Preserved Lemons Recipe

Preserved lemons are useful in all sorts of recipes, and they're a breeze to make.

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Depending on your neighborhood, or how far you're willing to travel, you can likely buy a jar of preserved lemons ready to eat. It's just as easy, however, to make them yourself. While you're most likely to find preserved lemons in traditional preparations—Algerian couscous dishes fragrant with olives and raisins, Indian curries, Tunisian chickpea stews, and, yes, the Moroccan chicken tagine—they're a worthy addition to a wide spectrum of meals.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 336 hrs
Makes: 8 to 10 preserved lemons

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  • 8 to 10 whole lemons
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


  1. Trim 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of each lemon. Split each lemon lengthwise into quarters, keeping quarters connected at base. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with salt and sugar. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

  2. The next day, the lemons will have released a lot of liquid. Transfer entire contents of bowl to a sterilized canning jar, pressing lemons down firmly until they are completely submerged in liquid. Seal jars and store in refrigerator for at least 2 weeks and up to 6 months.

Special equipment

Sterilized quart-sized canning jars

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