4 Kitchen Tip: How to Pick and Get the Most Juice from Your Lemons

Often times, I come across a recipe that will say, "the juice of three lemons," and I wonder ...  large, medium or small lemons?

I prefer it when a recipe says 1 cup of lemon juice, but still, I have no clue how many lemons are needed to make a cup of juice.

Yes, size is a factor, but also the thickness of the skin will determine how much juice you will get out of your lemons.

Look for three things in picking out your lemons.

1.  Color.  Look for a bright yellow color.
2.  Weight.  Hold the lemon in your hand.  If it is heavy, it is an indication that it is holding more juice.
3.  Skin.  Choose lemons that have a smooth and shiny texture.  Squeeze the lemon.  If it is firm, it is more likely that it has thicker skin, yielding less juice.

These are LARGE lemons from Costco.  The lemons were in a bag, so I couldn't hold them.  Instead, I looked at the color, skin, and squeezed a few lemons to see how thick the skins were.

There are two things you can do to get the most juice from your lemons.  Both methods break the fibers in the lemon and release more juice.

1.  Pop a couple of lemons in the microwave for 10-20 seconds on high or until it is warm.
2.  Roll the lemon on a table or counter top under the palm of your hand while applying pressure.

I like to use an old fashioned wooden reamer.  Put your bowl or large measuring cup on a kitchen table or sink to prevent juice from running down your arms.  Give the cut lemon a quick squeeze with one hand in the bowl to start the juicing process.  Doing this also prevents juice from squirting sideways, away from the bowl.

If I am doing a large batch of lemons, I like to pour the juice through a large mesh strainer to catch the seeds and extra pulp.  If you like your juice "pulpy," then pick out the seeds at this point.

How much juice did I get from these lemons?

Four pounds lemons = 15 large lemons = 3 cups juice, pulp and seeds removed. 

Therefore 4 - 5 large lemons = 1 cup juice

It would probably take 6-7 medium lemons to make 1 cup of juice.

Here are some of my favorite recipes using lemon juice:

Freezing Lemon & Lime Juice

Lemon Bundt Cake


Homemade Blender Mayonnaise

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Raspberry Lemonade


  1. Thank you, I just stand there looking at the lemons without a clue. I won't do that any more now. Love your site!

    1. I can relate! I needed 4 cups of strawberries, and I stood there in Costco, looking at these HUGE strawberries, wondering how many I would need....I overestimated and now I have strawberries coming out of my ears!

  2. Thanks for the info on lemons AND the cocoa. I had always wondered what Dutch processed meant, but didn't think to look it up on-line. As for the lemons, I am amazed at how well the microwave option works.

    1. I LOVE the microwave option....makes rolling the warm lemons under my palms feel like a massage and gets a ton of juice out! I've juiced about 60 lemons over the past two days. I think I'm done.... :)


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