Got lemons? Here are the best lemon recipes for how to use this bright citrus fruit, from pancakes to dressing to of course…lemonade.
Got lemons? We’ve got recipes! The lemon is one of the most versatile citrus fruits around. It adds a brightness that lifts recipes to new heights. Add it to asparagus or green beans to make them sing. Spritz it on salmon or shrimp to give them an irresistible tang. There are so many ways to use this ingredient: and it’s featured in hundreds of our recipes.
Here we’ve narrowed it down to the best of the best! Here are all the best lemon recipes for using this yellow fruit. From pancakes to vinaigrettes to sauces, we’ve got you covered. And of course: why not try fresh squeezed lemonade? Let’s get started.
At the top of our lemon recipes...lemon blueberry pancakes! These are quite the treat: tender and fluffy, they have just the right citrus zing! Top them off with tangy sweet blueberry compote and it’s all you can do not to exclaim Wow! on your first bite (we did). Lemon is the perfect pairing for this sweet berry.
Here's a lemon recipe that tastes like pure lemon: a lemon vinaigrette! It makes gives all salads a refreshing zing. And it uses only 4 ingredients! This easy lemon salad dressing is just begging for you to make a salad to put it on. Try it on classic French Nicoise salad and as a main dish dinner salad.
If you've got lemons...why not make lemonade? Compare this lemonade recipe to store-bought and there’s no contest. This is the way it was meant to be! Make it the real way, and you’ll find out why this beverage became so popular in the first place. You’ll use less sugar than anything you’ll find in a store, and the flavor is perfectly sweet tart.
Want a lemon recipe that's an easy weeknight meal? Enter: lemon dill salmon. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s even fancy enough for a dinner party. The baked salmon is perfectly savory, and doused in a creamy lemon dill sauce it’s pretty irresistible. Want an even faster piece of salmon? Try it broiled.
It’s creamy, rich and sumptuous slathered onto a hot crispy French fry. It’s perfect for slathering sandwiches and burgers. Meet lemon aioli! This classic Mediterranean-style sauce is full-flavored and rich. Go to a restaurant and you’ll find all sorts of flavored aiolis for dipping fries. But the best aioli? Homemade. It’s a great skill for any home cook to learn: and we’ve got two ways to do it: the real way and the cheater way. Try it on our Baked French Fries.
Shh, we have a secret. Frozen peas can taste amazing in 5 minutes. Yep, you can transform a bag of these frozen green spheres into an easy side dish that everyone around the table will love. (Promise!) The secret? A little olive oil, butter, garlic and lemon. That’s it! Turns out it’s not as hard as you would think.
This lemon recipe is a stunning dinner that’s elegantly easy to whip up: scallop pasta with lemon! Whether you want to impress dinner guests, have a romantic dinner, or just feed your family on a weeknight: this recipe is the perfect fit. The seared scallops are sweet, buttery and delicate, set atop tender pasta and accented with flavors of lemon, garlic and herbs. Most often when we make seafood we turn to salmon and shrimp: but scallops are a unique twist that make for a truly special dinner.
The easiest of all lemon recipes? Cucumber lemon water! We all know we’re supposed to drink a lot of water. But do you ever get kind of…bored? Here’s a solution: cucumber lemon water! Making an infused water brings big flavor to boring old water: and it takes only 5 minutes. It’s also a perfect drink for entertaining, because it looks so beautiful and seems “fancy”.
Lemons are perfect for adding just the right zing to a side dish. And this roasted asparagus so simple that you should be able to memorize it! This one you can cook from the gut. It’s so simple: toss the asparagus with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Throw that lemony garlic asparagus in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s tender. It’s a fast and healthy side dish ready to jump on your table!
Here's a lemon recipe that can feed you for dinner: this quinoa bowl! A good grain bowl has to be well-seasoned, and play up contrasts in color, texture and flavor. This one is a favorite grain bowl that makes a fast and easy dinner in 30 minutes. It stars quick and easy canned chickpeas, colorful vegetables, and a creamy lemon tahini sauce smothered over everything.
Want to take your dinner to the next level? Try this Lemon Caper Salmon! This magical meld is so full of savory, salty, buttery goodness, you’ll want to swim in it. Drape it over a piece of broiled salmon, and you won’t want each bite to end. It’s full of big Mediterranean flair and it takes just a few minutes to whip up. And it’s not too terrible for you, either. This is our favorite trick for making dinner taste fancy restaurant quality meal in minutes.
Here’s an impressive and healthy side dish that works any time of year: lemon rosemary roasted potatoes! Everyone will want seconds of these, because here’s the thing: the flavor is knock-out good. The secret? Fresh rosemary and lemon slices. Roast up these potatoes with lemon slices instead of lemon juice. It infuses the entire batch with beautiful tangy flavor. These are fancy enough for a dinner party, but easy enough for a weeknight.
Lemon is used in so many great cocktails! One of the most famous is the Lemon Drop Martini! This mixed drink is intensely sweet tart! Use citron vodka for the most lemony flavor: otherwise, regular vodka works. It’s festive and refreshing, with a lemon twist and sugar rim.
Another lemon recipe that's an easy side dish: lemony green beans! They pair with literally anything, from meatloaf to salmon to pasta. Even better: they take only 10 minutes to whip up! It’s seriously practical and 100% worth adding to your weeknight cooking skills! The zesty lemon flavor and bite of the black pepper in these beans have made them a favorite in our house.
Last up in our lemon recipes: the simplest salad around. Introducing: the simplest lemon arugula salad. It’s quite possibly the easiest salad you’ll make. You don’t even have to make a salad dressing! Just coat baby arugula in lemon juice and olive oil. In 5 to 10 minutes, you’ve got an elegant salad that goes with literally everything.
More ways to use lemons
Need more ideas? There are lots more ways to use this bright citrus fruit. Here are some ideas for more lemon recipes:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, then whisk in the milk, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and neutral oil.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. If the batter is too thick, stir in another splash of milk (the consistency of each yogurt brand varies).
Lightly butter a skillet and wipe off extra grease with a paper towel. Heat the skillet to medium low heat. Pour the batter into small circles, then place blueberries into the top of each pancake. Cook the pancakes until the bubbles pop on the top and the bottoms are golden. Then flip them and cook until done. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.