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Lemon powder will become your new favourite ingredient you didn’t know you needed. Do you love lemon drizzle cake? Can’t resist lemon chicken? Then you need lemon powder which will add an ultra bright zingy citrus flavour to all your lemon recipes. Plus you can keep it in your kitchen cupboards for up to a year so you will always have it on hand.
Don’t you think some lemon recipes can be a little lacklustre? I know I’m not the only one who has encountered a flat lifeless lemon poppy seed muffin.
What about when you’re zesting lemons and half of the zest ends up trapped in the zester or on your finger when you try and scrape it off.
Then do you remember that time when you had your heart set on making a lemon drizzle and the supermarket ran out of unwaxed lemons? Urgh, the palaver of washing and scraping off all the wax to get to the healthy zest.
Well, allow me to let you into a little secret.
Homemade Lemon Powder.
It’s an amazing ingredient to use instead of, or alongside, fresh lemons. If you love lemon flavour then having lemon powder in your larder or pantry will completely change your cooking and baking habits for the better.
Why do you need it?
- Lemon powder adds so much flavour to baked recipes and buttercreams without adding excess moisture.
- It doesn’t clump like lemon zest when you are whisking it into flour.
- It’s always in your larder or pantry if getting hold of lemons or even getting to the shops is not easy.
- The intense boost of citrus flavour is so much deeper than fresh zest or juice.
- You can add citrus flavour to your homemade seasonings.
- It lasts for up to 1 year!
What is lemon powder?
It’s just fresh organic lemons, cut into slices, dried, then ground up into a powder. No additives and no salt or sugar.
Imagine simple lemon flavour which you can always have to hand in your spice drawer which can live alongside your cinnamon or paprika.
What’s the flavour like?
Since this lemon powder is made in the oven (rather than a dehydrator) the lemon flavour is darkly roasted which adds a subtle caramel note.
This deep intense lemon flavour means a little powder goes a long way in your recipe.
Why use lemon powder instead of lemon zest?
- More concentrated flavour.
- Economical –you don’t need as much as fresh lemon zest.
- No clumping.
How many lemons do you need to make it?
1 lemon creates around 15g lemon powder which is about 1 tablespoon.
However, since the flavour is so concentrated you only need:
1 teaspoon lemon powder = 1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon).
What equipment do you need?
To cut the lemons you just need a good sharp knife.
To ensure even thickness of the slices then you can opt for a mandoline (slicer). The blade needs to be sharp to work properly and you want to set it to about 4mm.
The OXO Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer is a good and inexpensive option if you are in the market for a new slicer and will ensure your lemon slices are lovely and even.
However you do need a good quality spice grinder. They are inexpensive and an invaluable kitchen tool. (nb. coffee grinders and spice grinders are basically the same gadget – so handy having 2 in 1)
I use my spice grinder all the time to make my own spice blends which are so much fresher than supermarket pre-blends.
Do you need a dehydrator?
No you don’t. All you need is your own oven set on a very low temperature.
Having said that, if you do have a dehydrator then by all means use it. The flavour will be slightly different, lighter and not as rich. Still a lovely zingy flavour though. The advantage of a dehydrator is that there is no risk of burning your lemon slices.
- Cut the lemons as uniformly as possible.
- Don’t remove the seeds from the lemon slices before you put them in the oven otherwise it will shred the membrane of the lemon, making it liable to burn. The seeds will easily pop out once your lemons are dried. Make sure you remove them before you grind them.
- The lemon slices need about 4 hours in a very low oven. However, if you are cutting your lemon slices by hand then there may be some variation on how long they take. Check their progress regularly. Some slices may be done around 3½ hours depending on their thickness.
- Run the lemon slices through the spice grinder twice. The first time the dried lemon will be broken down but there will still be large clumps. After the initial grind, scrape the powder out of the grinder, whisk it together in a small bowl then pour back in the grinder for a second go. It should be powdery fine when finished.
How do you know when the lemon slices are done?
Your lemon slices will be perfectly dried and ready when they are:
- Crisp and not damp to the touch.
- Translucent, papery feel.
- Golden yellow – some may be browner than others. That’s okay but discard them if they are veering on black.
Using leftover lemon peel instead
Actually you don’t have to use whole lemon slices. If you are juicing a lot of lemons, to make lemonade for example, then you can just dry your discarded peels for the lemon powder.
This way you can even go one step further and carefully slice away the pith from the lemon peels which will remove any residual bitter taste. I like the layered flavour of the subtle bitter bite but it’s definitely a personal choice.
What can you use lemon powder for?
- Use in recipes whenever lemon zest is called for. (1 teaspoon lemon powder = 1 tablespoon lemon zest)
- Use it in the flour mix for this Chicken Schnitzel or any other breaded recipes.
- Add to buttercream for the most gorgeous lemon buttercream of your dreams.
- Use it to make ultra zingy Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, Lemon Drizzle Cake or Lemon Cheesecake.
- Stir into black tea.
- Add sugar and lemon powder into a food processor to make homemade lemon sugar. Delicious sieved on top of a Victoria Sponge.
- Or whizz it up with salt to make homemade lemon salt. Can you imagine sprinkled over buttery potatoes?
- Or blend it with pepper to make homemade lemon pepper. Then grind it over your favourite pasta sauce!
- Stir into mayonnaise to make lemon mayo.
- Sprinkle a pinch of it into any chicken, lamb, or pork or fish recipe.
- Add into dried herbs and spices to make your own seasoning blends to season meat and vegetables.
- Or even use it in homemade beauty products.
Honestly, you will wonder how you lived without it.
Other citrus powders
And once you’ve conquered lemon then other flavour variations you could try are:
- Orange Powder (so so so useful- especially if you love Chocolate Orange Cake!)
- Grapefruit Powder
- Lime Powder
If you love making essential ingredients from scratch then why not try:
If you make this Homemade Lemon Powder recipe then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this lovely ingredient as the VIP in your own baking or cooking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your creations and variations of my recipes.
Homemade Lemon Powder
- 12 lemons - organic and unwaxed
- Pre-heat oven to 80C / 60C fan and line a couple of large baking trays with baking parchment.
- Slice the lemons thinly using a very sharp knife. Discard any slices that are slightly ripped as these have a tendency to burn.
- Place the lemon slices on the baking trays.
- Bake in the oven for 2 hours.
- Turn each lemon slice over.
- Bake for a further 2 hours (*see notes)
- Remove lemon slices from oven which should be golden and crisp to touch.
- Leave to cool before processing in the grinder.
- Grind the lemon slices in batches. Place a small amount of the dried lemon slices in the spice grinder (about 10). Use the guide on your grinder to confirm the maximum amount you can fill it.
- Grind the slices for about a minute using the instructions on your grinder. The lemon slices will turn into a golden powder. You may need to give the powder a second grind to get a really fine powder.
- Store the lemon powder in an airtight glass jar in a cool dark place for up to a year.
- Cut the lemons as uniformly as possible.
- You can use a mandoline set at 4mm width.
- Don’t remove the seeds from the lemon slices before you put them in the oven but pop them out before you grind them.
- *Check your lemons frequently in the oven. The lemon slices need about 4 hours in a very low oven. However, if you are cutting your lemon slices by hand then there may be some variation on how long they take. Check their progress regularly. Some slices may be done around 3½ hours depending on their thickness.
- The lemon slices are ready when they are crisp and not damp to the touch, translucent and golden yellow.
- Run the lemon slices through the spice grinder twice. After the initial grind, scrape the powder out of the grinder, whisk it together in a small bowl then pour back in the grinder for a second go. It should be powdery fine when finished.
- Use the lemon powder in cakes, seasonings, tea or homemade beauty products.