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How Much Juice is in a Lemon?

Many recipes require the juice of one lemon or the zest of one lemon. But exactly how much juice is in a lemon anyway? And how much zest is in a lemon?

In order to figure out how much juice and zest are in a lemon we used medium lemons weighing about 3.6 ounces for our test sample. There are 4 to 5 lemons in 1 pound. On average, one lemon has 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in it. One lemon also has 1 tablespoon of lemon zest in it.

So if a recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon you can substitute 2 tablespoons of bottled juice. Or if it calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and you'd rather use fresh you can just take the juice from 1/2 a lemon. Fresh lemon juice is often more complex than bottled so it's best to use it when you can.

Did you know that the lemon tree is an evergreen tree? Lemons turn from green to yellow because of temperature changes, not ripeness. And most likely the lemon originated from Asia, around Northeast India, North Burma, and China.

So now you can be confident that 2 tablespoons is how much juice is in a lemon. Having trouble juicing lemons? We highly recommended getting a hand juicer, such as the Bellemain Squeezer because it makes juicing lemons, limes, and oranges so much easier. If you are struggling to get the zest off, look into a zester, or better yet a microplane, which will also work with Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, garlic and ginger!

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Custom Conversions for Lemon

One Lemon Equals

  • There is 1 Tablespoon (15 mls) of Lemon Zest in a Lemon
  • There is 2 Tablespoons (30 mls) of Lemon Juice in a Lemon
I need:


You need 16 Lemons

Want a Fancy Cocktail?

Full Recipe: Smoked Manhattan Cocktail

What Is a Lemon

Lemons are a type of citrus fruit that grow on small evergreen trees. They are native to South Asia and northern India, but are now grown all over the world.

When ripe, the oval or round fruits weigh 3 or 4 ounces and have a bright yellow color with very tart pale yellow to yellow flesh that grows in sections divided by membranes, like oranges.

They have bitter seeds that are not poisonous.

They are high in vitamin C and pectin.

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Is a Lemon a Fruit or Vegetable?

Lemons are tart little fruits that grow on small evergreen trees.

They are used in sweet and savory dishes, and for cleaning and cosmetic purposes. The flesh, juice and rind are used for cooking. The oil is more commonly used for cleaning and cosmetics.

What Are the Types of Lemons?

Lisbon and Eureka lemons are the varieties most commonly found in grocery stores, but they aren’t usually sold by variety. Meyer lemons are a cross between a sweet orange and a lemon and have a lower acid content than other lemons. Meyer lemons are often larger and sweeter than other lemons.

Preserved lemons have been preserved with salt and are available in jars. They are used in Mediterranean recipes and have a very strong flavor.

What Does a Lemon Look and Taste Like?

Lemons are usually elliptical or round in shape and can have a nipple shaped protuberance on the end opposite the stem. They have a thick peel that is yellow on the outside when ripe. The flesh is separated into sections by membranes, like oranges and limes.

Most have seeds, which don't taste good but are not poisonous. They are mouth puckeringly tart, though the different varieties can vary in acidity.

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What Is a Lemon Good For and Used In?

Lemons are used in sweet dishes like pudding, cakes, and bars, in savory dishes with vegetables, and in pork, chicken, beef and fish dishes. Their bright flavor can lighten up a fatty or heavy dish.

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What are Good Substitutes for Lemons?

Lemons can be replaced with oranges or limes.

Lemon juice in recipes can be replaced with the same amount of lime or orange juice, half as much vinegar or white wine, or a few drops of lemon extract. The substitutions may affect flavor. Bottled lemon juice can be substituted in equal amounts for fresh lemon juice.

Lemon juice can replace cream of tartar in baking recipes; use ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of water for each teaspoon of lemon juice.

Can I Feed Lemons to My Dog, Cat, or Other Pet?

Lemons are not toxic to dogs, but the citric acid in them can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Cats are even more sensitive, but they usually avoid citrus scents.

Birds such as adult parrots like lemons, but feed them only as occasional treats because they are so acidic.

Lizards should not be fed lemons because of the acidity.

Does a Lemon Give You Gas?

Not usually. The acid in lemons can actually help break down your food and decrease gas.

How to Store Lemons

Lemons should be stored in a closed container in the refrigerator to prevent moisture loss and decay.

How Long Do Fresh Lemons Last at Room temperature?

Lemons will keep for a few days at room temperature, but they lose moisture and freshness quickly.

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How to Store Cut Fresh Lemons

Cut fresh lemons can be wrapped with plastic wrap or stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. They will last a few days.

How to Store Lemons in the Refrigerator

Lemons should be stored in a sealed bag in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. They will last up to a month.

Can You Freeze Lemons and if so How?

To freeze lemons, wash and dry them, then place them in a sealed plastic bag and squeeze out all the air, then store them in the freezer.

Or cut them into wedges by placing the lemon on a cutting board and cutting diagonally through them to make an X. This will give you four pieces that can be cut in half to give you eight pieces if you have a large lemon.

You can also slice the lemons into halves or slices, cutting across the lemon from side to side, not end to end.

Place the pieces onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, making sure they aren’t touching. Once they are frozen, you can place them in a plastic bag, squeeze out all the air, and store them in the freezer. Then you can pull out as many pieces as you need, and keep the rest in the freezer for later use. Use frozen lemons within four months.

Alternatively, to freeze the juice, use a citrus juicer to juice your lemons and freeze the juice in mini ice cube trays. Place the cubes in a zipper lock bag and squeeze out all the air, then store them in the freezer and pull out as many as you need when you are cooking.

How to Cut Lemons

Lemons can be cut into halves, slices, or wedges. To cut a lemon, place it on a cutting board with the stem end on one side. To make halves, cut across the middle of the lemon, not from the stem end. To make wedges, cut through the lemon in an X pattern. This will give you four wedges, which can each be cut in half to make eight smaller wedges. To cut slices, start from one end and cut straight across the lemon.

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How to Clean Lemons

Wash fresh lemons in cool running water, and dry them before using or storing them.

Can I Eat the Skin of a Lemon or Should I Peel It First?

Lemons aren’t usually eaten as fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, so they don’t need to be peeled, but the peel is used as flavoring in many recipes. Preserved lemon peel is an Asian snack food.

How to Slice Lemons

Lemons are commonly sliced into halves, slices, and wedges. To slice a lemon into any of these shapes, place it on a cutting board with the stem end to one side. To cut a lemon in half, cut across it in the middle so the stem end is on one half and the opposite end is on the other half.

To make slices, start at one end and cut across the lemon. Discard the stem end and the opposite end.

To make wedges, cut through the lemon in an X pattern. This will give you large wedges, which can be cut in half lengthwise if you want smaller wedges.

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How to Chop or Cube Lemons

Not relevant for lemons

How to Dice or Mince Lemons

Not relevant for lemons.

How to Zest Lemons

Use a microplane grater or the finest side of a grating box to remove the zest, which is the very thin yellow surface of the lemon. Avoid grating any deeper than that, because the pith, or the white part between the zest and the flesh, is very bitter. Tap the grater on a cutting board to knock the zest loose.

If you want the flavor but not the texture of lemon zest, use a vegetable peeler to remove very thin strips of the zest. Pare the pieces the long way on the lemon so you have long strips, which can be simmered in your recipe and then are easily removed.

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How to Mash or Puree Lemons

Not relevant for lemons

How to Grate or Shred Lemons

Not relevant for lemons

How to Make Lemon Juice

Microwaving the whole lemon for 30 seconds first or rolling it on the counter under a little pressure before juicing it can help loosen the juice.

Place a lemon on a cutting board with the stem at one end, and cut across the middle so the stem is on one end. Place a half cut side down into a citrus juicer, then squeeze.

If you don't have a juicer, you can cut the lemon in half and squeeze it with your hands. You should do this over a bowl so that you can remove the seeds, or squeeze with one hand and let the juice drain through the fingers of the other hand so that your fingers catch the seeds.

If you only need a little bit of lemon juice, you can make a small hole in the end of the lemon opposite the stem end with a skewer or a chopstick, then just hold the lemon with the hole at the bottom and squeeze. Save the rest of the lemon in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out.

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Does a Lemon Have Seeds and Can I Eat Them? How do I Remove the Seeds?

Most lemons have seeds. Lemon seeds are not toxic, but they are bitter and hard and unpleasant to eat. Lemons aren't usually eaten, but you don't want the seeds to end up in your recipes.

If you use a citrus juicer to get the juice, it will keep the seeds out of the juice. If you are squeezing a lemon by hand, you can hold your other hand under the lemon and use your fingers to catch the seeds. If you are using slices or wedges, you can see the seeds and remove them with the tip of a small paring knife.

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Can I Eat Lemon Greens?

Lemon leaves are not poisonous, they are rarely eaten. Some folks do enjoy using the leaves to make tea.

How to Store Lemon

General How to Store Lemon Info

You can usually squeeze more juice from a thin skinned lemon, but it is easier to remove the zest from a thicker skinned one.

Short Term Lemon Storage

If kept out of the direct sunlight, lemons can be stored at room temperature for approximately 1 week.

Lemons stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator will last for up to 3 weeks.

Once a lemon is cut, wrap it tightly in plastic and store in the refrigerator; it will keep 3 or 4 days before its flavor begins to diminish.

Lemon Side Notes

After salt and pepper, lemon may be the most commonly used flavoring ingredient in the culinary arts.

Looking for Something a Little Different?

Full Recipe: Citrus Cured Salmon Sous Vide

What is the Produce Converter?

One of the biggest hassles when cooking and working in the kitchen is when a recipe calls for "the juice of 1 lime" or a similar measurement. Often times when cooking people use bottled juices, pre-sliced vegetables and other convenient cooking time savers. Produce Converter will help you convert the "juice of 1 lime" and other similar recipe instructions into tablespoons, cups and other concrete measurements.

Produce Converter can also be used to figure out how many vegetables to buy when you need, for instance, "A cup of diced onion." You can use our easy conversion tool to figure out exactly how many onions you need to buy at the store in order to end up with the amount you need for your cooking.

We hope you enjoy Produce Converter and if you have any suggestions for how we can improve it and make your cooking easier please let us know.

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