The 45 Best Lemon Recipes For Citrus Lovers

A spritz of lemon can add instant flavor to a wide variety of dishes. The yellow citrus fruit plays well with all sorts of ingredients: Add it to desserts for an incomparable tangy-sweet flavor that instantly pleases the palate. Or, let lemon take the starring role in savory dinner dishes where it can cut through rich sauces or complement an assortment of fresh herbs to transport your tastebuds straight to culinary bliss.

Of course, you can also use lemon to quench your thirst. Lemonade is an old-school favorite, and anyone who's ever tried their hand at making it knows that freshly squeezed lemons make your homemade drink downright amazing.

For those of us who can't get enough of that citrusy taste, there are loads of refreshing lemon recipes you can make right at home. So without further ado, let's dive right into the best lemon-centric Mashed recipes that need to be on your radar.

Classic Lemonade

We can't talk about the best lemon recipes without starting with one for classic lemonade. It takes only three ingredients — lemons, sugar, and water — to create this favorite, refreshing summertime drink. The beverage comes together in only 10 minutes, and it's easy to add extra ingredients to your lemonade like leaves of fresh mint or basil, which add a mature, herbal touch. The recipe makes four servings and can easily be doubled or tripled to make enough for a crowd. Once you taste this, you'll never buy another can of powdered lemonade again!

Recipe: Classic Lemonade

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

A crisp, little cookie full of lemon flavor — yum! Shortbread cookie dough is so easy to make, and needs only a very brief chill in the fridge to be ready for rolling, cutting, and baking. Dusted with sugar, they're lightly sweet and the perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee. If you're feeling really creative, try sandwiching the cookies together with jam or buttercream frosting. Or make a simple glaze from confectioner's sugar and lemon juice to drizzle over the tops. 

Recipe: Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Drop Shots

If you love playing mixologist at home, add this fun recipe to your repertoire. Lemon Drop Shots are easy to make and a perfect way to kick off an evening party with friends. The lightly sweet drink pairs vodka with lemon juice — use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best possible flavor. Shake the cocktail with ice so it gets nice and cold, and serve the shot with a lemon slice. The recipe calls for regular vodka, but for a sweeter twist try flavored varieties like whipped cream vodka or coconut vodka.

Recipe: Lemon Drop Shots

Lemon Curd

Light but creamy, sweet yet tangy, lemon curd is a recipe every citrus lover should know by heart. Spread lemon curd over freshly baked scones or pancakes. You can also use it as a substitute for jam when making thumbprint cookies or even as a filling for fruit tarts. Add a dollop or two to a cheesecake, or simply enjoy a bowl of lemon curd with fresh berries. Delicious, versatile, and dangerously easy to make, you'll come back to our lemon curd recipe again and again.

Recipe: Lemon Curd

Lemon Cake

Light, moist, and boasting a vibrant flavor, lemon cake is a terrific summer dessert you can serve alongside afternoon tea or dig into as a sweet treat at night. It's a simple, yet elegant cake that requires very little prep work and under an hour of baking time. A quick word of advice? Don't be shy when pouring the lemon glaze over the cake, and dust it with plenty of powdered sugar.

Recipe: Lemon Cake

Lemon Chicken

Golden brown chicken cutlets drenched in a mouthwatering sauce of butter, thyme, white wine, and of course, plenty of lemon? Yes, please. This amazing lemon chicken recipe (which you might recognize as chicken francese) is simple, yet sophisticated and easy to make. Lemon balances out the richness of the butter while also imparting a sensational flavor to the sauce. It's a winner for moments when you want to wow friends or family with your culinary skills without spending half the day in the kitchen.

Recipe: Lemon Chicken

Zucchini Walnut Bread With Lemon Glaze

While it's often relegated to savory dishes like sheet pan dinners or fried as an appetizer, the humble zucchini works brilliantly in desserts. This easy zucchini walnut bread with lemon glaze has a mild, lightly sweet flavor. It's moist with a bit of crunch — courtesy of the chopped walnuts — and topped off with a zesty glaze. That hint of lemon works so well with the subtle flavor of the zucchini. Not only is it a tasty snack, but zucchini bread is also a clever way to eat more of this healthy vegetable.

Recipe: Zucchini Walnut Bread With Lemon Glaze

3-Ingredient Copycat Chick-Fil-A Lemonade

When the temperatures rise, there's nothing that hits the spot quite like an ice-cold glass of homemade lemonade. This copycat Chick-fil-A lemonade recipe may very well be the only lemonade recipe you'll need. Great-tasting lemonade is all about getting the ratio of lemon, water, and sugar right, and as far as we're concerned, this recipe is the holy grail. Say hello to amazing lemonade all summer long, and don't forget to save the leftover lemon peels to use in other recipes.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Copycat Chick-Fil-A Lemonade

Lemon Italian Ice

You know those little cups of lemon Italian ice that you can find in the grocery store freezer case? Well, you don't need to buy them anymore — homemade Italian ice comes together with only four ingredients. Use fresh lemons for the lemon juice; not only is it the most important part of this recipe, but it also tastes better. Simmer ingredients together, then freeze for a few hours, giving it a few stirs as it chills. This frozen treat is incredibly refreshing on a hot day, or a lovely taste of sunshine on a cold, snowy day. 

Recipe: Lemon Italian Ice

Lemon Butter Pasta With Chiles

Instead of heavy cream or tomato-based sauces, this pasta dish is refreshingly light with a simple dressing of white wine, lemon juice, and butter. In this recipe that comes together in less than 20 minutes, thin slices of arbol chiles bring a little heat, and grated Parmesan cheese gives the pasta a savory and salty notes. For butter sauces like this one, Delallo recommends pasta shapes like linguine, thin spaghetti, farfalle, or shells. 

Recipe: Lemon Butter Pasta With Chiles

Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

When ranking the best menu items at Starbucks, citrus lovers might place the chain's iced lemon loaf up at the top of the list. It's sweet, loaded with lemony flavor, and pairs well with a cappuccino or English breakfast tea. For those days when you're staying home to save a little money, bake this copycat version of Starbucks' bread. Your kitchen will smell amazing as this quick bread bakes, and you'll get to drizzle as much icing as you like over the top. 

Recipe: Copycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf

Creamy Chicken Lemon Rice Soup

Light-tasting and filled with the brightness of lemon, this soup looks thick and creamy but surprisingly contains no cream at all. The texture comes from arborio rice, the same type used to make risotto, as well as eggs stirred into the broth near the end of cooking time. The hearty soup combines rice with shredded chicken, chopped carrots and onion, and fresh parsley. Serve the soup with crumbled feta and slices of buttered, crusty bread. 

Recipe: Creamy Chicken Lemon Rice Soup


According to La Cucina Italiana, limoncello is a lemon-infused liqueur that's a specialty of the Amalfi coast region of southern Italy. It can be enjoyed as an after-dinner digestif or used to add robust lemon flavor to cocktails and desserts. It's also very easy to make limoncello at home. Cleaned lemon peels are steeped in vodka and simple syrup for a week (or even longer, for a stronger flavor). Store it in the fridge or freezer to have on hand anytime. Bottles of limoncello also make unique holiday or birthday gifts. 

Recipe: Limoncello

5-Ingredient Lemon Meringue Pie

A gorgeous lemon pie with clouds of meringue may look daunting for novice bakers, but this recipe shows how simple this dessert can actually be. Only five ingredients are needed to make the crust, filling, and topping for the pie. (Tip: use a store-bought graham cracker or cookie pie shell to make it even easier.) Jarred lemon curd is spread over the crust, then topped with gooey mounds of meringue. 15 minutes in the oven is all it takes to set and lightly brown the meringue. It's a lemony, showstopper of a treat.

Recipe: 5-Minute Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Hummus

If you're a hummus lover you already know all the reasons why this chickpea-based spread is awesome: It's flavorful, full of plant-based protein, delicious as a snack, and versatile as an accompaniment for sandwiches, wraps, and grilled meats. In this recipe from Catherine Brookes, the simple blend of chickpeas, tahini, oil, and garlic is extra zesty thanks to lemon juice and zest. The hummus comes together in only 5 minutes. Enjoy it with pita chips and raw veggies, of course, but use it to give other dishes a flavor boost too, like chicken salad, roasted veggies, and garlic bread. 

Recipe: Lemon Hummus

Lemon Bars

One of the most-loved lemon desserts has got to be lemon bars. The sweet treats can be found at barbecues, potlucks, bakeries, and coffee shops, and for good reason: They're soft with a little bit of chewiness in the cake base, and intense lemon flavor throughout. The recipe walks you through the steps to make the crust and lemon filling, and they bake up in about 40 minutes. Allow time for the bars to chill in the fridge before serving. 

Recipe: Lemon Bars

Baked Lemon Chicken

Chicken drumsticks become tender and full of flavor after they're baked with oregano, thyme, plenty of lemon juice, and lemon slices. This is a great main course to serve with garlic bread, cooked rice, or buttered noodles, and any leftovers make for a delicious meal on your lunch break. You can also make this recipe to use the chopped or shredded meat in other dishes, like chicken salad, wraps, gyros, or soups. 

Recipe: Baked Lemon Chicken

Whipped Lemonade

Along with dalgona coffee, cloud bread, and taco pickles, we have TikTok to thank for a viral recipe known as whipped lemonade. In this version from Susan Olayinka, freshly-squeezed lemon juice is blended with ice, sweetened condensed milk, and cream to create the cool and sweet treat, which has a milkshake-like texture and loads of tangy lemon flavor. Add whipped cream or get creative with toppings like crushed Lemonhead candies, sprinkles, or yellow gummy fruit slices. 

Recipe: Whipped Lemonade

Salmon With Lemon Dill Sauce

Inspired by Scandinavian cuisine, this is a flavorful dinner that's ready to eat in 25 minutes. After quickly cooking salmon filets in a skillet, whisk together a sauce made with sautéed shallots and garlic, white wine, lemon juice, and cream. Serve the filets with the creamy sauce and several fronds of fresh dill. The fresh, light flavors and quick prep make this a perfect summertime dinner, especially when served with a salad or boiled new potatoes. 

Recipe: Salmon With Lemon Dill Sauce

Ginger And Lemon Scones

Treat yourself and everyone in the house to the delightful experience of freshly-baked scones. Since they take only 20 minutes to pull together, you can relax with a cup of coffee and the day's Wordle while they bake. Made with lots of lemon and candied ginger, these are considered "cream scones" — meaning they're made only with cream and no butter. Cream scones are more soft and tender than regular scones. Eat your scones spread with butter or jam along with a hot cup of tea. 

Recipe: Ginger And Lemon Scones

Strawberry Lemonade

Two of the best flavors of summertime — strawberries and lemons — come together here in one refreshing drink. The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a concentrated base that you can store in your fridge or freezer, and it's enough to make eight pitchers of strawberry lemonade. All you need for this recipe are strawberries, lemons, sugar, and water. Make it for yourself or to serve at a backyard barbecue — it can even be used as a cocktail mixer to blend with spirits like tequila, vodka, or gin. 

Recipe: Strawberry Lemonade

Atlantic Beach Lemon Pie

According to Southern Living, Atlantic Beach Pie was created in Crook's Corner, a favorite Chapel Hill, North Carolina restaurant. Although it's now closed, this beloved lemon dessert lives on. The sweet and salty treat consists of a crust formed from crushed saltine crackers and a creamy, sweet lemon filling. You can bake and chill the crust in advance to save some time, and once it's poured into the crust, the filling takes less than 20 minutes to bake through. The recipe makes eight sweet and tangy servings. 

Recipe: Atlantic Beach Lemon Pie

Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Spaghetti With A Twist

This recipe from Christina Musgrave puts a twist on a simple Lemon Spaghetti recipe from Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis by swapping out fresh basil for aromatic and crispy fried sage leaves. The sauce is so quick to make, yet really flavorful thanks to lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and butter. Simmer it up and fry the fresh sage leaves all while the pasta cooks, and you'll have this dish on the table in about 15 minutes. 

Recipe: Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Spaghetti With A Twist

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon lovers, take note: There's lemon flavor in every single bit of this tender pound cake. The recipe folds lemon zest into the cake, pours lemon juice over the hot surface, and includes lemon in the thick, white icing that gives it a pretty finish. The cake bakes up in just under an hour, and it's the perfect dessert to have on hand for tea time or to celebrate a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. 

Recipe: Iced Lemon Pound Cake

Baked Haddock

Have you noticed that many lemon recipes are described as "simple"? That's because the citrus fruit brings so much flavor to dishes, as well as a pleasant acidity, that you often don't need much else for the food to taste perfectly balanced. This baked haddock recipe is a great example: An easy sauce of lemon, garlic, herbs, and olive oil infuses the filets with flavor after only 15 minutes in the oven. Serve the haddock with steamed rice or roasted potatoes for a meal that may be simple but is also really delicious. 

Recipe: Baked Haddock

Lemon Tahini Dressing

For those not familiar with tahini, Food Network explains that it's a creamy paste made by grinding hulled and toasted sesame seeds. It's a primary component of traditional hummus and is also used to add nutty flavor to other dishes, too — like this easy dressing. With the help of a food processor to purée the tahini with lemon juice, garlic, and other ingredients, this dressing comes together in only 10 minutes. It's delicious on salads and as a dip for veggies, but it can also be a unique spread for toast, sandwiches, and wraps. 

Recipe: Lemon Tahini Dressing

Lemon Lush

Need a dessert that everyone will love and that comes together in a snap? Turn to this old-fashioned treat that's been a favorite of potlucks and family gatherings for decades. Lemon Lush is a no-bake, 9x13 dessert with lots of sweet layers. It starts with a crust of crushed vanilla cookies, then gets a sweetened cheesecake-like layer, a bright yellow lemon pudding layer, and a layer of Cool Whip on top. You can assemble it in less than 20 minutes, then chill it for an hour or even longer if you want to make it in advance. To add extra homemade flavor, make your own sweetened whipped cream. 

Recipe: Lemon Lush

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Because a slow cooker does all the work for you, this recipe makes it possible to serve a gorgeous chicken dinner even when you can't stay home all day. Just place a 4-5 pound chicken in the slow cooker with veggies, oil, and a few spices. Lemon slices go over the top of the chicken, and you can go a step further by adding more lemon slices to the cavity or squeezing extra juice over the surface. The chicken cooks through in about eight hours. To crisp up the skin, slide the bird under the broiler briefly before serving. 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Instant Pot Lemonade

When's the last time you made a beverage in your Instant Pot? If you thought the appliance was only good for rice, soups, and pot roast, this recipe will really surprise you. The only two ingredients that go in the Instant Pot are lemon juice and sugar. There, they pressure-cook for a short time, which turns them into a thick, super-lemony syrup. Once it cools, combine the syrup with seltzer water, ice, and sliced fruit if you're feeling fancy. The syrup can also be mixed with iced tea for a twist on the classic Arnold Palmer.

Recipe: Instant Pot Lemonade

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Make these easy lemon cookies for all kinds of occasions. Bring them to a wedding shower, serve them as dessert for a summer barbecue, give them to your kids to snack on, or mail them to someone special. Though they look like ordinary sugar cookies, two ingredients make them stand out. Cream cheese in the batter gives the cookies a heavenly, soft texture inside, and lemon juice gives them a light citrus flavor. The dough needs only 30 minutes to chill and they bake up in just 10 minutes. 

Recipe: Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Lemon Tart

A citrusy and sweet lemon tart is a perfect dessert for dinner parties, backyard gatherings, or as a special treat for everyone in your house. Premade pie crust dough is a great timesaver, and if you have a favorite homemade crust you can always make that instead. This recipe gives you the chance to practice baking skills like blind-baking the mini tart shells and tempering eggs with a hot lemon-sugar mixture. Don't worry — these steps are totally doable, even for novice bakers. Chill the filled tarts for an hour and they're ready to serve. 

Recipe: Lemon Tart

Tartar Sauce

It's easy to forget that long before our favorite condiments were mass-produced for grocery store shelves, they were made by hand in homes and restaurants. In most cases these blends are very easy to prepare — like this tartar sauce. This favorite accompaniment to fish dishes (especially fish and chips and fried fish sandwiches) is a blend of mayonnaise, pickles, capers, and lemon juice. The vibrant, fresh flavor is far superior to store-bought, and it will last in your fridge for a week. 

Recipe: Tartar Sauce

Lemon Madeleines

One lovely way to celebrate the flavor of lemon is by making the classic French cookies known as madeleines. You'll need a madeleine pan, which has wells that look like ridged seashells. They're easy to find in stores like Walmart or Williams-Sonoma, and you may even find an inexpensive pan at a thrift store. The batter comes together easily with ingredients like eggs, butter, and lemon zest, and this recipe includes tricks to get the best results, like chilling the batter and lowering the oven temperature partway through baking. Serve lemon madeleines as a midday treat or enjoy them as a before-bed snack. 

Recipe: Lemon Madeleines

Chicken Francese

Though the look and flavor of chicken Francese may impart a French café vibe, Masterclass shares that it's actually an Italian-American dish that was created in Rochester, New York. If you've never tried it, the dish consists of chicken breast cutlets dredged in flour and egg, then pan-fried until cooked through. Made in the same pan, the quick sauce begins with sautéed garlic and lemon slices simmered with stock, lemon juice, wine, and butter. Ready in less than 30 minutes, it's utterly delicious and can be served with egg noodles or cooked rice. 

Recipe: Chicken Francese

Watermelon Lemonade

Chilling by the pool, birthday bashes, barbecues with friends, graduation parties — these are all great reasons to make a batch of sweet and refreshing watermelon lemonade. It has a happy, summery red hue that will entice everyone to try a glass. Grab a medium to medium-large watermelon for this recipe, along with fresh lemon juice, lime slices, and crushed ice. The recipe makes eight 1-cup servings, and you can always double or triple the recipe to make enough for a party. 

Recipe: Watermelon Lemonade

Creamy Lemon Pasta

Just a few ingredients come together to create a really tasty pasta dish, and best of all, it's ready in about 15 minutes! The twists of rotini pasta hold onto a rich sauce made by simmering cream with lemon zest and sautéed garlic. Serve the pasta topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and diced parsley. Garlic bread makes a tasty side, and you can even add in cooked chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken to make a more filling meal. 

Recipe: Creamy Lemon Pasta

Cool Whip Cookies

Who's hungry for a five-ingredient cookie recipe? These are easy and full of lemon flavor, with crispy edges and soft insides. Pick up a box of lemon cake mix and some Cool Whip topping, which get blended together with egg, lemon extract, and sugar. The dough needs no chilling and the cookies bake up in just 10 minutes. Make them for yourself or pack them into boxes to give as gifts. 

Recipe: Cool Whip Cookies

Chicken Piccata

According to The Modern Proper, chicken piccata is made by first sautéing thin chicken cutlets, then whisking up a sauce with lemon, capers, and parsley. It's a delicious and surprisingly simple dish to prepare, ready in just under 30 minutes. Pre-sliced chicken cutlets will save you some of the prep time, too. This recipe from Erin Johnson includes capers, wine, and chicken stock to make plenty of savory sauce for the chicken and whatever sides you serve it with, like cooked rice or thin noodles. 

Recipe: Chicken Piccata

Lemon Meringue Pie

Here is a recipe for a classic, old-fashioned lemon meringue pie. It's a popular pie for spring and summer, but also a favorite to serve for dessert at Thanksgiving. Blind-bake an easy graham cracker crust, or save time by buying a premade one. Whisk up the lemon filling on the stovetop, and then make the pillowy meringue — in her recipe, Tara Rylie shares the two ingredients that make the most successful meringue. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the baked pie to chill in the fridge before diving in!

Recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie

Copycat Wingstop Lemon Pepper Wings

For everyone out there who is a fan of Wingstop, here's an easy way to recreate one of the chain's popular menu items at home. The recipe begins by frying chicken wings dredged in flour and spices. The real flavor kick comes from a sauce made of melted butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon pepper: Toss the fried wings in this sauce and they're ready to devour. The wings can be fried in oil on the stovetop or, for a healthier approach, make them in an air fryer before tossing them in the lemon sauce.

Recipe: Wingstop Lemon Pepper Wings

Lemon Chiffon Cake

For a dessert that's light, airy, and sweet without being cloying, a classic chiffon cake is the perfect choice. The cake is exceptionally airy because egg whites are separated, beaten into a billowy meringue, and then gently folded into the rest of the cake batter. This technique helps the cake rise high while holding a light texture throughout. There is lemon juice and zest in the batter, as well as lemon juice in the delicate glaze that gets poured over the top. Slices of this cake are delicious on their own or served with fresh berries.

Recipe: Lemon Chiffon Cake

Cold Lemon Capellini Salad

Add this recipe to your collection of summer salad dishes and it'll be one you turn to time and time again. Because this salad takes only 15 minutes to assemble before chilling, it's perfect to make ahead of time and bring to a cookout or potluck. The salad will also be a new favorite because it's full of fresh and vibrant flavors from lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, salty capers, and ribbons of bright basil. For extra protein, add sliced chicken to this dish and enjoy it as a light supper.

Recipe: Cold Lemon Capellini Salad

Baked Tilapia

Lemon brings flavor and zing to this simple tilapia dish that looks elegant enough for a dinner party, but is so simple it can be enjoyed on any busy weeknight. Tilapia filets are brushed with a sauce made with lemon, garlic, and butter and then placed in the oven to bake for 12 minutes. That's it! Serve the tilapia and sauce with cooked white rice, steamed potatoes, or a lightly-dressed green salad. 

Recipe: Baked Tilapia

Copycat Starbucks Medicine Ball

There's nothing as soothing as a warm, lemony drink when you have a cold or flu. A custom hot drink created by Starbucks fans and made with lemonade, citrus-mint tea, and peach chamomile tea, the medicine ball became so popular that the coffee chain added the drink to its regular menu. You can make it at home too, by steeping tea bags in lemonade and boiling water. The recipe calls for specific tea blends made by Teavana, but you can recreate these peach, spearmint, and citrus flavors using herbal teas available at grocery stores.

Recipe: Copycat Starbucks Medicine Ball

Quinoa Zucchini Salad

Here's a flavorful salad made with healthy quinoa and sautéed veggies like sliced zucchini, tomatoes, and spinach. Juice from an entire lemon is added to the pan as the veggies finish cooking, and brings zing and beautiful citrus flavor to the entire dish. Serve it warm with crumbled feta cheese, and enjoy as a light dinner or as a side to entrees of grilled fish or roasted chicken. Leftover salad is also tasty reheated or just eaten cold the next day. 

Recipe: Quinoa Zucchini Salad