Does Lemon Juice Go Bad? You’d Be Surprised That It Doesn’t Last Long

Although most people need lemon juice in small quantities, it is almost only natural to stock up on it. You must have stared at your bottles of lemon juice for hours and wondered if it will ever go bad.

Although we store the juice from lemons for months, they do not last forever. Like every other juice, the juice from lemons has a shelf life.

The juice is at its best only for a period after which, it isn’t so good anymore. So, how long can this juice last? How do you know it has gone bad? How can you preserve it?

What exactly is lemon juice?

Lemon juice is the product of crushing the pulp of lemons. The juice is known for its distinctive acidic taste and has both culinary and non-culinary use.

Apart from the many other uses of this juice, it is commonly used to make lemonade which is a mixture of the juice from lemons, water, and sugar.

This juice is a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Therefore, drinking juice from lemons can help boost the immune system’s functions. It can also help restore the body from dehydration and weakness. Study shows that drinking the juice of lemons can help prevent kidney stones.

Does lemon juice go bad?

Yes, lemon juice can go bad.

It seems to last forever but it does not. While the signs of spoilage or deterioration may not be very visible to the eyes, the juice reduces quality as the day goes by.

Freshly squeezed juice from lemons goes bad faster than the store-bought varieties. Moreover, how you store the juice from your lemons can affect its quality.

Does lemon juice go bad if not refrigerated?

An unopened bottle of store-bought lemon juice will not go bad as long as it stays unrefrigerated.

However, the homemade variety must be refrigerated to preserve it. Otherwise, it will go bad and become unfit for consumption.

Can lemon juice go bad in the refrigerator?

Yes, it can.

Fresh juice from lemons can last days in the refrigerator if remains unopened. However, freshly squeezed juice will not last as long as the store-bought variety.

Bottled lemon juice may last up to six months, depending on how much preservative it contains.

However, you should consume opened bottles of this juice quickly to avoid a loss of quality and reduce the risk of contamination.

Does lemon juice go bad if unopened?

No. Bottled lemon juice can last up to a year, in or out of the fridge, if it stays unopened.

How long the bottle of juice lasts depends on how much preservative the manufacturer puts in it.

Most importantly, read the label for the best-by date. The juice remains safe for consumption a few days after the best-by date if was unopened. But if you notice a leakage or a bulge on the bottle, discard it.

Does frozen lemon juice go bad?

Freezing is your best bet for preserving lemon juice.

The frozen juice can last up to 6 months. When juices stay frozen, they become inhabitable to the bacteria and pathogens that naturally cause spoilage.

What is the shelf life of lemon juice?

Freshly squeezed juice from lemons lasts a few days because it does not contain preservatives that can extend its shelf life. The only way to preserve it is to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer.

On the other hand, store-bought juice will last up to a year and maybe over because it contains preservatives.

How long does concentrated lemon juice last?

Concentrated lemon juice is bottled juice with less water content. Manufacturers of this juice do not only add preservatives but also remove excess water to prevent bacterial activity.

The juice can keep its quality for up to 6 months in the pantry as long as it remains unopened. Moreover, the printed date on the bottle also provides information on how long the juice will last.

Can you drink expired lemon juice?

Expired lemon juice may contain some level of contamination which makes it unfit for consumption.

Drinking or adding expired juice to your meals puts you at risk of food poisoning. An expired bottle of the juice is fit for consumption if it is only a few months past the best-by date. Discard any bottle of juice that is way past its printed date.

How to tell if lemon juice is bad

What does it look like?

If the juice is still intact, it should have a clear, uniform, light yellow color. When the juice has gone off, it appears darker and cloudy.

Also, sometimes the degree of spoilage may show visible mold growth. You should watch out.

What does it smell like?

Fresh juice has a sweet smell of citrus. On the other hand, when fresh juice from lemons goes bad, it smells tangy and fermented because of the bacterial activity in it.

If you notice this deviation, it is time to throw the juice away.

What does it taste like?

How the juice tastes can also help you determine if it has gone bad. Bad juice tastes sour and is nothing like citrus. At this point, the bottle of juice should go into the trash.

How to preserve lemon juice

  • Preservation starts with using fresh lemons
  • Refrigerate freshly squeezed juice to extend its shelf life
  • Store unopened bottles of juice in a cool, dry place away from sunlight
  • Also, once you have opened the bottle of juice, refrigerate it
  • Store the juice in airtight, opaque bottles
  • Preserve freshly squeezed juice by turning it into ice cubes


Is it safe to store lemon juice in a plastic bottle?

Yes, it is.

Opaque plastic bottles are the safest containers to store juice from lemons. In glass bottles, the juice has contact with light which can break down the juice quickly.

What makes lemons brown on the inside?

When lemons turn brown on the inside, it could be a sign that the lemons are bad, boron deficiency, or the presence of a sap-sucking bug that feeds on the fruits of the lemon. Do not consume a lemon with brown insides.

Can you use bottled lemon juice instead of freshly squeezed juice?

Yes, you can.

Some recipes specify that you use bottled lemon juice instead of freshly squeezed juice. For instance, if your dish is supposed to have a sour taste, bottled juice will give the sourness better.


Well, yes, lemon juice does go bad. The shelf life of the juice varies with its preparation method.

Freshly squeezed juice will not last as long as store-bought juice. This is because the latter contain preservatives that make it last for months into years.

If you rather want freshly squeezed juice and you want it to keep for longer, freezing is the way to go. Store the juice in appropriate containers and make the best of the time spent extracting the juice from lemons.

Thanks for reading.

If you love to drink homemade juice, you should also check out this article on the shelf life and preservation of orange juice.