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Lemon Confit

Lemon Confit


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Recipe Preparation

  • Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (yellow part only) from lemons in long strips. Squeeze 6 tablespoons juice from lemons. Blanch peel in small saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds; drain. Repeat twice. Bring 6 tablespoons lemon juice, olive oil, canola oil, garlic, and pinch of salt to simmer in small saucepan. Add lemon peel and simmer over low heat until peel is soft, about 1 hour. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled and completely covered in oil. Always use clean fork to remove lemon.

Recipe by Sondra Bernstein,Reviews Section

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 large shallot lobe, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 1 large sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • Leaves from 1 sprig thyme
  • 6 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½-1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat, then plunge the lemons into the water for about 30 seconds or so, to soften any wax on the fruit. Drain, rinse, wipe the lemons clean, and dry them. Cut the lemons into very thin slices, discarding the ends and any seeds.

Combine the shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns in a small bowl. Combine the salt and sugar in a separate small bowl.

Arrange a layer of lemon slices in the bottom of a medium container with a lid, being sure not to overlap the slices. Sprinkle the lemons first with a little of the shallot-garlic mixture, then with some of the salt-sugar mixture. Repeat to use all the slices, layering them in several stacks and sprinkling them alternately with the two mixtures until the final lemon slices are topped with the last of the shallot-garlic and salt-sugar mixtures. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 3 days, but after a day or so, turn over the container so all the slices can cure evenly.

Drain the lemons in a strainer for about 15 minutes. Have ready a clean 1-quart container with a tight-fitting lid.

Pack the drained lemons tightly in the container, then fill with the oil, making sure the lemons are completely covered. The confit can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 1 month.


  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a baking pan with olive oil.

Lay 1/3 of lemon slices on the bottom of the prepared pan top with 1 bay leaf and 1 chicken breast, skin side-up. Repeat layer with another 1/3 of the lemon slices and the other bay leaf and chicken breast. Cover with the remaining lemon slices. Sprinkle thyme, salt, and pepper on top.

Place chicken on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake, uncovered, until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Transfer baked chicken onto a plate to rest, about 15 minutes. Transfer cooked lemons onto a cutting board. Dice and mix into the pan juices. Spoon mixture onto a serving plate with the chicken.


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Mine too burned! There must be a typo in this recipe! 15 min simmer in the oil should be enough an hour is incorrect! I checked other recipes for this oil method and the call for 15 min. simmer. It suddenly burned after 30 min. I hope Epulicurius will respond to this comment. and fix the error!

Mine was a disaster. I simmered mixture on lowest heat of my burner for 30 mn and the peels were darks brown and crispy. What a waste of time and $. Should have stopped after 10mn amd steeped for the remaining time. Might not try again altho it sounds good if it works.

yum! a small detail that will make a lot of dishes special, i think. i put a small amount on top of risotto with ramps, and it was a lovely spring treat. i will surely keep this on hand all the time.

this is one that i love to give as a little foodie gift! love it with olives on baguette toasts as an hors d'oeuvre with a glass of sherry

This is one of those recipes I'll make forever. The suggestion of serving it with black olives & warmed bread is fantastic. The flavour only gets better over the month that you can keep it.

Bettybus -- be sure not to skip the repeated blanching. That's what removes the bitterness. We use the same technique when making candied citrus peel.

Bettybuss--I used my vegetable peeler to peel the lemons, but had to pull it in the opposite direction I usually pull in order not to remove pith with peel. The peel did not come out in pretty strips, but it tastes great

Mine came out extremely bitter, even though I was careful not to get any pith with the peel. Any suggestions anyone?


What Is Lemon Confit and How Do I Use It?

Before we get discuss exactly what lemon confit is and how it can be used, you should know that combining it with a butter sauce would go wonderfully well with the Italian fish stew I just posted about!

Now, if you have no idea what confit is, you’ll probably look up the definition. In doing so, you would find that it is meat cooked so slowly it preserves itself in its own fat and is then stored in that same fat. So, I’m mistaken writing about lemon confit, right? Nope! I thought I was, but I’m not! There is such a thing.

What is Lemon Confit?

It is technically the same thing normal confit is, but with lemons instead of meat. You wouldn’t typically eat the innards of the lemon, though. Many people use it to add flavor to their water or in place of lemon juice in some of their recipes. It’s used to add powerful zest instead of a sweet, tangy garnish like fresh lemon.

There are two standard ways to prepare lemon confit. You can boil it quickly and for an unimpressive amount of time, followed by drenching it in chilly water so it doesn’t cook further. This helps delay the progress of inevitable mushiness. You’d then store it in a fridge for a while. It’ll be fine because lemons are nice and acidic, which is perfect for food preservation!

If you’re still interested in more on the taste, process, and outcome of lemon confit, check this out.

What Would I Need?

For the second method, you’d avoid the blanching (boiling and quickly cooling in water) process. This would make it to where you would achieve optimal results after a two-week, refrigerated wait.

Other than that and your preparation, you only need an airtight container to store the final product in.

To make a batch of lemon confit, mix your ingredients, toss your lemons in it, and layer it up in the container. Don’t just pour all the lemon slices in without adding powdery pillows of salt and sugar between each even layer of lemon.

Some people will remove the flesh from the peel before they begin this process, but many will wait until two weeks have passed. Then they’ll rinse, peel, and get those yellow pups ready to party! I think I’ll do this to have a little something to add to my water instead of a million lemon wedges! I haven’t gotten the chance to have cucumber water yet, either, and am now super tempted. I hope you enjoy your lemon confit! Thank you for learning with me!


Make the Pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.

Meanwhile, pick all of the meat off the duck legs and reserve the skin. Tear the meat and skin into small pieces. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon duck fat, and the duck meat and skin. Turn the heat down to medium.

Generously salt the boiling water, then add the pasta and stir well.

Add the garlic to the sauté pan and mix well. Watch the garlic: the moment it begins to brown, turn off the heat. When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, then add it to the sauté pan. Alternatively, use tongs to transfer it from the boiling water to the sauté pan. Turn on the heat to medium and toss the pasta to coat well with all of the ingredients, adding more duck fat if the mixture seems too dry. Season with pepper, add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and toss again. Taste and add the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice if you want. Serve immediately, garnished with the lemon zest.


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A Little About Lemon Confit

Lemon confit is a fancy term for preserved lemons. You can preserve lemons a number of ways. In our recipe below, we preserve lemon peel in a mixture of lemon juice and oil. Other recipes call for preserving the lemon in salt and even sugar.

You can use lemon confit a number of ways. In the recipe below, we toss some with olives, olive oil and red chili flakes, but that is definitely not the only way to use it.

Try adding some to salad dressings, dips, soups, pasta, risotto or meats and vegetables. I’m currently on an avocado toast / lemon confit kick right now and highly recommend it.

When it comes to the olives, choose what you love. We especially enjoy green, buttery olives — think Cerignola or Castelvetrano — but most olives will work.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: If you love olives as much as we do, you should take a look at our roasted Kalamata olives with clementine. Jump to the Roasted Olives with Clementine.

Recipe updated, originally posted February 2011. Since posting this in 2011, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne


Chicken Tagine With Nigella Seeds

The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

The addition of preserved lemon is optional but recommended in this chicken dish with nigella seeds. The seeds impart oregano-like flavor and have the added benefit of being very healthy for you.