Easy Homemade Lemon Pickle Recipe: A Tangy Addition to Any Meal

Photo of author
Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a burst of tangy flavor that can elevate any meal? Look no further than lemon pickle! This zesty condiment has roots in Indian cuisine, where it’s cherished for its ability to add a punch of citrusy goodness to everything from rice dishes to flatbreads. Lemon pickle isn’t just about taste; it’s also packed with health benefits thanks to the natural properties of lemons.

Making your own lemon pickle at home is surprisingly easy and incredibly rewarding. You’ll love how it transforms simple ingredients into something extraordinary with just a few days of fermentation. Whether you’re new to pickling or a seasoned pro, this recipe will guide you through creating a vibrant and flavorful addition to your pantry.


To make a vibrant and flavorful lemon pickle, you’ll need a mix of fresh ingredients and aromatic spices. Gather these before you begin to ensure a smooth cooking process.

Fresh Ingredients

  • 6 large lemons (washed and dried thoroughly)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida

Equipment Needed

To make a delightful lemon pickle, you’ll need some essential kitchen tools that ensure precision and efficiency. Here is the list of equipment you should have ready:

  • Cutting Board and Sharp Knife: For chopping lemons into uniform pieces.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: To measure spices and other ingredients accurately.
  • Large Mixing Bowl: For combining all ingredients thoroughly.
  • Glass Jar with Lid: A sterilized jar for storing the pickle; glass ensures no reaction with acidic content.
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: For stirring the mixture without reacting with acidic components.
  • Dry Roasting Pan or Skillet: To roast mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds until aromatic.

Ensure your equipment is clean and dry to maintain the quality of your lemon pickle.

Prep Steps

Before diving into the lemon pickle recipe, carefully prepare your ingredients to ensure the best flavor and texture.

Cleaning and Drying Lemons

  1. Wash Lemons Thoroughly: Use cold running water to wash 10 fresh lemons, making sure to remove any dirt or residue.
  2. Dry Completely: Pat each lemon dry with a clean kitchen towel, then set them on a rack or plate to air dry for about 30 minutes. This step is crucial as any moisture can spoil the pickle.

Dry Roasting and Grinding Spices

  1. Measure Spices Precisely:
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons of red chili powder
  • Salt to taste (approximately 4 tablespoons)
  1. Dry Roast Mustard and Fenugreek Seeds: Heat a dry roasting pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds first, stirring continuously for about 3-4 minutes until they begin to pop slightly.
  2. Add Fenugreek Seeds: Add the fenugreek seeds to the pan and continue roasting for another 2-3 minutes until they release their aroma.
  3. Grind Roasted Seeds: Allow the roasted seeds to cool slightly before grinding them into a coarse powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Following these prep steps meticulously, you ensure that your lemon pickle will have an impeccable balance of flavors and long-lasting quality.

Cooking Process

In this section, you will bring together all the prepared ingredients and transform them into a delicious lemon pickle. Follow these steps carefully to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

Cooking Spices

  1. Heat Pan: Place a dry roasting pan over medium heat.
  2. Add Spices: Add 2 tablespoons of mustard seeds and 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds to the pan.
  3. Dry Roast: Stir continuously for about 3-4 minutes until the spices are fragrant and slightly darker in color.
  4. Cool Spices: Remove from heat and let the spices cool completely.
  5. Grind Spices: Transfer cooled spices to a grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind them into a fine powder.

Preparing Lemons

  1. Prepare Mixing Bowl: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground spice mixture with 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of red chili powder, and 2 teaspoons of salt.
  2. Add Lemon Pieces: Cut your thoroughly cleaned and dried lemons into small bite-sized pieces (about 8-10 lemons). Add these pieces to the spice mixture in the bowl.
  3. Mix Thoroughly: Use a wooden spoon to mix everything well until each lemon piece is evenly coated with spices.
  4. Transfer to Jar: Spoon the spiced lemon mixture into a clean, dry glass jar, pressing down lightly as you go to compact it slightly but not too tightly.
  5. Cover Mixture With Oil: Heat about half cup of mustard oil until it starts smoking lightly then let it cool down before pouring over lemons in jar till they are submerged fully ensuring no air pockets remain.

Following these steps precisely, you ensure that your homemade lemon pickle achieves optimal flavor through careful integration of fresh ingredients and aromatic spices.

Assembly and Storage

After preparing your lemon pickle mixture, it’s crucial to properly assemble and store it to ensure the best flavor and longevity.

Jar Preparation

  1. Choose a Glass Jar: Select a clean, dry glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Avoid using plastic or metal containers as they can react with the acidic lemon pickle.
  2. Sterilize the Jar: To sterilize, submerge the jar and lid in boiling water for 10 minutes. Carefully remove and let them air dry completely on a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Inspect for Cleanliness: Ensure there are no residual water droplets inside the jar, as moisture can spoil your pickle.

Filling the Jar

  1. Fill the Jar: Using a clean spoon, gently transfer your prepared lemon pickle mixture into the sterilized jar. Leave about an inch of space at the top to prevent overflow during fermentation.
  2. Add Mustard Oil: Pour enough mustard oil over the top of the pickle mixture to create a sealant layer that covers all ingredients completely.
  3. Seal Tightly: Place the lid on tightly to ensure no air enters which could spoil your pickle.
  4. Store Properly: Keep your sealed jar in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard for at least 3-4 weeks to allow flavors to mature before consumption.
  5. Check Occasionaly: Inspect periodically for any signs of mold or spoilage; if you notice any issues discard immediately.

Make-Ahead Tips

Making lemon pickle ahead of time enhances the flavors and allows for a more profound taste experience. Here are some useful tips to ensure your lemon pickle is perfect when you need it:

  1. Select Fresh Lemons: Choose bright yellow lemons that are firm and free from blemishes or soft spots. Fresh, high-quality lemons will yield the best flavor.
  2. Sterilize Jars Properly: Sterilize your glass jars by boiling them in water for 10 minutes and allowing them to dry completely before use. This prevents contamination and extends shelf life.
  3. Dry Ingredients Thoroughly: Ensure all ingredients, especially the lemons, are completely dry before mixing. Any moisture can lead to mold growth during storage.
  4. Measure Spices Carefully: Use precise measurements for spices to maintain consistency in flavor with each batch of pickle you make.
  5. Roast Spices in Advance: Dry roast mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds ahead of time and store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
  6. Mix Well Before Storing: After combining all ingredients, mix thoroughly so that the spices coat each lemon piece evenly.
  7. Use Mustard Oil Generously: Adding a generous layer of mustard oil on top acts as a preservative, sealing out air and preventing spoilage.
  8. Store in Cool Dark Place: Place the sealed jar in a cool dark place like a pantry or cupboard where it can ferment undisturbed for at least four weeks.
  9. Check Periodically: Inspect your pickle every few days for any signs of mold or unusual smell which could indicate spoilage.

Serving Suggestions

Lemon pickle is a versatile condiment that can elevate your meals with its tangy and spicy flavors. Here are some serving suggestions to enjoy this delightful addition:

With Traditional Indian Meals

Serve lemon pickle alongside traditional Indian dishes like dal, rice, roti, or paratha. The zesty kick of the lemon pairs perfectly with the rich and hearty flavors of these staples.

As a Flavor Booster in Sandwiches

Spread a thin layer of lemon pickle on your sandwich bread for an unexpected burst of flavor. It works especially well with grilled vegetable sandwiches or chicken wraps.

Accompanying Grilled Meats and Seafood

Use lemon pickle as a condiment for grilled meats or seafood. Its acidity cuts through the richness of dishes like grilled chicken, lamb chops, or shrimp skewers.

Mixed into Yogurt

Stir a spoonful of lemon pickle into plain yogurt for a quick and flavorful raita. This makes an excellent side dish for biryanis or pilafs.

On Crackers or Breadsticks

For an easy snack, spread some lemon pickle on crackers or breadsticks. The combination creates a unique taste experience that’s both crunchy and tangy.

Enhancing Salads

Chop up small pieces of the lemon pickle and toss them into salads. It adds texture and zing to green salads, chickpea salads, or even pasta salads.

With these serving suggestions, you can make the most out of your homemade lemon pickle by incorporating it into various meals and snacks effortlessly.


Creating your own lemon pickle is not just about adding a burst of citrusy flavor to your meals; it’s also about embracing the versatility and health benefits it brings. With easy-to-follow preparation steps and storage tips, you can enjoy this zesty condiment in many creative ways.

From elevating traditional Indian dishes to enhancing sandwiches, grilled meats, seafood, or even salads, homemade lemon pickle offers endless culinary possibilities. So go ahead and add this delightful recipe to your kitchen repertoire—you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll reach for it!

Leave a Comment