It sounds like a vaguely philosophical question, but— really— how much juice is in one lemon? Lots of recipes call for the aid of this tart, sweet fruit, and they all give different measures and measuring references. What is one lone cook to do?
Come to Cooky Aunty, of course! In my many years of kitchen experience (both as a hobbyist cook and in a professional setting), I have perfected the art of intuitively measuring the amount of lemon juice I need. But it took me quite a while to get where I am.
That is why I decided to put together everything I know about lemons, measuring methods and amounts, and how to get the deed done. All of this should help you on your journey of perfect lemony goodness. And, just in case you do not know what to do with all that lemon juice after you have squeezed it, I have also thrown in one lemon juice recipe for good measure.
Read on to learn all about The Lemon!
The anatomy of a common lemon
The lemon is a wonderful, coveted fruit that is good for lots of recipes and as a seasoning. It is one of the citrus fruits. These are a type of fruit that has thick skin, pulpy (juicy!) flesh that is divided into sections and is acidic or sour.
Though we do not know for sure where the first lemon plant came from, it was probably the tropical climate of Northern India. Exotic! Today, lemon (the pulp, juice, leaves, and rind) is used around the world to eat, drink, perfume, and even clean!
All lemon has lots of important nutrients. One of the main and most abundant ones is Vitamin C. It also has a lot of phytochemicals. These are nifty little substances that, among other things, keep you healthy and maintain your youthful appearance (good skin, hair, etc.).
Lemon types and sizes
All lemons have a thick, dense, and aromatic skin that looks porous. Its color goes from green to bright yellow and the insides of the fruit are divided into juicy segments.
There are four main types of lemon that are commercially available. The most common one is called “Eureka” or “Four Seasons” because, not surprisingly, it gives fruits and flowers all year round. This group has a dependent outlier variety that has pink flesh and striped skin but is equally tasty.
The other three common types of lemon are the “Bonnie Brae”, which looks smooth and long, the “Femminello St. Teresa”, which is grown in Italy and used to make alcoholic beverages, and the more exotic Australasian “Yen Ben”.
We’ll be using and measuring the largest and most common type, the Eureka. Remember that the other varieties are somewhat smaller and yield less juice.
Different measurement techniques
Different recipes— or even different sections in the same one, sometimes— can call for lemon juice using wildly diverse measurement techniques. One might be in milliliters, another one in tablespoons, yet another one in cups. I know, it can get disorienting and confusing after a while.
But the recipe will not defeat you! So, how do you know how much is the juice of one lemon? There are some rules that will make your measuring experience a lot easier.
To measure lemon juice by using spoons, you need to make sure the liquid is exactly at the edge. Three teaspoons are the same as one tablespoon. 16 tablespoons are the same as 1 (tea) cup.
1 cup is the same as 8 ounces or 236 milliliters (yes, complicated number). 100 milliliters is equivalent to 3.4 ounces.
The easiest way to go is, obviously, just getting a measuring cup that has all these clarifications printed on its surface. If you can’t get one of those, you’ll always be able to refer back to this site!
How much is the juice of one lemon
No matter what type of measurement the recipe calls for, the juice of one particular lemon will stay the same throughout. Now, how do you know how much that is?
A medium lemon of the Eureka type will weigh 2 to 4 ounces or between 85 and 110 grams. That means one pound is made up of 4 or 5 lemons. But that is not the amount of juice you will have: the total weight is also counting in the zest, rind, seeds, and other fruit parts.
The amount of juice in one lemon is around two tablespoons. This is equal to 6 smaller teaspoons, or an eighth of a cup. To fill a cup you would need the juice of 8 lemons that yield 2 tablespoons each.
In terms of milliliters, liters, and ounces, it gets a bit more complicated. One lemon— two tablespoons— is the same as 29 milliliters or just under one ounce. In order to get one liter of lemon juice— a tall order!— you would need to use a whopping 33.3 lemons!
Of course, you need to remember that this is an average made by using the most regularly sized lemons I could find. The exact amount of juice that your specific lemon yields will vary according to size, but also depend on how you juice it and when.
How to juice your lemon like a pro
Well, the easy way out would be to say “get a juice machine” and be done with it, which is a viable solution if you are into kitchen gadgets and paraphernalia.
An even easier solution would consist of me telling you to simply go to the store and invest in a good bottle of lemon juice, so you do not have to get your hands dirty or fiddle with high risk calculations. However, I am an old schooler.
While I find bottled lemon juice convenient when in a tight spot, I vastly prefer the real thing. Fresh lemon juice is better for the environment (no plastic!), trusty (you know exactly how it was produced), and— honestly— it just tastes better to me. Fresher, go figure.
So how do you get your lovely, freshly squeezed lemon juice? It is pretty simple when you know how to do it.
- First, do not even try to do it with bare hands: the acidic components in it could easily damage your sensitive skin.
- Instead, get one of those juicing gadgets— not electric, the ones that are meant for manual use. It has a central area that looks ridgy. This, combined with pressure, helps release the juice of the fruit.
- Cut the lemon into halves, leaving the part that used to be attached to the branch intact.
- Place one of the halves facing down on the device and press. Keep pressing and twisting until there is no more juice coming off the fruit.
- Repeat with the other half and strain to get rid of any unwanted pulp and seeds.
- You can still use the rind to get zest— it is great for baking and scenting spaces!
Store the juice in a clear jar and stick it in the fridge immediately. This will make sure that it stays safe and edible for longer.
Simple lemon juice recipes
Now that you know how much lemon juice equals one lemon (in many specific measurement types) and you have learned how to juice it yourself, with your bare hands, it is time to decide what to do with it.
Lemon juice is great— its acidic Ph and helpful components make it a good aid for digestion and a potentially great home remedy for painful skin conditions such as acne (it is sort of a peeler, so use with a lot of care). Thanks to its lovely smell, you can also use it to clean up your house!
However, most people associate lemon juice with eating and drinking. That is why I am bringing you one of my very favorite simple lemon juice recipes. Enjoy!
Tart salad dressing
Great for any type of salad. This dressing is healthy and tasty too. You’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- Cayenne Pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon unprocessed sea salt or Himalayan salt.
- A mason jar or similar container.
- A small mortar.
- Grind the pepper, sugar, and sea or Himalayan salt together in the small mortar. You can add any other spices or herbs that you like, such as Dijon Mustard or oregano.
- Place the ground mix in the jar or container and pour the oil over it.
- Mix well.
- Add the lemon juice and mix again, until the oil and juice are really combined.
- Use immediately!
Do not store this salad dressing. Consume it on the day you make it!
Juice, enjoy, repeat!
Many types of lemon juice, many ways to squeeze the juice and measure it, very many possibilities to use it deliciously! Now that you have read this tell-all guide, you know exactly what to do!
How much juice in one lemon? Two tablespoons. What is that good for? Everything! So juice away, get creative, and enjoy the fruits of your work.