28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (2023)

Whether you're in the mood for a sunny cake or a bright pasta, there are so, so many things you can do with lemons—and in this roundup, we celebrate the fruit in all its glory, from the zest to the juice. Some of our favorite recipes include summer crab carbonara with lemons and capers, spring pea chaat with lemon raita, and homemade limoncello. As for dessert? There's lemon cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon-buckwheat shortbread, and so many more. Read on to find out how to make them all.

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Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Layers of delicate flavors from the lemon, honey, and extra-virgin olive oi­l—which helps keep the cake moist and imparts mild fruitiness—come together in this one-bowl batter. Stacked with a fluffy and rich lemon–cream cheese frosting, this easy-layer cake is a keeper. Be sure the butter and cream cheese are softened for the smoothest frosting.

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02of 28

Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (1)

Aimee Olexy's lemony, cream-based scones are light, moist, and laced with pieces of chewy candied ginger.

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03of 28

Green Beans with Preserved Lemon

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (2)

At Thanksgiving, F&W's Justin Chapple serves these green beans because they can be made the day before and served either chilled or at room temperature.

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04of 28

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (3)

For the best results, slice these cheesecake bars with a warm knife, wiping off the blade between cuts.

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05of 28

Squid and Summer Vegetable Salad with Preserved Lemon Dressing

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (4)

This seafood salad from Provence, by chef Cyrille Chaussade, combines simply poached squid, a piquant dressing, and a mix of super-thinly sliced vegetables made extra crisp thanks to a soak in an ice water bath.

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06of 28

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Mint and Pecorino

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (5)

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Roman chef Angelo Troiani riffs on the classic spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chile), embellishing it with shrimp, lemon, pecorino, almond, and mint. It's simple, delicious and crowd-pleasing.

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07of 28

Lemon Curd Toasts with Coconut

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (6)

Olive oil and cocoa butter make this lemony curd extraordinarily creamy and luscious. Spread on baguette toasts, it becomes a fantastic dessert.

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08of 28

Lemon-Buckwheat Shortbread

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (7)

Lemon filling highlights the nuttiness of buckwheat flour in these shortbread cookie sandwiches from Nina Compton.

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09of 28

Grilled Whole Flatfish with Lemon-Herb Butter

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (8)

To make the lemon-herb butter for this recipe, you'll need unsalted butter, one small shallot, fine sea salt, parsley, dill, thyme, lemon zest, and black pepper. Be sure to have lemon halves on hand for serving as well.

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10of 28

Lemon-Almond Cake with Roasted Rhubarb

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (9)

This tender, lemon-scented almond cake is topped with roasted rhubarb, but is equally delicious with any kind of fresh or roasted fruit, like roasted strawberries, fresh orange segments, or roasted plums.

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11of 28

Chicken Freekeh Skillet with Warm Feta-Lemon Relish

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (10)

"It's garlicky, a little spicy, herby, and full of surprises," Ann Taylor Pittman writes of the relish in this dish. "First, it includes firm feta cheese that gently warms to the point that it becomes soft and almost gooey—which is the way I always want feta from now on. The relish also gets a brazen hit of citrus from chopped lemon sections, which offer a tart, juicy bursts that are way more forward than lemon juice would be. The effect is an unsubtle finishing touch that balances out the nutty grains and meaty chicken."

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12of 28

Creamy Lemon Pasta

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (11)

Chef Andrew Zimmern mimics the sweet, fragrant lemons of Italy's Amalfi Coast with Meyer lemons in this beautifully bright and creamy pasta. The dish originated at L'Antica Trattoria in Sorrento, where lemon juice is tossed with just-cooked pasta until absorbed. Supremes of lemon add a juicy, tart pop that cuts through the cream in the sauce.

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Lemon-Tahini Cookies

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (12)

If you want to get a head start on these cookies, the dough can be made and frozen up to three weeks in advance.

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14of 28

Salmon Tartare with Pistachios and Lemon

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (13)

Spoon salmon is the meat that's scraped from the carcass of a freshly butchered fish. It would normally go to waste, but its rich flavor and silky texture make it perfect for this lemony, pistachio-studded tartare.

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15of 28

Lemon Meringue Pie with Marcona Shortbread Crust

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (14)

"I like lemon pie so much that I want even more of the bright, sunny lemon flavor to come through, so there's less sugar and more lemon juice in this filling than you'll find in most recipes," Ann Taylor Pittman writes. "It's assertively—but not aggressively—lemony, and is balanced by the fluffy meringue topping, which has the perfect sweetness and density to complement the tarter-than-usual filling."

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16of 28

Layered Blackberry-and-Turmeric Lemonade

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (15)

This spritzy, summery drink from Julia Momose is a showstopper with its distinct pink and yellow layers.

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17of 28

Lemon-and-Lavender Gin Fizz

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (16)

Leopold's Summer Gin brings a smooth, floral flavor to this botanical cocktail with notes of cucumber, sage, lemon, and lavender.

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18of 28

Lemon Curd Tart

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (17)

To make a simple topping for this elegant dessert, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the leftover egg whites and whip to stiff peaks to make a meringue. Garnishing the tart with mixed citrus segments adds a natural sweetness to balance the rich, tart lemon curd filling. Read Jamila Robinson's essay about this recipe, Romancing the Stove.

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19of 28

Sweet Potato Fritters with Lemon-Tahini Sauce

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (18)

The barely-there binder in the batter makes for incredibly lacy, crispy fritters. Be sure to cook them gently over medium heat so they cook through and crisp up without burning.

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20of 28

Sheet Pan Hanger Steak and Bok Choy with Lemon-Miso Butter

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (19)

"You may notice that this recipe makes more miso butter than one could conceivably dollop onto a single dinner," Leah Koenig writes. "That leftover butter stores well in the fridge and enhances everything it touches, from grilled fish and pasta to warm biscuits and popcorn."

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21of 28

Grilled Artichokes with Herby Lemon Aioli

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (20)

"Artichokes are at their best—and easiest to prepare—when cooked quickly over a fire, particularly when served with luscious lemon aioli made with the smoky juices and pulp of grilled lemons," Paula Disbrowe writes.

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22of 28

Spring Pea Chaat with Lemon Raita

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (21)

This fresh and crunchy chaat stars a trio of spring peas punched up with a tempered mixture of whole cumin seeds mustard seeds, chiles, and ginger. The tart lemon raita brings a welcome cooling element; spoon the extra over rice, naan, or fresh fruit.

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(Video) This is the MOST DELICIOUS I've ever eaten! No yeast No oven! Everyone can make this at home!

Lemon Blueberry Cake with Lemon-Zest Glaze

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (22)

This one-bowl loaf cake is exceptionally easy to make. Since the batter calls for oil instead of butter, there's no need for a creaming step—just quickly beat together the ingredients until smooth, then fold in the blueberries. Thanks to plenty of sour cream and minimal leavener, the cake bakes up rich and tender, ready for the final touch of a puckery lemon glaze topped with plenty of fresh lemon zest. To enjoy it as a breakfast cake, just skip the glaze.

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24of 28

Grilled King Salmon with Meyer Lemon Relish

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (23)

Floral and lightly acidic salsa brings out the buttery, rich flavors of grilled King salmon. Salmon is meaty enough to stay intact on a grill and gets meltingly tender as it cooks. Serve leftover salsa with grilled lamb, chicken, or pork.

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25of 28

Roast Chicken with Lemons

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (24)

The ingredient list for Marcella Hazan's roast chicken recipe is super simple: just chicken, salt, black pepper, and lemons.

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26of 28


28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (25)

This homemade limoncello boasts rich lemon flavor without being too boozy or sweet. Look for unwaxed organic lemons, or be sure to give the whole citrus a good scrub before peeling.

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27of 28

Summer Crab Carbonara with Lemons and Capers

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (26)

Chef Douglass Williams' method for carbonara allows you to hold the cooked pasta before adding it to the garlic–oil–pasta cooking liquid emulsion. It makes for a simple, creamy carbonara without the stress.

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28of 28

Sorghum and Albacore Tuna Salad with Preserved Lemon

28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes (27)

Preserved lemon is a popular North African condiment made by pickling the fruit in salt and its own juice. The bracing lemony flavor adds a salty kick to this olive-, onion-, and fresh herb–laden tuna salad.

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