Do Lemons Go Bad? How Long Do Lemons Last?

Lemons have a plethora of health benefits that are sure to improve your health. These range from improving your digestive health to lowering the risk of heart disease, as explained by the health site Healthline.

But it doesn’t just end there. Lemons have been the heart of citrus products, sharing their fame with oranges.

Be it their use in soups, desserts, drinks made with lemons and limes, or just lemonade, lemons’ importance can never be understated, as acknowledged by Frutas Hortalizas.

All this must make you want to rush and make some lemon-inclusive dish, right? Well, wait just one moment.

If the lemons are fresh, go right ahead, but in case they are not, you might be wondering, do lemons go bad?

This article is here to quell all your lemony worries. Without further ado, let’s delve into it.

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Do Lemons Go Bad? How Long Do Lemons Last?


To answer the question, lemons are indeed perishable. They will not last particularly long either, even more so if you leave them lying in the kitchen.

Whole lemons have a shelf life of:

  • 1-2 weeks in the pantry
  • 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator
  • 1-2 months if frozen

On the other hand, the Best By date of cut lemons is:

  • 1 or 2 days in the kitchen
  • 3-5 days in the fridge

Now, you must have already surmised the obvious factor that increases the longevity of lemons. Yes, I’m talking about temperature.

The timespan of 1-2 weeks in the pantry or kitchen is highly dependent on temperature. In areas with high humidity or temperature, these figures dwindle to just a few days.

To add, cut lemons grow mold fairly quickly, so it is better to use them as soon as possible. A pro tip would be to squeeze the lemons and freeze their juice in a container. This will give you up to 5 months of lemony freshness.

Furthermore, this juice can be used without any problem in almost anything, giving you the best of both worlds.

This is different from bottled lemon juice, which has a long Sell-By date due to the preservative it contains. Bottled juice can easily last you more than 5 months in the fridge.

How to Tell If Lemons are Bad? Lemons Shelf Life!


Lemons do go bad but not without any indications. Here are some of those signs:

  • Discoloration
  • Shriveling and a soft texture
  • Growth of a green or dark-colored coating
  • Loss of their distinct scent

These signs develop in lemons when they are about to go bad.

Over time, lemons start to lose moisture and consequently become soft. This results in the soft texture you feel when handling bad lemons.

Furthermore, lemons tend to get discolored following the growth of mold. The water content in the lemon provides ample room for microorganisms to grow, which is why after a certain time, mold is bound to form on lemons.

In addition, lemons losing their intense citric aroma is a sign of their decay.

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Ultimately, all good things must end, including lemons.

While the methods described in this article may prolong the lifespan of the lemon, there is no reason to take any risk and ingest lemons contaminated with mold.

It is best to just get a fresh batch of the zesty fruit.