Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemon is a traditional North African condiment where its sour and salty flavor adds a distinct flavor to classic tagines, roast chickens and other meals. I generally use 8-10 lemons at a time, but be sure to buy a extra lemons for lemon juice in case you need to add additional liquid to keep the lemons in the jar submerged while they ‘do their thing’.Use pure sea salt or kosher salt.

Always use organic or unsprayed lemons, since you’re going to be eating the exterior


2 1/2 pounds lemons
1/4 cup kosher or unrefined sea salt



1. Trim the ends off lemons (use only 2 pounds), taking care not to cut into the flesh, then slice the lemons as if to quarter them – keeping the base of the lemon intact.

2. Squeeze the lemon juice from the remaining lemons (1/2 pounds)

3. Sprinkle the interior of the lemons with kosher or unrefined sea salt then layer in your mason jar, crock or fermentation device. Sprinkle with unrefined sea salt then mash with a wooden spoon or dowel until the rinds of the lemon begin to soften and the lemons release their juice which should combine with the salt to create a brine conducive to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria.

4. Continue mashing, salting and mashing until your lemons fill the jar and rest below the level of the brine. Compress the lemons as you add them to the jar to release their juices. Ideally, you want the lemons to be packed very tightly.

5. Add the fresh lemon juice and a generous sprinkling of the salt. Cover the lemons tightly, and set aside in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks until lemon rinds soften. A food pantry is fine.

Lemons can be kept for one to two years.

Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon, and chop them finely or coarsely, or slice them then add them to you favorite dish .


  1. Alison says

    I am enjoying your beautiful web site, Rachida. Once the lemons are ready to use, should we keep them in the refrigerator or pantry? And what should we do if mold develops on the rind?

    • says

      Hi Alison!
      I always store them in the fridge. They should last up to one year without any problem. Just discard the piece with the mold, the wash the remaining pieces and store them in the fridge. Thanks for your nice comment about the site. Good luck.

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