Lemon Custard Tart
Use leftover dough from the butter crust of this creamy lemon custard pastry to make decorative cookies to adorn the outside. Joseph De Leo

Lemon is at once pervasive and underappreciated. It appears as a garnish on countless plates, its juice flavors countless dishes. Always a bridesmaid, lemon seems destined to play a supporting role, albeit an important one. But we think it’s time for lemon to take its place at the altar and prove that its bright, tart flavor can star in a dish. From complex Moroccan tagines to zesty potato salad to creamy lemon curd, we’ve rounded up our favorite lemon recipes.

Lemon’s bright acidity makes it great for cutting through rich, creamy foods. Lemon curd is an eggy, sweet-tart spread that is delicious on toast or as an ingredient in other desserts. It serves as the filling for lemon bars and as a frosting for our lemon layer cake, which also uses lemon zest in the batter and lemon syrup between the layers.

Like with desserts, lemon can cut through creamy savory dishes with ease. Our lemon mayonnaise smashed potato salad is rich without being heavy. Try cooking up a creamy batch of orzo and flavoring it with sweet Meyer lemons and earthy mushrooms.

Preserved lemons are a staple of North African cuisine. You can make them at home with lemon juice, salt, bay leaves, and seasonings like coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and black peppercorns. One of our favorite uses for preserved lemons is Moroccan tagine, where we combine them with chicken, green olives, and spices.

Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of lemon recipes.


Lemon Custard Tart

Use leftover dough from the butter crust of this creamy lemon custard pastry to make decorative cookies to adorn the outside.

Preserved Lemons

Lemon and salt—powerful on their own, but even better when combined and let mature into preserved lemons, a North African pantry staple.

Lemon Granita

Like a frozen lemonade, this refreshing dessert is achieved with little more than lemon juice, sugar, and time. Get the recipe for Lemon Granita »

Strawberry Lemon Cake

At New York’s Milk Bar, Christina Tosi makes this towering cake every spring, when sweet and tiny tristar strawberries are in season. This is by no means an everyday cake, but it’s worth the work that you’ll put in, and worthy of a special occasion. Get the recipe for Strawberry Lemon Cake »

Creamy Orzo Risotto with Meyer Lemon and Wild Mushrooms

Simmering orzo slowly with butter, shallots, and chicken stock and enriched it with cream yields a silky, risotto-like texture.


Avgolemono, a simple Mediterranean soup of eggs, lemons, and chicken broth, is the Mediterranean equivalent of chicken noodle soup. Get the recipe for Avgolemono »

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are a light, brightly-flavored dessert, best served with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar. Get the recipe for Lemon Bars »

Kale and Sausage Penne with Lemon Cream Sauce

This is a pasta dish of strong flavors: Dark, earthy kale is offset by bright lemon cream and a warm, aromatic heat from crushed red chiles and garlic.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

A quintessential muffin recipe combines the nutty flavor of poppy seeds with a generous hit of fresh lemon zest.

Lemony Fried Cauliflower

In this take on a traditional Sephardic Jewish dish, culupidia frita con limón, cauliflower are coated in a flour and egg batter, fried, and then bathed in lemon juice. As a side or a snack, it’s crunchy, tender, and brimming with fresh, tangy flavor. Get the recipe for Lemony Fried Cauliflower »

Lemon Mayonnaise Smashed Potato Salad

Homemade lemon mayonnaise adds zesty flavor to these tender, coarsely mashed potatoes. Get the recipe for Lemon Mayonnaise Smashed Potato Salad »

Roasted Potatoes with Lemon Olive Oil

Simple roasted baby potatoes with whole garlic cloves are the perfect foil for a zesty lemon and olive oil emulsion.
This recipe for whole fried fish with garlic, fiery chiles, lemons, and earthy spice originated in Yaffa and came courtesy of The Gaza Kitchen.

Lemon Parmesan Dip

Creamy and bright-tasting, lemon parmesan dip makes for an excellent accompaniment to a chip or crudité platter.

Lemon Soufflé

There is something about a souffle—a magical blending of eggs, air, and acid—that turns any meal into an unforgettable event. Get the recipe for Lemon Soufflé »

Lemon-and-Herb-Roasted Vegetables

Chopped whole lemon and spicy fresh ginger lend brightness to hearty roasted vegetables including sweet potatoes, acorn squash, and carrots.

Green Beans with Lemon and Capers

Green Beans with Lemon and Capers

Lemon-Pepper Tuna Sandwich

Peppery arugula and zesty red onion are an ideal garnish for this flavorful, light, lemon-pepper tuna salad. Get the recipe for Lemon-Pepper Tuna Sandwich »

Herbed Lemon Quinoa

Herbed Lemon Quinoa
Sweetened with ripe persimmons and dates, and coated with a tart, toothsome, lemon-sugar glaze, these bars are a wonderful celebration of late-fall fruits. Get the recipe for Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Bars »

Roast Chicken with Saffron and Lemon

Roast chicken is a classic dish all over the world. In this beautiful version from Spain, the bird is rubbed with musky, floral saffron and stuffed with bright lemons and fresh rosemary before being popped in the oven. Get the recipe for Roast Chicken with Saffron and Lemon »

Lemon Risotto

Complement this dish’s intense lemon flavors with a hefeweizen served with a lemon wedge.

The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake

Lemon extract, juice, and zest permeate a rich and moist loaf to create what really is is the best damn lemon cake we’ve ever had.

Lemon Curd

This thick, tangy spread is great spooned on toast and as a filling for tarts and cakes. Get the recipe for Lemon Curd »

Lemon and Rosemary Chicken (Pollo Arrosto)

Garlic, lemon, and rosemary enhance simple, juicy roast chicken.

Lemon-Thyme Lamb Chops (L’agneau Grillé au Thym)

These grilled lamb chops are simply grilled with nothing more than olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Lemon Icebox Pie

This creamy lemon pie with homemade candied lemon peel is a delicious frozen treat. Get the recipe for Lemon Icebox Pie »

Lemon Layer Cake

Lemon infuses this layered masterpiece in three ways: zested into the batter, in a tart syrup that get drizzled over the cakes, and in a thick lemon curd frosting.

Corsican Lemon Mousse

This rich, silky mousse brightened with tangy lemons makes an elegant end to a meal.

Chicken, Olive, and Lemon Tagine (Djaj Mqualli)

Tagine, the Moroccan stew, shares its name with the terra-cotta pot it’s traditionally cooked in, whose neat conical lid promotes convection and even cooking. There are many versions; maybe the most classic is braised chicken, green olives, and lemons in a sauce fragrant with ginger and coriander.