Should I blend a whole lemon?

Lemons are an extremely versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of dishes, drinks, and home remedies. Some people prefer blending whole lemons, rind and all, to unlock the full potential of this bright, refreshing citrus. However, there are also reasons why you may want to avoid putting an entire lemon in the blender. This article will examine the pros and cons of blending whole lemons to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

Pros of Blending Whole Lemons

Here are some potential benefits of putting a whole lemon in the blender:

Maximizes Nutrients and Flavor

The peel and pith (white spongy part) of lemons contain high concentrations of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds like antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and soluble fiber. By blending the entire fruit, you get the maximum nutritional value and bolder, more intense lemon flavor. The peel contributes tartness while the juice provides bright citrus notes.

Adds Texture

Leaving the peel on while blending gives your drinks or recipes some texture. The tiny grated particles of lemon zest integrate smoothly into beverages like lemonade, smoothies, and cocktails. In savory dishes like sauces, curries, and soups, the flecks of peel provide visual appeal and variety.

Easier than Zesting

Zesting lemons with a grater or zester can be tedious and time-consuming. Adding a whole lemon to the blender requires minimal prep and allows you to skip this step while still harnessing the powerful peel flavors.

Versatile Uses

From dressings and marinades, to cleaning solutions and air fresheners, blended whole lemons have many handy applications around the home. The sky’s the limit when you have zesty, concentrated lemon juice and pulp at your fingertips.

More Economical

Using the entire lemon means less food waste and better value for money. With just a few lemons, you can impart citrus flavor to large batches of recipes.

Cons of Blending Whole Lemons

On the other hand, there are a few downsides to consider when putting a whole lemon in the blender:

Can Make Food Bitter

The white pith of lemon peel contains a compound called limonin, which has an intensely bitter taste. While a small amount blended into dressing or sauces is usually fine, larger quantities can make foods unpleasantly bitter.

Unpleasant Mouthfeel

The texture of shredded lemon peel is not always seamless or smooth. Foods like soups and smoothies may end up with a gritty, grainy, or slimy mouthfeel when blended with whole lemons.

Not Ideal for Cocktails

Adding whole lemons to cocktails can make drinks taste unpleasantly astringent. For the best flavor in mixed drinks, it’s usually better to hand squeeze the lemon juice only.

Can Cause Gastrointestinal Upset

Some people’s digestive systems react poorly to consuming large amounts of citrus peel and pith. This may lead to symptoms like heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, or an upset stomach.

Latex Cross-Reactivity

The proteins in lemon peel may cause allergic reactions in people with latex fruit syndrome. Those with this condition should avoid ingesting too much lemon zest.

Not Organic

Non-organic lemons are often waxed or sprayed with chemicals. Blending the peel could introduce unwanted pesticides, fertilizers, and coatings into your food.

Can Damage Appliances

Lemons are highly acidic, so frequent blending of whole lemons may damage blenders and processors over time as citric acid eats away at rubber and metal parts.

Should You Blend a Whole Lemon?

Whether or not to blend whole lemons comes down to personal preference and what you’re making. Here are some general tips:

  • Use organic lemons if leaving the peel on.
  • Remove seeds first to avoid bitterness.
  • Start with just a small amount of peel and add more to taste.
  • Strain out peel particles if texture is unappealing.
  • Juice citrus first before putting the whole fruit in a blender.
  • Avoid adding whole lemons to appliances you want to preserve.
  • Remove peel before blending drinks that should be smooth.

Here is a table summarizing when it’s best to blend whole lemons versus just the juice:

Better to Use Whole Lemon Better to Use Juice Only
Dressings, sauces, marinades Cocktails, mixed drinks
Soups, stews, curries Tea, coffee
Casseroles, grains, baked goods Lemonade, lemon water
Smoothies, juices Desserts, custards, pies
Homemade cleaners Anything where texture is important

Recipe Ideas Using Whole Blended Lemons

Here are just a few tasty ways to use up blended whole lemons:

Lemon Dijon Dressing

Blend together 1 whole lemon, 1⁄4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salads.

Lemon Hummus

In a food processor, blend 1 whole lemon, 1 can chickpeas, 2 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 garlic clove, and salt to make a lemony chickpea dip.

Lemon & Ginger Chicken

Puree 2 lemons, chopped ginger, garlic, and spices to marinate chicken thighs or breasts before baking.

Lemon Curd

Whisk together 2 blended lemons, 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, and 1⁄4 cup butter over low heat until thickened to make a bright custard filling.

Lemon Basil Pesto

Process 2 whole lemons, fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil, and garlic in a food processor for a zesty pesto sauce.

Lemon Frosted Cookies

Beat 2 blended lemons into powdered sugar icing and spread over cookies for a refreshing citrus glaze.

Lemon All-Purpose Cleaner

Mix equal parts water and blended lemons in a spray bottle. Wipe down surfaces to disinfect kitchens and bathrooms.


Blending whole lemons makes it easy to enjoy their full flavor, nutrients, and versatility in a variety of recipes. However, the peel can also add unwanted bitterness, make foods gritty, and may not suit all palates. Consider your flavor preferences, food textures, appliance concerns, and whether organic lemons are available before deciding if blending whole lemons is the right choice. When used wisely, this simple trick can take your cooking to the next level.

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