Cooking Tip– How To Freeze Orange Zest

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Welcome to the third installment of Tips and Tricks for Tuesday! This cooking tip is one that I came up with many, many years ago, and I’ve been using it ever since.

I love the fresh flavor of baked goods with citrus. I learned early on in my cooking adventures that if you want great  citrus flavor, you must include the zest in your recipes! Here in Utah, good oranges are only available during the winter months. I have learned to utilize my freezer so that we can have yummy citrus recipes all year long.

Did you know that you can freeze orange, lemon, and lime zest? It freezes well, and lasts for months in an airtight container. Are you ready to try it? Here’s how I do it:

How To Freeze Orange Zest

Wash your orange really well to remove any pesticides. I use dish soap. Rinse and dry, then use a fine grater/zester to grate the orange peel onto a piece of waxed paper or a plate. The zest is just the outside colored part of the skin, you don’t want the bitter white stuff!
how-to-freeze-orange-zestNow take a teaspoon and measure out little spoonfuls of orange zest. Plop them onto a plate that is lined with waxed paper.
how-to-freeze-orange-peelPlace the plate in the freezer for about an hour. Then take the teaspoons of orange zest and put them in an airtight container. Put on the lid and label them if you feel like it. Put the container into the freezer.
cooking tip-zest CollageNow any time you need orange zest for a recipe, you can just grab the amount you need from the freezer!

These are a few of my favorite recipes that call for orange zest:
Orange Cranberry Scones with White Chocolate
Orange White Chocolate Cookies
Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

-This freezing method works just as well with lemons and limes. I keep both a container of orange zest and a container of lemon zest in my freezer.
-The zest from one orange equals about 1 tablespoon, the zest from one lemon equals about 2 teaspoon, and the zest from one lime equals 1-2 teaspoons.
-I usually break up the spoonfuls of frozen zest with a fork before adding them to my recipe.


  1. Oh,thank you! I just came upon a wonderful sale for ORGANIC oranges and lemons;and with your advice I will not only have a year’s supply of juice,but also zest in the freezer.<3

  2. Liz Perez says:

    Thank you for the tip! Can I apply this method be applied to using a potato peeler and freezing the skin for limoncello, later?? I have a big batch of lemons and plan on making limoncello to give for Chirstmas gifts..???

  3. Elyse DeWyngaert says:

    So glad you mentioned the prep part of washing the rind. Great reminder. Thank you for answering my question.
    Any other uses for the rind after it’s had the zest removed?

    • You don’t usually want to eat the white part, it’s bitter. But I like to run mine through the disposal, they are a great way to deodorize it! You could also boil them with some spices like cinnamon and cloves to make your whole house smell fantastic!

  4. Thank you so much for the tip on freezing zest, I have been trying to figure out how to add extra vitamin C in my meals, and a pop of taste in my oatmeal with cranberries, this has been so helpful thank you so very much.

  5. I haven’t been grating my zest before freezing. My method is to freeze the end pieces I cut off when I freeze orange slices. I put them all in a container and freeze the whole batch. When I need zest I take out a couple ends and zest the then. I do it this way because I don’t want to take any more time to grate and bad after all the time I spent slicing and prepping oranges for the freezer. And this method uses less containers and space.

  6. You CAN have a lemon tree 🙂

    Check this out:

    All our dreams will come true

    Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven 🙂

  7. Suzzette MacKay says:

    I was craving an orange last night, but didn’t want to waste the zest. That’s where I found your helpful hints. Thank you so much.
    How long do you think it is good for?

    • Freezes fine for up to 3 months

    • Jeri "Jazz" Staley-Earnst says:

      I have a food saver system so hopefully it could last a bit longer – like through the “other” season when I have none in my yard.

  8. I put zest in two ounce snack cups I buy at Walmart and put the cups in a freezer bag together. 50 cups and lids for about $2.00.

  9. Bobby Guidry says:

    What’s up all, here every person is sharing these familiarity, therefore it’s
    good to read this webpage, and I used to go to see this webpage every day.

  10. This is awesome–thank you for the info! I live in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico & have fresh fruit & vegetables available year round. The thing is, I was unsure exactly how to store many fruits for later preparing my baking needs. My Spanish isnt real fluent, plus, this culture is different with habits of storage or baking things much in the home. Most of it here is done to sell so their concerns of the finished product are much different.

  11. I was checking around how to freeze zest. I had been thinking of doing it in an ice cube tray with a little water, but your way will take up even less room. Thanks! Now I have a new blog to come to because some of your pictures look delicious!

  12. Ashton Christie says:

    My mother (and now I) buy the little ziploc plastic bags like for jewelry and small parts and then would put the teaspoon of zest in there and then keep the bags in a sandwich sized ziploc in the freezer. She would buy citrus fruits and specifically zest them and juice them and freeze them in portions. I thought I’d be smart and just add it to the store bought juice I already had but evidently there are preservatives in that because both of them fermented. So, I went back to freezing them in ice trays and them putting them in bags for later use.

  13. I always say I’m going to zest the lemons & oranges I get, but I never do. But I love your trick of freezing them in little 1 teaspoon increments. As I’m coming down with a cold I just bought a bunch of lemons and oranges, so I will definitely try this tip now. Thanks.

  14. I’ve never thought about freezing zest before! Thanks for the idea!

    • Thanks Kara, I have a lemon tree dripping with gold and limes falling off the tree. Ive been freezing the juice but wasn’t sure about the process for zest.

    • I am so very jealous that you have a lemon tree! We can’t even think about growing them here, it’s too cold. 🙁

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