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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Instant Lemon Pickle Recipe Without Oil

Pickles are an important part of an Indian meal. There is a long list of food that are pickled in India. Gooseberry (Amla), Mango , Lemon , Chilly and mixed vegetable pickle being more popular. Indian pickles  can be easily prepared and every Indian home has their own treasured recipes that they take pride in .

Lemon pickle is one such popular pickle in India and there are many variations to it. But most of them need pickling  time of about a month or so before they can be consumed as the recipe calls for keeping the pickle bottles in sunlight for the lemon skins to become soft. But this recipe is instant one which means you can eat the pickle the same day you make it.

This instant lemon pickle is very delicious and tongue tickling as it is sweet , spicy and sour all at the same time. Made from just 4 ingredients this pickle is ready under 30 minutes and the recipe is oil free. It can be served with chapatti, any flat bread (Paratha) or puri. It tastes great with Thayir sadam (curd rice) or even with simple dal chawal. This pickle can also be served with fasting food ( food for vrat) like sabudana khichadi or samak rice.

Sugar and Salt act as natural preservatives in this pickle and it stays good for about 6 months on refrigeration if handled properly. This is my Mother-in-laws full proof recipe. Here the lemon pieces from which seeds have been removed are steamed in a pressure cooker until they are well cooked. The cooked lemon pieces are strained to get the juice. Sugar is added to that juice and cooked to get the syrup. No extra water is added. Red chilly powder and salt are then added to the syrup and mixed well. The spicy , sweet and tangy sauce for the pickle is ready. The cooked lemon pieces are lastly added to the sauce and taken off the flame. A lip smacking pickle is ready to be served on cooling.

This lemon pickle is generally made during winter season especially in the months of December and January. The reason behind it is the lemons have thin skin during this time which is good for pickling. In this recipe I have used 10 medium sized lemons. The recipe can be easily halved or doubled as per requirement.

Serves:  2 cups
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: Measurements used- 1 cup = 200 ml
  • 10 medium sized lemons ( approx. 400 grams in weight)
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Salt
  •  ½ cup Red chili powder

  1. Select good quality ripe yellow lemons with thin skin and no spots on them for this pickle. Wash them in clean water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut each lemon into 8 pieces. Remove the seeds using a sharp knife. Make sure no seeds are left inside the lemon pieces as it may lend a bitter taste to the pickle. 

  2.  Add 3 -4 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Keep all the lemon pieces in a vessel and place the vessel in the cooker. Cover the vessel with a plate so that water from steam doesn’t fall in it.

  3.    Pressure cook the lemons for 1 whistle and then lower the flame and allow to cook for another 10-12 minutes. Open the cooker once the pressure has released. You will see the lemon pieces are cooked well and the juice has accumulated. Strain the lemon pieces and collect the juice in a pan. 

   4.  Do not add any water to it. Add sugar to the juice and cook on low flame. Keep stirring. The sugar will melt and we will get the syrup. Cook the syrup until all the sugar has dissolved and you see bubbles in the syrup. 

   5. The syrup attains a 2 string consistency by this stage. As the juice is very less and we do not add any extra water, this stage attains very fast say in about 5-7 minutes.

   6.  Add salt and red chili powder to the syrup and stir well.

   7.  At the end add the cooked lemon pieces and put off the flame. Mix the pieces well with the sauce. Keep stirring the pickle for 1-2 minutes.

   8.   The pickle is ready. Let it cool down completely. Transfer to clean dry and sterilized  bottle and refrigerate. Use as per need.

   9. I have served the pickle with hot Methi Paratha.

  • Do not cook the pickle for more time after adding the cooked lemon pieces as the lemon skin may turn hard .
  • Use fine sugar for this recipe as it will dissolve fast.
  • When this pickle is just prepared, the lemon skins will have a slight bitter aftertaste which disappears once the pickle has mellowed for a day.
  • Always use dry spoon to handle the pickle.
  • The pickle looks runny when hot but becomes thick on cooling.
  • If you do not want the pickle to be too spicy , can use a milder variety of red chilly powder.

For more pickle recipes, do check my posts on


  1. really this instant picle is tempting...

    1. Hi Anlet Prince
      Thank you for stopping by my space to leave this lovely feedback. Do try out.

  2. are we have to steam lemons in vessel or pressure cook them for 1whistle and later on?

    1. We have to keep the lemons in a vessel without water and place the vessel in a pressure cooker. After 1 whistle lower the flame and cook further for 10 minutes. The skin of the lemons should be soft after cooking.

  3. Love the color of the pickle. Perfectly made pickle is a yummy and delicious treat. Love it.