How Much Juice is in One Lemon? We Tested

three ways to juice a lemon

There is about 3 tablespoons of juice in a medium-sized lemon juiced by hand. If you use a lemon squeezer, you can get closer to 4 tablespoons of juice from a medium lemon. 

I highly suggest using a lemon squeezer for juicing a small batch of lemons. I got mine from Target for $5.99 and it makes the process way cleaner and more efficient.

Here’s the breakdown of the four lemons we tested:

Juice (tbsp)Juice (grams)MethodLemon weight (oz)Circumference (in)Height (in)
Lemon 1452.1Lemon squeezer4.787.53.5
Lemon 2339.5Lemon squeezer3.606.753.25
Lemon 33.2541.6By hand4.847.753.25
Lemon 4339.5By hand4.357.52.75

Tips for Juicing Lemons

rolling lemon on cutting board

The method you use for juicing lemons matters, but so does the prep work. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to maximize your lemon juice.

  • Don’t juice cold lemons: When lemons are cold, their membranes are firm and more difficult to juice. Instead of juicing lemons straight from the fridge, make sure they’re room temperature or put them in the microwave for about 20 seconds to loosen them up.
  • Roll the lemons against the counter: To soften the lemons and make them easier to juice, you can use your palm to roll them against the counter for 10-15 seconds. 
  • Cut your lemon lengthwise when juicing by hand: This makes them easier to squeeze and helps you get a little more lemon juice.
  • Use a fork to help: When juicing lemons by hand, stick a fork in the middle of the cut lemon and move it around to really press out all the juice.

How Many Lemons Do You Need for Your Recipe?

six lemons on black cutting board

Now you know how much juice is in one lemon (3 tablespoons), but how does that translate to the number of lemons needed for your recipe? Here’s a quick cheatsheet. Remember, these are based off the juice from medium-sized lemons.

Amount of lemon juice Number of lemons
1 tablespoon0.5
2 tablespoons1
3 tablespoons1
¼ cup (4 tablespoons)1.5 
½ cup (8 tablespoons)
¾ cup (12 tablespoons)
1 cup (16 tablespoons)5.5 

4 Ways to Juice Lemons

Here are the most common ways to juice lemons. You could also use an electric juicer if you have one.

Lemon Squeezer

manual lemon squeezer

This is my favorite method. It’s easy, catches the seeds, and is quick to clean up.

  1. Cut the lemon in half. You can also slice a small bit off the pointy end to make it easier to press.
  2. Place the cut side of the lemon face down in the squeezer.
  3. Pull the handle down and squeeze until the lemon half is fully juiced.

Manual Citrus Juicer

manuall citrus juicer

A manual citrus juicer typically has a lid that consists of the pointy juicer and a strainer and a cup that catches the juice. Manual citrus juicers are more effort than squeezers, in my opinion.

  1. Cut the lemon in half.
  2. Twist and press the lemon down on the juicer. The juice will drain into the cup.


wooden citrus reamer

A citrus reamer is a cylindrical handheld tool with a point and divots on one end. This helps you juice the lemon. 

  1. Cut the lemon in half.
  2. Hold the lemon over a cup and twist the reamer into the lemon until there’s no more juice left.

By Hand

squeezing lemon by hand

Juicing lemons by hand is messy and more difficult than the other methods. But if you must do it, here’s the best way.

  1. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise.
  2. Hold the lemon over a cup and squeeze. Use a fork to press on the insides of the lemon and get as much of the juice out as you can.

How Long Does Lemon Juice Last?

Lemon juice lasts for 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator. Some people recommend storing it in an opaque container to keep its integrity, but since I use it within a few days, I find a glass mason jar or airtight container to be fine.

How to Store Lemon Juice

pouring lemon juice into glass jar

Put the lemon juice in an airtight container or jar and then store it in the fridge. The lemon juice should maintain its light yellow color. If it turns a darker yellow, has a harsh smell, or looks moldy, it’s gone bad.

How to Freeze Lemon Juice

If you can’t use up all your lemon juice within a few days of squeezing it, you can freeze it!

  1. Juice your lemons.
  2. Pour the lemon juice into ice cube trays and freeze. I suggest measuring how much you put in each tray (1-2 tablespoons) so they’re easy to add to recipes when you need them.
  3. Once the lemon juice is frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag and write the date on it.

Lemon juice will last about 3 months in the freezer. When you need it, just thaw and use it! You could also add a cube directly to a glass of water to make lemon water.

How to Store Cut Lemons

cut lemons in glass food container

What if you’ve juiced half a lemon and need to store the other half? Prevent the lemon from drying out by tightly wrapping it in saran wrap or storing it in a small, airtight container. It should last in the fridge for 5-7 days.

What to Use Lemon Juice For

Now you know how much juice you can get from one lemon, but what do you do with all of that juice? Here are a few of our favorite ways to use it:

  • Sprinkle on salad
  • Use it to keep apples from browning
  • Sprinkle on broccoli
  • Make lemon water 
  • Add to tea
  • Squeeze on fish
  • Add to muffins (don’t forget the zest!)
  • Make a cocktail

What’s your favorite way to use lemon juice?