Introduction: Make Citrus Powder

Picture of Make Citrus Powder

I love unusual ingredients and ALL citrus fruits, so when I came across a few mentions of citrus powder on the internets, I knew I had to try to make some. In addition to a few meyer lemons that a co-worker gave me, I added kumquats, tangerines, valencia oranges, key limes, blood oranges, and grapefruits to my 'to be powdered' list.

This turned out to be an easy process that yielded surprising and super delicious results.

So flavor explorers follow me...

Step 1: Pick Your Citrus

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I wanted to try a bunch of different kinds of citrus, including several varieties of oranges, to see how different they would be/taste. Due to the large amount of oven real estate required to make these, I would recommend starting with just 2-3 choices. (Making all these different kinds took a few rounds (read: days) of oven dehydrating.)

Here's my list again in order of personal preference:

- valencia orange
- meyer lemon
- key lime
- kumquat
- tangerine
- blood orange
- grapefruit

Buy 2-3 of each of your choices, unless you choose kumquats, then you'll need 14-16.

Step 2: Prep Work

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Remove stickers/labels and thoroughly wash all your citrus.

Line as many baking pans with parchment paper as will fit in your oven. (FYI I had two ovens to work with.)

Step 3: Get Low

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Turn your oven on to it's lowest possible setting. 150 degrees F is ideal.

Step 4: Slice 'Em Up

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Using a mandolin or a very sharp chef's knife, slice up all your fruit as thinly as possible.

If you're using a knife like I did, cut a small slice off the side of each fruit, so that it can sit flat on the table, offering more stability while slicing. And please be sure to use proper cutting techniques. (I describe this in Step 2 of my 'How To Chop An Onion' instructable.)

Remove any large seeds and discard the end cut offs.

Step 5: The Layout

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Lemons, limes, and kumquats will dehydrate the fastest, so it's a good idea to keep those together on pans, separate from the oranges and grapefruit. That way you can remove them when they're done and leave in the others to dehydrate further.

Step 6: Now We're Cooking With Gas!

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If you have a dehydrator at home, feel free to use it. Mine wasn't big enough to handle the amount I wanted to make, so I chose to use the oven instead.

Here are the oven drying times (at 150 degrees) for the different citrus fruits:

- kumquat, lemon, and lime = 12 hours
- oranges = 20 hours
- grapefruit = 20-24 hours

If the lowest temp your oven can go is closer to 175 or 200, it will cut down on cooking time, but be careful not to let the slices get too brown or they will lose some flavor and potentially taste burnt-ish. (The lemons will naturally look a little brown.) The lower temp the better for dehydrating.

Prop the oven door open with a dishtowel or folded silicone hot mat to allow the moisture to escape and keep some air flowing.

Step 7: Their Post-Cook Look

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All the slices should be completely dry. If they sit out too long before you grind them, the humidity in the air can make them slightly sticky. If this happens, just pop them back in the oven on low for a few minutes.

Step 8: Makin' the Pow Pow

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Using a clean coffee grinder or spice mill, grind up the dry slices in small batches, one type at a time.

Add 1/2 tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt to each batch of milling. (like pictured) The sugar counteracts the bitterness of the pith, and the salt helps bring out the flavor even more.

Use a small sieve to filter out the chunks and bits that didn't grind properly. Set those bits aside and once you've ground and sieved all of one type of citrus, you can put all those chunks back in the grinder and give them one more go + sieving. Either discard the last stubborn bits or save them to add to a stew or soup.

Immediately after finishing each citrus type, put them in airtight storage containers to keep the air moisture out. Spice or canning jars work great.

Step 9: How to Use Your Powders

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I myself am still exploring all the ways to use these, but here are a few ideas to start with:

- mix with sugar or salt to rim cocktail glasses
- sprinkle on salads
- sprinkle on ice cream and berries
- fold into whipped cream or mix in icing
- add to rubs for chicken and seafood
- dust cookies and muffins

Let me know in the comments section below if you have used them for anything else or even just have ideas about what might work!

Happy cooking!


slashdotpwn (author)2015-05-12

So I used to do this years ago but with strawberries and mangoes. Drying some fresh basil and grinding it with the strawberries was pretty awesome. I never thought of doing this with citrus. Thanks so much for the wonderful post.

You're so welcome! Now I want to try the basil/strawberry combo... sound so delish!

sherab (author)Paige Russell2017-06-17

Strawberry/Basil also makes a killer ice cream. So does Pineapple and Cilantro.

Baidoo (author)2016-12-26

l made a key lime powder but mine turned was dark brown colour.

Is that normal?

Carbon GhettoQ (author)Baidoo2017-03-24

It's fine, it just means that your lemons weren't as fresh but the powder should tatse fine.

YuliaW (author)2017-01-13

how long will the powder keep?

samuraijack (author)2016-07-21

can you use the powders to flavor water?

dulciquilt (author)samuraijack2016-08-26

Yes, but you might want to use a tea infuser if you don't care for chewing any that floats.
It won't dissolve like the packed stuff.
I don't mind the floaty stuff, so personal preference.

sabu.dawdy (author)2016-03-22

you can make beef nashif ( arabic dish )

DehydraMan made it! (author)2015-12-05

Well, I'm making it. 5 lbs. oranges, 5 lbs. lemons, & 5 lbs. limes are sliced & in the dehydrator. 20 hrs@ 125 deg F

sweetpea1145 (author)2015-08-07

Have you tried any of the powers in personal care products? shampoo, conditioner, masks, lotions etc. Certainly a lot better than the junk that in most of the products on the market now.

I haven't. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

keelulater (author)2015-08-21

I finally got to try this out! I made mine with meyer lemons, key limes, and clementines in a dehydrator. Meyer lemons were the favorite with the clementines a close second. I can't wait to try out all of the different possibilities. Thank you for this instructable. :)

Paige Russell (author)keelulater2015-11-23

Amazing! I'm glad you tried making these. I had no idea how delicious they would be. :)

bhaynie (author)2015-05-31

Only thing I might do differently is use cooling racks in the pans to improve airflow. It should cut down on drying time I would think. I'll let you know!

Tyson likes candy (author)2015-05-26

Good idea

sbarcy37 (author)2015-05-24

Not paleo

Sufyan Ahmed (author)2015-05-19

the time for dehydration is too long I cant wait so much ;-)

sperla2 (author)2015-05-18

This is right up my alley! I will be doing this and experimenting. Quick question, where did you get the adorable storage tubes and rack?

Thederpyninja (author)2015-05-13

For those who were wondering, fruit powders are awesome for flavoring meringue kisses. I usually grind freeze dried fruit from Trader Joes, but now I know how to make my own fruit powders! Thanks :D

Meringues = yum! I'm totally going to try that.

Totally! Check out the Meringue Girls for inspiration, they have the most interesting flavors...

cbiasion made it! (author)2015-05-18

I left my lemons and oranges a little too long inside my dehydrator, so the powder turned out a little brownish and charamellized... but it seems good for barbecue rub!

Paige Russell (author)cbiasion2015-05-18

Looks great! I bet the caramelization will add some really nice flavor depth that would go great with lamb.

PrestonW1 (author)2015-05-17

Can you just eat it like candy???????

Paige Russell (author)PrestonW12015-05-18

Indeed you can. :)

TimothyB2 made it! (author)2015-05-15

I made some of this from 3 year old dried limes (vacuum sealed), it is delicious.

I am going to put it in a salt shaker and have it on fish :)

Paige Russell (author)TimothyB22015-05-18


Yoruk (author)2015-05-15

Maybe use them for a marinade ? Or spread some on meat ? Can be tasty !

(Lemon powder on fish... sounds tasty !)

Thanks for sharing !!

etywoniak (author)Yoruk2015-05-15

There actually is a famous swedish spice which is basically just salt, pepper and lemon powder and it is just the best thing to bake your salmon with!

Yoruk (author)etywoniak2015-05-15

Ohh, seems great !

Paige Russell (author)Yoruk2015-05-18

Yum! I am definitely going to try that on my next salmon fillet.

kimberley.vaughan.7 (author)2015-05-14

Amazing Instructable. Your photographs are really well done, congratulations. Your instructions are really well thought out too. Thanks very much. I am going to try this later on today.

Thanks Kimberley! :)

Jhiga11 (author)2015-05-14

Beautiful Instructable!

For those of us more interested in the nutritional value of foods, we will want to include the pith, and even some of the seeds of citrus fruits. The Internet is full of information, case in point:

"Many people out there ask themselves is lemon pith good for you. Yes, it is. This is a white bitter inner rind that protects the juicy part of the fruit (pulp), but that is not its only value. The pith contains so called bioflavonoids (lat. flavus = yellow), compounds responsible for the yellow color of the zest not only of lemons, but of all citruses. Bioflavonoids are extremely healthy when it comes to elasticity of blood vessels and capillaries, but also for fighting allergies, inflammations and even cancer. In other words, when you consume lemon be sure to eat the pith even if you don't like its bitterness."

Finally, in many foods, the bitterness is an indication of medicinal value.


The seeds of school some fruits, for example apples and apricots, may contain chemicals (e.g., cyanide) about which there is some controversy as to their safety.

When making a smoothie with bitter ingredients, the longer it sits the more bitter it becomes, so drink as soon as possible.

Paige Russell (author)Jhiga112015-05-18

Great info, thanks!

puggirl415 (author)2015-05-14

This instructable has some of the nicest photographs I've seen. I like your simple idea of cutting the whole fruit into slices and then drying them. I would love to get rid of the pith though. It would be easy to trim the peels off and then trim the pith from the peels. But once the peels are gone it's much harder to slice the fruit nicely. I'll try your method and add some sugar and salt to counteract the bitterness. If you want to really get excited about dehydrated powders check out ideas in the Bar Tartine cookbook. They make a lot of different powders. The one I'm fascinated by is Sauerkraut powder.

PS for those with old ovens just put an oven thermometer in there and turn the oven on but set it below the marks on the dial. See what temperature the oven thermometer is reading. When you get a reading at 150 degrees or below, mark the dial with tape or a sharpie. I did that to try and get my oven to heat to 115 degrees for making yogurt and it worked. I have a really old "junior stove" in my apartment so if I can do it I figure a lot of people can do it too:)

Paige Russell (author)puggirl4152015-05-18

Funny, I JUST ordered the Bar Tartine book. I look forward to powdering the world!! Thanks for your feedback. :)

ladybgood (author)2015-05-14

I'll be making this in my dehydrator. its lowest temp is 140.

Paige Russell (author)ladybgood2015-05-18

That's perfect!

Mugsy Knuckles (author)2015-05-14

If you zest the fruit first then you can cut that pith out and lose no flavor. Moderately more time consuming, but pith is kinda gross.

My thoughts exactly. Pith is pretty bitter. When making limoncello (lemon peel infused liquor), the pith will ruin the flavor. Does it affect the flavor here?

Adding a small amount of sugar or stevia while grinding counteracts the bitterness of the pith. Also, the sweetness of the dried meat of the fruits helps smooth out that bite too. I found using the whole slices to be super delicious.

Sunglowart (author)2015-05-12

Genius!!! But what do u use these powders for? Baking?

Paige Russell (author)Sunglowart2015-05-18

I'm still exploring, but so far they've been great in baked goods, dusted on salads, added to whipped cream, mixing with salt or sugar and rimming cocktail glasses, making citrus salts. I'll keep updating my list in the final step as I try different things. :)

DIY Andrea (author)2015-05-12

Absolutely gorgeous Instructable! Congratulations!

Paige Russell (author)DIY Andrea2015-05-18

Thanks Andrea!

Pirate_Prince (author)2015-05-12

I've always wondered how this was done.
I will have to try this one of these days!
ALSO..I was listening to a radio programme recently and it was about a discovery that drying fruit and vegetables under vacuum will retain their flovour far better and takes less energy and time.
With a quick search, I found this link which conforms what I've heard on the radio.
Thanks for sharing!

Oooh, I would love to try that! Thanks for the link. :)

dbess (author)2015-05-15

Yum! love the idea of using as a dust for cookies and cakes also the ice cream idea sounds awesome ! And as a slow and low BBQ'er I think you're spot on with the rub idea ..I will be trying it on my chicken Q'ing when I make a batch.

About This Instructable




Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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