lemon juice shelf life

Does Lemon Juice Go Bad? A Guide To Shelf Life and Quality

Quick summary: Yes, lemon juice can go bad. Lemon juice, whether freshly squeezed at home or commercially packaged, has a relatively short shelf life due to its high acidity and vulnerability to spoilage. Signs of spoilage in lemon juice include discoloration, off odors, and changes in taste.

You squeezed a fresh lemon yesterday, and it stayed on your counter overnight. Can you drink it anyway? We bring you all the answers about the durability of lemon juice.

You know lemon is very sour. And it’s really acidic. Because of this feature, you could easily think that squeezed juice from it could last a long time. And you would be wrong. Despite its high acidity, lemon juice is not a long-lasting product at all. If you leave it at room temperature, it will spoil much sooner than you think.

There is, of course, a difference with ready-made lemon juice. The durability of these products will vary depending on how many preservatives are in them. 

Some manufacturers put more substances to preserve the value of the liquid, and some put less. While it may not be clear in the ingredient list itself, you can deduce how many preservatives there are based on the expiration date.

Of course, commercial lemon juice with fewer artificial stabilizers will last shorter and will have a faster best-by deadline written on the packaging.

How Long Does Lemon Juice Last?

Different durations apply to fresh juice that you made yourself at home or one purchased that has a preservative in it. Without a doubt, freshly squeezed ones, as well as commercially packaged lemon juice, have a shelf life and will spoil over time. It will depend a lot on the method of production and composition for purchased ones, but here are some guidelines.

Freshly squeezed homemade lemon juice

If you squeeze lemons or limes yourself, be sure to keep the juice in the refrigerator and consume it within two to three days maximum. 

We must note that vitamin C is quite unstable and will start to disappear quickly, so it would be best to squeeze fresh lemon juice for consumption each time.

Bought ready-made lemon juice

For purchased products, the best guideline will be the best-by date written on the package of bottled lemon juice. Since different products have a different proportion of preservatives, the manufacturers themselves best tell you how long the product can last. 

This generally ranges from a few weeks for products with little preservative to one year for those with a slightly higher preservative content. Lemon juice is unlikely to last significantly longer than the deadline written on the product.

Can Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Undoubtedly, fresh lemon juice is sure to spoil, and it may be much faster than you think.

Here are some signs how to tell if lemon juice is bad:

Sign 1: It stayed out overnight

It’s crucial to keep the lemon juice in the fridge. It goes for all freshly squeezed ones and purchased ones after opening without exception. So if you accidentally left it out overnight, be sure to throw it in the trash tomorrow without any doubt.

Sign 2: The appearance is not right

The discoloration will indicate that the lemon juice has expired. The juice may become darker or appear pale. In any case, if the color is not what it seemed at first, throw the liquid down the drain as you have a bad lemon juice.

Sign 3: Taste or smell is not right

In the end, if you notice that anything is wrong with the smell of the juice or with its taste, it will be a sign that the liquid has come to an end. Lemon juice should be just as delicious as when you just opened it or squeezed it.

If your lemon juice is already off, find out more about lime juice shelf life as a possible replacement.

What Is The Best Way To Store Lemon Juice?

Lemon juice is a very perishable drink, as we have already described in our article. That is why it is extremely important to keep it in good condition so that spoilage does not happen sooner than it should.

Tip 1: Keep in the fridge

Any freshly squeezed juice must stand in the refrigerator. Also, any juice purchased after opening must be stored in the fridge and not at room temperature as it could stand until opening.

Tip 2: Keep in a bottle with a cap

It would be good to have a bottle with a stopper instead of keeping the juice in an open bottle. The air will certainly enable faster oxidation and spoilage.

Tip 3: Consume it as soon as possible

Even though it is not spoiled yet, lemon juice and lime juice certainly loses valuable vitamins over time. If you have the opportunity, consume it as soon as possible to get the maximum value. Especially if you have a preservative free lemon juice.

Sign 4: Freeze for longer keeping

Freezing lemon juice is a great way to extend its shelf life. You can also store the juice in ice cube trays so that later you have lemon cubes ready for your favorite drink. You can freeze lemon juice made from your own fresh lemons or store bought lemon juice leftovers.


How can you tell if lemon juice is bad?

You can tell if lemon juice is bad by observing changes in its color, consistency, and smell. If it becomes darker, thicker, or develops an off odor, it might have gone bad and should be discarded.

Can expired lemon juice make you sick?

No, expired lemon juice is unlikely to make you sick, but its quality might be compromised.

How long is lemon juice good after the expiration date?

Lemon juice is generally safe to use for a short time after its expiration date, usually a few weeks to a couple of months, if it has been stored properly in the refrigerator. However, its quality and flavor might decline over time.

Does lemon juice go bad in fridge?

Lemon juice can go bad in the fridge over an extended period due to factors like oxidation and exposure to air. However, if stored properly in an airtight container and used within a reasonable timeframe, it can maintain its freshness and quality.

Does lemon juice need to be refrigerated?

Leftover freshly squeezed lemon juice must be refrigerated immediately and used within 2-3 days. You must also refrigerate lemon juice bottle once opened to prevent spoilage. Unrefrigerated lemon juice spoils easily.


Lemon juice is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as other valuable vitamins. As a rule, it is highly recommended for consumption, and many doctors will praise it if you include lemon juice in your daily diet.

But one should be very careful when it comes to its duration. Despite being a very acidic product by nature, it has an extremely short shelf life if it does not contain preservatives. Therefore, pay close attention to the expiration date and always keep open juice in the refrigerator.

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*image by gpointstudio/depositphotos

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