Can out-of-date lemon juice make you sick? (+3 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can out-of-date lemon juice make you sick?”, and how to tell If the lemon juice has gone bad?

Can out-of-date lemon juice make you sick?

Yes, consuming out-of-date lemon juice can make you sick. Though lemon juice has a very low pH due to its high acidity, It does not exempt from microbial contamination. Apart from the bacteria and mold growing inside out-of-date lemon juice, It may also contain naturally occurring toxins. 

Common symptoms of food poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. These symptoms should be gone within 24 hours. If they persist, consult your healthcare provider.

The shelf-life of lemon juice 

Pantry Fridge Freezer 
Homemade freshly squeezed lemon juice2-3 days 1 week 
Store-bought refrigerated1 week 7-10 days 
Store-bought unrefrigerated unopened3-6 months 
Store-bought unrefrigerated opened6-12 months 

How to tell if lemon juice has gone bad?

Homemade lemon juice lacks preservatives, thus, goes bad faster as compared to commercially bottled lemon juice. If your lemon juice has any of the following spoilage signs, get rid of it immediately.


Lemon juice that has gone bad appears darker or discolored. This is an obvious sign of spoilage and such lemon juice belongs in the bin.

Bad smell

Fresh lemon juice should have a sweet and sour smell which is very reminiscent of lemons. If it is not the case or If the lemon juice smells too sour or acidic, discard it.

Taste and flavor 

Spoiled lemon juice will have either a too sour or a too dull taste. That is when you know you need to throw it in the bin.

Other FAQs about Lemon which you may be interested in.

How many ounces of juice in a lemon?

How to store lemon juice?

Turn the juice into cubes 

Freezing is the best option If you want an extended shelf-life out of the fresh lemon juice. Pour out freshly squeezed lemon juice into the ice-cube tray and put it in the freezer. This way you can take out as many cubes as you want without having to thaw all of the juice.

In the pantry 

Unopened store-bought bottles of lemon juice can be safely kept in the pantry. The general rule of thumb is to keep it somewhere dark, dry, and cool. Keep it away from heat sources like direct sunlight and the stovetop. Ensure a steady cool temperature in the pantry or the storage area.

Refrigerate for short term use 

Opened bottles of lemon concentrate and freshly squeezed lemon juice should always be stored in the fridge. Make sure you use a good-quality container with a tight lid for storing your freshly squeezed juice. 

Put the bottle or container at the back of the fridge shelf and not in the fridge door. The latter does not have a consistent temperature. 

Can the juice for long term storage 

Canning the lemon juice will preserve its freshness for up to 2 years. It is the best opinion If you plan to store lemon juice in large amounts. 

Grab mason jars, a canner, or stockpot. Next, sterilize the mason jars by allowing them to sit in boiling water for at least 10 minutes or by thoroughly washing them in the dishwasher. Then bring the lemon juice to be stored to a rolling boil. 

Pour the hot lemon juice into the sterilized jar followed by sealing it tightly. Check the integrity of the seal by pressing the bubble right in the center of the lid. If the lid comes back up, the jar has air in it. 

This means the lemon juice would only last a week. Filled jars should be placed in the canner in boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Remove the jars using tongs and let them cool down. Store somewhere cool, dry and dark. 

Can you freeze lemon juice?

Yes, you can freeze lemon juice. It is a great storage method for the longevity of lemon juice. For freezing smaller quantities, the ice-cube tray method works fine. It is discussed above in the article. 

For storing larger quantities, a zip-lock bag is a way to go. Simply our the lemon juice into a heavy-duty zip-lock bag. Remove as much air from it as possible and chuck it into the freezer after labeling. 

Once out of the freezer, try using all of the lemon juice. If you put the leftover lemon juice back into the freezer, It may not last very long.


In this article, we answered the question “Can out-of-date lemon juice make you sick?”, and how to tell If the lemon juice has gone bad?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.