Does Lemon Juice Go Bad? (Plus How To Keep It Fresh)

Lemon juice is often used to brighten up marinades, sauces, and other dishes. But rarely do you need more than a few tablespoons of lemon juice for any recipe.

But does lemon juice go bad? Or can you keep it in your refrigerator indefinitely once you make it?I never knew the answers to this question, and I was always frustrated by how much extra lemon juice I felt like I was wasting while cooking. Thankfully, I’ve gathered up the answers for you. Learn all you need to know about lemon juice today!


Does Fresh Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Because fresh lemon juice has no preservatives in it, you cannot expect it to last very long, even if you keep it in the refrigerator.

After you juice your lemons, you should store the fresh lemon juice in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for as long as possible. Lemon juice can be stored for 2 to 4 days before it starts to taste different.

At most, you can keep fresh lemon juice in the refrigerator for up to one week before it will lose all flavor and start to taste a bit rancid. I’ve had some cases where the lemon juice still tastes OK after one week and a half, but in most cases, I need to toss the bad lemon juice before this time.

If you want to keep lemon juice fresh for longer, you will need to freeze it. See the freezing section of this article to learn how!

Does Bottled Lemon Juice Go Bad?


Many people opt to buy bottled lemon juice instead of making fresh lemon juice because it is easier to use and lasts longer than fresh lemon juice. This is because bottled lemon juice contains preservatives that keep it stabilized for a longer time.

Every bottle of lemon juice will have a “best used by” date on the packaging. You do not have to throw the bottle away on this date, but the taste will start to get worse after this time, so it is best to try to use the lemon juice before then.

The shelf life for most lemon juice is a few months, but freezing the lemon juice can extend that by up to a year.

Bottles of lemon juice can be stored in the pantry until they are opened. Once opened, you should store bottled lemon juice in the refrigerator to make sure that it stays as fresh as possible.

How Do I Know If My Lemon Juice Went Bad?

It’s important to know how to recognize if lemon juice is bad or not. If you don’t pay attention to the quality of lemon juice, you might ruin an otherwise tasty dish by adding bad lemon juice to the mix.

Lemon juice must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent bacterial growth from happening. If you accidentally leave fresh lemon juice or opened bottled lemon juice on the counter for more than a short time, it may have bacterial growth. You should not consume lemon juice that was left out.

The only way to check if the juice is fine is to look for changes in color, smell, or taste. In the case of lemon juice, it usually gets darker in color as it goes bad. If the juice doesn’t taste or smell like citrus, it has gone bad. You should toss it immediately.

How Can I Freeze Lemon Juice?

A fantastic way to freeze lemon juice is to freeze it in small quantities. It is possible to freeze a whole bottle of lemon juice, but you would have to thaw the whole bottle next time you need any lemon juice.

Since most recipes call for just a few tablespoons of lemon juice, try freezing tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray. Transfer the ice cubes to a bag to store them in your freezer once they are frozen. When you need lemon juice, simply take out the appropriate number of ice cubes, and you’ll be ready to go!

Here’s a quick video on how to go about freezing lemon juice in a simple ice cube tray:

If you are freezing fresh lemon juice, you can expect it to last for three to five months before it should be tossed.

What Can I Do With Extra Fresh Lemon Juice?

No matter how well you plan, you may end up with extra lemon juice when you are making dinner, and it can be frustrating to always be throwing away good leftover juice.

A great way to use up the extra lemon juice that you may have is to make lemonade! Fresh lemonade will stay fresh for at least two weeks because the sugar in the mix acts as a preservative and prevents the lemon juice from spoiling.

All you need to do to make fresh lemonade is gather these ingredients:

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups cold water

Mix these ingredients together. Then, adjust the amount of water to make the lemonade taste how you like it! Chill and enjoy your fresh lemonade for up to two weeks.

Keep Your Lemon Juice Fresh!

Does lemon juice go bad? Yes, but now that you know all about lemon juice, you can be sure to keep it fresh for the longest time possible. Using lemon juice in the kitchen is an affordable way to brighten dishes, but you don’t want to waste the extra juice. And if you have enough extra juice, try making lemonade!

I hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have any questions about using lemon juice? Make sure to comment and let me know if you do, and let me know how these lemon juice tips work for you!


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Sophia Gardner

I'm Sophia, food blogger, dog lover, homemade cooking and travel passion. I really hope you enjoy my blog, i'll do my best to share great recipes, healthy living tips and just general 'food' thoughts!

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