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How to Use Preserved Lemons | 7 Best Recipes

This one’s all about How to Use Preserved Lemons! You asked; I answered. Here are some of the best ways to put those precious bites of goodness to use.

How to use preserved lemons in a jar

First off, you may be wondering what the heck are preserved lemons anyway (also called fermented lemons). And what’s all the fuss about?? Good questions.

Preserved Lemons Basics

Here are the basics. Take whole lemons (Meyer lemons are particularly good when in season), quarter them, squish them into a canning jar, add a bunch of kosher salt, top them off with more fresh lemon juice, and let them sit. For a month!

But don’t worry if you’ve never made them. They’re super easy. Especially if you follow my Fermented Lemons recipe here.

fermented lemons in mason jar

And YES they’re worth the time it takes! (Just in case you were wondering…) Using the preserved lemon peel or lemon rind adds a completely unique depth, brightness, and flavor to any dish.

North African and Middle Eastern dishes are known for being among the first to incorporate fermented lemons into amazing recipes. Now other cultures are quickly catching on. It’s a wonder it took us so long.

These meals pack a punch that’s much more than using just lemon juice, more than zest, and loads more than lemon pepper!

But I’m guessing you might already know that and are reading this because you already have some on hand and are wondering what’s the best use of that amazing tangy, salty, briny amazingness! We’ll I’ve pulled together some of my favorite recipes that really showcase the tender and warm flavor and texture of preserved lemons.

These dishes include everything from brightly flavored dressings to dips using chopped preserved peel to traditional chicken tagine, a fabulous vegetarian Instant Pot meal, and many more. Loads of inspiration on how to use preserved lemons.

As you work your way through these spectacular uses of the preserved lemon rind, keep in mind just that… it’s the rind you use. Not the flesh of the lemon! So let’s get to it!

How to Use Preserved Lemons – Best Recipes

  • Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives – This flavorful weeknight chicken tagine recipe is made in nearly 30 minutes! With just a handful of bold spices, salty preserved lemons and buttery olives. Courtesy of Little Ferraro Kitchen.
  • Cobb Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing – This Summer Fresh Cobb Salad is made with grilled chicken, crispy prosciutto, soft boiled eggs, seasonal vegetables and sharp blue cheese on a bed of salad greens. Add my exciting lemon yogurt dressing and it is a meal in itself. A delicious update on the popular classic! Courtesy of Vikalinka.

Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette – Preserved lemon vinaigrette is easy to make in a blender or food processor! The preserved lemons bring a citrusy burst of sunshine to any salad, vegetable, or fish. Courtesy of Food Banjo.

preserved-lemon-vinaigrette-vertical overhead
  • Moroccan Carrot Salad – Moroccan Carrot Salad is an exotic mix of zesty citrus, sweet carrots, fresh herbs, and feta, dressed with a warmly spiced, piquant honey-lemon vinaigrette. Makes a quick, refreshing side that is ready to serve in just 15 minutes! Courtesy of The Good Hearted Woman.
how to use preserved lemons in carrot salad ingredients

Preserved Lemon and Mint Whipped Feta Dip – This preserved lemon and mint whipped feta dip is so easy to make you’ll be making is all summer long. Ready in just 10 minutes and can be scooped up with crackers, vegetables or by the spoonful! Courtesy of Nutmeg Nanny.

  • Preserved Lemon and Yogurt Marinated Chicken Recipe – This weeknight chicken is marinated with tangy yogurt and salty preserved lemon, creating a vibrant and full-flavored recipe. Wrap chicken in lettuce leaves or skewer for kabobs. Courtesy of Little Ferraro Kitchen.
how to use preserved lemons chicken on dish
  • Vegetarian Instant Pot Moroccan Stew – In this hearty, flavor-packed vegetarian Moroccan stew, tender butternut squash and chickpeas are spiced with Moroccan spices and preserved lemons. The wonderful combination of ingredients gives the stew a rich, complex flavor. It’s hearty and comforting enough to serve on its own. Courtesy of Paint the Kitchen Red.

Some Quick Pointers

  • Follow my recipe for making fermented lemons (also called preserved lemons).
  • Be sure to thoroughly rinse your preserved lemons before you used them in a recipe.
  • You will be using the rind and not the flesh of the lemon.
  • They will keep up to 6 months in the refrigerator.
  • Be ready to bask in the glorious comments about how fabulous your meal is!

I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration and ideas out of this post. I look forward to hearing all about your recipes! Using preserved lemons is one of the best kept secrets in the culinary world. Welcome aboard!