Preserving Sunshine in a Jar: Lemon Juice Canning

Canning lemon juice is possible using a water bath canner as lemons are a high-acid food. Ladle fresh juice into hot canning jars, leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Apply lids and screw bands and process in a boiling water canner for 10-15 minutes.

How Do You Can Lemon Juice?

The best way of canning lemon juice is by using a water bath canner. The high acidity of lemons blocks the germination of harmful bacteria, so the fruit juice doesn’t require pressure canning.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
lemon juice in bowl

Lemon Juice Canning Recipe

  • Author: Regie
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes


This home-canning recipe for lemon juice is simple to make. Transform fresh lemons into juice that will last for months in a few easy steps!


  • 25 Meyer lemons for each quart of juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar per quart (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt per quart (optional)


  1. Rinse the exteriors of the lemons. Remove the skin and divide the lemons into halves or quarters.
  2. Using your hands or a juicing device, squeeze the lemons to extract the lemon juice.
  3. Filter the lemon juice through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the pulp and seeds.
  4. Add salt and sugar, if desired. Both will help to tame the bitterness of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  5. Test the acidity of the lemon juice using a pH testing kit. If the acidity is above 3, add citric acid or bottled lemon juice to bring it down to a pH of 2.
  6. Sanitize the canning jars by putting them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, leaving them in water until ready to use them.
  7. Heat the lemon juice in a large stockpot over medium heat. It doesn’t need to cook or boil, but it should be hot when placing it into canning jars.
  8. Sterilize the lids and screw bands as the juice is heating by submerging them in hot water.
  9. Immediately, ladle the hot juice into the sanitized pint or quart jars using a canning funnel, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
  10. Wipe off the moisture from the jar rims using a clean cloth or paper towel.
  11. Add the canning lids and apply screw bands until they are fingertip tight.
  12. Fill your boiling water canner halfway with water, place the jar rack inside, and let the water reach a rolling boil.
  13. Lower the jars using a jar lifter into your canner. Most canners can hold 7 jars.
  14. Once the water is boiling, process the jars for 10 or 15 minutes, depending on your altitude. If your elevation is 6,000ft or less, process pints and quarts for 10 minutes. If your elevation is greater than 6,000ft, process pints and quarts for 15 minutes.
  15. Once the processing time is up, turn the heat off and let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes before removing them.
  16. Carefully extract the hot jars using a jar lifter and place them on a towel-covered counter to cool at room temperature overnight.
  17. Remove the screw bands and check that each jar has been sealed by pressing on the top. Sealed jars will be firm and will not indent.
  18. Label sealed jars and store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Canning Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 53kcal
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Sodium: 9mg
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 1g

Is it Safe to Can Lemon Juice in a Boiling Water Bath?

Yes. Lemons are considered a high-acid food that is safe for water-bath canning.

Most lemons will produce juice that has a pH of between 2 and 3, which prevents bacterial growth and botulism from thriving.

It’s still advised to test the pH of lemon juice you plan to can at home to ensure it has a proper pH level. If in doubt, add citric acid or commercially bottled lemon juice to ensure the proper acidity is reached before canning.

Pressure canning lemons is also possible if you don’t have a water bath canner.

What is the Difference Between Canning and Preserving Lemon Juice?

Preserving lemon juice involves using different methods to improve its shelf-life.

Canning is one method of home-preserving lemon juice. Another method of preserving lemon juice is freezing it in a vacuum-seal bag.

Can You Can Lemon Curd?

Yes, it is possible to can lemon curd. Per the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you should first cook the curd before canning it.

Open jar of home canned lemon curd
Lemon curd

Can Fresh Lemon Juice Be Used for Canning Other Foods?

No. Most research-based recipes require the addition of bottled lemon juice before canning low-acid fruits and veggies. Bottled citrus juice has a standard, uniform pH per FDA guidelines.

Fresh lemon juice has a sliding scale of acidity levels. This inconsistency may affect its effectiveness in preventing the growth of harmful micro-organisms, especially when canning tomatoes.

According to The Center for Home Food Preservation, bottled lemon juice is a must for raising the acidity of tomatoes and tomato products to safe levels required for water bath canning.

What Should Be Added to Canned Lemon Juice?

When canning fresh lemon juice, you can add citric acid or bottled lemon juice to increase its acidity. You can also add 1-2 tablespoons of honey to prevent browning.

Powdered citric acid and whole lemons
Citric acid powder

How Long Does Canned Lemon Juice Last?

The shelf life of home-canned lemon juice is 12-18 months if properly stored in a cool, dry place.

Tips for Storing Canned Lemon Juice

These tips will keep lemon juice fresh and extend its shelf life:

  • Add one teaspoon of salt per jar when canning to prevent bitterness.
  • Keep the canned jars in a cool, dry place.
  • Prevent spoilage by keeping jars away from direct sunlight.
  • Refrigerate any open jars of lemon juice and use them within 4-5 days.
  • Remove or loosen canning rings on jars before storage.


Growing up as a farm girl, Regie assisted her grandparents in canning sheep meat and helped her mother sell canned carrots. This grew her passion for canning from a young age. As a writer, she uses her canning experience to give creative, practical ideas for preserving different foods to canning enthusiasts.

Recent Posts