How to Make Lime Juice

With my expert tips and tricks, you can learn how to make lime juice perfectly every single time. Use fresh lime juice in cocktails, tangy limeade, recipes, and so much more!

A person pouring a lime into a glass juicer.

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How to Make Lime Juice

Many refreshing beverage recipes call for lime juice, and using fresh squeezed makes the flavor so much better. Bottled lime juice may be convenient, but you never really know how long ago it was juiced. This can really effect the flavor and freshness of the juice.

Citrus fruits are pretty easy to juice, but there are tons of different methods. I’m going to walk you through each of the best ones so that you can make homemade lime juice quickly and easily.

Hot summer days are often filled with refreshing drinks like frozen cherry limeade and classic margaritas. So there’s good reason to have lots of limes on hand that I can juice whenever needed.

If you’re looking for an easy way to make fresh juice from your limes, lemons, and other citrus fruits, then keep on reading! These tips and tricks will be a great addition to your kitchen and cocktail preparation skills. And before you know it, your delicious drink favorites will taste better than it ever has!

More helpful how-to guides: How to Rim a GlassHow to Cook with GinHow to Store Alcohol Properly

A bunch of green limes on a white background.

Why you should juice fresh limes

Making fresh lime juice is a great way to level up your cocktails and cooking.

  • Lime juice is a natural sweetener of sorts. Even though it’s really tart, there’s still a slight sweetness that the juice of a lime can offer to many different beverages, marinades and foods.
  • Fresh limes are a really great source of different vitamins (especially Vitamin C) and minerals and have tons of health benefits. It’s one of the easiest ways, and tastiest ways, to beat the summer heat.
  • You can easily add extra flavor into tons of recipes with this super juice. Citrus juice is a powerful punch of flavor in any simple recipe and can make the perfect drink. Just save some fresh lime slices as a garnish!

Best limes to juice

You can juice any whole limes you see at your local store. Unwaxed organic limes have a lot of flavor, but non-organic limes are fine to juice.

Mexican limes, also called key limes, are a lot smaller than regular limes, so not every method of juicing will work. You’ll need this kind of juice for key lime pie!

One thing to keep in mind is that citrus should be room temperature. Cold limes are harder to juice. It’s fine to keep your limes in the fridge for optimum freshness, but set them out on the counter for an hour or overnight until you are ready to juice them.

If you skip this step, you can pop your limes in the microwave in a few short, 5-10 second bursts, but don’t cook them.

Tip: Room temperature citrus is easier to juice than cold, refrigerated fruit. Set your citrus fruits out on the counter for a couple hours to warm up before juicing them.

Tools & equipment

You will need a few things to juice your limes, but there are a few methods here so you don’t need them all!

  • sharp knife: Round citrus + a dull knife = danger. Get a knife sharpener to keep your knives in good shape.
  • cutting board: You’ll need something to cut the limes on. Make sure it’s clean!
  • microplane or zester: If you plan to zest your limes before juicing, you’ll need these.
  • juicer: You can use a traditional juicer, citrus squeezer, electric juicer or even a spoon or fork!
prep shot of green glass citrus juicer with fruits and herbs

How to cut limes for juicing

You will want to cut limes horizontally to use them with any style of juicer, as if you were making round slices. Then you will place the cut side of the lime into the juicer of your choice.

If you cut it vertically, from the side of the stem to the other end, you’ll find a thin, white membrane in the middle that makes it difficult to juice these oval-ish pieces of lime. However, if you need wedges of lime or plan to juice wedges, you can cut them vertically like this.

A green glass juicer with limes and lemons.

How to use a hand juicer

A hand juicer is the cutie old-fashioned tool that has a spiral knob in the center and a pour spout. These are made of many different materials, including glass and plastic.

You can also use wooden reamers, which are similar. This is a hand-held tool that has the same spiral knob but no pour spout to catch the liquid. You hold the lime half in the palm of your hand and then, with the other hand, push and rotate the citrus reamer into the fruit to juice it.

To use a hand juicer:

Cut a room temperature lime in half. Be sure that you are cutting it evenly so that the halves are easy to hold on to while you juice.

A person is juicing a lime in a green glass.
A person juicing a lime on a green plate.

Hold the juicer in one hand to stabilize it on a flat surface, then use the other hand to twist the lime half around the center knob.

A person pouring a lime into a glass juicer.
A bowl of lime juice and a glass of water.

Once you are finished juicing, strain out the pulp and use as needed!

This method is best for recipes that only call for a small amount of juice, or need the juice with pulp.

How to use a citrus squeezer

A citrus squeezer is essentially a handheld press that uses two pieces to squeeze the juice out of a lime. These can sometimes take a little more arm power and hand strength, so keep that in mind with this method.

A yellow citrus squeezer with a lime in it.

Here’s how to use a lime squeezer:

Cut all limes in half before you begin! It’s best to cut all of them since this is a handheld method. You won’t have to stop after every lime and slice the next one open.

A yellow citrus squeezer with a lime in it.
A person squeezing a lime into a bowl.

Place the lime, juice side down facing the holes. It looks wrong, I know but it’s how you get the most juice without it splashing into your face.

A person pouring lemon juice into a bowl.
A person squeezing a lime into a bowl.

Hold the juicer over a cup or bowl and then press down and squeeze hard, then rotate the lime if needed.

This method is best for recipes where you need to make lime juice quickly, or if the recipe calls for a small amount of juice.

How to use an electric juicer

An electric juicer has many different speeds and will be super effective at getting all of the juice out of the lime. It even scrapes the peels to ensure all juice is squeezed!

This is my personal favorite method! My juicer is one of my favorite kitchen appliances I’ve ever bought. It is so helpful, especially when I plan to make a big batch of cocktails like for a mojito bar.

A person is juicing a lime with a citrus juicer.

Here’s how to juice with an electric juicer:

Make sure you clean each part of the electric juicer before you begin. Then set it up on a level surface and plug it in.

Cut all of the limes that you plan to use and then juice each half one at a time.

A citrus juicer with a lime next to it.

Some electric juicers will strain the juice already, but others may need a little help. So feel free to strain the juice again after you’re done!

This easy method is best when you need a lot of juice. If you’re all about getting the biggest bang for your buck, then this will be your favorite method. It will get the most juice out of the lime than anything else.

How to juice limes without a juicer

You have a couple of options if you don’t have a citrus juicer or squeezer on hand.

  1. Use your hands: You can squeeze a lime half or lime wedges into a bowl. This takes a bit longer and more elbow grease, but it’s very effective. This is an ideal method if you only need a little bit of juice.
  2. Use a spoon or fork. Cut the lime in half with a sharp knife, then insert a spoon or fork into the fruit’s flesh, like you would with a hand-held reamer. Turn the spoon firmly, a quarter turn at a time, to release the juices.
  3. In a blender. Remove the peel from the limes. You can also cut them in half and remove the fruit with a spoon. You don’t want any of the white pith or green skin. Then add them to a blender and give it a whirl. Strain the pulp out of the liquid.
A bowl of lime juice and a glass of water.

How to store lime juice

Once you have fresh lime juice and have strained out the pulp, you can use it straight away in your recipes or stash it in the refrigerator for later. Be sure to store it in a food-safe, airtight container such as a mason jar, and use it within 2-3 days.

You can also freeze lime juice. Pour it into an ice cube tray and stick it in the freezer. Then freeze until solid, a few hours or overnight. Use the cubes within 3-4 months.

Then you can defrost the frozen lime juice cubes it to use in recipes or throw a frozen cube or two into your recipes. They work especially well in fruit smoothie recipes. You can also add a cube to lemonade to give it extra tart flavor.

Lime slices folded on a cocktail pick garnishing a classic margarita.

Lime juice cocktails

There are countless different drink recipes that use fresh lime juice as a key ingredient. From the perfect summer drink to a homemade version of the popular classic, there are so many ways to get that lovely lime flavor into your drinks. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Guacamole and tortilla chips on a plate.

Lime juice recipes

Tons of delicious food recipes call for lime juice too. Here are a few great ones with really simple ingredients:

Tips & tricks

To get the perfect results every single time, check out my pro-tips:

  • If you have a recipe that calls for zest, always zest before juicing. And be sure that you only get the green part of the skin because the white rind will be really bitter. Zest can be used in other recipes like my margarita salt.
  • Always use room temp citrus. If you try to juice cold limes, it will be much more difficult and will require more effort.
  • To allow limes to come to room temperature, just leave them on the counter for an hour or two. You can also microwave them in 5-10 second bursts until they reach room temp.
  • Roll the limes on the countertop before cutting them open. It helps soften the inside and makes it easier to juice them.

FAQ

Do you peel limes before juicing?

It is not necessary to peel limes before juicing them. However, if you plan to use lime zest you should zest them before juicing.

Do you juice the whole lime?

For most juicing methods, you will need to cut the lime in half to properly squeeze the juice out of it. You can juice an entire lime by using both halves.

How much juice is in a lime?

Most standard limes yield approximately 2 tablespoons of juice, which is equal to 1 ounce.

How long does fresh lime juice last?

You can store fresh squeezed lime juice for up to a week, but it is freshest if used within a few days. Just transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge. You can also freeze lime juice in ice cubes trays. It’s a great way to keep lime juice on hand any time that you need it.

Green limes on a marble surface.

More Lime Recipes

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Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A bunch of green limes on a white background.

Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice

Yield: 4 ounces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Make your own homemade lime juice to use in recipes with one of these easy methods!
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 4 limes fresh

instructions

  • Cut limes in half horizontally.
  • With a traditional juicer: Hold the juicer in one hand to stabilze it. Use the other hand to twist the lime half around the spiral center.
  • With a citrus squeezer: Place lime half in the squeezer, cut-side down, facing the holes. (It looks wrong but it's how you get the most juice without splashing lime juice into your face.) Squeeze hard and rotate the lime if needed.
  • With a citrus reamer, fork or spoon: Hold lime half in one hand. Insert the reamer, fork or spoon into the flesh of the fruit and turn in quarter turns to release the juice.
  • With an electric juicer: Follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Strain out the pulp.
  • Store in a food-safe, airtight container such as a mason jar. Use within one week, though it's freshest within 2-3 days. You can also freeze it into an ice cube tray. Use the frozen juice within 3-4 months.

notes

Tips & tricks: 
  • Use room temperature citrus. Let it sit on the counter for at least an hour before juicing. If you forget, microwave it in short bursts of 5 seconds until it is no longer cold. It should not be too hot to handle. 
  • Roll citrus around on the counter to release the juices from the flesh. 
  • Sharpen your knives before cutting citrus or any round fruit. 

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nutrition information

Yield: 4 ounces

amount per serving:

Serving: 1ounce Calories: 20kcal Carbohydrates: 7g Protein: 0.5g Fat: 0.1g Saturated Fat: 0.01g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 68mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 1g Vitamin A: 34IU Vitamin C: 19mg Calcium: 22mg Iron: 0.4mg
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