Preserved Lemons

The pleasing tangy-tart flavor of preserved lemons brightens many savory North African dishes. Leave out the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks if you prefer a more straightforward lemon flavor. You’ll need about 3 medium glass jars with lids. Pint-sized canning jars work nicely. Sterilize them with boiling water or by using them directly out of the dishwasher before using.

Serves: 48Hands-on: 15 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 48


  • 1 cup salt
  • 12 medium lemons, ends trimmed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks


  • Pour 1 tablespoon salt into each jar.
  • Working one lemon at a time, stand the lemon on end, make two perpendicular cuts through its middle from top to (almost) the bottom, taking care not to cut the lemon all the way through. Spread the quarters open and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over the exposed fruit of each lemon. Close the lemon, place it in a jar, and continue with the remaining lemons.
  • Pack the lemons tightly into jars to release their juice. Add 1 bay leaf and 1 cinnamon stick per jar and cover. If lemons are not completely covered with lemon juice, squeeze the juice from additional lemons and add to the jars as needed.
  • Let the lemons sit at room temperature for 30 days, shaking the jar occasionally. After 1 month, store preserved lemons in the refrigerator. Break off sections of lemon, as needed, remove the pulp, and rinse the peel before using. Preserved lemons will keep for up to 1 year.