Bursting with flavors, lemons are more than just citrus fruit. When selecting from different types of lemons, keep in mind each brings its unique texture and taste that is perfect for any dish you can imagine.
Let it be adding zest to your favorite marinade or brightening up a salad dressing, this blog post will help guide you in selecting the right kind of lemon for each recipe.
Lemons are citrus fruits that stem from four original species. It is believed to have originated in northern India and China and is now one of the most popular fruits worldwide.
The lemon tree is a member of the Rutaceae family and requires warm temperatures to thrive.
Lemons are a popular citrus fruit belonging to the citrus species family and have many types of lemons from which to choose.
1. Assam Lemons
The Assam Lemon is a citrus variety from India, specifically the Assam region. Its oblong shape and distinctive warty peel make it easily distinguishable from other kinds of lemons.
The flesh of the Assam Lemon is green, but when ripe, it turns yellow, and its flavor is quite sour. The uses for this type of lemon are plentiful; you can use its concentrated juice to make drinks, add slices to salads, and even utilize the zest in cakes and sauces.
Its tartness is so potent that it makes an exceptional substitute for vinegar in various recipes.
2. Avalon Lemons
The Avalon Lemon is a variety of citrus fruit cultivated primarily in the Mediterranean Basin. It is closely related to the Eureka and has thinner skin than other varieties.
Its distinctive flavor and sweet aroma make it a popular choice among chefs for savory and sweet recipes. The juice of an Avalon Lemon can be used to brighten up salad dressings, sauces, and fruit salads.
When juiced, the Avalon Lemon lends a tart taste perfect for lemon bars, pies, cocktails, and marinades for grilling meats.
3. Baboon Lemons
The Baboon Lemon, a native to Africa and the Middle East, is an exceptionally tart variety of small lemons that thrive in trees similar to its baboon fruit counterpart. Its flesh packs an intense citrus flavor, while its juice is notably astringent. Moreover, the peel can be used for cooking as it's far too sour for human consumption on its own.
The tartness of baboon lemons makes them incredibly versatile in both savory and sweet dishes and various drinks.
4. Bearss Lemons
Bearss lemons have light yellow rinds and acidic juice. They are a lemon known for their particularly juicy flesh. These lemons are commonly used in recipes to add zing, as the strong tartness is ideal for balancing out sweet flavors in many dishes.
The Bearss Lemon has a densely seeded core, making it well-suited for juicing. It's a great option when making dressings, sauces, marinades, or cocktails like lemonade and sangria.
Since this lemon variety can be quite large—sometimes lemons grow up to 6 inches in diameter—it is suitable for slicing as garnish. Enjoy its bright flavor by adding it to your favorite dishes.
5. Bonnie Brae Lemons
The Bonnie Brae lemon is an esteemed heirloom citrus tree that produces massive, succulent lemons with a thin yellow peel. This perennial's acclimatization to numerous climates makes it easy for anyone to grow and sustain.
The pleasantly tart taste of this peculiar fruit is balanced out by its complex sweet aroma, resulting in an incomparable flavor.
But what sets the Bonnie Brae apart from other lemons are its unparalleled sweetness and versatility when used as juice - no wonder it has become increasingly sought-after.
6. Buddha's Hand Lemons
Buddha's Hand Lemons originated from China, India, and Japan. Distinguished by its shape, Buddha's Hand looks like a knobby yellow finger. It is typically seedless, and its rind has an intense fragrance, making it popularly used in religious ceremonies.
Though its flesh is not edible, the zest often provides an intense flavor to many dishes. This bright citron in the kitchen has become increasingly popular among chefs, who appreciate its distinctive taste and aroma.
Additionally, this lemon variety is low-acid, which can be appreciated by those looking for baking ingredients with less tartness than standard lemons.
7. Bush Lemons
Bush lemons are typically smaller than other varieties, with an oval-shaped appearance. They have a yellowish-green color and ripen faster than their larger counterparts. The tart flavor is both sweet and sour, making them an ideal cooking ingredient.
Bush lemons have higher acidity levels than other varieties, making them perfect for marinades or vinaigrettes.
8. Citron Lemons
Citron lemons, also Moroccan lemons, are characterized by their thick rind and large size. Unlike traditional lemons, which have an acidic flavor, citron lemons have a sweet-tart taste that is similar to lime.
These tart fruits can be used in any dish that calls for traditional lemons; however, they will provide an especially unique flavor experience. Citron lemons make great additions to smoothies and juices for a hint of extra sweetness.
They work well in sweet-based recipes such as cakes and jams. Use citron lemons to add some variety and flavor complexity to your dishes.
9. Dorshapo Lemons
Dorshapo lemons are an extremely sought-after variety and are often regarded as the 'Queen of Lemons'. Internationally recognized for their unmistakable aroma, taste, and texture, these lemons have a distinctively coarse texture that makes them highly sought after in culinary recipes.
They are a timeless Mediterranean delicacy widely enjoyed in salads and sauces. Ripe Dorshapo lemons have an intense yellow-green hue that makes them especially attractive to chefs as if they were picked off the tree only hours before.
It is believed this variety has been around since the 1700s in Sicily—whatever their origin may be, it's clear that these remain one of the highest quality varieties today.
10. Eureka Lemons
The Eureka lemon is a fan-favorite for its striking golden yellow hue and oval shape, measuring 2 to 3 inches in diameter. With such a thin rind, peeling this type of lemon proves effortless - perfect for preparing juice or adding zestiness to your favorite dish.
Plus, the juicy pulp has an unmistakable balance of sweet flavor with just the right amount of tartness, making it ideal as a marinade ingredient or addition to baked goods. Put simply:
If you want to elevate your recipes with unbeatable taste and aroma, you can't go wrong with the Eureka Lemon.
11. Fino Citron Lemons
The Fino Citron lemon is a thin-skinned lemon that originated in Italy. It is among the most sought-after of all lemons because of its high levels of citric acid and minimal pulp content, making it especially optimal for juicing.
The fino lemons have a deep yellow color and a sweet but tart flavor with hints of lime that give drinks and recipes made with them a zing. It can create candles, waxes, oils, jams, jellies, and perfumes.
As well as being one of the most popularly used lemons in the culinary world, it is also highly valued for its many health benefits because of its high vitamin C content.
12. Genoa Lemons
Genoa Lemons are a delightful citrus treat originating from Genoa, Italy. These small and round fruits have exceptionally thin skin and offer both sweet and sour notes in their juice that range in tone from pale yellow to green coloration.
The rind of the lemon is surprisingly thick but irresistibly flavorful, too. Not only do they make wonderful additions to almost all citrus recipes, but Genoa lemons also lend themselves exquisitely when making teas or special summertime beverages like lemonade with their robustly bright flavor profile.
13. Greek Citron Lemons
For many years, the Greek Citron has been used to bring joy and flavor to homes around the world. Native to Greece, this rare citrus stands apart from other lemons thanks to its large size and intensely sweet aroma.
Unlike other varieties of lemon, the Greek Citron is best enjoyed by cutting it in half, as its juicy flesh lacks any sourness.
14. Interdonato Lemons
The Interdonato lemon is a lemon-citron hybrid variety often found in Mediterranean climates. This exotic hybrid between lemonade and a type of Orange was introduced in 18th century Sicily and has been prized ever since due to its flavor.
These lemons have a delicate balance of sweetness and tartness thanks to an abundance of essential oils and aromas.
Interdonato lemons are typically larger than other lemons and can range from 2-5 inches in diameter, depending on the batch. The rind is thick but very smooth and easy to remove, allowing maximum juice extraction.
Overall, this hybrid provides the perfect hint of acidity for marinades, sauces, and beverages, making it an indispensable ingredient for home chefs.
15. Jhambiri Lemons
The Jhambiri lemon, also known as Rough lemons, is not widely seen in the US but is considered a favorite amongst many in India. Its skin is thin and bright yellow, while the insides contain juicy segments with a tart and refreshing flavor.
This lemon variety is popular for its zest and juice, as it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Its light, acidic taste makes it versatile, perfect for baking, pickling, and adding to salads or drinks.
Its sweet-tart flavor makes it an excellent addition to DIY soap and potpourris.
16. Kabosu Lemons
Kabosu lemons, native to Japan, are small and round with vibrant green skin when ripe. Boasting a shape similar to oranges, this unique fruit is surprisingly dry, with only minimal juice.
Its flavor has notes of citrus and acidity that are both sharp yet delicate, while its zest gives an additional aromatic quality, making it incredibly useful in the kitchen!
Kabosu lemons are often used as a garnish or to add tartness to dishes such as salads, fish, or vegetables - it's even used to make ponzu sauce. For those looking for a way to use kabosu lemons in drinks, try using its juice as an alternative to simple syrup for cocktails like margaritas for an added citrusy kick.
17. Lamas Lemons
The Lamas lemon stands out amongst the other citruses. Its oval shape, thin and smooth peel, bright yellow skin, medium size, and incredibly juicy interior make it a perfect choice for juicing, not to mention that there are no seeds or pips.
Furthermore, this tantalizing tartness adds an unbeatable flavor to everything from marmalades and marinades for fish or chicken dishes to fresh drinks like tea or homemade pies.
18. Lapithkiotiki Lemons
The Lapithkiotiki lemon is a celebrated variety steeped in the Greek tradition. This lemon boasts an exquisite aroma and tart juice, with its thin yellow skin revealing juicy pulp that varies depending on ripeness.
The zest adds plenty of flavor to salads and marinades; its aromatic acidity can be used for fresh drinks. No other type of lemon comes close to the distinctive taste the Lapithkiotiki provides - it's genuinely one-of-a-kind goodness that enriches any recipe.
19. Lemonade Lemons
Lemonade lemons are selected and harvested specifically for the purpose of producing a flavorful lemonade. The most common lemonade lemons are Eureka and Lisbon varieties, which have higher levels of acid and sweetness than other lemons.
Eureka lemons require more harvesting attention due to seeds, yet these lemons typically produce higher amounts of juice.
20. Limetta Lemons
They are also known as Sweet Lemons and are a popular variety of citrus from the Middle East. They are slightly elongated in shape and have a thin yellow skin that is milder and less acidic than other lemon varieties.
Limetta lemons can be juiced, eaten raw, or cooked and are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, salads, desserts, and baking. The taste of Limetta lemons is sweet yet tart - similar to a regular lemon with added sweetness - making them an ideal ingredient for marinades, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, purees, sauces, and cocktails.
21. Lisbon Lemons
Lisbon lemons are a variety of citrus fruits known for their thick peel and abundance of juice. These sour and acidic lemons, originating from the Iberian Peninsula, have spread throughout Portugal and Spain. Their juices are essential in many fresh Mediterranean dishes and lemon desserts, including the classic Portuguese tart.
Lisbon lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, making them highly nutritious. Additionally, their oil-rich skin is often used to make natural beauty products and cleansers due to its antiseptic properties.
22. Lumia Lemons
A Lumia lemon is a type of lemon typically found in the Mediterranean region, which has a distinctly brighter yellow-orange skin than conventional lemons. This particular type of lemon is typically smaller and rounder than most other varieties.
Despite their size, they are often quite juicy thanks to their thinner skin. Their flavor makes them ideal for adding zest and acidity to a variety of dishes such as salads, fish, seafood, drinks, and desserts.
Lumia lemons have an intensely fragrant aroma that adds further depth to any dish or consequence utilizing this fruit.
23. Meyer Lemons
The Meyer lemon has become increasingly sought-after in recent years due to its culinary qualities. It is a hybrid of both mandarin oranges and lemons, resulting in an incredibly sweet taste with significantly less acidity than other lemon varieties.
Not only does it have a wonderfully fragrant aroma, but its shape is more rounded than traditional lemons.
As if that weren't enough, you can use the Meyer Lemon for juicing or adding flair to salads and recipes like roasted chicken with capers and delicious Meyer lemon sauce.
24. Otaheite Lemons
The Otaheite lemon, also known as Tahitian pummelo or Citrus maxima, is a fruit that originated in Southeast Asia but has since spread to many parts of the world. Its succulent, juicy flesh and sweet taste make it quite popular in desserts, drinks, and other food items.
Unlike lemons found elsewhere, Otaheite lemons have thick green skin that resembles grapefruit more than its sour citrus cousins. The flesh inside is generally white, with a few yellow-white pulp cells scattered throughout.
As the exterior of this lemon is not heavily acidic like regular lemons, it takes longer for the interior to reach optimal sweetness, so it needs to stay on the tree much longer. But once harvested, this flavorful citrus can be enjoyed year-round.
25. Perrine Lemons
The Perrine lemon stands out amongst other citrus varieties due to its yellow-green rind, oval shape, and vibrant aroma. It is slightly more acidic than the typical lemon, which makes it perfect for baking cakes or preparing tart desserts - you'll find that no other type of lemon can match its sourness.
These lemons are quite low in seeds, making them a great choice when wanting to make some tasty homemade curd, while their juicy flesh works amazingly well with juicing recipes.
If you're searching for an ingredient that will truly elevate your dishes, then look no further: the Perrine Lemon is exactly what you need.
26. Ponderosa Lemons
The Ponderosa lemon is a rare and remarkable true lemon that stands out with its large size and extraordinary flavor. Exhibiting an embossed, bumpy skin, these can be 4 times larger than the typical variety of lemons.
Inside, you will find succulent light-yellow flesh, which provides an intensely tart taste - ideal for concocting dressings, marinades, or even garnishes.
The unmistakable tanginess from the Ponderosa lemon trees produces fruit that any recipe is sure to tantalize all your guests' palates.
27. Primofiori Lemons
Primofiori lemons are of Italian origin, but they stand out due to their size and weight. These seedless lemons have a light-yellow coloration with soft skin—notably different than other varieties.
Furthermore, Primofiori has less acidic juice than other types of lemon, providing the perfect base for baking activities. When eaten fresh, these delectable treats offer a mildly sweet flavor that makes them ideal for drinks such as cocktails or teas, not forgetting desserts like lemon meringue pie.
On top of all this, you can keep them in the refrigerator for several weeks so your taste buds can enjoy these delicious morsels throughout multiple seasons.
28. Rangpur Lemons
The Rangpur lemon was cultivated in India and Southeast Asia, and it has since become naturalized in the United States. Derived from lime and mandarin orange hybrids, Rangpur Lemons have a special flavor, unlike any other lemon cultivar.
Their zest is more orange than yellow, and the juice is more acidic than sweet--making this variety desirable for cooking and baking with a bright tang of tartness. This makes them popular for adding an extra bit of flavor to all types of dishes, especially curries and desserts like custard or ice cream.
29. Sanbokan Lemons
Sanbokan lemons are a unique citrus fruit discovered in Japan and now sought after around the world. These lemons have a distinct flavor and aroma, with a thick rind that is incredibly bright yellow.
Sanbokan Lemons offer a rare sweetness compared to traditional lemons, perfect for use in drinks, desserts, and other culinary creations. Their pulp is firm and juicy, making them ideal for juice extractors or home juicing endeavors.
Along with their fragrant rind, Sanbokan Lemons make a perfect garnish for salads and savory dishes. A true delicacy among fruits, they are certainly worth tracking down if you haven’t had the chance to experience them firsthand.
30. Santa Teresa Lemons
Santa Teresa lemon is rich in natural resources, one of which creates abundant lemon production. The lemons are split into seven species, each native to different climates and regions within the city: Lippia citriodora, Bitter Wild Lemon, Rough Lemon, Grapefruit, Citron, Persian Lime, and Sweet Wild Lemon.
The rough lemon has a gritty texture and a stronger aroma than other varieties. The lippia citriodora has lightly fragrant leaves used for herbal tea and extracts. This variety is most commonly found in Santa Teresa's citrus orchards.
31. Sorrento Lemons
Sorrento lemons, also known as ‘Sfusato Lemons,’ are a variety of lemons originating from the Amalfi coast in Italy. These yellow-green fruits are a bit longer and rounder than your typical lemon. Their flavor is distinctly different – sweet and aromatic with lower acidity than other lemons.
This makes them ideal for juicing or creating fragrant sauces, marinades and marmalades that delicately balance tartness with sweetness. Sorrento lemons can be difficult to find outside of Mediterranean climates, but they are worth seeking out if you want to create extraordinary culinary dishes.
32. Variegated Pink Lemon
The variegated pink lemon, a variant of the Eureka lemon, is marked by its irregular patching of yellow and green tones and a distinctive dusty-pink blush that develops when exposed to frost.
The fruit itself can ripen all year long and has an acidic, tangy flavor that is somewhere between sweet and sour. Variegated pink lemons are quite rare - due to their hybrid nature, they cannot be easily cultivated on a mass scale - but you may be able to purchase them from different farmers' markets or specialty stores.
33. Verna Lemons
Verna lemon has a thin yellow rind, and its juicy flesh is packed with zesty tartness, making it one of the most popular varieties in citrus markets. This variety's abundance of essential oils produces a highly aromatic aroma that adds to the fruit's intense flavor.
As an outdoor tree, Verna is easy to care for and will produce plenty of lemons yearly when given adequate sunlight. Its slim build makes it ideal for farming or home garden usage, as harvesting these delicate fruits can be done easily and with little effort.
34. Villafranca Lemons
Villa Franca lemons, a type of true lemon, are an excellent choice for any culinary or decorative purpose. This variety is incredibly versatile and can be used in sweet and savory dishes. With a characteristically intense fragrance and tart flavor, Villafranca lemons are the perfect garnish for fish dishes and delicious jams or sauces for sweet treats.
They boast high juice yields and smaller seeds, making them ideal for multiple kitchen uses. Their small size and yellow color lend themselves to attractive, visually appealing decorations in salads, cakes, tarts, cocktails, and various other options.
35. Volkamer Lemons
Volkamer lemons, also known as Citrus Volkameriana, are native to Southwestern Italy and Greece and are a popular variety of lemon trees. The name "Volkamer" comes from the German word 'volkemer', which means 'village orchard'.
Volkamer lemons are large in size and oval-shaped, with thick yellow skin stippled with green patches. These lemons tend to be suckers when ripe but can also develop quite a tart flavor if left unplucked on the tree for too long.
The juice of the Volkamer lemon is quite flavorful and acidic, making it ideal for baking cakes and pies, adding to cocktails and punches, marinating bountiful fish dishes, or squeezing over salads for an extra zesty punch.
36. Yen Ben Lemons
The Yen Ben lemon is a one-of-a-kind fruit with its pale yellow, highly fragrant skin. It's much bigger than most other lemons and has succulent, tart flesh that contains far more acidity, making it the perfect ingredient for recipes demanding an extra zing.
With its exceptional flavor, the aromatic Yen Ben lemon should be on top of every culinary chef and home cook’s list.