Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons are a common ingredient in traditional Moroccan cuisine used to add a subtle acidity and sweetness to tagines and rice dishes. A whole lemon is quartered (or left whole) and placed in a glass jar with salt and sometimes spices such as peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, for at least one month and up to a year. Some recipes call for adding some sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the curing mixture. The salt cures the lemon over time, softening its peel and mellowing out its bitterness into a delightfully bright, lemony flavor.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Making preserved lemons is surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make at home, requiring only two ingredients, fresh lemons and coarse salt, and just a few minutes of active prep time. The hard part is the waiting – it takes a month for them to be ready to add to your favorite Moroccan dishes.
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Course: Pickles
Cuisine: African, Morocco, North Africa
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Preserving: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 10 minutes
Servings: 5 lemons
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Quart size canning jar with lid


  • 12 medium Fresh lemons, thin skinned preferred
  • 1 cup Kosher salt


  • Prep Lemons – Wash and dry 8 lemons. Partially cut through each, leaving 4 attached wedges. Generously fill the crevices of the cut lemons with salt.
  • Pack Jar – Squeeze the salted lemons and pack them into a jar. Wedge them in tightly so they can't move. Close the jar and let sit for 3 days. Open jar and pack as many new salted lemons tightly into the jar as possible so they won't move as they soften. Add some salt to the top and if aren't submerged, squeeze additional lemon juice to top them off.
  • Store – Tightly close lid and leave jar in a cupboard for at least 30 days and up to a year. Once opened, sealed jar may be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely.


  • Rinse preserved lemons thoroughly before using in a dish.


Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 22640mg | Potassium: 362mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 137mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2mg

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