Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons is a common ingredient in middle eastern and Mediterranean recipes. This version is extra flavorful with plenty of exotic spices. These will only take a few minutes to prep, but I full 30 days to brine.

Preserved Lemons

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 20Source I adapted this from The Well Done ChefPublished

makes 12 whole lemons. Enough for many many recipes. Keep refrigerated unless you plan to properly can and seal them In that case they may be kept at room temperature.


  • 12 lemons, scrubbed, slit in quarters, but not entirely through
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 2 inch sticks of cinnamon
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, if necessary


Slice through the core of the lemon vertically, taking care not to slice all the way through. You will have a nice lemon flower.

Grab one lemon at a time; sprinkle some salt inside, then place it into container face down. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, flatten the lemon, squeezing out as much juice as possible.

Continue working until you pack all the salted lemons tightly into the container; arrange them attractively so they will look good while brining. (It is for show as well!)

Use a stick or the handle of a spoon to wedge the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks all around, evenly distributed. If you find that the amount juice in the container is not covering the lemons, add a bit of lemon juice to cover. Do not use water or commercially prepared lemon juice. You may need to sink the lemons to assure good coverage. I used a small plate to keep them submerged.

Do not refrigerate them just yet. Avoid the temptation for at least 48 hours. The salt will help the lemons release more of their liquid if left at at room temperature. for awhile.

Once the lemons are on their way, put them in the refrigerator in the back for at least 30 days before using them.

To use, wash off brine, separate pulp from the rind, and use according to the recipe.