How to juice a lime

Laura Duerr

Key limes are smaller, less tart and more floral than commonly available supermarket limes.

The best ways to juice a lime

Limes may be small, but their juice packs a punch. They’re a great source of vitamin C and other nutrients, and their bright flavor is essential to Mexican, Vietnamese and Caribbean cuisines as well as popular beverages like margaritas.

You can use a citrus juicer, but you can also juice a lime using only what’s in your kitchen. Here’s how to get every last drop of lime juice out of your limes, whether you’re serving simple lime wedges with your tacos or you’re juicing lots of limes for key lime pie.

Fresh lime juice vs. bottled lime juice

The flavor of fresh lime juice is brighter and more complex than bottled lime juice. Bottled lime juice loses some of its flavor due to oxidation and some bottled citrus juices contain artificial preservatives.

Bottled lime juice can last up to 6 months in the fridge, but limes themselves also have an impressive shelf life for produce: 2-4 weeks on the counter or up to 2 months in the fridge. If you only need a wedge or two from one lime, the cut lime will keep in the fridge for 3 days. The juice itself will taste best if used within a few days, but it can last 2-3 weeks.

Health benefits of lime juice

Limes are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants, and they also provide small amounts of iron, calcium and potassium. The nutrients in lime juice, particularly vitamin C, are thought to help boost your immune system, prevent kidney stones and promote healthy skin.

Lime juice uses

From starring in drinks and desserts to enhancing tacos, limes are culinary workhorses for all kinds of cuisines and dishes.

Cooking with lime juice

Sometimes the best finishing touch for a dish is a squeeze of fresh lime from a wedge served alongside it. Lime juice can be paired with chili, honey or cilantro in glazes or marinades to flavor chicken, salmon, kebabs or wings.

Baking with lime juice

Most lime desserts, like the famous key lime pie, highlight key limes and their uniquely floral flavor. While almost any lime dessert recipe can be made with common supermarket limes with little flavor alteration, baking can be a fun way to explore other lime varieties in recipes like bars, sorbet or cheesecake.

Lime juice in drinks

Fresh lime juice is an important ingredient in classic drinks like mojitos and margaritas, while non-alcoholic beverages like limeade or the lime rickey can help you stay hydrated and healthy. Squeezing a wedge of lime into your water is an easy, tasty way to drink enough water daily while also taking in additional vitamins and other nutrients.

How to juice a lime

First, figure out how many limes you need to juice. On average, one lime contains about 1 tablespoon or a half-ounce of juice.

To maximize the amount of lime juice, let the lime come to room temperature if you’ve been keeping it in the fridge. You can make your lime even juicier by microwaving it for 20 to 30 seconds. Roll it gently but firmly on the countertop to burst some of the inner segments and release the juice. Cut the lime in half to use it.

Best reamers for juicing limes

A reamer is a bulb-shaped tool that relies on the strength of the user’s arms and hands to pulverize citrus pulp and release the juice. The juice is then strained to remove the pulp and seeds. The process can be messy, but reamers are very affordable and easy to clean and store.

Best of the best reamer

Z Zicome Stainless Steel Manual Juicer: available at Amazon
This stainless-steel reamer is built into a bowl to catch juice and includes a lift-off strainer to easily get rid of seeds and pulp. It’s easy to clean, but some users expressed concerns about sharp edges on the product.

Best bang for the buck reamer

Zak Designs Handheld Manual Citrus Reamer: available at Amazon
This reamer is slightly more expensive than its wooden counterparts, but its ability to get cleaned in the dishwasher makes it a popular choice. It’s also brightly colored, making it easy to find in a cluttered drawer, and it quickly and easily extracts juice from halved limes.

Best handheld squeezers for juicing limes

Handheld citrus squeezers let you have a little more control over the juicing process than reamers. They trap the seeds and the majority of the pulp, leaving you with smooth, seed-free juice. However, like reamers, using them can be a workout if you’re planning to juice a lot of limes. A citrus squeezer is a good choice for individual drinks or recipes that call for the juice from half a lime.

Best of the best handheld citrus squeezer

Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer: available at Amazon, Sur La Table and Bed Bath & Beyond
Perfectly sized for small citrus, this squeezer traps pulp and seeds with a built-in strainer. It’s dishwasher-safe and sturdily constructed with nylon and stainless steel, and its dual-gear construction reduces hand strain.

Best bang for the buck citrus squeezer

Zulay Kitchen 2-in-1 Squeezer: available at Amazon
This squeezer has two built-in bowls, creating the perfect fit for smaller citrus like limes. It gets almost every drop of juice from citrus, and its metal construction makes it sturdier than plastic models. However, it’s also heavier, making this squeezer more of a workout than others.

Best juicers for juicing limes

For most households, a small citrus juicer will be sufficient, but if you need to juice a lot of limes, perhaps for making a big batch of margaritas, you might want a standing juice press or an electric juicer.

Like citrus squeezers, juice presses use levers to extract juice, but the press is mounted on a standing frame to make the juicing process easier and more efficient. Juice presses are easy to use and clean, but they take up more space in your kitchen than a squeezer or reamer. They also tend to be pricier. Electric juicers are easy to operate, but they can be noisy.

Best of the best juicer

Zulay Professional Citrus Juicer: available at Amazon
This sturdy manual juicer lets users juice citrus halves with ease; however, the base is too low and narrow to easily fit bowls or tall glasses.

Best bang for the buck juicer

Cuisinart CCJ-500 Pulp Control Citrus Juicer: available at Amazon, Sur La Table, Macy’s and Kohl’s
It’s not as fast as some electric juicers, but it’s one of the most affordable. The reamer is adjustable, and the machine offers three settings for pulp control.

Juicing a lime by hand

  1. Cut lengthwise through the lime using a paring knife about a quarter-inch away from the midline. Cutting lengthwise and off-center cuts through more of the membranes that trap juice.
  2. Lay the lime on the flat side and make another slice in the same position.
  3. Keep rotating and slicing until you have cut all four “sides” off the lime. Discard the center.
  4. Squeeze and twist the four pieces over a bowl to extract all the juice.

Laura Duerr is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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