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Preserved Lemons

Introduction & method

Preserved lemons are used extensively in North African cuisine. They add a sharp hit of lemon to tagines, stew, salads and dressings, and they go brilliantly with seafood and chicken. Once you open a jar of preserved lemons, it will keep in the fridge for at least a year.

Preserved Lemons Recipe

Prep the Lemons

I your lemons are waxed, just run them under hot water and scrub the skins lightly with a clean scouring pad - this will remove the wax. Cut the nubs off the ends and make two cuts at right angles from the nub end almost to the stem end - you'll end up with 4 quarters still attached to each other. Pick out the pips if you like.

Salt the Lemons

Spoon about 1 tbsp of salt into each lemon - massage it a bit so the salt sticks to the flesh.

Jar the Lemons

You'll need 1 or 2 sterile glass jars, depending on their size. Kilner jars are perfect for this. Sterilize jars and non-plastic lids by submerging them fully in water in a large pot, and boiling for 10 minutes. Let the jar cool somewhat before adding the lemons. Pack the lemons into the jar - you'll need to squeeze a bit as the jar fills up. Try to avoid leaving any large spaces between lemons.


Tighten the lid on the jar(s) and place in the fridge. Give the jar a shake each day, and turn it over. After 14 days, the lemons are ready. I keep them intact in the jar, but slice a quarter when I need it.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Preserved Lemons on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

  unwaxed lemons
  coarse sea salt


You need about 1 tbsp salt for each lemon

US Customary/Imperial

 8 lemons makes 800 ml/700 grams (1½ pints/1½ pounds)
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Pickling time: 14 days.
Total time: 14 days 10 minutes.