. At freezing temperatures, the enzyme action slows to a near halt. This gives the juice excellent shelf life.

To freeze, pour the lime juice into freezer-safe containers or ice cube trays. Cover tightly to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use.

Does Lime Juice Go Bad in the Freezer?

Properly frozen lime juice does not really go bad, but it can suffer some quality loss over time. Here are some changes to watch for:

  • Muted, lackluster flavor
  • Crystalized ice chunks
  • Separation of juice and pulp
  • Freezer burned sections

While still technically safe to consume, the juice may not taste as vibrant or fresh after prolonged freezing.

How to Store Lime Juice to Maximize Freshness

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your fresh lime juice:

  • Squeeze juice from limes at room temperature. Chilled limes tend to yield less juice.
  • Strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove pulp and seeds.
  • Pour the strained juice into a clean, airtight container like a mason jar or bottle.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of lime juice to each ice cube section of a tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer cubes to a sealed container or bag.
  • Refrigerate juice for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

With proper storage methods, you can keep fresh lime juice on hand to use in all your favorite recipes. Just be sure to label the container with the date and use within the recommended time frame.

Signs Your Lime Juice Has Gone Bad

Whether stored at room temperature, in the fridge, or freezer, here are the most common signs that your lime juice has spoiled and should be discarded:

Sign Appearance/Texture Smell Taste
Mold Fuzzy growth Musty Bitter, unpleasant
Fermentation Bubbles, fizzing Fermented, yeasty Vinegary, acidic
Loss of flavor Pale, watery Lacking citrus smell Muted, bland
Freezer burn Crystals, dry sections Same as fresh Dry, icy

Any lime juice displaying these traits should not be consumed and should be thrown away.

Can You Fix or Salvage Spoiled Lime Juice?

Unfortunately, there is no safe way to salvage lime juice that has gone bad. The spoiled juice contains microbes and enzymes that cannot be reversed back to freshness.

So don’t rely on tricks like boiling, adding salt or sugar, or straining bad lime juice. These methods cannot override the chemical changes that occur as the juice spoils. Any iffy juice should be discarded.

Should You Taste Test Bad Looking Lime Juice?

It is not recommended to taste lime juice that shows even visual signs of spoilage. Mold, fungus, and bacterial growth in spoiled juice can make you sick, even with just a small sip.

Err on the safe side and toss out the lime juice if you see any mold, bubbles, separation, sliminess, or change in color. Don’t rely on taste or smell alone to determine if it’s safe, as even a small taste of bad lime juice poses a health risk.

How to Use Up Lime Juice Before It Goes Bad

To avoid waste and get the most out of your fresh lime juice, here are some delicious ways to use it up quickly:

  • Marinades: Add lime juice to marinades for chicken, fish, pork, or shrimp.
  • Dressings: Whisk together lime juice, oil, herbs and spices for a bright salad dressing.
  • Sauces: Stir lime juice into mayo or Greek yogurt to top tacos, burgers, sandwiches.
  • Beverages: Use in cocktails, lemonade, tea, or mocktails. Freeze into popsicles for a refreshing summer treat.
  • Baking: Add to cookie dough, cake batter, or pie filling for a tangy citrus kick.
  • Preserves: Mix with chopped fruit to make quick jams, chutneys, and curds.

With creative use, you can take fresh lime juice from fridge to table before it ever has a chance to spoil. So don’t let it languish – put that zesty citrus flavor to work!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get sick from spoiled lime juice?

Yes, consuming spoiled lime juice can make you sick. The bacteria, mold, and fungi that cause foodborne illness can grow in the juice if left at room temperature too long. Even small amounts of tainted lime juice can trigger food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Can lime juice be frozen more than once?

It’s best to avoid freezing previously frozen lime juice. Each freeze/thaw cycle degrades the quality and can lead to more separation of the juice from the pulp. For best results, freeze fresh lime juice once and keep frozen until ready to use.

Is bottled lime juice as good as fresh?

Bottled and pasteurized lime juice can keep for over a year, but lacks the fresh flavor of juice squeezed right from limes. If using bottled, read labels and choose 100% lime juice without added sugar or preservatives.

Can you substitute lemon juice for lime juice?

In a pinch, lemon juice can work as a substitute for lime juice, though the flavor profile is different. Use the same quantity as lime juice called for, and add a pinch of sugar or zest to balance the lemon’s more tart, sour notes if needed.

Does lime juice tenderize meat?

Yes! The acid in lime juice acts as a tenderizing agent for meats. Marinate tougher cuts of beef, pork, or chicken in lime juice for 1-2 hours before cooking to help break down fiber and connective tissue.


Fresh lime juice adds vibrant flavor but only keeps for about a week in the fridge. For longer shelf life, freeze lime juice in airtight containers. Discard any juice that shows signs of spoilage like fuzz, strange smells or tastes. With proper storage, lime juice can stay fresh for use in various drinks, sauces, dressings, marinades, and baked goods. Keep this guide handy to get the most shelf life out of your fresh lime juice.

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