Can you freeze a whole lemon? 

In this guide, we’ll address the query: “Can you freeze a whole lemon?” Also, we’ll explore how whole lemons can be stored in a freezer.

Can you freeze a whole lemon? 

Yes, whole lemons can be stored in the freezer. Freezing lemons will increase their shelf life, and they can last for about 8-12 months. (8) 

Freezing is generally suitable for preserving most fruits; however, the quality of the frozen product may vary depending on factors such as the type of fruit, its stage of maturity, and the packaging method. (1)

Generally, the flavor is well retained by freezing preservation. Texture may be softer than that of fresh fruit. (2)

How to freeze a whole lemon?

The best way is to first wash the lemons in cold water and pat them dry using paper towels. Peel the lemons and try to remove as much pith as you can. 

Put them in a freezer bag, remove the excess air from it, and freeze it.

You can also freeze the lemons with peel, but after thawing you will feel the difference between the texture of the lemon as well as the peel (the peel would soften). So it is better to freeze lemons without a peel.

If you will use your lemons for juice, you can squeeze them and freeze the lemon juice directly.

Do frozen lemons go bad?

No, frozen lemons do not go bad or spoil, the shelf life of a frozen lemon only ensures maximum quality, and it does not refer to food safety. If the lemons are stored for longer it will only affect its flavor, color, and texture. (9)

Fruits are mostly composed of water that is contained in the cells that give structure and texture to the fruit. When the water in the fruits freezes, the cell walls get damaged due to the formation of ice crystals, making the thawed fruit much softer than raw. (9)

In terms of food safety, freezing does not destroy microorganisms, it will only halt the activities of spoilage microorganisms. So when you thaw food, the microorganisms in it will start to develop again and due to the changes in quality, fruits can spoil faster. (10)

How to thaw frozen lemons?

Frozen lemons can be defrosted by setting the bag on a plate and thawing in the refrigerator overnight, by running warm water over the bag, or by microwaving the lemons. They can also be cooked or blended into drinks directly from frozen. 

When thawing frozen food, it’s best to plan ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator where it will remain at a safe, constant temperature – at 40°F or below. (3)

Refrigerator Thawing

The safest and easiest method is to leave the frozen lemons to thaw in the fridge overnight and then the next day use them as you like. The lemons thawed this way stay good in the fridge for about 1-2 days.

Effective planning is crucial when utilizing this method, as it involves a significant amount of time. Thawing small quantities of frozen food typically necessitates a full day for the process to complete (3).

Food that has been thawed in the refrigerator can be safely refrozen without requiring cooking, although it is important to note that there may be a slight decline in quality. (3)

Cold Water Thawing

Another method that you can try to thaw your frozen lemons is to take a bowl of cold water and submerge the plastic freezer bag in which you have stored the lemons. Let it sit there till the lemons defrost.

This method of thawing is quicker compared to refrigerator thawing, but it demands greater attention. 

It is essential to ensure that the food is securely contained in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. If the bag happens to leak, there is a risk of introducing bacteria from the surrounding environment or the air into the food. (3)

The bag should be submerged in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. 

Microwave Thawing

When using a microwave to thaw food, it’s important to note that certain areas of the lemon slices may become warm, potentially raising the temperature of the food to the “danger zone”. (3)

Because of this, microwave thawing should be used only if you plan to cook the food immediately or use the thawed food for cooked dishes. (3)

Due to the rapid multiplication of bacteria in unrefrigerated food, it is unsafe to allow food to thaw at room temperature. If left unrefrigerated, certain organisms have the potential to produce toxins, further emphasizing the importance of proper food handling and storage practices (4).

What are the benefits of freezing lemons?

Some benefits of freezing lemons are: 

  • Frozen lemons maintain their nutritional value as fresh ones, as their fresh flavor. They contain the same vitamins and minerals found in fresh fruit, including vitamins C, B6, and various minerals. (5,6)
  • The low temperatures retard the growth of microorganisms and slow the spoilage in food or slow down the changes that affect its quality, extending its shelf life. (5)

What are the drawbacks of freezing lemons?

Some drawbacks of freezing lemons are:

  • A compound called limonin develops in some types of lemons when they are frozen, which causes the fruit to have a bitter taste. (7)
  • Frozen lemons may suffer a reduction in total soluble solids and total sugars, which makes them taste more watery (7).
  • Once the fruit is completely thawed, it tends to become soft and may undergo discoloration over time. (3)

How to use frozen and thawed lemons?

You can use frozen and thawed lemons in a variety of ways. 


Smoothies are both delicious and nutritious, so you can make yourself a glass of smoothie with frozen lemons and enjoy this delicious, refreshing, and nutritious drink.

Cakes and baked goods

If your cake recipe calls for pureed lemons then voila! The frozen and thawed lemons will serve the same purpose as that of fresh pureed lemons. So you can easily use frozen and thawed lemons in this case (3).

Other FAQs about Lemon that you may be interested in.

3 lemons equal how much juice?

Can I bake lemons

Can lemon meringue pie go in the fridge?


In this guide, we’ve addressed the query: “Can you freeze a whole lemon?” Also, we’ve explored how whole lemons can be stored in a freezer, what happens when you store lemons in a freezer, what the nutritional content of lemons is, and what are the benefits of consuming lemons.  


  1. Garden-Robinson, J. Freezing Fruits. North Dakota State University. 
  2. Andress, E.L., Harrison, J.A. Preserving Food: Freezing Fruit. University of Georgia. National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  3. United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. The big thaw – Safe defrosting methods
  4. Food and Drug Administration. Food Facts. Refrigerator Thermometers: Cold Facts about Food Safety
  5. Andress, E.L., Harrison, J.A. Preserving Food: Freezing Fruit. University of Georgia. National Center for Home Food Preservation.
  6. Mohanapriya, M., Ramaswamy, L., Rajendran, R. Health and Medicinal Properties of Lemon (Citrus limonum). International Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine.
  7. Moomkesh, S., Mireei, S. A., Sadeghi, M., & Nazeri, M. (2017). Early detection of freezing damage in sweet lemons using Vis/SWNIR spectroscopy. Biosystems Engineering, 164, 157-170. 
  8. Johnson, T., Brandt, J. Freezing Fruits and Vegetables. Oregon State University.
  9. University of Minnesota Extension. The science of freezing food.
  10.  Archer, D.L., Freezing: an underutilized food safety technology?. Int J Food Microbiol.