Preserved Lemons Recipe

(21 ratings)

photo of preserved lemons
Preparation Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins

Preserved lemons are a delicious store-cupboard ingredient that no keen cook should be without. If you love preserving and makingchutney recipes, why not try your hand at our homemade preserved lemons recipe?

A great addition to North African and South-Asian inspired recipes, lemons are really easy to preserve using rock salt and spices and taste great when added into tagines and vegetable dishes. Preserved lemons are an essential ingredient in North African cuisines, particularly in Morocco where they’re used in tagines and many other dishes. The intense lemony flavour and almost floral fragrance of preserved lemons packs a real flavour punch, meaning you only need to use a little at a time.

Salt is used to preserve lemons. The salt draws out the juices and helps them soften the lemon for a less bitter peel that you can use in lots of different ways; whether it’s in super salads or chicken stews, you’ll find plenty of recipes that call for a zingy hit of preserved lemon. In Cambodia, they often add preserved lemon to chicken soup, and you could also add a preserved lemon to your roast chicken. In the summer, try a little preserved lemon with barbecued fish or squid.

To make our preserved lemons, all you’ll need is a big sterilized jar (Kilner jars look great with preserved lemons inside) and a good amount of rock salt. Pop the finished product on your kitchen shelf once you’re done and you’ll have a colourful kitchen decoration that tastes as good as it looks.


1. Cut the lemons almost into quarters, leaving them attached at the stalk end. Scatter a tablespoon of salt in the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle a spoonful of salt into each lemon, push them back into shape and push into the jar, inserting the bay leaves, peppercorns and cinnamon sticks at intervals. Press down well on the lemons to extract as much juice as possible. Spoon the remaining salt over the lemons.

2. Squeeze the remaining lemons and strain the juice into the jar so that the lemons are completely covered. Top up with a little water if necessary.

3. Seal, label and store in a cool, dark place for a month before using.


  • 12 small un-waxed lemons
  • 200g (7oz) rock salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

you will need

  • A tall, sterilized 1 litre (1 3/4 pt) jar with a vinegar proof lid
Top Tip for making Preserved Lemons

The finely chopped rind is delicious added to home-made tartar sauce to accompany simpley grilled fish. Alternatively, place a couple of pieces of preserved lemon in the cavity of a chicken with a sprig of thyme before roasting.