Kalyn's Kitchen

Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice

Freezing Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice is one of my favorite freezer tricks, and this post has tips for how I do it! 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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    102 Comments on “Tips for Freezing Fresh Lemon Juice and Lime Juice”

  1. If you have a favorite lemon meringue pie recipe, just use a muffin tin to freeze premeasured amounts of lemon juice for your recipe. Once the juice is frozen, invert the muffin tin on your counter, lay a hot cloth on top of it until the lemon juice 'muffins' fall out, then throw them all in a zippered plastic bag to freeze for use later.

  2. Murph, lucky you. I would love to have a lime tree! Glad it was useful for you.

  3. Just found your lovely site while researching info about freezing fresh lime juice. I live in Orlando; last year planted a key lime (aka Mexican lime) tree that was small enough to fit in the my car's back seat. Miraculously it's 4 times the size now and has produced hundreds of delicious limes. Thought small, their flavor is intense with lots of juice. Thank you so much for your recipes & freezing tips which I'll include when I give them away to family & friends. Now there won't be any waste!

  4. I knew you it! I was meant to find your blog to find brilliant tips such as freezing fresh juice. lol Seriously, thanks for posting this. Definitely a valuable idea. 🙂

  5. Dolphin Lady, lucky you to have all that fresh citrus juice. That must be lovely to have in the freezer.

  6. I juice oranges and grapefruits and fill up plastic juice bottles and freeze them – fresh juice year around!! I usually get tons of free oranges and grapefruits, especially if I am willing to pick them, twice a year. Live in AZ where there is an abundance of citrus trees! Just got a box of lemons today, so thanks for the tips on freezing lemon juice. We use it to make lemonade, so smaller containers will be better. Or I may just throw the whole fruit in the freezer:-)

  7. I had never thought of this and I think it is a great idea!! 😀

  8. Tony, I am LOVING the idea of iced green tea with lime. Going to try that right now.

  9. Great idea to freeze freshly squeezed juice. I live in South Florida, so getting fresh limes this time of year is not a problem for me, and fresh lime juice is great, and right now not too sour either. I agree the bottled juice is very sour by comparison.

    I love to make an iced green tea and add the juice of a whole lime, no sugar needed. It's about as refreshing as you can get in my opinion.

  10. Soulknitting, no problem! I just haven’t found a good brand of bottled fresh juice here.

  11. ::running and ducking:: I use a glass-bottled organic lemon juice from ‘Santa Cruz’ that is ‘not from concentrate.’ I am always adding to my drinking water and I find that it tastes fine. But for many things, fresh is always better.

  12. I also buy the big bags of lemons at Costco, and I can generally use them up before they start to spoil, but you can imagine how much lemon juice goes into one’s diet at that rate! I’ve always got fresh lemons, but this is such a brilliant idea for when you run out of fresh or for when they are so expensive it makes your head spin. I’m off to juice some lemons!

  13. Grace, can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t work for oranges too.

  14. What a great idea! I wonder if this would work for oranges as well. They are also a seasonal find (if you want sweet, juicy ones!)

  15. Thanks for confirming the use of the lemon squeezer. I’ve had one in my kitchen since my mother-in-law passed away ten years ago, but I wasn’t sure what it was for. Also like to see that you, too, use glass in the freezer. I have lots of 4 ounce baby food jars, which is a great size, because my parrot loves the toddler hot dogs.

  16. Thanks Margo!

    Kim, I do think you could sub butternut squash for the sweet potato. It might cook a bit more quickly though. Let me know how it turns out!

  17. I followed the link to your recipe for turkey and sweet potato soup, and since I have butternut squash on hand I was wondering do you think I could sub the squash for the sweet potato? Thanks, love your blog and recipes.

  18. Wow, that is a very good idea and I love your lime squeezer!!!

  19. I’ve been planning to try veggie stock, but haven’t made it yet. I thought this post from Veggie Yum Yum looked like a good recipe.

  20. Kalyn you are an inspiration, as always!

    I have lately been using veggie stock a lot, but the purchased kinds vary so much from brand to brand that you never quite know what you are going to get.

    Do you have a good recipe for veggie stock?

    I’d love to make up a batch and freeze it!