How to Cut Lemon Wedges

How to make lemon wedges for ice tea, cocktails, and garnish. Plus how to properly clean the lemons and store the wedges.

If you’ve ever ordered a cocktail, water, or iced tea at your favorite hang, you’ve probably encountered lemon wedges. Not just for beverages, though. This cut often makes its way to the entrees, too, like for tacos. And while it’s a simple cut to execute, there are a few tricks.

California produces 80 percent of all the fresh citrus marketed in the United States. (about 50% overall, much of the rest of the country grows citrus for juice). CA grows over 92% of the lemons available in the U.S.

How to Prep Lemons for Cutting

The first thing you need to do is wash the lemons. In fact, I suggest always washing any produce you are about to prepare. Handling and chopping dirty produce just leaves too many opportunities for contamination.

Before doing so, remove any stickers.

You don’t need a fancy vegetable wash. I just use baking soda. Baking soda has been found to be more effective at removing pesticides from produce than bleach!

How to Make Lemon Wedges (2 Ways)

Now that you are ready to get slicing, you’ll need the usual suspects, like a cutting board and a knife. I prefer a chef’s knife for swifter, easier cuts, but you may want a smaller knife, depending on your comfort level and knife skills.

The main thing is that the knife is properly sharpened. A sharp knife will slice through the lemons with ease. A dull knife will “squeeze” the fruit while cutting it. This can lead to misshapen fruit, but also squeeze out extra lemon juice while prepping. Lemon juice you probably want in whatever way you are going you use these wedges. On top of that, more juice on the cutting board means the lemons will be slippery when working with them. So there is a safety factor too.

How to Slice Lemons

This is where making lemon wedges comes down to choices. Nothing critical. It is just a matter of aesthetics. There is the cleaner lemon wedge that is often found in bars and restaurants. Let’s just call that one cocktail style. Then there is the more natural wedge, which has minimal knife work.

I like the natural version, and since I am lazy, that part is nice too.

Cocktail Lemon Wedges

  1. Trim the ends of the lemon.
  2. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise.
  3. Lay each half cut-side down.
  4. Cut the halves in half lengthwise.
  5. Do the same for each new half.
  6. You should end up with 8 wedges.
  7. Trim off the pithy rib at the lemon center.
  8. Sweep and pick away any seeds.

Natural Lemon Wedges

  1. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise.
  2. Lay each half cut-side down.
  3. Cut the halves in half lengthwise.
  4. Do the same for each new half.
  5. You should end up with 8 wedges.
  6. Trim off the pithy rib at the lemon center.
  7. Sweep and pick away any seeds.

Sometimes I won’t even do the last few steps and really leave that natural lemon wedge looking natural. That is just me being lazy AF.

How to Store Lemon Wedges

Once you purchase your soon-to-be wedges, AKA whole lemons, be sure to properly store them. Don’t put them in a bowl on the counter. Lemons should be in a bag in the fridge where they can keep fresh for months this way.

After you prep the lemon wedges, you want to use them within 3 days, give or take. Lemon wedges should be stored in an airtight container. I place them in a plastic bag and suck out all the air using a straw for optimal storage.