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. Is it possible to freeze half or quarter cut limes keeping them in the skin for mixers for your favorite drink.

    • I haven’t tried that. If I was guessing I’d say they will freeze but be softer than usual when they thaw. Let me know if you try it!

  2. Do you scoop out frozen lemon/lime juice from the glass jar to thaw on the counter? Or do you just take the small glass jar out and let it the frozen juice in it thaw on the counter? Can you just put the jar back in the freezer to refreeze what’s left?

    • I actually take the lid off the jar and microwave very briefly (depending on how much lemon juice I need). Then I do put the jar back in the freezer.

      Of course, when I think ahead I do thaw it on the counter, but I don’t always remember to do that. And I have refrozen it with either method.

  3. You can also freeze whole lemons.

  4. In an effort to drink more water while giving it some natural flavour, I found your guide and have found it very useful. I have just tried juicing limes and putting the juice in an ice stick tray for sodastream bottles. One stick in a bottle makes a refreshing fizzy lime water. One thing I found was that when I removed the sticks from the tray, and moved them into a ziploc bag, they felt slippery or greasy, like they hadn’t frozen completely solid even though they were. Is this normal or do I just have to turn the temp down some more in my freezer? Everything else in my freezer is solid but I was wondering if due to the acidity maybe it wouldn’t freeze completely? Any thoughts or advice?

    • I wish I could fully answer that, but I freeze my lemon and lime juice in glass bottles and then thaw in the microwave, so I don’t ever actually touch the juice. I’m guessing you’re right though, that the acid keeps it from freezing solid like water would.

      • That’s okay. I am going to try this with lemons soon so I will see if this issue happens with lemons as well. As a tip for anyone interested in trying the sodastream route, when you add the ice stick, be ready to clamp the lid on the bottle right away otherwise it will foam up and spray you. So just add the lime/lemon ice stick, clamp the top of quickly and leave it in the fridge. The ice stick should dissolve in about an hour or so in the fridge, probably faster if taking it to work. Great citrus flavour!

    • Thanks for that info!

  5. I am having a problem with my frozen lemon juice. I juiced a crate of lemons and froze the juice in red plastic cups with the amount to make a recipe of lemonade. My problem is the juice has a terrible taste after a couple of days of making it into lemonade. Are the cups my problem? I have also let the juice thaw enough to slip out of the cup and then put it in the pitcher with some water to let it finish thawing. I put the pitcher in the refrigerator. I have about 30 cups with lemon juice and I hate to lose it!!!!!! Thanks 

    • I have never frozen lemon juice in anything but glass jars. So I can’t say for sure, but I am guessing the plastic cups aren’t a good way to freeze it. Do they have a tight lid? I wish I had advice, but I don’t really know what to do about this. I might try thawing all the juice and freezing in glass or thick-plastic containers with a tight lid.

  6. Thanks for this. I do live I. California. Problem is my lemon tree in my backyard (and yes it was one of the reasons we rented this house. Def closed the deal) produces lemons once a tear. Usually between Christmas and maybe February 1.i like to have lemon juice around tear round and this years crop came at a time when I’m trying to cut out sugar so my lemonade addiction will have to suffer. So I have to freeze them. I have frozen whole lemons in the past but when u remove them the skins seem to slip off really easy. Will definitely freeze the juice this time. 

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  8. This is what I am about to do…I just bought my lemons and ready to freeze the juice, but I have a question. Is it possible to freeze the zest in the juice. or maybe separate? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I am fortunate to have 4 huge lemon trees in my yard but fruit trees are seasonal so only get fruit once a year.
      Last year I had over 3000 lemons but they are not a popular item where I live so had trouble giving them away.
      About 2000 went back to the ground. I love lemons and spend hours searching for recipes and home cleaning solutions. During the season my house is lemony fresh and I am sure my body odour is also lemony fresh. Anyhow, most of my recipes also call for zest. I take the whole lemon and place in freezer bag and freeze until needed. I then zest whilst frozen and then thaw and juice. They keep in freezer without deterioration for about 10 months.

      • Oh how I would love to have a lemon tree! Thanks for sharing that idea; I will definitely try it.