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How to Make Lemon Sugar

This homemade lemon sugar is great for rimming cocktail glasses, dressing up baked goods, flavoring marinades, and more!

lemon sugar in glass jar on striped tea towel

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Homemade Lemon Sugar Recipe

Lemon sugar is incredibly easy to make and can add that extra special touch to a lot of recipes. Citrus curd, such as orange curd, lemon curd, or grapefruit curd, is a delicious accompaniment to many holiday baked goods, but the recipes mostly use the juice. There’s no reason to waste the zest!

Instead of tossing the citrus peels, try making citrus sugar — like this easy lemon sugar! There are a few ways that you can make lemon sugar, but I’ll share with you my favorite, quickest method along with some fun ways to use your lemon sugar.

Lemon Sugar Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own flavored sugar:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon zest

No really, that’s it! There’s no reason to throw out your lemon peels now that you know how to transform them into lemon sugar.

How to Make Lemon Sugar

To make homemade lemon sugar, simply pulse the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor until fully incorporated. You can use it right away, but the flavor intensifies the longer you let the mixture sit.

How Long Does Lemon Sugar Last?

According to The Spruce Eats, lemon sugar will keep pretty much indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool spot. This flavored sugar recipes makes just 1/2 cup though, so it should be easy to use up soon.

Can I Use Another Citrus Fruit?

Yes! If you’d rather make another type of citrus sugar besides lemon sugar, be my guest. You can also make lime sugar and grapefruit sugar, if desired.

How to Make lemon Sugar

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Ways to Use Lemon Sugar

You might be thinking, “sure this sounds great, but what am I going to do with this flavored sugar?” There are lots of fun ways to use lemon sugar, like enhancing your favorite baked goods with a pop of citrus. White chocolate chip cookies become something a little more special when they’re lemon white chocolate chip cookies.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to use lemon sugar:

  • Mix it with olive oil or coconut oil for a delicious hand scrub. This will keep your hands nice and soft, but it also makes an easy, homemade gift!
  • Use as a finishing sugar and sprinkle on top of baked treats.
  • Use to sweeten summertime cold drinks, like this raspberry tangerine iced tea.
  • Use it to rim cocktail glasses.
  • Use in citrus recipes that call for granulated sugar or an extra citrus pop, such as using lime sugar in these kiwi lime bars.
  • Add to citrus-based marinades for summertime grilling
  • Give a nice glass jar of citrus sugar as a gift along with a few recipes to use.

Tips for Making Lemon Sugar

If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a microplane to zest the lemon and simply mix the sugar and zest together instead.

Whether you use a knife or microplane to zest the lemon, be careful to only remove the yellow part of the zest and not the white part underneath. The white part (the pith) is incredibly bitter, so avoid adding that to the lemon sugar.

Feel free to double or halve this recipe as needed. As long as you stick to the ratio of sugar to lemon zest outlined below, your lemon sugar will turn out perfectly.

More Edible Gift Ideas:

This Homemade Garlic Herb Salt makes a great gift no matter the time of year. Even better, it takes just 5 minutes to whip up and lasts for a long time.

Ditto to this Southwestern Pork Rub recipe. My friends and family love when I gift this to them!

For something a little more seasonal, I recommend making a batch of this Vanilla Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Divide it into cute glass jars, tie a ribbon around the top, and gift it to neighbors, teachers, and anyone else who you want to make something special for.

I also like making these Cinnamon Vanilla Glazed Walnuts as an alternative to the usual candied pecans everyone gifts around the holidays.

This Triple Chocolate Candy Cane Hot Cocoa Bark doesn’t last long at my house, but I do my best to set some aside for friends and family!

What treats do you love making for friends and family around the holidays?

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How to Make Citrus Sugar

Lemon Sugar

Yield: 1/2 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This homemade lemon sugar is great for rimming cocktail glasses, dressing up baked goods, flavoring marinades, and more!


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Lemon zest, from 1 lemon*


    1. Place the sugar and the zest into a food processor and pulse until fully incorporated.
    2. Using a food processor quickly releases all of the citrus oils into the sugar. It is ready to use right away but the flavor will pick up a little if you store it in an airtight container over night.


*Can also use the zest from 2 limes or 1/2 a grapefruit.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 52Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 0gSugar 13gProtein 0g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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Tag @goodlifeeats and include the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Click HERE to save this recipe for Lemon Sugar!

I originally shared this fun citrus sugar how-to on Food Fanatic, but I thought you’d like to see it here on GoodLife Eats!

Karen @ Seasonal Cravings

Wednesday 14th of October 2015

This looks like such a special treat. I have a bag of Meyer lemons dying for some attention. Thanks for the idea!

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