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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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. After squeezing the limes pour into ice cube or candy trays.
    Ice cube tray size can vary, but standard trays usually hold one ounce in each cube well (this is the same as 2 tablespoons).
    That way you can freeze it and either keep it in a tray in the freezer covered or after frozen break the cubes free and put them into ziplock freezer bags and return to freezer.
    As needed take out only what you need from the ziplock bag instead of having to wait on thawing the jar to get what you require.

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  5. I might have missed it, but how long does it last in the freezer?

    • I use it pretty frequently so I'm guessing mine never stays in there more than 2-3 months, but I'm sure it will last at least 6 months, maybe longer.

  6. how long does this take

    • Squeezing the lemons or limes takes 10-15 minutes if you have one of those big bags of lemons from Costco; the freezing time depends on how cold your freezer is, but I'd guess it takes 4-5 hours to be fully frozen.

  7. Love all these posts about freezing the lemon or lime juice. An interesting story about me making a lemon pie for this past Easter. This was the first time making it from scratch with natural lemons for the juice. My pie would not set and we all ate the pie with spoons..ha,ha. A friend asked me if I put too much lemon juice in it. I did, thinking it would be extra lemony. The pie did not set because of too much acidity. Who knew?

  8. I freeze mine in ice cube trays, 2 or 3 TBSP per cube, then i have what i will need. 🙂 thanks for the suggestion of freezing zest never thought of that one. 🙂

  9. Tracy, I think that will work just fine.

  10. I'm going to try freezing the juice in ice cube trays then putting that in a freezer bag…what do you think?

  11. Tami, lucky you to have a lemon tree!

  12. I freeze the juice from my Meyer Lemons from the back yard tree in ice cube trays and pop the frozen ones into freezer bags. The tree produces two crops of fruit a year and the juice lasts me from one crop to the next!

  13. Great post Kalyn! I've been freezing citrus juices in ice cube trays then putting them into ziplock freezer bags for years. Each ice cube compartment holds about 2 tablespoons of juice; good for when you want to thaw just a prescribed amount. I LOVE your citrus squeezer!!! 🙂

  14. GaKaye, I like to be able to put the jar in the microwave and melt a little, but there is no reason you couldn't store it in a bag if you're not doing that.

  15. Instead of using a jar, how about a ziplock bag? That way, you can store it flat in your freezer, and it should be pretty easy to break off a chunk of the frozen juice to use in a recipe. I haven't tried it yet, but it makes sense to me!

  16. Just wanted to say that I don't want to see bottled lemon juice disappear from the grocery shelves. It's the best de-mineralizer for the toilet and shower!!

  17. I've been using frozen and thawed lemon and lime juice in recipes for many, many years and haven't ever felt it was a problem.

  18. The question is: how to freeze lemon juice. The problem is is that lemon juice does not freeze like ice. So, how do you do it without compromising a recipe. Any ideas?

  19. In trying to move to a more real/whole foods diet this post has come in handy. I used to buy the bottled "Real Lemon" brand of juice, primarily to put in my tea and for lemon water. I like the idea of using real squeezed lemon but the inconvenience of needing fresh lemons on hand was daunting. Now I'll be able to freeze it in the amounts I want, which will have the added benefit of cooling off my hot tea to a drinkable level quicker as I plop in a lemon ice cube. 🙂

  20. Good idea to use a muffin tin to get a pre-measured amount! I do that with pesto but hadn't thought of it with lemon and lime juice.