28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars
Photo: PHOTO © ANNA WILLIAMS

Whether you're in the mood for a sunny cake or a bright pasta, there are so, so many things you can do with lemons—and in this roundup, we celebrate the fruit in all its glory, from the zest to the juice. Some of our favorite recipes include summer crab carbonara with lemons and capers, spring pea chaat with lemon raita, and homemade limoncello. As for dessert? There's lemon cake with cream cheese frosting, lemon-buckwheat shortbread, and so many more. Read on to find out how to make them all.

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Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Layers of delicate flavors from the lemon, honey, and extra-virgin olive oi­l—which helps keep the cake moist and imparts mild fruitiness—come together in this one-bowl batter. Stacked with a fluffy and rich lemon–cream cheese frosting, this easy-layer cake is a keeper. Be sure the butter and cream cheese are softened for the smoothest frosting.

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Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones

Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones
Con Poulos

Aimee Olexy's lemony, cream-based scones are light, moist, and laced with pieces of chewy candied ginger.

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Green Beans with Preserved Lemon

Green Beans with Preserved Lemon
Abby Hocking

At Thanksgiving, F&W's Justin Chapple serves these green beans because they can be made the day before and served either chilled or at room temperature.

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Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars
PHOTO © ANNA WILLIAMS

For the best results, slice these cheesecake bars with a warm knife, wiping off the blade between cuts.

05 of 28

Squid and Summer Vegetable Salad with Preserved Lemon Dressing

Squid and Summer Vegetable Salad with Preserved Lemon Dressing
© Con Poulos

This seafood salad from Provence, by chef Cyrille Chaussade, combines simply poached squid, a piquant dressing, and a mix of super-thinly sliced vegetables made extra crisp thanks to a soak in an ice water bath.

06 of 28

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Mint and Pecorino

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Mint and Pecorino
© Con Poulos

Roman chef Angelo Troiani riffs on the classic spaghetti Ajo, Ojo e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chile), embellishing it with shrimp, lemon, pecorino, almond, and mint. It's simple, delicious and crowd-pleasing.

07 of 28

Lemon Curd Toasts with Coconut

Lemon Curd Toasts with Coconut
© John Kernick

Olive oil and cocoa butter make this lemony curd extraordinarily creamy and luscious. Spread on baguette toasts, it becomes a fantastic dessert.

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Lemon-Buckwheat Shortbread

Lemon Buckwheat Shortbread
Victor Protasio

Lemon filling highlights the nuttiness of buckwheat flour in these shortbread cookie sandwiches from Nina Compton.

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Grilled Whole Flatfish with Lemon-Herb Butter

Grilled Whole Flatfish with Lemon Herb Butter
Greg DuPree

To make the lemon-herb butter for this recipe, you'll need unsalted butter, one small shallot, fine sea salt, parsley, dill, thyme, lemon zest, and black pepper. Be sure to have lemon halves on hand for serving as well.

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Lemon-Almond Cake with Roasted Rhubarb

Flourless Rhubarb Cake Recipe
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

This tender, lemon-scented almond cake is topped with roasted rhubarb, but is equally delicious with any kind of fresh or roasted fruit, like roasted strawberries, fresh orange segments, or roasted plums.

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Chicken Freekeh Skillet with Warm Feta-Lemon Relish

Lemon Chicken Freekah Skillet Recipe
Alison Miksch

"It's garlicky, a little spicy, herby, and full of surprises," Ann Taylor Pittman writes of the relish in this dish. "First, it includes firm feta cheese that gently warms to the point that it becomes soft and almost gooey—which is the way I always want feta from now on. The relish also gets a brazen hit of citrus from chopped lemon sections, which offer a tart, juicy bursts that are way more forward than lemon juice would be. The effect is an unsubtle finishing touch that balances out the nutty grains and meaty chicken."

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Creamy Lemon Pasta

Creamy Lemon Pasta
Victor Protasio

Chef Andrew Zimmern mimics the sweet, fragrant lemons of Italy's Amalfi Coast with Meyer lemons in this beautifully bright and creamy pasta. The dish originated at L'Antica Trattoria in Sorrento, where lemon juice is tossed with just-cooked pasta until absorbed. Supremes of lemon add a juicy, tart pop that cuts through the cream in the sauce.

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Lemon-Tahini Cookies

Lemon-Tahini Cookies Recipe
Gregory DuPree

If you want to get a head start on these cookies, the dough can be made and frozen up to three weeks in advance.

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Salmon Tartare with Pistachios and Lemon

Salmon Tartare with Pistachios and Lemon Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Missie Crawford

Spoon salmon is the meat that's scraped from the carcass of a freshly butchered fish. It would normally go to waste, but its rich flavor and silky texture make it perfect for this lemony, pistachio-studded tartare.

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Lemon Meringue Pie with Marcona Shortbread Crust

lemon meringue pie
Jennifer Causey

"I like lemon pie so much that I want even more of the bright, sunny lemon flavor to come through, so there's less sugar and more lemon juice in this filling than you'll find in most recipes," Ann Taylor Pittman writes. "It's assertively—but not aggressively—lemony, and is balanced by the fluffy meringue topping, which has the perfect sweetness and density to complement the tarter-than-usual filling."

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Layered Blackberry-and-Turmeric Lemonade

Layered Blackberry-and-Turmeric Lemonade
Charles Masters

This spritzy, summery drink from Julia Momose is a showstopper with its distinct pink and yellow layers.

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Lemon-and-Lavender Gin Fizz

Lemon and Lavender Gin Fizz
Victor Protasio

Leopold's Summer Gin brings a smooth, floral flavor to this botanical cocktail with notes of cucumber, sage, lemon, and lavender.

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Lemon Curd Tart

Lemon Curd Tart Recipe
Victor Protasio

To make a simple topping for this elegant dessert, add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the leftover egg whites and whip to stiff peaks to make a meringue. Garnishing the tart with mixed citrus segments adds a natural sweetness to balance the rich, tart lemon curd filling. Read Jamila Robinson's essay about this recipe, Romancing the Stove.

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Sweet Potato Fritters with Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Sweet Potato Fritters
Victor Protasio

The barely-there binder in the batter makes for incredibly lacy, crispy fritters. Be sure to cook them gently over medium heat so they cook through and crisp up without burning.

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Sheet Pan Hanger Steak and Bok Choy with Lemon-Miso Butter

Steak with Roasted Bok Choy Recipe | FWCooks
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

"You may notice that this recipe makes more miso butter than one could conceivably dollop onto a single dinner," Leah Koenig writes. "That leftover butter stores well in the fridge and enhances everything it touches, from grilled fish and pasta to warm biscuits and popcorn."

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Grilled Artichokes with Herby Lemon Aioli

Grilled Artichokes Recipe | FWCooks
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

"Artichokes are at their best—and easiest to prepare—when cooked quickly over a fire, particularly when served with luscious lemon aioli made with the smoky juices and pulp of grilled lemons," Paula Disbrowe writes.

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Spring Pea Chaat with Lemon Raita

Spring Pea Chaat with Lemon Raita Recipe
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

This fresh and crunchy chaat stars a trio of spring peas punched up with a tempered mixture of whole cumin seeds mustard seeds, chiles, and ginger. The tart lemon raita brings a welcome cooling element; spoon the extra over rice, naan, or fresh fruit.

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Lemon Blueberry Cake with Lemon-Zest Glaze

Blueberry Lemon Cake Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This one-bowl loaf cake is exceptionally easy to make. Since the batter calls for oil instead of butter, there's no need for a creaming step—just quickly beat together the ingredients until smooth, then fold in the blueberries. Thanks to plenty of sour cream and minimal leavener, the cake bakes up rich and tender, ready for the final touch of a puckery lemon glaze topped with plenty of fresh lemon zest. To enjoy it as a breakfast cake, just skip the glaze.

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Grilled King Salmon with Meyer Lemon Relish

Grilled King Salmon with Meyer Lemon Relish Recipe
Victor Protasio

Floral and lightly acidic salsa brings out the buttery, rich flavors of grilled King salmon. Salmon is meaty enough to stay intact on a grill and gets meltingly tender as it cooks. Serve leftover salsa with grilled lamb, chicken, or pork.

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Roast Chicken with Lemons

Marcella Hazan Roast Chicken with Lemons Recipe
Photo and Styling by Julia Gartland

The ingredient list for Marcella Hazan's roast chicken recipe is super simple: just chicken, salt, black pepper, and lemons.

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Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello
Aubrie Pick

This homemade limoncello boasts rich lemon flavor without being too boozy or sweet. Look for unwaxed organic lemons, or be sure to give the whole citrus a good scrub before peeling.

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Summer Crab Carbonara with Lemons and Capers

Summer Crab Carbonara with Lemons and Capers Recipe
Michael Piazza

Chef Douglass Williams' method for carbonara allows you to hold the cooked pasta before adding it to the garlic–oil–pasta cooking liquid emulsion. It makes for a simple, creamy carbonara without the stress.

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Sorghum and Albacore Tuna Salad with Preserved Lemon

Sorghum and Albacore Tuna Salad with Preserved Lemon
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell

Preserved lemon is a popular North African condiment made by pickling the fruit in salt and its own juice. The bracing lemony flavor adds a salty kick to this olive-, onion-, and fresh herb–laden tuna salad.

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