How long is lemon juice good after opening?

Lemon juice is a handy kitchen staple that can add bright, citrusy flavor to everything from salad dressings to marinades. But like all fresh juices, lemon juice doesn’t last forever once opened. Knowing how long lemon juice stays fresh and how to store it properly can help you avoid wasting this versatile ingredient.

How Long Does Opened Lemon Juice Last in the Fridge?

Freshly squeezed lemon juice will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To maximize its shelf life:

  • Store in an airtight container like a mason jar or resealable plastic container.
  • Keep lemon juice in the fridge door rather than on the shelves, where temperature fluctuations are more common.
  • Squeeze a thin layer of lemon oil over the top of the juice before sealing to help block oxygen exposure.

Bottled lemon juice sold refrigerated in grocery stores lasts 5-10 days after opening. The added preservatives allow it to maintain quality longer than fresh-squeezed juice.

Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Yes, lemon juice eventually goes bad, even when stored in the refrigerator. Signs that lemon juice has gone bad include:

  • Cloudy appearance
  • Bitter, unpleasant taste
  • Fermented smell
  • Growth of yeast or mold

Discard lemon juice if you notice any of these changes, as spoiled juice can cause illness if consumed.

How to Tell if Lemon Juice Is Still Good

If you’re wondering “is this lemon juice still ok to use?” look for these signs of freshness:

  • Appearance: Juice should look transparent and free of pulp or sediment.
  • Smell: Fresh lemon juice has a strong, tangy citrus smell.
  • Taste: Juice should taste bright and sour, without bitterness or off-flavors.
  • Texture: Juice should feel smooth; separation of clear and cloudy layers means it’s old.

If your lemon juice passes all of these checks, it should be fine to use in recipes or drinks.

Does Lemon Juice Go Bad If Not Refrigerated?

Once opened, lemon juice will only last 24 hours at room temperature. The juice will quickly start to ferment, develop off-flavors, and become unsafe to ingest.

Never leave lemon juice unrefrigerated for more than a day. Discard any juice left out overnight.

How to Store Lemon Juice

Proper storage helps lemon juice retain freshness and maximize shelf life. Here are some tips:

  • Refrigerate after opening. Keep lemon juice chilled at 40°F or below.
  • Use airtight containers. Mason jars or containers with tight lids prevent oxygen exposure.
  • Freeze for longer storage. Frozen lemon juice stays good 4-6 months. Thaw in fridge before using.
  • Store zest separately. Lemon zest lasts longer dried and frozen.
  • Squeeze oil on top. A thin layer of lemon oil helps block air from juice.

How Long Does Lemon Juice Last in the Freezer?

Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of lemon juice. When frozen properly in airtight containers, lemon juice will last 4-6 months in the freezer before quality starts to decline.

To freeze lemon juice:

  • Pour fresh lemon juice into freezer-safe containers, leaving 1⁄2-inch headspace.
  • Seal containers tightly.
  • Label with date and contents.
  • Freeze for up to 6 months.

Thaw frozen lemon juice overnight in the fridge before using. Stir well before use as some separation may occur during freezing.

Can You Freeze Leftover Lemon Juice?

Yes, you can safely freeze leftover lemon juice. Freeze it in ice cube trays, then pop out the cubes and store in airtight freezer bags. This makes it easy to grab just a tablespoon or two of juice whenever you need it.

Frozen lemon juice cubes last 4-6 months in the freezer before quality decline. Thaw cubes overnight in the fridge or let sit at room temperature for an hour before using.

How Long Does Bottled Lemon Juice Last After Opening?

Commercially bottled lemon juice lasts longer than fresh lemon juice. An opened bottle will stay good for:

  • Refrigerated: 5-10 days
  • Pantry: 2-3 weeks
  • Freezer: 6-12 months

The shelf life depends on the best by date and how it’s stored after opening. Refrigeration extends the shelf life the most.

Does Reconstituted Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Reconstituted lemon juice is juice concentrated into a powder or concentrate. When water is added, it becomes regular juice again. An opened container of reconstituted lemon juice lasts:

  • Powder: 4-6 months in the pantry
  • Liquid concentrate: 1-2 weeks in the fridge

Discard reconstituted lemon juice if it smells unpleasant or tastes bitter. The concentrate may last a bit longer than fresh squeezed juice due to added preservatives.

Can You Freeze Reconstituted Lemon Juice?

Yes, reconstituted lemon juice can be frozen just like fresh lemon juice. Freeze it in ice cube trays or freezer containers. Properly frozen, it will last 4-6 months in the freezer.

Let reconstituted frozen lemon juice thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Give it a good stir once thawed.

Does Lemon Juice Lose Nutrients After Opening?

Nutrient Level After Opening
Vitamin C Slow decline over 3 days
Folate Rapid decline once exposed to air
Potassium Relatively stable for 5-7 days
Flavonoids Stable for up to 4 days refrigerated

In general, lemon juice begins losing some nutrients as soon as it is exposed to oxygen. But refrigeration helps slow the loss of most vitamins and minerals. Drink lemon juice within 3-5 days for best nutrient retention.

Tips for Using Up Leftover Lemon Juice

Don’t let leftover lemon juice go to waste! Here are tips for using up extra juice:

  • Make lemonade or add to fruit punch
  • Simmer with chicken, fish, or veggies
  • Mix into salad dressings and marinades
  • Add to pancake or waffle batter
  • Mix with olive oil for bread dip
  • Add to iced tea, water, or cocktails
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Freeze into lemon ice cubes


With proper refrigerated storage, opened lemon juice stays fresh 3-5 days. For longer shelf life, freeze leftover juice. Watch for signs of spoilage like cloudiness, bitterness, or mold growth. Drink refrigerated lemon juice within a week for best flavor and nutrient content. And be sure to use up leftovers, as lemon juice adds bright flavor to everything from salad dressings to seafood.

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