Moroccan Preserved Lemons Recipe

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4 votes | 9289 views

Moroccan preserved lemons are an absolute necessity to complete dishes from salads to tagines (stews). Extremely easy to make, adding a unique flavor and texture to the dish, I have kept preserved lemons for as long as a year in the 'fridge without any problem. After all, you're basically talking about lemon juice and salt. But you can 'sweeten' the product by the addition of a few simple ingredients.

I usually make these a half gallon at a time, but it is the way you produce the quantity that will dictate the quality of the final product.

You can use a Mason or Ball jar, but I prefer the spring clip glass top with the sturdy rubber gasket because the acid and salt are not friendly with the metal, long term

Prep time:


Cost per recipe $5.87 view details
  • Lemons - select the finest, firmest, blemish-free you can find. The
  • number depends on the size of the lemons and the size
  • of the jar. Buy 4 times the number you intend to
  • preserve. Wring every drop of juice from whatever will
  • not fit into your jar. You will need to completely cover all
  • lemons with lemon juice. Never use water!
  • Kosher salt
  • cinnamon stick - 1 or 2
  • peppercorns - 3 - 6, can be black (Tellichery is excellent),
  • pink, white or green, or a couple of each, if you
  • have them
  • Bay leaf - fresh is really nice, dry will do
  • coriander seeds - 6 - 8
  • cloves - 3 - 4 select whole, plump cloves


  1. sterilize the jar in boilng water for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut each lemon being preserved into quarters, but stop about 1/2" from the bottom of the lemon, so the fruit remains whole.
  3. Cover the bottom of the sterilzed jar with a slight layer of salt.
  4. Pack a layer of lemons into the jar, cut end up.
  5. Add salt liberally and some of the spices.
  6. Continue adding lemons and salt and spices to fill th jar.
  7. Push the lemons down and pour in all the lemon juice to top.
  8. If you do not have enough lemon juice - go buy more lemons for
  9. juice - not bottled lemon juice, no water.
  10. Leave the jar on a kitchen shelf for a month, turning up upside down a couple of times every day. Then you can refrigerate the jar to extra long storage, but you do not need to. Refrigerators are still not all that common in Morocco outside the cities.
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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Recipe %DV
Recipe Size 122g
Calories 252  
Calories from Fat 34 13%
Total Fat 3.78g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.14g 1%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 203mg 8%
Potassium 241mg 7%
Total Carbs 54.1g 14%
Dietary Fiber 6.4g 21%
Sugars 16.31g 11%
Protein 5.23g 8%



  • trisha brooke
    February 8, 2011
    I love preserved lemons! I have been making and using them for about a decade now and can't imagine NOT having a jar full in the fridge at all times! I make a roasted chicken with calamata olives, preserved lemons and capers that is one of my go-to, feel-good meals!
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    1 person likes this review
    1 reply
    • Amos Miller
      February 8, 2011
      Great to hear it, Trisha! This is one of those special condiments that, once you have a jar, you start to think of all the ways you can add that 'extra' pop to a dish. Please post your recipe for the chicken on the Moroccan page. Have you used preserved lemon with any fish dish yet? Must give it a try!


    • Amos Miller
      January 21, 2011
      Yes, John, fully ready - and they get 'readier' as the weeks roll by, tender and shiny and subtly impregnated with the spices. And I would encourage you to consider using the lemon pulp, for example, in a sauce, say, in a tagine of meatballs and fava beans. I think I will put a recipe up for one of my favorite salads, as a starter. Then you will have, I think, a perfect vehicle for your first hit of a true preserved lemon! So gather those perfect lemons, use only the lemon juice to cover and preserve the fruit - no h2o - and a good sea salt (use plenty, you will rinse it all off before you use the lemon). And you can then plunk any leftover lemon into the Preserved Lemon jar, from that other 1/2 not used because a recipe only called for a tablespoon of juice, to the 3/4 lemon left because you only needed a slice for a cocktail. You will never run out of preserved lemons once you start the jar!
      • John Spottiswood
        January 20, 2011
        Going to try this Amos. I have made many moroccan recipes that call for preserved lemons and I've just substituted fresh (because I haven't had the preserved lemons). This doesn't sound to hard, and I have a lemon tree bursting with fruit in my front yard. Are the lemons fully preserved and ready to use after 1 month?
        1 reply
        • Peggy Richardson
          February 20, 2011
          Does it matter whether you use Meyer or Eureka lemons? I have a Meyer lemon tree but am not sure if these are acidic enough.

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