Microwave Your Citrus Fruits For More Productive Juicing

A squeeze of lemon is the holy grail to add a touch of brightness to just about any dish. From tandoori chicken to pasta salad, a fresh squeeze of citrus can help lift a dish from drab to bright and flavorful. But sometimes it can be tough to get all the juice out from limes or lemons, especially if you're making a large batch of, say, lemonade. It's even worse if you've left half a lemon in the fridge for a couple of days, and your citrus has become so hard that the juice is not worth the squeeze.


Here's a trick tested time and time again: Let your microwave do the heavy lifting. No, really. Microwave citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes to loosen up the juices. It won't overheat the fruit, and you won't believe how easily you can squeeze the juice right out. This is the same idea as throwing half-cut lemons on the grill. After a bit of heat, squeezing that lemon is like squeezing a tomato. Squish. Squish.

Heat your citrus in 20-second intervals

If you need a lemon or lime perfectly squeeze-worthy, throw it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. If the lemon is large, add 10 seconds. It shouldn't be hot to the touch. Instead, the heat from the microwave will agitate the tiny parcels of juice inside the fruit, allowing it to flow freely. It's the same reason we also roll a lemon or lime before squeezing it — it breaks down the cell membranes inside the citrus that contain the juice. When you slice through the citrus, you should notice the juices running immediately. You can also use a reamer after microwaving the fruit to get the maximum yield of juice, and a sieve to collect any seeds.


This hack is perfect for a roasted lemon chicken recipe that requires fresh lemon juice and zest for the marinade since microwaving the lemon for small intervals will still allow you to zest it. Plus, the oils in the lemon skin will become more fragrant when heated. 

So, the next time you're getting ready to make lemon-glazed pound cake or a citrusy margarita, don't forget about the most humble kitchen tool you have at your disposal. The microwave will save you time and a whole lot of muscle when it comes to juicing those citrus fruits. Better yet, it'll also leave your microwave smelling lemony-fresh.