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Ottolenghi Preserved Lemons Meyer Lemons filled with salt on bamboo cutting board

Ottolenghi Preserved Lemons

Once you taste this umami-rich citrusy condiment called preserved lemons, you'll wonder why you waited this long to start cooking with them.
4.32 from 25 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Preserving time 30 d
Total Time 30 d 15 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 16
Calories 4 kcal


  • 6 - 8 lemons Meyer, Eureka, Lisbon
  • 6 - 8 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup lemon juice approximately - enough to cover the lemons in the jar after one week
  • 1 sprig rosemary optional
  • 2 sprigs thyme optional
  • 10 peppercorns optional
  • 1 spicy red pepper optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Sterilize your 1 qt glass jar canning jar (run through dishwasher, run under very hot water, use your instant pot) - just make sure it is clean.
  • Cut 2 slits in each lemon to create a well to put the salt in, being careful not to slice all the way through. If you do, no big deal, many people preserve quartered lemons. It will work too. 
    Ottolenghi Preserved Lemons closeup of lemon with slit and salt
  • Add about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to each lemon. 
  • Place the lemons in the glass jar fitting them in as tightly packed as you can.
    Ottolenghi Preserved Lemons in jar with sunshine
  • Close the jar and let them sit in a cool dry place for about a week. You'll notice juice beginning to accumulate in the jar. 
  • After a week, open the jar, add your aromatics of choice - thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, coriander, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, a whole pepper - your taste buds can be your guide. Then cover the lemons and aromatics with enough lemon juice to cover them all. Top with a bit of olive oil and close it up. Let it sit out in that cool dry place for 3 or 4 more weeks. You can occasionally shake it about if you'd like. Then place in the refrigerator and start experimenting!
    Ottolenghi Preserved Lemons in jar covered with lemon juice and pepper and herbs



Some recipes for preserved lemons add the juice to cover the lemons from the very beginning along with the aromatics, another perfectly fine option. 


Calories: 4kcalCarbohydrates: 1gSodium: 194mgPotassium: 15mgVitamin A: 15IUVitamin C: 7.4mgCalcium: 1mg
Keyword lemons, Ottolenghi, preserved lemons
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