Freezing Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest

Have you ever wanted to fix a dessert or a savory dish that calls for the zest of a lemon, lime or orange and you didn’t have a single one in the refrigerator? I have. Which means that I either have to make a trip to the store or change my menu. Neither of which I like the option of. Since I’m a sweet tea with lemon kind of girl, I do typically keep lots of lemons, but it does happen. Oranges are probably the hardest for me to keep on hand and since I have a fabulous Cranberry Orange Pound Cake with a Cranberry Orange Ganache that I love to bake on the spur of the moment, I want to have that zest on hand at all times!

So how do I do that? I freeze it. Last time I bought a bag of oranges, I zested them just before I ate them. No sense in letting that go to waste, right? Then I put the zest in freezer containers and popped them in the freezer. Works like a charm!

Go to suggested recipes with zest

I zest three different ways and here’s what I do.

Freezing Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest

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When zesting lemons, limes or oranges you only want the colored part of the skin and no white. I use a microplane zester that makes the pieces really fine. Probably most recipes would use this style.  But I also use a traditional zester to make little strips.


There are times that I like to have wide strips of zest and I use a potato peeler for that. Even if I find that a recipe calls for finely zested peel, I can chop it up as needed.


Put the zest in freezer containers, label them and pop them in the freezer until you need them.

I find that putting the finely zested fruits in zip top baggies makes it more difficult to scoop out. They just stick to the side of the baggie and make a mess, in my humble opinion. So I do use small freezer containers for this.

So, when you’re making a recipe and it calls for the zest of one lemon, lime or orange, how much do you use? Well, that can all depend on the size of the fruit. Obviously there’s more zest on an orange than a lime. But here’s my general rule of measure. These measurements are approximate only, for their average size fruit and “loosely” packed.

Lemon = 1 Tablespoon
Lime = 1 1/2 teaspoons
Orange = 2 Tablespoons


Here’s a few recipes that call for zest that you may be interested in.

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

Cranberry Orange Ganache

Lemon Basil Cookies

Lemon Melts

Lemon Bars

Pineapple Cranberry Carrots

Pineapple Pear Salsa


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