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Moroccan Preserved Lemons

These preserved lemons sit in a mixture of lemon juice, salt, and spices for thirty days until their transformation is complete.
Prep Time20 mins
Standing Time30 d
Total Time30 d 20 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Moroccan, North African, Tunisian
Keyword: lemon, lemons, preserved lemon, preserved lemons
Author: The Elegant Economist


  • Two 24 ounce (750ml) canning jars, sterilised.
  • Canning weights (2)


  • 8 whole lemons, washed and dried
  • 8 whole lemons, juiced
  • 8 Tbsp coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp white peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seed
  • 2 tsp nigella seed
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks


  • Heat your oven to 275°F (140°C). Wash your jars with soap and water and dry. Place in the oven on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Remove, and let cool to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
  • Juice half (8) of your lemons. With the other half, cut four slits lengthwise into each lemon, stopping about an inch from the top/bottom at each end. Stuff each lemon with a tablespoon of salt.
  • In your jars, place half in each of: bay leaves, peppercorns, coriander seeds, nigella, and a whole cinnamon stick in each. Press your salted lemons into the jar as tightly as possible. Pour in your lemon juice. Don't worry if they are not covered. Close the lid.
  • Let sit on your counter at room temperature overnight. In the morning, press the lemons down again, so that they are submerged in the juice. Place a canning weight in each jar, screw on the lid, and leave in a cool, dark place for at least thirty days.


While you only use the peel of the preserved lemons in most recipes, the innards can be rinsed and blended into salad dressings or sauces. It is however very salty, so take care to check the taste before adding a lot / more salt.