Fried lemon rings add a burst of bright flavor to sandwiches, salads, soups, and more, giving even the simplest recipes a–dare I say–“cheffy” flair.

Close up of 7 fried lemon rings.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

Fried lemon rings have become a staple in my refrigerator, right next to all my other instant flavor boosters. On one side is a garden of herbs, stored like bouquets of flowers to keep them fresh. On the other side lives jars of pickled things, like Preserved Lemons, Cucumbers, and Red Onions

To build big flavor quickly and easily, I only need to grab from both sides! It’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to cooking the Mediterranean way

These fried lemon rings fall somewhere in the middle. They keep their fresh citrus flavor, but, like a pickle, the bite is mellowed. They get lightly caramelized and crunchy with a soft rind. 

If I can stop myself from eating them like potato chips, I use them to spike recipes with punchy, bright flavor. Use fried lemon rings as a garnish for creamy Braised Chickpeas, Lemon Parmesan Salad, Moroccan Vegetable Tagine, or Greek-Style Braised Eggplant. Or, stir into Pesto Pasta for an instant boost. I could go on! These fried lemons are a welcome addition to just about anything savory. 

As an added bonus, you’re left with lemon-infused oil. Use as a finishing oil for salads and dips. Or, soak it up with a nice piece of toasted focaccia bread and treat yourself to a snack before dinner. 

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Fried Lemon Rings
  2. How to Fry Lemon Rings
  3. What to Serve with Fried Lemon Rings 
  4. Condiments to Make Meals Shine
  5. Olive Oil Fried Lemon Rings Recipe

Ingredients for Fried Lemon Rings

Fried lemon rings use only a handful of ingredients you likely already have on hand. Sumac adds an extra Mediterranean flavor, but is totally optional. A pinch of salt is really all you need. 

  • Lemon: You’ll eat both the fruit and the rind, so use lemons that haven’t been treated with spray or chemicals. Give them a good scrub. Heavy lemons with a thin, bright yellow peel are the ripest. Meyer lemons, with their sweet flesh and thin skin, are ideal if they’re available to you. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: I use mild olive oil, like our Italian Nocellara, to fry the lemons. 
  • Kosher salt: A good pinch (about ½ teaspoon) brings out the lemon’s flavor. 
  • Sumac: Sumac is an optional addition that gives the fried lemon a pop of color. It also adds a smoky flavor and another layer of acidity. Learn all about sumac here, and get yourself some of this amazing flavor booster at our shop

How to Fry Lemon Rings

Fried lemon only requires one pan and a quick, shallow fry. One piece of advice before you get started: always add ingredients to hot oil away from your body. Your tools (like tongs or a spatula) should be very dry. This will help you avoid splashing and sputtering!

  • Prep the lemons: Scrub 2 lemons and dry them well. Trim off the ends. Use a very sharp knife to slice into rings, as thin as you can manage. Kick out any seeds with the tip of your knife as you go. Raw slices of lemon on a green-rimmed plate with a wooden background.
  • Fry: In a small skillet set over medium heat, add ¼ cup olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, use a dry slotted spoon to carefully slide the lemon slices into the oil. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the lemon peels crisp, 3-5 minutes. Lemons frying in oil in a white pot.
  • Drain: Remove the skillet from the heat, and transfer the lemons to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with a big pinch (about ½ teaspoon each) of salt and sumac, if using. Golden brown and slightly charred lemon rings draining on paper towels.
  • To use: Use immediately as a condiment or as garnish. Or, cover and store in your fridge for up to 4 days. Allow the lemon-infused oil to cool, then use as a dip for bread or a finishing oil. 

What to Serve with Fried Lemon Rings 

Fried lemon rings quickly bring that weekend feeling to my weekday meals. Use as a garnish on easy dishes like Greek-Style Eggplant or Pan Seared Trout

Fried Lemon Rings also add an element of surprise to a dinner party. Put them on a Mediterranean-Style Salmon or Greek Lamb Burgers. It’s a fun twist on a fried pickle on a conventional burger! 

They also make for a great gluten-free "crouton"! Add them to this Smashed Cucumber Salad.

One fried lemon ring with crisp golden brown edges on a white background.

Condiments to Make Meals Shine

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop

Sumac Spice

A sprinkling of sumac gives these fried lemons a pop of bright flavor and color.

a jar of sumac from the mediterranean dish.
5 from 6 votes

Olive Oil Fried Lemon Rings

Suzy Karadsheh
Close up of fried lemon rings with crisp golden brown edges on a white background.
Fried lemons provide a quick burst of bright flavor and crunchy texture, instantly boosting even the simplest dishes. Use to brighten soups, sandwiches, burgers, rice, salads and dips.
Prep – 5 minutes
Cook – 5 minutes
Cuisine:
Middle Eastern
Serves – 4
Course:
Condiment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Prep the lemons: Wash and dry the lemons well. Trim off the ends and slice into very thin rounds (as thin as possible). Remove any seeds as you go.
  • Fry the slices: In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer (but before it smokes). Carefully slide the lemon slices into the oil (if you have a splatter guard, this would be a good time to use it). Cook, tossing occasionally, until the lemon peels crisp (3 to 5 minutes).
  • Drain: Remove the skillet from the heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lemons to a plate lined with a paper towel. Immediately season with a big pinch of salt and the sumac, if using.
  • To use: Use the fried lemon rings as a condiment or as garnish. Allow the lemon-infused oil to cool before using as a finishing oil or for dipping bread.

Video

Notes

  • Fried lemon rings will last in the fridge 3 to 4 days. They may lose their crispness but will remain utterly delicious. I promise!
  • When working with hot oil, make sure your tools are very dry. Water will make the oil sputter and splatter.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 0.6gFat: 13.7gSaturated Fat: 1.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 9.9gSodium: 1.4mgPotassium: 74.7mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 1.4gVitamin A: 11.9IUVitamin C: 28.6mgCalcium: 14.2mgIron: 0.4mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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5 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Stephan Greco-La Serra says:

    5 stars
    I'm thinking about them to top seared scallops, your thoughts and recommendations?

    1. TMD Team says:

      That sounds delicious!

  2. Micki Schneider says:

    5 stars
    Such a brilliant addition to my hors d’ouvres tray!

  3. Kathy says:

    5 stars
    Sounds delicious! Wondering if I could roast these rather than fry them? Maybe 375-400 for 15-20 minutes?

    1. Summer Miller says:

      Hi, Kathy! I'm Summer. I work with Suzy. We haven't tried roasting them, but it could work. I don't think they would get as crispy but you never know. If you try it please report back! We'd love to hear how it turns out.