How to Dehydrate Lemons

So, after juicing over 67 pounds of lemons I still had a bunch left over. I read somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where) that you can dehydrate lemons and they will last for a long time.

You can use dehydrated lemons in water or tea, or anything else you would put a slice of lemon in that is liquid. The liquid rehydrates the lemon and gives your beverage that lemon-y taste.

To begin, wash the lemons well. The rinds will be in your drink so you want them to be clean.

Slice the lemons into circle shaped slices about 1/4 inch thick. Try to get them all the same size, but as you can see from my photo I didn’t achieve this uniformity. 🙂

If your lemons have large seeds, try to remove as many of them as possible before dehydrating. If you have a dehydrator, arrange the lemon slices on the trays.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can do this in the oven, but it takes a long time. Place the lemon slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 200 degrees until they are finished.

Set your dehydrator to the fruit setting (about 135 degrees) and begin. My lemons took over 24 hours to dehydrate, but I think that was partly due to the fact that my slices were thick.

You will know they are finished when the inside of the slice is a dark brown color.


  1. What a great idea! My parents always give us a bucket of lemons each year from their backyard. I usually get tired of juicing them for lemonade and my lemon meringue pie was a bust this year :). I might use some of the leftovers next year for this.

    After you’ve dehydrated them do you freeze them? Or just leave them in the pantry?

  2. My lemons turned dark brown too, but I read that fresh lemons do not. Do you know if this is true?

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      Hmmm, well my lemons were right off the tree so I don’t know how much fresher they could be. I think they turn dark brown because all the liquid if removed.

    • They turn brown because of the oxidation that naturally occurs when the fruit is exposed to air for a period of time. It doesn’t affect the flavor but if you wanted them to remain bright, you could dunk them in food grade sodium bisulfite which is a natural antioxidant. I don’t bother with this though because I don’t mind the color change.

  3. I’d love to see an after pic. of the what the dehydrated slice looks like in a cup of hot water. Does it have a brown-tinge? & wondering how much “lemon-y” is steeped out. How close in quantity is it to using a fresh slice, do you think?

    That’s so awesome you have a lemon tree!
    ps, I do find it waaayyy easier to navigate your blog..but miss the “cozy family” appearance to it.

    • TheHappyHousewife says:

      I would say the quantity is as good as fresh lemon in water, although you do have to give it a few minutes to hydrate. I haven’t tried it in tea because I don’t drink tea.

  4. How cool is this?! Things like this intrigue me, having grown up in a day and age where we don’t preserve things..Thanks for the tutorial!

  5. I live in the So Cal in the desert and during the summer I take excess lemons and oranges and slice and put on towels in my backyard to dry out…for some reason, unlike the oven or dehydrator, they stay their natural color this way and are very pretty. I use them in my Christmas garlands. I’ll be putting some aside for drinks now…thanks.

  6. Cool. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Christian McMahon says:

    My advice is to cut off the yellow part of the rind. The rind has too much taste and over powers the lemon.

  8. Hi,

    Is there any way to preserve a more yellow colour or do they lighten somewhat when rehydrated?


  9. a.scientific.mind says:

    Citric acid is used to keep pears from browning. While lemons have lots of citric acid it’s possible that
    there’s not enough to keep them from going brown.

    it’s a cheap product to buy , sometimes called ‘sour salt’ but there’s no salt in it

    Don’t buy a name brand product. just look for ‘citric acid’

    Give it a try. It can’t hurt and you can make lots of use of it .. i put it in my spaghetti sauce to
    give it a slight edge. Make drinks from it using it, sugar, water, a bit of lemon oil or any flavor. like lime, or orange, ..anything.

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