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Kalyn's Kitchen

Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice is one of my favorite freezer tricks, and here are tips about how I squeeze the lemons and limes and freeze the juice! This helps me use every lemon or lime in those big bags you get at Costco!

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Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice top collage

Sometimes readers write to me with cooking questions which I sheepishly try to answer, reminding them that I’m a self-taught cook and might be breaking all kind of kitchen rules. One question that I’ve gotten more than once is “Can I use bottled lemon (or lime) juice in this recipe?” My answer is always an emphatic “NO!”

And that’s when I start telling them all the reasons they should be Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice! At first this seemed so obvious to me that I wondered if it was even worth making a post for the blog, but after I shared the idea with a few different women who told me it was brilliant, I decided others might also like hearing about it. Check out Cooking Tips for more tips I’ve shared on this blog

Why I love Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice:

  1. First and foremost, there is no substitute for the subtle, fresh, and slightly sour-citrus flavor of fresh lemon or lime juice.
  2. Keeping fresh lemons and limes around all the time can be problematic.
  3. If you live where fresh limes and lemons are expensive at certain times of the year, my tips for freezing the juice might be especially.
  4. By freezing lemon and lime juice I manage to have a supply of fresh-frozen lemon and lime juice on hand at all times.
  5. I buy those big bags at Costco, and this freezing trick helps me use them all, without any going bad.

Squeezing Fresh Lime Juice:

Lime being squeezed for Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

I cut the limes in half like the photo you see above. There are lots of different options for a lime or lemon squeezer (affiliate link) but I always use this citrus squeezer I got many years ago as a gift from my wonderful sister-in-law Lisa. 

Using funnel for Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

A funnel is your friend when you’re doing this job, because you don’t want to spill any of the flavorful juice. I recently bought a Cuisinart Citrus Juicer (affiliate link) and now I use that if I have a lot of limes to juice! Limes are never as juicy as lemons, so the lime juice is especially precious and the electric juicer gets out more of the juice..

Squeezing Fresh Lemon Juice:

squeezing lemons for Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

Unless they’re quite small, I cut the lemons in quarters, not only so they fit in the citrus squeezer better, but also so I can squeeze out every drop of juice. I love the way this squeezer catches the seeds!

using funnel for lemon juice for Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice
Once again, the funnel is your friend for this job. Even with a funnel, it looks like I spilled some of the precious lemon juice on my cutting board.

Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice:

bottles for freezer for Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

And here’s the reward for about 10 minutes of squeezing, or maybe a bit longer if you have to squeeze by hand. I re-purpose almost any small bottle that fits into the freezer door and sometimes I have six or eight bottles of frozen juice on hand. Lime and lemon juice will keep in the freezer for several months.

Some readers have expressed concern about using glass jars, and you shouldn’t fill them too full, but I’ve never had one break in the freezer. You can also freeze the juice in an ice cube tray if you prefer, then pop out the cubes and store in a ZipLoc bag. Measure the amount of one cube and that makes them easy to use in recipes.

How to Thaw the Frozen Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice:

  1. To use the juice, when possible let it thaw naturally by removing the bottle from the freezer an hour or so before it’s needed for a recipe and letting it sit on the counter.
  2. When you don’t have time for natural thawing, you can thaw in the microwave on a low temperature. Be careful not to let the juice get too warm when you’re thawing it or the flavor starts to break down.
  3. I don’t recommend putting the bottle with the frozen juice under hot water to thaw, or the glass may crack.
  4. If you have cubes that were frozen in an ice cube tray, just thaw them in a small dish, either on the counter or in the microwave.

Are you a fan of using lime juice or lemon juice in recipes? Let us know in the comments about how you use it!

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    96 Comments on “Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice”

  1. good idea! I’ve done this before, too so that I wouldn’t waste any lemons before going out of town. good to know I’m not the only super-frugal person! The juice comes in handy since my husband really likes homemade hummus.

  2. Cynthia, would not have guessed that even in a warm climate, limes and lemons can be expensive.

    Hilary, me too.

    Katrina, don’t waste those expensive lemons!

    Lydia, love the idea of using the lemon “cubes” for iced tea!

    FabFrugalFood, this changed my cooking life.

    Rachael, I don’t think I’ve seen the bottled juice that is pure lemon juice, so I’m talking about the ones that are artificial tasting. Will look for the pure lemon juice products, but haven’t seen anything like that here.

  3. While I totally agree that freezing fresh juice is best (and you can zest them first and freeze that too!) I also have to respectfully disagree about using bottled juice. If it is pure lemon juice there is really no noticeable difference, in my opinion! xoxo

  4. I am humbled.

    I cannot believe I haven’t been doing this! Believe me, I will start immediately! Like Lydia, I like the idea of freezing them in trays and then transferring them to ziplocs.

    That squeezer DOES look great! I’ve found that I like my citrus reamer best, but if I had that gadget I’d definitely try it.

  5. Inspired! I like to freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays, then I bag and freeze the cubes. I use them for iced tea all year long, but I think you could also use them for something stronger…

  6. Great ideam Kalyn – and your readers brought up a few I’d never heard of, like freezing them whole. I need to do this – I’m always leaving half-lemons in the fridge……..

  7. Thanks for this tip! I agree with the first commenter that artificial lemon juice does not taste nearly as good!

  8. Even though I live in a warm climate all year round, I still squeeze and store lime and lemon juice because when it is not in season the prices are outrageous and then there are times when it’s scarce. Barbados imports limes and lemons.

  9. I keep missing people who are writing comments at the same time I am! Maris, agree 100%. I never buy it, but I bet it would make a good cleaner.

  10. I appreciate the interest in this topic. However I can’t let people leave links for other types of lemon juice and lime juice products, even when they’re well intended. If I start to allow that, my comments will be over-run with people leaving “advertising” links.

  11. CJ, others have mentioned that too, good idea.

    Tamara, sounds fun! I’ll look for the Ikea shapes.

    Mark, glad you like the idea.

    Karina, no more wasting limes. They’re too precious to waste.

    Dazzlyn, thanks for the tips.

  12. In addition to nuking the fruit for a few seconds to help get out more juice; after that roll it around on the counter with the palm of your hand applying a little bit of pressure. that helps break down the tissue and you can get a little more juice.

  13. Totally agree! I use Real Lemon to clean my microwave – I don’t even think of it as edible!

  14. This is a fabulous post, Kalyn. I have (too many times) lost a bag of limes because I waited too long to use them. Now I’ll know enough to rescue the juice before it’s too late.

  15. This is a project my 10-year-old and I do frequently to keep citrus bought on sale. The ice cube tray is the best idea yet because of portion control. We also use them (frozen in fun shapes from trays we got at IKEA) in drinks for a little zip.

  16. Jbug, we were cross commenting! Great suggestions for other uses. Lucky you to have all that lovely juice!

  17. Don’t forget to zest them and freeze that too.

    citrus lover CJ

  18. Cookin’ Canuck, you’ll love having the fresh juice in the freezer, I promise!

    Anonymous, I do freeze wine too, and you’re right, it’s a great thing to have a small bit of for a recipe.

    Kevin, true! This is where it’s nice to have two freezers.

    Anonymous, another commenter also talked about that. I’ve done it a few times, but usually I forget.

    Cafe Cyan, love that squeezer!

    Michelle, never had a problem with glass in the freezer. Thanks for the reminder though, because that’s why you shouldn’t use hot water to defrost the juice. I’ll add that to the post.

  19. Great idea & the ice cube trays work perfectly. I too have frozen citrus whole and it works great for when cooking pork for carnitas.I live in one of those sunny climates and believe me, when we've a surplus you've just got to find a way to keep the extras. Needless to say as well as freezing we've got marmalade,limoncello,preserved kumpquats and the list goes on…

  20. This is a fanstastic idea! I have one question though, is a glass bottle okay to put into the freezer? It won’t crack?