When Sour is Good: Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?

November 08, 2022
Last updated on January 15, 2023
When Sour is Good: Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Lemon juice is the juice extracted from lemons, which are small, round citrus fruits with a yellow, acidic pulp. The juice is typically a pale yellow color and has a distinctive sour taste due to the high levels of citric acid it contains. Lemon juice is commonly used in cooking and baking as a seasoning, as well as in drinks and cocktails for its tart flavor. 

In addition to its culinary uses, lemon juice is also known for its health benefits and has been used traditionally for its medicinal properties. It is a good source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Some people also use it as a cleaning agent, due to its acidic properties.

Does Lemon Juice Go Bad?

Like any food item, it can go bad. Understanding the shelf life and signs of spoiled lemon juice can help you keep your kitchen safe and your food delicious.

The Shelf Life of Lemon Juice

When it comes to shelf life, the type of lemon juice you have will affect how long it lasts. Freshly squeezed lemon juice, for example, will only last for a few days in the refrigerator. To maximize its shelf life, store it in an airtight container and consume it as soon as possible.

Bottled lemon juice, unlike freshly squeezed lemon juice, has a longer shelf life due to the preservatives that are added to it. These preservatives help to extend the shelf life of the lemon juice by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause spoilage. When stored in a cool, dark place, bottled lemon juice can typically last for up to a year before it starts to lose its quality and flavor.

It's important to note that even with proper storage, the quality of the lemon juice may degrade over time and it can lose some of its flavor and acidity. It's best to check the bottle for any signs of spoilage, such as changes in color, cloudiness or sediment, a rancid or sour odor, and a bitter or sour taste before using it.

If you notice any of these signs, it's best to discard the lemon juice and not risk any potential food poisoning. Additionally, if you have used the spoiled lemon juice in a recipe, it's best to discard that as well and make a fresh batch.

Frozen Lemon Juice

Frozen lemon juice, like bottled, can last for a year or more, but it should be thawed in the refrigerator before using. Freezing lemon juice can help to extend its shelf life by slowing down the growth of microorganisms, but it's important to note that the texture and flavor may be affected by freezing. So, when thawing it, check for any signs of spoilage, such as changes in color, cloudiness or sediment, a rancid or sour odor, and a bitter or sour taste before using it.

It's crucial to keep in mind that the shelf life of both bottled and frozen lemon juice is influenced by the quality of the lemons used, the way they were processed, and how the container or bottle was sealed and stored. Therefore, it's advisable to inspect for any signs of spoilage before using them.


In conclusion, while lemon juice can last for a long time with proper storage, it's still important to pay attention to its shelf life and watch for signs of spoilage. By doing so, you can ensure that you always have fresh lemon juice on hand for all your cooking and beverage needs.

Profil Picture Jessica Ainsley

Say hello to Jessica "Jess" Ainsley, a 30-something food blogger and freelance copywriter based in the West Coast. With a passion for all things related to food and cooking, Jessica spends her days testing out new recipes and sharing her culinary adventures on her popular blog.

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