Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

How to Dry and Use Lemon Peel

This post may include affiliate links.
If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.

Make your own lemon peel powder by drying lemon peels in your dehydrator or oven. Use your homemade lemon peel powder for cooking, cleaning and skincare (yes, really!)

lemons and a bowl of lemon peel on a table

I was reading the King Arthur Baking catalog the other day (I can’t be the only one who reads cookbooks, seed catalogs, and baking catalogs for fun, right?) and was surprised to see a tiny jar of dried, powdered lemon peel for $10.

Really? People are paying $10 for something that the rest of us throw away? I guess they are the same people who throw away their vegetable scraps and then buy compost at the garden store…but I digress.

A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to get a bunch of delicious lemons from my friend’s urban orchard. I used the juice to make lots of delicious recipes.

I couldn’t bear to waste the peel, so I decided to dry it and make my own lemon peel powder. It’s so easy!

lemons and bowl of lemon zest

 

How to Dry Lemon Peel

First, wash your lemons. Please only use fruits that are organic or haven’t been sprayed. Peel them with a vegetable peeler and try to get just the rind, not the bitter white pith.

Place the peels in a single layer in your dehydrator. My giant pile of peels filled three trays in my Nesco dehydrator.

lemon peels on dehydrator tray

Dry them for 10-12 hours at 95 degrees. You’ll know they’re completely dry when they snap and don’t bend.

dried lemon peels on dehydrator tray

Aren’t they beautiful? You could stop right here and add them to potpourri, or as a fragrant centerpiece with some fresh rosemary.

dried lemon peels in bowl

Crush the peels and buzz them in your coffee grinder until you get a fine powder.

lemon peel powder on spoon

Store the lemon peel powder in the fridge—it will keep for a year.

Cooking With Lemon Peel Powder

When substituting in a recipe, use 1 teaspoon dried peel for each tablespoon of fresh peel called for in your recipe.

Make your own lemon pepper! Combine 2 Tbsp lemon peel powder and 1 Tbsp pepper; add 1 tsp salt if desired (I like Real Salt).

Add a pinch to tea or your homemade salad dressing.

Mix with sugar and sprinkle over scones or other baked goods; add to sugar cookies for a pop of flavor.

Put a bit into the crumb topping for apple crisp.

Give your vanilla or lemon pudding extra zing with a dash of lemon peel powder.

Use to brighten the flavor of artichokes–add to the cooking water.

scoop of lemon peel powder in front of lemons

Cleaning with Dried Lemon Peel

Make soft scrub cleaner.

Mix together:

1 cup baking soda

2 Tbsp lemon peel powder

¼ cup unscented liquid castile soap

1 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide

Water (if needed) to make the proper texture

Store in a plastic squeeze bottle. Use to scrub your shower, sinks, etc…anything that needs a gentle scrub.

Carpet deodorizer

This is a 5-second recipe! Mix baking soda and dried lemon peel in a shaker-top jar. (I got an empty powdered-cheese jar from a friend, or you could use one of these cool gizmos.) Sprinkle on the carpet, let sit for 15-20 minutes, and then vacuum it up.

Skincare With Lemon Peel Powder (yes, really!)

Make all-natural Lemon Sugar Scrub.

glass jar with lemon sugar scrub with lemon in background

lemon peel powder on spoon

How to Dry and Use Lemon Peel

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Make your own lemon peel powder by drying lemon peels in your dehydrator or oven. Use your homemade lemon peel powder for cooking, cleaning and skincare (yes, really!)

Materials

  • Organic or unsprayed lemons

Instructions

  1. Wash your lemons. Peel them with a vegetable peeler and try to get just the rind, not the bitter white pith.
  2. Place the peels in a single layer in your dehydrator, or on a cooling rack in your oven.
  3. Dry them in the dehydrator for 8-10 hours at 95 degrees. In the oven, use the very lowest temperature you can. Watch the peels closely if drying them in the oven, to ensure they don't cook.
  4. The lemon peels are completely dry when they snap and don't bend.
  5. Crush the peels and buzz them in your coffee grinder until you get a fine powder.
  6. Store the lemon peel powder in the fridge—it will keep for a year.

Notes

Cooking With Dried Lemon Peel

  • When substituting in a recipe, use 1 teaspoon dried peel for each tablespoon of fresh peel called for in your recipe.
  • Make your own lemon pepper! Combine 2 Tbsp lemon peel powder and 1 Tbsp pepper; add 1 tsp salt if desired (I like Real Salt).
  • Add a pinch to tea or your homemade salad dressing.
  • Mix with sugar and sprinkle over scones or other baked goods; add to sugar cookies for a pop of flavor.
  • Put a bit into the crumb topping for apple crisp.
  • Give your vanilla or lemon pudding extra zing with a dash of lemon peel powder.
  • Use to brighten the flavor of artichokes--add to the cooking water.

How will you use your dried lemon peel?

lemon zest in dehydrator

Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

46 thoughts on -How to Dry and Use Lemon Peel-

  1. I just peel with a regular peeler and leave on the counter on a paper towel. They usually dry within a couple days and then blend in a blender. This way everything stays raw with all the nutrients. I mix it with equal parts set and sprinkle on salads for flavor and a carminative. It’s especially good on chicken mixed with garlic salt. Almost every lemon I use, I clean and peel before juicing.

  2. Thanks for this! I lived in Florida for 35 years and use lemons, limes and other fruit often. I was also a private and yacht chef, always used the freshest ingredients. Now that I am in the Greater Detroit area it irk’s me that one lemon in 99 cents!
    I use a lot of zest in many applications so happy for your post. I never thought of making a lemon powder. Will defiantly try on the Emeril Air Fryer 360 . I need some orange peel too!
    Thanks again!

  3. If you dry it (anything) on a temperature below 42 degrees of Centigrade (107 Fahrenheit), you make sure your food is still raw. This means that all the microorganisms are still in tact and they are essential for proper digestion.

  4. Lemons and limes are toxic to both cats and dogs. Please don’t use this on your carpets or any place your pet may get it on their paws. Citrus oils (diffusers) in the air are also toxic and fatal to cats when ingested.

  5. Can you just use the powder in place of zest with the same measure? As far asnwhats left over…they are great for freshening you’re disposal as well!

  6. Remember to use only organic lemon peel as the inorganic are also sprayed with pesticides, fungicide and waxed.

  7. Good gracious! Lemon peel or any peel will dry at room temperature, no problem. I save those little packets of silica that come in some pills or other dry goods. I put the little packets in with my peel to keep them dry cause any moisture could destroy the quality. I don’t think oven drying is good for peel cause it could affect the natural oils in the peel.

  8. You aren’t the only be who just loves to read cookbooks or craft magazines.. I do also and believe it or not, I really don’t like to cook much I just love to read them and I rarely do crafts.

  9. Mrs Debra Comstock

    I’ve had lemons in the freezer and tried slicing them and drying them in my dehydrator. A whole bag of lemons yielded a pint jar of powder !!!! Now I understand you can use a Food Saver to get the oxygen out for longer shelf life ! I cooked shrimp scampi 2 days ago and added a teaspoon of the powder…Amazing! Great flavor !! Also, going to dehydrate/powder celery and cranberries.

  10. I have used the lowest oven temperature (approx. 190F) spreading the grated lemon peel over a cookie sheet. Leave in the oven for about 20 minutes, shaking at about every five minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until completely cooled or overnight. I grind the dried grated peel in a small food processor then put it in a glass jar.

  11. Are lemons highly sprayed? I turn after juicing my morning lemon inside out and rub it along my kitchen sinks and tile backsplash.

  12. Have a question I took the lemons after I juiced them and run them through a juicer and the peel was like zest but wet how do I dry it to a powder can I put it in the oven

  13. MARY PAVLIDES

    I grate my lemons carefully not to include the white pith.
    Spread loosely onto a paper toweling which is on a plate. Sit it on the kitchen bench for a few days or a week depending on the weather and either store it in a spice jar or grind it further in a coffee grinder to make fine powder.
    This eliminates the need for dehydrating or oven drying, not necessary.

  14. Amateurs! You dont need to do any of these steps. All you need to do is get a microplane and zest the lemons onto some parchment paper and leave to air dry overnight. It will be able to be stored in a glass jar like your other spices or you can freeze it if you want but theres really no need. Once its dried it will be able to be preserved. You dont need to dehydrate it or bake it. You can do this with any citrus, limes, oranges or even grapefruit.

    1. I tried the microplain idea, so fast when you have the right tool. I used to be afraid of using it, i thought I was gonna lose my finger tips. But its quite easy. And you are not waisting electricity or gas in the process. Which completes the mission of no waste. Thank you!

    2. I do it the same way. I have dried lemon, orange and lime and it’s been sitting on my shelf for over a year. It’s still good. Need to do more lemon today though.

  15. Been making lemon peel powder for years and am now making grapefruit peel powder for cleaning. It’s even better. Same process!

  16. I LOVE his idea. We never use enough lemon to warrant buying fresh, but I always want a pinch of lemon peel for something or another. So I love this idea to store it. Would you recommend freezing it?

    1. I keep mine in the cupboard, and it lasts for about a year. I’m not sure how freezing would work–if you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

      1. I keep my lemon peel in the freezer. I didn’t know it would keep so long in just the cupboard. Since I buy only organic lemons, and am cheap, I grate the lemon peel. I think your way of peeling and drying them will be quicker. Keeping them in the freezer involves not drying them, so that would be the difference. Glad I found your web site. Thanks!!

  17. You can leave stuff outside in the summer if you live anywhere with low humidity; I’ve also done it on my counter. Alton brown uses his car…just lays stuff out on a cooling rack in the backseat. No dehumidifier necessary.
    What a great idea! Thanks for all the recipes!

    1. Can also dry in oven on low temp setting
      I have also dried fresh tumeric,fresh ginger using that same method
      then using food processor or vitamix to blend into a powder .

  18. Patricia Ratcliffe

    I know u can do it in the oven at a low temp. But u can also do it in the microwave, I just haven’t found out how to do it yet, but will get back to u on this

    1. Lemon peels or orange peels, lay on cookie sheet pan evenly at 170 degrees for 4- 5 hrs.
      Let them cool, add to food processor. Blend to your texture. Add to mason jar, store in
      dark area. Add 2 tbsp coconut oil, good for tightening wrinkles in skin.

    1. Absolutely! Use the lowest possible temp, or you can put them outside in the sun (cover with a screen to keep the bugs away).

    2. In winter I just put orange skins on fire place to dry. When I want to light a fire I use the dried orange like fire starters.

Skip to Instructions