Cured Lemons

Bowl of lemons
Brian Yarvin/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Standing Time: 72 hrs
Total: 72 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
109 Calories
0g Fat
29g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 109
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 14148mg 615%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 0g
Calcium 20mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Preserved lemons are a popular ingredient in Moroccan and North African cooking and are often used in tagines made with lamb and vegetables. They are pickled in their own juices, along with salt and sugar, offering a strong, lemon flavor to a variety of dishes. Many recipes for preserved lemons call for using whole lemons, which can take weeks, but this version uses thin slices of the citrus meaning they'll be ready in just a few days.

The lemon slices are cured in salt and sugar, creating a very interesting and versatile preserve. Try to use as thin-skinned lemons as possible, and standard Eureka lemons will work better than the much sweeter Meyer lemons. 


  • 3 lemons (washed in hot water)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut the lemons into 1/8-inch thick slices and pick out any seeds from the lemon slices.

  2. Mix the salt and sugar together in a bowl.

  3. Cover the bottom of a small glass container with a layer of the salt and sugar mixture.

  4. Top with one layer of the sliced lemons and cover with another layer of the salt-sugar mixture.

  5. Repeat layering until all of the lemon slices and salt-sugar mixture is used.

  6. Seal the container and let stand at room temperature for 3 days.

  7. Enjoy.

How to Use

Preserved lemons can be used as an ingredient or condiment in a variety of recipes, including dressings, marinades, stews, lamb tagines, and Moroccan roasted chicken. They pair well with olives, artichokes, fish, potatoes, roasted vegetables, and even pasta dishes. You can use the entire lemon slice, pieces of the peel, or the juice.

How to Store

The mixture can be stored in a Mason jar and refrigerated where it will keep for several months.

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