This is a quick article that answers a question I frequently see asked in cooking forums: how much juice is in one lemon? We also look at some hacks to help you get every last drop of juice out of that lemon.
When it comes to versatility, lemons rule the culinary world. They play a starring role in lemonade, lemon cookies, lemon meringue pie and way more. They’re also hugely useful for balancing out dishes – whether they’re desserts or mains. Got a kale or rapini dish that’s overly bitter? The acidic fresh burst of lemon will help fix that.
But did you know there’s a juice dilemma?
If only I had a dollar for every recipe that calls for the “juice of a lemon” or “zest of a lemon”. What do those recipes actually mean? The juice in one lemon varies depending on size, age and conditions where it was grown. To end all this confusion, I decided to work out how much juice comes from an average lemon.
I’m lucky to have access to a lemon tree that produces virtually all year, it never relents. I took a sample of 20 small, medium and large sized lemons then got busy squeezing juice. I also measured 20 store bought lemons for comparison and they produced a similar quantity of juice.
I then used my Statistics 101 knowledge from my first year at University to establish the average juice output by size.
And here are the results…
A medium sized lemon, like the ones you buy in a supermarket, provides about 2 tablespoons of juice. Note: you can get more than this if you follow the lemon juicing tips further down this page.
A medium sized key lime has about 3 teaspoons of juice.
How much juice in half a lemon?
You’ll get roughly 1 tablespoon of juice from half a medium sized lemon.
The results summarized
Here are the results of my lemon squeezing experiment in a table:
|Lemon Size||How Much Juice?|
|Small lemon||1 Tbsp|
|Medium lemon||2 Tbsp|
|Large lemon||4 Tbsp|
|Medium key lime||3 tsp|
I also found that you will get about 1 tablespoon of zest from one lemon. Using a zester or microplane will help you to get more zest. If your lemons have a waxy coating, simply hold them under warm running water until it washes off. This will make zesting the skin easier.
Tips for juicing lemons
It’s worth mentioning that the amount of juice you get from a lemon can vary depending on your juice skills. Are you a juice-meister? Follow these tips for more juice; trust me, they work.
- Heat your lemon in the microwave for 10 seconds on high before slicing it open and squeezing.
- Roll the lemon on the bench, pushing down hard with you hand.
- Slice the lemon lengthwise rather than across.
- Use an electric juicer instead of a manual one.
Did you know that lemon trees can produce a whopping 600lbs of lemon in just one year? This is mostly thanks to the fact that they produce fruit all year round.
Recipes often call for the juice of a lemon to be used. This can lead to some confusion for those that get their juice from a bottle. Some of us have home grown lemons that are a lot bigger, or smaller than your average store bought lemon. So I think it’s a fair question to ask: how much juice is in one lemon?
The answer, based on my test, was 2 tablespoons of juice comes from one medium lemon – the size that’s commonly available in stores.
Keep in mind that when recipes use lemon juice, the amount often isn’t crucial to the success of the dish. For example, if you’re making lemon meringue pie, a little under or over isn’t going to ruin the dessert.
When making sauces add lemon juice in small amounts and taste testing before adding more. There is nothing worse than gravy with an overbearing sour flavor.
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