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What to do with lemons without rind?

Lemons are a versatile and healthy citrus fruit that can be used in a variety of recipes. However, the bright yellow outer peel contains essential oils and compounds that provide much of lemons’ unique flavor. So what do you do when life gives you lemons without rind?

Why Would You Have Lemons Without Rind?

There are a few reasons why you may end up with lemons that have had the rind removed:

  • You bought pre-peeled and packaged lemon segments
  • You peeled the lemons yourself to use just the flesh
  • The lemons were damaged and the rind peeled off

Packaged lemon segments are convenient for quick cooking and baking. Peeling lemons yourself removes the bitterness from the rind. And damaged, peeled lemons can still be used creatively in recipes.

What Can You Use Lemon Flesh For?

While lemon peel contains the most concentrated lemon flavor, the flesh still provides tart citrus taste. Here are some ways to use up lemons without rind:


Add lemon flesh to water, iced tea, lemonade, or cocktails for a boost of flavor. Muddle the lemon to release the juices.


Chop up lemon flesh to toss into fresh green salads, grain bowls, pasta salads, or slaws. The acid brightens other ingredients.


Lemons pair perfectly with fish and shellfish. Use lemon flesh in ceviches, salmon marinades, or shrimp cocktail sauce.

Baked goods

Bring lemon flavor to cakes, cookies, scones, and bars. Add zest or use lemon juice in the recipe liquid.

Sauces and spreads

Jazz up hummus, yogurt dressing, vinaigrettes, and marinades with lemon flesh. Blend up with herbs and seasonings.


Make lemon curd, mousse, sorbet, or ice cream. Use flesh instead of whole lemons and adjust sugar to taste.

Drink infusions

Steep lemon flesh in hot water for lemon-scented tea. Or let sit in alcohol or vinegar for DIY limoncello and shrubs.


Add lemon pieces to the cavity when roasting chicken or fish. Toss into rice pilaf or orzo. Use in soup stocks and sauces.


Cut up lemon flesh for pickled lemons in Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine. Pickle in a salty brine for a few weeks.


Lemons are a natural deodorizer. Rub cut lemon over surfaces to remove odors and disinfect the kitchen.

Recipe Ideas Using Lemons Without Rind

Here are some tasty recipes that put lemons without peel to use:

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This Greek-inspired soup is packed with lemon flavor from the flesh and juice. Chicken and orzo make it hearty and filling.

Ingredients Quantity
Chicken broth 6 cups
Skinless chicken thighs 1 pound
Orzo pasta 1 cup
Lemon flesh, chopped 1 lemon
Fresh parsley 1/4 cup
Lemon juice 3 tablespoons
Olive oil 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper To taste

Simmer chicken in broth until cooked through. Remove chicken and shred. Cook orzo in broth. Add chicken, lemons, parsley and seasonings back to pot. Finish with lemon juice and olive oil.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

These fluffy breakfast pancakes get a double dose of lemon from both the flesh and the juice.

Ingredients Quantity
All-purpose flour 1 cup
Baking powder 2 teaspoons
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar 2 tablespoons
Milk 1 cup
Eggs 2
Ricotta cheese 1/2 cup
Lemon flesh 1 lemon
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon
Butter for cooking As needed

Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix in wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Cook pancakes on a buttered griddle or pan.

Lemon Basil Side Salad

Lemons add a pop of flavor and color to this fresh veggie salad accented with basil.

Ingredients Quantity
Cucumbers 2, sliced
Cherry tomatoes 1 cup
Red onion 1/4 cup, thinly sliced
Lemon flesh 1 lemon, chopped
Fresh basil 1/4 cup, torn
Olive oil 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper To taste

Toss together cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, lemons and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Lemon Blueberry Crisp

This easy dessert highlights the natural pairing of lemons and blueberries.

Ingredients Quantity
Blueberries 4 cups
Lemon juice 2 tablespoons
Cornstarch 1 tablespoon
Oats 1 cup
Brown sugar 1/2 cup
Flour 1/4 cup
Butter 1/4 cup, melted

Toss blueberries with lemon juice and cornstarch. Pour into baking dish. Mix oats, brown sugar, flour and butter, then sprinkle over berries. Bake at 375F until topping is crisp.

Tips for Cooking with Lemons Without Rind

Make the most of lemons sans peel with these handy tips:

  • Add lemon flesh at the end of cooking so it doesn’t get too bitter.
  • Use more lemons than a recipe calls for to boost the citrus flavor.
  • Replace lemon zest with chopped lemon flesh when possible.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice over dishes before serving for a burst of freshness.
  • Pair lemons with basil, berries, stone fruits, and seafood.
  • Infuse lemon flesh in oil or vinegar to make salad dressings.
  • Juice lemons and freeze for later use.

Creative Ways to Use up Leftover Lemons

Don’t let those leftover lemons go to waste! Here are a few creative ways to use up every last bit:


  • Disinfect cutting boards by rubbing with half a lemon.
  • Clean stainless steel kitchen sinks and appliances with lemon halves.
  • Remove stains and whiten bathtubs with a lemon half dipped in baking soda.
  • Freshen garbage disposals by freezing lemon pieces and running through disposal.


  • Lighten hair naturally by mixing lemon juice with water or conditioner.
  • Brighten skin and fade age spots using lemon juice mixed into your moisturizer.
  • Soften dry elbows and heels by rubbing with a half lemon.


  • Make lemon sugar by dehydrating lemon slices mixed with sugar.
  • Candy citrus peels dipped in sugar or chocolate.
  • Flavor olive oil or vinegar by infusing with lemon pieces.
  • Dry and grind into lemon pepper seasoning.

Health Uses

  • Soothe sore throats by drinking warm lemon water with honey.
  • Support immune system by adding lemon juice to hot tea with ginger.
  • Aid digestion by drinking lemon water before meals.
  • Freshen breath by sucking on a lemon slice after meals.


While lemon rind contains the most intense lemon essence, the flesh still provides plenty of citrus flavor. Use lemons without peel creatively in marinades, dressings, baked goods, beverages and more. Enhance the flavor by pairing with herbs like basil, seafood, or berries. And be sure to use up every last bit of leftover lemons around the house with these cleaning, beauty, cooking and health tips.

With some creativity and smart use of supporting ingredients, lemons without rind can still pack a flavorful, zesty punch.