How To Make Moroccan Preserved Lemons

This post may contain affiliate links (full disclosure policy). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade–make Moroccan preserved lemons instead! These delicious lemons are a great way to use up or preserve large numbers of lemons, and they make great homemade gifts!

I’d never been much of a salad eater. Eating greens kind of made me feel like a cow chewing on grass. Tasteless and bland. Yuck.

And then one day, a friend invited my husband I over to dinner and made the most amazing salad. It was crisp with just the right amount of crunch and the purest, most delightful lemon flavor I’ve ever tasted. These lemons tasted like everything a lemon should taste like, but without the sour punch of the raw fruit. What was this glorious madness in my mouth? Moroccan preserved lemons.

How to make Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Keep in mind all this is coming from a person who doesn’t like salad. These preserved lemons were that good. So I had to go make some for myself and share them with you! And don’t worry–you can do much more with them than put them in a salad.

This specific recipe for Moroccan preserved lemons has been adapted from David Liebovitz, but there are actually a few different additional ingredients you could put in if you want, such as peppercorns and fennel seeds. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how I made these delicious lemons:


Most recipes I checked out for preserved lemons did not give specific measurements as to how much of each ingredient to use, since the amount would depend on how many lemons you are preserving. I would recommend starting out with just a few (I made six) just in case you don’t find yourself eating them all during the 6 months in which they are good to eat. You will need 2-3 small dried chiles (your choice), 2 bay leaves, 6 organic lemons, kosher salt (about 7 tablespoons), about 1.5 tablespoons coriander seeds, and 2 cinnamon sticks:

Ingredients for Moroccan Preserved Lemons


Start out by washing your lemons and scrubbing them with a vegetable brush. It is very important that you use organic lemons since when you eat these what you will be eating is the rind. Next, get slicing! Cut off the hard tip of the lemon that the stem would have been attached to, and from there, cut it in an X shape as if you were cutting the lemon into wedges. However, don’t cut the lemons all the way down. Stop about an inch or perhaps a little less away from the bottom of the lemon such that you have four wedges still attached together, like so:

Slicing lemons for preservation

From here, stuff your lemon wedges with a coarse salt. Lots of recipes will call for sea salt, but I used kosher salt. It doesn’t really matter as long as you do NOT use iodized “table” salt. This will leave them lemons with a weird chemically flavor over time. Ick! Try to stuff each lemon with about 1 Tablespoon of salt. It will seem like too much, but it is possible to get it all in there. This part makes a mess–I had salt all over the place!–so consider putting a few paper towels underneath where you are stuffing for easier cleanup.

How to stuff lemons with salt for preservation

After that, all you need to do is put the lemons in a clean jar; I used a quart-sized mason jar. In order to fit all six lemons I made, I had to pack them in there pretty good, squishing the lemons, which is just fine. For my six lemons and quart-sized jar, I then put in one large cinnamon stick, two dried chiles, about two tablespoons of coriander seeds and two bay leaves {one was on the small side}.

Lemon stuffed with salt in a canning jar

From here, every day for the next three or four days you will be pushing the lemons down into the jar, thereby squeezing out a bunch of the lemon juice. By the third or fourth day, your lemons should be covered in juice completely. If they’re not, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice from any additional lemons you have so that the rinds in the jar are totally covered. My lemons were particularly juicy and I didn’t need to add any more juice. They were pretty much covered in juice by the second day!

After those three or four days, let the lemons sit and soften for one month. That’s right–one month! {Hopefully I have that much patience!} After that, they will be ready to use and should be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months. To use a rind, scrape out the pulp and rinse it off to remove the salt. From there, you can dice up the rind finely and toss it in a salad, or use it for cooking.

I thought these looked lovely in the jar and would make for a great unique house-warming gift!

Finished jar of Moroccan preserved lemons

You Might Also Enjoy:

Similar Posts