Preserved Lemons (Moroccan Cooking Part 1 of 2)

You might not have ever heard of preserved lemons but chances are, if you’ve eaten Moroccan food you’ve probably tasted them before without even knowing it.  Preserved lemons are one of the key ingredients in Moroccan cooking and are in everything from salads to stews cooked in the funny shaped clay ovens called tagines (blog post coming soon!).

I’ve never used any part of the lemon rind in cooking other than the occasional zest, but for Moroccan cooking you actually use whole slivers of the rind of preserved lemons to get a bold lemon flavor.

Making the preserved lemons is the easy part – it’s waiting a month to use them that’s hard!

Preserved Lemons recipe adapted from Cooking Moroccan


  • 1 large sealed jar
  • Enough whole lemons (slightly firm but not too firm) to fill the jar plus 2 more for juice
  • Warm water
  • Salt (2 tbsp for each lemon plus extra for the jar)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Whole peppercorns


Scrub the lemons under warm water with a vegetable brush to remove any wax.

Cut each lemon into quadrants but without cutting all the way through the bottom so that the lemon stays 1 lemon.

Insert 2 tablespoons of salt in each lemon.

Fill the jar with the salted lemons.

Fill the rest of the jar with warm water, the juice of 2 lemons, several more tablespoons of salt, the bay leaf, and a sprinkling of whole peppercorns.

Leave the remains of the 2 juiced lemons at the top of the jar to capture any mold that may grow on top.

Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for 4 weeks.

For the first week rotate the jar daily to disperse the salt.

After 1 month, you can use 1 lemon per recipe.  Scrape away the insides of the lemon and cut the rind into tiny slivers.

The lemons should keep for up to 6 months.

Stay tuned for a delicious lamb tagine recipe that calls for preserved lemons!


One response to “Preserved Lemons (Moroccan Cooking Part 1 of 2)

  1. Pingback: Moroccan Lamb Meatball Tajine | Wanderlust for Food

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