Got citrus? Here are the best lemon recipes for how to use this sweet tart 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.
Lemon bars are one of the best ways to use this citrus fruit! A zingy lemon custard topping layers over a thick shortbread layer, making the best textural contrast of gooey versus crunchy. It’s got just the right burst of lemon and hint of vanilla in the shortbread. And, they’re simpler than you’d imagine to whip up.
But if you’re a citrus-lover, this lemon recipe has a place in the muffin hall of fame: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins! This muffins recipe is bright and zingy, with just the right light texture and citrusy zing. Seal the deal by drizzling on a quick, flavor-popping lemon glaze.
Here’s a bright, zingy lemon recipe that will make friends and family come running: this Lemon Blueberry Bread! This one is beautifully moist and lemon-scented, thanks to a secret ingredient. Drizzle it with a cream cheese glaze, which makes a festive look and another pop of sweet to each bite.
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.
Here's a show-stopping lemon recipe: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes! They’re impossibly fluffy and light, with a pop citrus flavor on the finish. Even better: they’re packed with protein and made with half the flour of a normal pancake! They might sound fancy, but they’re so easy to whip up and perfect for impressing friends and family at a lazy breakfast or brunch.
Are you smitten with citrus? Then you absolutely must try this lemon curd recipe! This simple method makes curd with the absolute best flavor and texture. It’s positively bright and zingy, with a creamy, thick texture that will make your heart skip a beat. Use it as a topping for scones, biscuits, shortcakes, pancakes and waffles, or it even works as a cake filling.
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.
Craving the refreshing, zingy flavor of lemon? Try this easy lemon smoothie! This frosty, pale yellow puree holds a secret: a super citrusy, sweet tart flavor owed to a load of lemon zest and juice. Whiz it up with frozen fruit and milk in a blender, and it’s one of the tastiest, most satisfying smoothies around!
Here’s a lusciously creamy pasta that will become the meal of your dreams. Try this Lemon Pasta! It’s rich and silky, with just the right balance of sharp citrus from loads of lemon zest. Don’t consider this a health food or even a healthy spin: it’s here for when you need a properly indulgent bit of pasta.
Here’s a favorite in our house when it comes to lemon recipes: Lemon Zucchini Bread! This loaf is incredibly moist, super zingy from the lemon zest and topped with a flavor-popping sweet glaze. Cut it into thick slices and it’s extremely irresistible.
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.
What’s better than the combination of zingy lemon and pure sweet blueberry? These Lemon Blueberry Muffins are the epitome of the pairing, with a bright citrusy kick from the lemon and studded with pops of purple berries. Heighten the flavor with a lemon drizzle, which takes these muffins from good to wow.
Are you a lemon dessert lover? Then you absolutely must try homemade Lemon Sorbet! Each bite is loaded pure citrus flavor: icy and bright, with just the right amount of zing on the finish. Both lemon juice and lemon zest bring a bold flavor, and it’s irresistibly refreshing after a meal or as a palate cleanser.
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.
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.
Love citrusy drinks? Then let us introduce you to your new soulmate: this Homemade Lemon Soda! Sure, purchased citrus soda is tasty and refreshing. But make it at home with fresh-squeezed citrus juice and it’s next level! All you need are 3 ingredients and it comes together in a flash.
Looking for a sauce that’s packed with flavor? Try this Lemon Butter Sauce! It’s garlicky, rich, acidic, and bright: ideal for drizzling over a piece of salmon or roast chicken. It’s so simple to whip up: in just 5 minutes, you’ve got a sauce that tastes like pure gold. All you need is a small drizzle to take a piece of fish from tasty to magnificent: like this Lemon Garlic Salmon.
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.
Here’s a quick and simple pasta that’s the perfect shortcut for weeknights: Lemon Ricotta Pasta! Mixing ricotta cheese with olive oil, Parmesan and a little pasta water makes a makeshift white sauce that’s ideal for coating on long noodles. This quick weeknight trick has become a staple over here: the zing of the lemon zest makes it absolutely irresistible not to keep slurping down noodles.
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”.
Need a soothing drink that takes just 2 minutes to make? Try Lemon Tea! This herbal tea is a simple infusion of water, lemon and honey, and it’s amazing what those three ingredients can do. This drink is soothing for sore throats and colds, and invigorating as a morning drink. It’s simple to make, low in calories and hydrating!
Here’s a key sauce every home cook should have in their repertoire…because it’s just that good. Meet this Tahini Sauce! It’s rich, creamy, zingy and ideal for drizzling on just about anything. Try it on a falafel bowl or a grain bowl, on roasted sweet potatoes, on a sandwich, even as a French fry dip!
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.
Want the best bubbly, refreshing lemon drink? Try homemade Sparkling Lemonade! Use real lemon, soda water and sugar to make this summery drink: it’s perfect for sipping on the patio, or drinking in the winter when you’re dreaming of sun.
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:
This easy lemon bars recipe (aka lemon squares) has all of Grandma’s secrets! A zingy custard tops a thick shortbread layer.
For the crust
2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup [60 g] powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the lemon layer
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups [400 g] granulated sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup fresh lemon juice (3 large or 4 medium lemons)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat and prepare the pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then line it with parchment paper. Allow two edges to extend outside the pan to allow for easy removal.
Make the crust: Mix the flour, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour crumbles into the pan, spreading them out evenly with your fingers. Press them into the pan in an even layer, using the back of a measuring cup to pack it flat.
Bake the crust: Place the pan in the oven and bake 20 to 23 minutes until lightly golden brown. (You can bake the crust first and let it sit while making the filling, or mix up the filling while the crust bakes. In the second case, keep the eggs, dry ingredients, and lemon in separate bowls and whisk together once the crust is out of the oven).
Make the filling: Whisk the eggs, then whisk in the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Prick the baked crust gently with the tines of a fork and allow the crust to cool at least 5 minutes. Then pour the filling over the warm crust.
Bake the bars: Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan and rotate it, then then bake 8 to 10 minutes more until lightly golden on top. It’s ok if it gets unevenly browned or if the top has small bubbles because it will be covered by the powdered sugar topping.
Chill: Allow the bars to cool to room temperature (about 1 hour), then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours to firm up (overnight is even better).
Top, slice and store: Sift powdered sugar over the top of the bars. Cut them into 24 squares, wiping off the knife after each cut to get a clean cut. Store bars refrigerated with parchment paper between the layers for up to 2 weeks. (Note that when sitting at room temperature, the powdered sugar topping can melt into the lemon filling, so you may need to refresh with new powdered sugar before serving leftovers.) You can also freeze lemon bars for up to 3 months without the powdered sugar topping, with parchment paper between the layers.