Air-Dried Lemon Peel

February 13, 2013(updated on October 3, 2018)

dried Meyer lemon peel

Next time you go to juice a lemon for a recipe, take an extra minute, grab a vegetable peeler and remove the flavorful outer layer of skin from your lemon. Lay these fragrant slivers on a place and perch the plate on a shelf or on top of a towering stack of cookbooks (if you’re me).

Check them a day or two later, or whenever you remember. Soon enough, they should be quite dry but still fragrant and vividly colored. Place them in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and stash them in a dark corner. Once you have this little jar of dried lemon peels, here’s how you can use them.

  • Drop a sliver into brewing black tea. 
  • Pulverize a few strips with coarse salt and sprinkle over popcorn.
  • Crush them and whisk the bits into homemade vinaigrettes and marinades.
  • Float them in a water bottle.
  • Simmer these citrus ribbons in a pot of creamy rice pudding.
  • Use the jar as a day-brightening aromatherapy devise.


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27 thoughts on "Air-Dried Lemon Peel"

  • Brilliant. And so simple! Great ideas for uses. I’m going to purchase a few lemons and try to think of a use for the juice just so I can try this. 🙂

    1. you don’t have to think very hard…. juice your lemons and freeze the juice in an old icetray ( i have one just for this) – anytime you need lemon juice, pull out one or 2 cubes… lasts for months…

  • Would you use do those for just Meyer lemons or regular lemons too? Or is whether they’re organic more important to you?

    1. I do it with both Meyer and regular lemons (as well as the occasional good-smelling orange). Organic is best, but if you can’t swing ’em, give the citrus a good scrub before stripping the zest.

      1. Actually, you should scrub all citrus well — organic or not — before using the zest for any purpose. Even organic lemons have stuff on them, e.g., dirt, that you don’t want to consume later. ;o)

  • Nice idea, Marisa. By the way, I have been enjoying the strawberry-meyer lemon marmalade I made the other day from one of your recipes. The bitter of the lemon rind next to the sweet of the strawberry — yum! Had a couple spoonfuls tonight over plain yogurt for dessert. Because I was really just looking for an excuse to eat a spoonful of it 🙂

  • The same thing you can do with orange peels.
    Then I use them mainly when I make legume soups because they give an amazing flavour to those dishes.
    I love your uses and I will certainly try them out!

  • Could you use these to replace lemon zest if you didn’t have fresh lemons – simmered in a soup/sauce or stew and then removed before eating, for a lemon flavour – I like this idea as I don’t often have fresh lemon on hand!

  • One of my favorite tricks! plus I love to micro-plane off the zest of a lemon or orange whose insides are my main quarry–then I either stuff it in a little jar in the freezer to put in batters and so forth, or, like you, dry it in the air somewhere and stash it away to mix into loose tea. Now you will have to excuse me while I go make some rice pudding, which you have made me hungry for….

  • I love this idea. Didn’t know you can just put them in a jar; I use the freezer. I have ice cube trays with the cubes shaped like 6 inch pencils. I put 1 Tablespoon of microplaned lemon or orange peel (whichever I am working with) into each and fill with water. When they are frozen, I put them in a ziploc bag back in the freezer. These can then go into my water bottle when I work out. They can also be added to recipes adjusting the liquid to account for the water in the citrus cube.

  • I will always be grateful for a recipe where it requires you to put food on a bookshelf and forget about it for 2 days. 🙂

  • I always lament the lack of lemon in my tea while I travel, but I have not become extreme enough to bring one with me… this seems like the perfect, and totally reasonable solution.
    Also, Cooks Illustrated once did a bit on removing wax/external stuff from fruits and veggies. They tested the expensive, specialized spray, plain water and vinegar. They found the vinegar worked almost as well as the fancy spray and a fraction of the cost. Spray item with a little vinegar, rub for 30 sec., rinse. My apples, oranges and cukes have a completely different texture when I’m done, so I know *something* is happening.

  • Great ideas! I just purchased a Meyer lemon tree with fruits. I will definitely preserve the rind next time I use the juice. I will try it on rice pudding!

  • Thanks for the idea. I have a bowl of meyer lemons calling me to make something….

    P.S. I made your meyer lemon curd over the weekend and it turned out beautifully.

  • Such a great idea! I do have to say that my lemon rind usually just goes into my cup of tea or cocktail with the rest of the wedge…or into a big batch of limoncello. But! I can think of a hundred ways to use dried too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Oh my….will have to try out the popcorn idea! Thanks. We have a couple of fresh lemons from LA left that were sent to us as a mid winter gift.

  • So simple and so in line with how we try to waste not, want not in our home…

    I was always focused on grating lemon peel to dry and store for future use, but the whole peels are even easier!

    thank you!