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How to Make and Use Citrus Powder

Citrus powder is the next best thing to dehydrated citrus. Learn how to make this tart, yet surprisingly sweet powder that is a perfect way to elevate dehydrated lemons, limes, oranges, and more!

Canning jar of dried citrus slices, a dish of citrus powder and a bowl of citrus in the background.

Dry fruit thoroughly with the instructions above. It’s important that your citrus slices be completely dry before powdering.

  1. Break slices up into the grinder of your choice. I happen to use a NutriNinja most often, but a coffee grinder or large blender work well, too.
  2. Pulse your grinder four or five times before commencing to a sustained grind.
  3. Strain out powder with a fine mesh strainer, then grind the leftover bits again.
  4. Condition: Place powder on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in a warmed (but off) oven OR back into your dehydrator in coffee filters, muffin papers, etc. to dry for 15-30 min
  5. Allow to come to room temperature, then store in an airtight container, preferably with a moisture absorber.

How to Dry Citrus Zest

The zest of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit can be dried for zest to be used in baking, teas and seasonings. It becomes shelf-stable and needs no refrigeration.

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Zest is the outer layer of any citrus fruit. It is the rich smelling, colored portion before you hit the more bitter white pith.


  1. Remove the zest from your citrus fruit using a vegetable peeler, zester, microplane, or fine box grater.
  2. Place on parchment paper with a protective piece of parchment paper over it (or paper towels), and allow to air dry.
  3. Alternatively, place onto fruit leather sheets and place in your dehydrator at 95F/35C to dry until crisp
  4. Condition
  5. Store in an airtight container.

I do not recommend drying zest in the oven as the temperatures do not generally go low enough, creating a risk for burning the zest instead of drying it.

Ways to Use Citrus Powder

Citrus powder is a great way to add citrus flavor to teas, rubs, drinks, seasonings, and more, even if you don’t have fresh citrus in the home.

The difference between citrus powder and dried zest is that the powder contains all or most parts of the fruit. From the zest to the pith to the membranes and flesh.

Dried zest is simply the dried outer layer of the fruit – this layer contains much of the oil that gives citrus fruit the distinct richness of smell that it has.

Neither are water-soluble, so don’t dissolve in water the way drink powders do. So it is recommended to use fine mesh strainers, fine mesh tea balls, muslin, or other filters when flavoring drinks with citrus powder. This way, you don’t have the pulpy bits at the bottom!

Ways to Use Citrus Powder

  • Mix with tea blends to create citrus tea.
  • Use to create seasoning rubs for chicken and fish
  • Mix with sugar to rim a glass of your favorite citrusy beverage. Think lime powder with salt in a margarita, or lemon powder and sugar in a Lemon Drop.
  • Enhance the flavor of baked goods. Lemon powder is added to lemon pound cake. Orange powder is added to powdered sugar icing to brighten the flavor.

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  1. Avatar for Linda Rhudy Linda Rhudy says:

    I have a large amount of citrus juice in my freezer, and I was wondering if it can be dried to use in spice bl

    1. Yes – but it dehydrates down to a crystal-like flaky substance..not like fruit leathers. But it can be done.

  2. Avatar for Sheri L. McNary Sheri L. McNary says:

    Hi Darcy,
    Thank you so much for your timely email with all this information. I had just posted to your FB page that I would be dehydrating Oranges, Lemons, and Limes (hopefully this weekend). I had dehydrated little cuties with good results a few weeks ago. Not such good results with the lemons. I now see that I had the dehydrator set too high.

    Along with this fact, I am still trying to learn what to do with what I dehydrate. And here it is all in one email. You are a blessing. Thank you so much!

  3. Avatar for Shari Scheib Shari Scheib says:

    Amen! Very appreciated! Just learning and loving dehydrating.

    OMG didnt know I could dehydrate so much food.
    Have dehydrated the greens and salt bush , will have a go at the citrus.
    thanks for all your help


  5. Avatar for Linda Smith Linda Smith says:

    Hi Darcy. Thank you for all your information. I am a newbee here. Love dehydrating. Question. I dehydrated lemon slices. Turned out beautiful. I decided to turn them into powder. Darcy, The powder is bitter. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried 1 tsp in my water. Tasts awful. Help Darcy. What can I do?

    1. Next time, don’t powder the peel. The white pith is bitter. Some folks dry the whole slices, then take off the rind, and powder only the flesh.

  6. Avatar for Victoria Koorzen Victoria Koorzen says:

    Thank you for the regular emails, Darcy. The knowledge you share with us is very precious and much appreciated.

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