How Long Do Lemons Last In The Fridge? Storage Tips


How long do lemons last in the fridge? The answer to this question is valuable if you want to maximize the shelf life of fresh lemons for the best potential usage. And their storage and condition are directly related to how long they last before going bad.  

What is a Lemon?

A lemon is one of many citrus fruits. It’s generally has a yellow skin and a tart flavor. It grows on trees in tropical locations. Lemon can be used to make fresh lemon juice, act as an ingredient in many recipes, including salad dressings, or it can be used for household purposes.

Shelf Life of Lemons

The shelf life of lemons varies depending on the current state of the lemon. For example, is the lemon whole, has it been cut, or has it been reduced to lemon zest? Let’s take a look at each of these potential conditions of a lemon and how that relates to shelf life.

Whole Lemons

Whole lemons if stored in a cool, dry location such as a refrigerator will potentially have the longest shelf life as a fresh lemon.

Shelf Life: A whole lemon, stored in the refrigerator has the potential to last up to one month.

Cut Lemons

Cut lemons should be wrapped in plastic wrap, sealed in an airtight container, or zipped in a food storage bag, and then placed in the refrigerator.

It’s important to keep cut lemons in the refrigerator because it will help to minimize the growth of bacteria that might otherwise be caused by storage at temperatures higher than 40F degrees.

Shelf Life: A lemon that’s been cut can last up to 5 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.

Lemon Zest

Lemon zest is the shredded peel of a lemon that has a variety of uses. It can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed food storage bag, or it can be frozen in ice cube trays for a longer shelf life.

Shelf Life: The shelf life of lemon zest is determined by how it’s stored. Storing in the freezer can allow it to last for up to 2 months without compromising quality.

And storing in the refrigerator can allow it to last for up to 7 days.

Concept of tasty citrus fruit – delicious lemon

How to Store Lemons

How a lemon is stored has a direct correlation with the length of its shelf life. Though there are different ways to store lemons, good storage methods equate to a long shelf life, while bad storage methods equate to a short life span for a lemon.

Room Temperature

The storage of lemons on the kitchen countertop would include room temperature storage. Regardless of the season, you’ll not want to leave your lemons here long term.

A couple of days is generally all grocery store lemons will last at room temperature.


Using the refrigerator is one of the best ways to maintain good lemons. Leaving the lemons whole and transferring them to the refrigerator will provide the longest shelf life.

To maximize storage life, you might also consider putting them in a dry, airtight container or refrigerator crisper drawer if you want to keep them fresh as long as possible.


Lemon juice or grated lemon rind can be stored in the freezer, although we don’t recommend storing whole or sliced lemons this way.

Ice cube trays or a zipped freezer bag work well as a solution to store these items while frozen.

Remember to date and label your packaging for future reference as to the contents.

How Long Do Lemons Last in the Fridge?

The length of time lemons last in the refrigerator depends on their current state. For example, is the lemon sliced, whole, or has it been zested? Following is the estimated shelf life for each type of lemon.


Storing a whole lemon is the absolute best way to store it for freshness. A fresh, whole lemon will potentially last for up to one month if kept cool and dry in the refrigerator.  

Fresh lemon with leaves on wooden texture.

No food wrap such as aluminum foil is needed for storing a whole lemon. You don’t need a zip-top bag or to wash it with warm water.

Simply place it in the refrigerator directly on the shelf or in the crisper drawer.


Lemon halves need to be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, plastic wrap, or sealed container. They can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

If you notice any presence of mold or any discoloration, you should throw the lemon away and don’t risk consuming it.  


A cut lemon can be treated very similarly to a lemon half. In essence they’re one in the same.  It’s a good idea to store lemon slices in a sealed bag in the refrigerator to keep them moist and to help reduce the growth of bacteria.

A cut lemon can generally be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.


Lemon zest or grated lemon skins can last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. We recommend keeping it in an airtight container or zipped storage bag for the best results.

Fresh lemons with lemon leaves

Best Lemon Recipes:

Here are some of our most popular recipes that use fresh lemon.

Lemon Curd Cookies
One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon
Arizona Sunshine Lemon Pie
Trader Joe’s Lemon Cake
Trader Joe’s Lemon Bars
Lemon Supreme Pie Recipe
Lemon Popsicle Made with 3 Ingredients

Related Ideas:

How to Zest a Lemon
In this article we give you step by step instructions for how to zest a lemon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how long do lemons last in the fridge.  If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to respond.

How do you know when a lemon has gone bad?

Knowing whether a lemon has gone bad can usually be determined by its touch or appearance. Bad lemons have soft spots, or they can turn brown in color.

If the lemon has already been cut and is stored it can grow mold. The presence of any color of mold also determines that the lemon has gone bad.

Bad lemons should be thrown away and you should not risk eating them.

Fresh lemonade drink in a jar glass on wooden table

Can lemons last 3 months?

How long do lemons last? How long lemons last is determined by how they’re stored. Storing a lemon whole and in the refrigerator will lengthen its shelf life.

Cutting a lemon or leaving it at room temperature will cause the lemon to need to be used in just a short amount of time. How fresh a lemon is when it’s purchased also determines how long it might last.

Obviously, the fresher a lemon is the longer it will potentially last. And the same is true for a lemon that’s already been around for a while, it will not likely last as long.  

So, to answer the question of whether a lemon can last for 3 months, it’s very unlikely for a grocery store lemon to last for 3 months. But the chances are greater for a lemon that’s been grown and picked directly from a lemon tree.

Ripe juicy lemons with leaves in tray. On white rustic background

How long do whole lemons last in fridge?

The best place to store lemons is in the refrigerator and storing them whole in the refrigerator can allow them to maintain a shelf life of up to one month.

Storing them whole and in the refrigerator is the best option for maximizing their shelf life as a fresh lemon.

How long do lemons last in the fridge uncut?

Keeping lemons in a cool, dry place is the best way to store them. And keeping them uncut is the best. It will allow them to last a long time, in fact they can stay fresh for up to one month in the refrigerator.  

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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