28 Sweet and Savory Lemon Recipes

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars


Whether you're in the mood for a sunny cake or a bright pasta, there is so much 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.

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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.

02 of 28

Lemony Crêpe Casserole

Lemony Crepe Casserole
Jennifer Causey

Reminiscent of classic bread pudding, this sweet-tart crêpe casserole has a beautiful lacy top and tender-but-sliceable center, adorned with a buttery lemon-tinged maple sauce. It's made with the ease of store-bought lemon curd and crêpes. 

03 of 28

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," cookbook author 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. The relish gets a brazen hit of citrus from chopped lemon sections, which offer 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."

04 of 28

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars


Cookbook author Elinor Klivans got her start as the "cheesecake specialist" at a restaurant in Camden, Maine. Her creamy, tangy lemon cheesecake bars can be made up to three days ahead, plus they're portable enough to bring to outdoor gatherings. For the neatest squares, slice the cheesecake into bars with a warm knife, wiping off the blade between cuts. 

05 of 28

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.

06 of 28

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," F&W Cooks contributor 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."

07 of 28


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.

08 of 28

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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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 Italian cooking writer Marcella Hazan's roast chicken recipe is super simple: just chicken, salt, black pepper, and lemons.

11 of 28

Lemon-Stuffed Grilled Branzino

Lemon-Stuffed Grilled Branzino
© Keller + Keller

Branzino, a European sea bass, has a wonderful richness when cooked on the bone. Chef Barbara Lynch stuffs the fish with lemons and herbs, then grills it until the skin is browned and crispy to add even more flavor.

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Roasted Lemon Broccoli with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Roasted Lemon Broccoli with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
© Christina Holmes

Cookbook author Tara Duggan is an expert in root-to-stalk vegetable cooking. She uses both the broccoli stalk and florets along with a whole sliced lemon and lemon juice for this spicy, tangy recipe.

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Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemons and Dates

Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemon and Dates
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Fresh herbs, two kinds of citrus, and a honey-za'atar vinaigrette give this charred carrot salad bright flavors. Smashed pistachios provide a welcome bit of added crunch. 

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Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones

Glazed Lemon-Ginger Scones
Con Poulos

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

15 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.

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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 2017 F&W Best New Chef Nina Compton. 

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Lemony Sumac Pie with Ritz Cracker Crust

Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Ali Ramee

Pastry chef Paola Velez loves making crumb crusts for no-bake pies during the hot summer months. Here she uses Ritz cracker crumbs as a salty, buttery foil to puckery lemon. Sumac, a tart spice that adds floral aroma and pops of red color, backs up fresh lemon juice in this sweet and sour filling. 

18 of 28

Lemon-Olive Oil Semifreddo with Blueberry Compote

Lemon-Olive Oil Semifreddo with Blueberry Compote
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall

Even with rich lemon cream as its base, this tart, sweet semifreddo from famed pastry chef Claudia Fleming retains its light texture and flavor after it is frozen. Semifreddos do not harden when they freeze, so there's no need to let this soften before serving it.

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Lemon-Tahini Cookies

Lemon-Tahini Cookies Recipe
Gregory DuPree

The trinity of lemon zest, tahini, and cacao nibs made its way into Gail Simmons' sweets and baking repertoire on a winter trip to Israel. 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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Layered Blackberry-and-Turmeric Lemonade

Layered Blackberry-and-Turmeric Lemonade
Charles Masters

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

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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," cookbook author 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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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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Grilled Artichokes with Herby Lemon Aïoli

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 aïoli made with the smoky juices and pulp of grilled lemons," cookbook author 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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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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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.

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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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