Homemade Dried Lemon Zest

My husband is not a fan of our dehydrator.

I admit it — it’s sort of big. It takes up an entire unit of counter space and is kind of tricky to clean. I’d like to say the delicious kale chips I make have changed his mind, but more often than not, I end up gobbling them all down myself the second they’re dry… or before they’re dry. Or before they even make it into the dehydrator.

I should probably be more ashamed of that than I am.

In an attempt to convert him over to the ways of the dehydrator, I’ve been on a hunt for recipes that are healthy, fun and non-kale chip related. My most recent adventure? Homemade dried lemon zest!

I was peeling organic lemons one day for juicing (thanks to my CNE training, I like to do them all in one big batch at the beginning of the week) when I thought to myself, there must be something I can do with these goshdarned peels. After some Googling, I discovered something absolutely magical: You can make your own dried lemon zest by dehydrating lemon peels and then blending them to oblivion. Then it’s just a matter of adding a teaspoon or so to your baked goods anytime you want some lemon-y deliciousness.

Mind-blowing, right? Right?

The ratio for dried to fresh herbs is generally 1 tsp to 1 tbsp. One lemon yields about 1 tbsp lemon zest, so if a recipe calls for one lemon zested, use 1 tsp dried zest instead. That being said — I like things ultra-lemony, so I tend to just go by taste.

I have a feeling you may be able to do the same thing very carefully in your oven on the lowest possible heat, but I haven’t tried it myself so buyer beware.

What dehydrating adventures have you embarked upon recently?

Dehydrated Lemon Zest

Category: Breads + Baked GoodsBreakfastDips + SaucesDips and SaucesKitchen TricksSaladSide DishesSnacks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1-2 days
  • A bunch of organic lemon peels, washed
  1. Put your lemon peels into your dehydrator and dehydrate on the lowest setting until completely dry (may take a day or two.)
  2. Blend lemon peels in a high-speed blender until they turn into a fine powder. Store in a mason jar. (I keep mine in the fridge with my other baking stuff, but it probably isn’t necessary.)
  3. Use in place of fresh lemon zest in baked goods.

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8 responses to “Homemade Dried Lemon Zest

  1. Kim Young hlcooks

    Jaclyn, this is a great idea! I can already taste it in my homemade “lemon” coconut ice cream..

  2. Nathalie Hunter

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Are you drying and grinding whole lemon peels, pith and all, or just the zest?

    1. Academy of Culinary Nutrition

      You can grate the zest and dry it, or peel with a vegetable peeler and include a little bit of pith and then dry. The pith has valuable nutrients, but you don’t want too much as it’s bitter.

  3. patricia flores

    Hi Jaclyn,
    I enjoyed reading your recipie for dried lemon zest! And my question is if one does not have a dehydrator would you leave the lemon pearls out a couple of days?

  4. Academy of Culinary Nutrition

    Hi Patricia. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can put the peels in the oven on the lowest setting until they dry out.

  5. Dawn

    Hello! What a great idea! I looked through the comments and really couldn’t find an anwer to my questions so here goes. I do have a dehydrator that I’ll use for this project and while I have dehydrated lemon peels before, I removed the skin inside it first. Would you recommend that as well? Also, I’ve always been careful not to grate the pith whenever I needed zest but in this case, the pith along with the peel will be dried and made into powder. Will that make a taste difference when my recipe calls for lemon zest? Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

  6. Academy of Culinary Nutrition

    Hi Dawn! You can use some of the pith, but we don’t recommend using too much as it’s bitter.

  7. Dawn

    Thanks for that tip… it’s what I thought but what about removing the inside of the lemon? Thanks.

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