Lemon is one of the best flavors to add to both sweet and savory food, and these lemon dinner recipes are here to brighten up your days!
The Best Lemon Dinner Recipes
Lemons are one of the best ingredients you can keep on hand. They add an instant brightness and freshness to just about anything, from meat to veggies to desserts.
You can use a spritz of lemon juice or a pinch of lemon zest in many savory recipes, instantly updating them. Lemons are also great for dressings and marinades, and not to mention drinks and desserts. They really are a workhorse.
And if any of these recipes are being served to you at a dinner party, don't forget to bring a gift for the hostess!
If you ever find yourself with a surplus of lemons (hello, it's me with a lemon tree in my backyard), you will need this list of recipes!
Lemon Dinner Side Dishes
Lemons are a hit in side dishes too, as they easily brighten veggies.
You can add a pinch of lemon zest for a garnish, cook veggies in lemon pepper seasoning or spritz them with a lemon wedge for extra tart flavor.
You can do this with all kinds of veggies, such as:
- green beans
- brussels sprouts
Tart lemon also works as a key salad dressing ingredient. Try it in this honey vinaigrette to liven up any salad, whether it's a side salad or the whole meal.
Serving lemon chicken? Check out our favorite side dishes for lemon chicken.
Tips for Cooking with Lemon
When you're cooking with lemon juice, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Fresh lemon juice > bottled concentrate. However, the bottled stuff is still great! Freshly juiced is slightly sweeter, whereas the concentrate tends to be more sour.
- If you need lemon zest, be sure to zest the lemon before you juice it.
- Room-temperature citrus has more juice than refrigerated. Leave your lemons out on the counter for an hour or two before cooking.
I have a whole list of lemon desserts you can peruse, but here are some of my favorite lemon desserts you can serve after one of these lemon dinners:
- Breads: Quick breads like lemon loaf and lemon blueberry bread make for some of the most luscious desserts or snacks.
- Cakes & cupcakes: We love these lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream for anything we celebrate, from birthdays to holidays.
- Bars & cookies: You can never go wrong with these decadent lemon bars!
Lemon Drink Ideas
Lemon drinks go exceedingly well with most lemon dinner recipes. You can even just slice a lemon and serve it in water! The right beverage seriously takes the dish up a notch.
Try one of these delicious drinks:
- Lemonade: Strawberry lemonade or peach lemonade are sweet and delicious and pair well with almost anything. Serve them before dinner or during!
- Lemon cocktails: Lemon juice is the star of so many cocktails. Try these lemon margaritas or a classic lemon drop cocktail.
- Limoncello: After dinner, serve up this Italian liqueur. It's bright and zesty and easy to sip.
You can also try a fusion cocktail like a Limoncello Margarita.
Lemon Dinner Ideas
Now, let's get into those recipes! Here are some of my favorite dinners that use fresh lemons.