How Long Does Lemon Juice Last (plus preservation tips)?

Do you know that just one lemon a day provides you with 50% of your vitamin C needs? It also helps prevent kidney stones, it can replace your morning cup of joe (give it a try!), and gives you a healthy, tasty treat!

Even though lemons can sit on the counter for longer than most fruit, lemon juice goes bad rather quickly – in about 3 days. Lemon’s natural acidity simply doesn’t ward off bacteria indefinitely.

Avoid the bitter taste in your mouth – read on to find out how long lemon juice lasts, and what you can do to keep it fresh longer!

Glasses with fresh lemon juice

How Long Does Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice Last?

Lemons are very easy to squeeze, so only make as much juice as you need to use right away. That’s especially true because lemons last longer than other fruit thanks to the high citric and malic acid content. But what if you squeeze a bit too much?

A whole lemon will stay good for a few weeks, while freshly squeezed lemon juice can only sit between 2 and 4 days in the fridge. After a couple of days, your lemon juice will lose its taste and get dull and slightly dark. These are signs that it’s time to toss it in the trash can.

You may cook with your lemon juice for up to 7 days after you squeeze it. However, it won’t give you the sweet, zesty flavor that freshly squeezed lemon juice does – it’s likely to get pretty dull after so much time.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that using a bit of lemon when juicing greens can help the juice mix last longer since lemon helps with keeping bacteria away for longer. But, despite the fact that lemons have this power, you should always clean the juicer after you’re done.

Type of Lemon JuiceTime in the fridge after opening
Freshly squeezed juice3 days
Refrigerated bottled juice7 days
Bottled concentrated juice6 months
A bowl filled with lemons and lemon halves

How Long Does Bottled Lemon Juice Last?

There are many brands and formulations of bottled lemon juice on the market. Manufacturers put different kinds and amounts of preservatives inside the bottles. That also means there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Check out the manufacturer’s recommendations and best-before date on the bottle label. In general, these are ballpark estimates, so the juice may stay good past the expiry date.

Keep in mind that bottled concentrated lemon juice lasts longer than a year in an unopened plastic bottle. However, once you open the bottle, the juice will slowly start deteriorating due to oxidation. Plan accordingly and use up your juice concentrate within 6 months from opening.

Bottled juice bought in the refrigerated section will last for a shorter time than the one from the shelves. While it doesn’t stay fresh for long, refrigerated bottled juice typically contains smaller amounts of preservatives. Once you open a bottle, keep it in the refrigerator and use it up within 7 days.

Can Lemon Juice Go Bad In The Fridge?

A wide arrange of citrus drinks in the fridge

Yes. Despite the common misconception, lemon juice does go bad in the fridge. In fact, that happens rather quickly – freshly squeezed lemon juice may turn bad after just 2 days.

However, keeping your juice in the fridge will definitely make its shelf-life much longer. Lemon juice stored at room temperature will go bad after a single day.

The same goes for the whole, uncut lemons. On the counter, your lemons may go bad after one week, while they will stay fresh for up to two months when refrigerated.

How to Properly Store Fresh Lemon Juice

How well you store it is the determining factor in how long your lemon juice will last.

If you only juice a few lemons

Simply pour the fresh lemon juice into a lidded jar or bottle. If possible, fill the jar up to the brim and seal it tightly. The less air you leave inside the bottle, the longer the juice will remain fresh. This works because you minimize the effect of oxidation which makes the lemon juice go bad. Keep it at a temperature below 40° F to maximize the time your juice stays fresh.

Remember, if you are juicing without a juicer, getting rid of as much pulp as you can is paramount, since it can shorten the lifespan of lemon juice to a degree. If you are blending frozen drinks, you don’t have to worry, since those get consumed almost instantaneously.

Canning

Canning is perfect if you have a lot of juice that you want to store for a long time – even as long as two years. All you need are canning jars with rubber gaskets and lids, and a canner or a stockpot. You can store canned lemon juice in the pantry.

Can I Freeze Lemon Juice?

Freezing is yet another amazing method to keep your freshly squeezed lemon juice good to drink. Frozen juice will stay at its peak quality for about 3 months. After that, it’ll lose some of its nutrients and flavor, but remain safe virtually indefinitely. Getting your lemon juice freezer-ready is simple.

  • Get an ice cube tray and a pitcher that will let you easily pour small amounts of fresh lemon juice.
  • When you fill the tray, put it in the freezer at a temperature below 0° F.
  • Once the cubes are solid, remove them from the tray, put them in a zip-top freezer bag, and put them back in the freezer.

Use your juicy ice cubes for a refreshing drink immediately, or store them in the fridge for an additional 24 hours after popping them out of the freezer.

Lemon juice ice and frozen lemon juice on a table

How Can You Tell If Lemon Juice Is Bad?

  • Like with any other citrus juice when it turns, lemon juice will either taste dull or more acidic than usual.
  • Lemon juice has a nice citrus smell at its prime. Once it’s stale or already expired, the smell will become tangier because of fermentation.
  • The color will also change by becoming darker and cloudier with time (in most cases). However, darker juice doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to throw it out. It might still be good to drink, but chances are some of the nutrients are already gone.
  • The appearance of mold is a sure sign that it’s time for the trash can. Remove and thoroughly clean any moldy containers from your pantry or fridge to avoid contaminating other foods.

Is Expired Lemon Juice Bad For You?

Whoops! If you drank some spoiled lemon juice, you might get symptoms of food poisoning within the next two days. However, most likely, there’s nothing to worry about.

You might experience an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, headache, or chills. Make sure to stay hydrated all the time – it’ll help your body recover quickly.

If your symptoms get worse or persist longer than 24 hours, you should go see a doctor.

A pile of freshly cut lemon halves

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Juice

The vitamin C-rich lemon juice is among the healthiest and most refreshing drinks you can have – for as long as it doesn’t turn bad. Remember to catch a whiff of your juice before drinking if it has been stored for longer than 24 hours.

Be sure to check out our other articles on juicing limes, cold press juicer reviews, blenders and more.

We do our best to do the research thoroughly and bring you high-quality info. If you found this article useful, consider sharing it with your friends and family to help them enjoy fresh lemon juice as well!

About the author

Donna Djuragic

Donna Djuragic is a crafty blogger who's always on the lookout for ways to make her homestead nicer, better organized, and more functional. She enjoys reading, gardening, home improvement, and finding pragmatic solutions to common homeowner problems. Feel free to get in touch via donna@thehomedweller.com.

P.S. - Donna loves to hear from her readers. Be sure to leave a comment below!

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