Lime Pickle Recipe

Pickles made from limes?  Why, yes!

They are sour, spicy and savory all at once.  Bite-sized pieces of lime (skin and all) are fermented and aged for several weeks or months (these aged for almost two months over the winter).  They’re easy to make and versatile to cook with; you can eat them on their own or use them as a condiment.  I’ve loved them added to soup or mixed with yogurt to cut their intensity.

I’ve adapted this recipe from my friend, Tigress.  She no longer updates her wonderful blog but continues to inspire me through her previous posts; I adore her site and miss her updates.  Tigress has spent a lot of time in India and is one of my go-to resources for Indian-inspired recipes.

Lime Pickle Recipe limes Lime Fermenting citrus

My recipe uses slightly different combination of spices because:

  1. I was curious
  2. I used what I had on hand
  3. I didn’t want to take her recipe word-for-word.

Check out Tigress’ recipe and use either one – or come up with something that fits your curiousity!

North Indian Lime Pickle Recipe – Ingredients

  • 12 organic limes.  As you’ll be eating the entire lime, I wouldn’t stray from organic.
  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons of hot pepper powder (you can use cayenne as Tigress did, I ground up smoky Morita Peppers)
  • 2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (I used a mix that I had, Tigress has a recipe to make it from scratch)

North Indian Lime Pickle Recipe – Instructions

  1. Squeeze the juice of 3 limes and put them on the side.
  2. Cut the lime into small pieces (I cut them in quarters and then cut each wedge into 4 or 5 pieces)
  3. Optional: toast the tumeric, hot pepper and garam masala by gently heating it and stirring for a few minutes in a frying pan over medium-high heat (stir constantly to prevent burning)
  4. Mix the lime juice, lime pieces and all other ingredients in a large mason jar or other covered container.
  5. Cover the jar and place it in a sunny location in your house.  Shake (or flip) that jar every day (it’s ok if you forget for a few days here and there).

The limes will ferment slower in cold weather than in hot weather.  The longer they ferment, the better they will taste – to a point.  If you leave them ferment for too long, they will become mushy!  In order to prevent this, I try a piece after 4 or 5 weeks and then taste it every few days until I’m happy with the results (often between week 5-7 but trust your tastebuds!)

What would you eat these with?


  1. I love lime pickle but have never made it myself, now I guess I can!

  2. When I visited home (Australia) a couple of years ago I discovered my mother’s neighbour had a bursting lime tree and she begged me to take them off her hands! I wish I had this recipe then, it looks great. We did do preserved limes though, which are different, but it was my friend’s memorised recipe and I wasn’t convinced it was a good one. Anyway, I had to fly back to Canada before they were ready to try….

    I would love to eat these lime pickles with chana masala & chapati (the pickles at the indian store taste like rancid oil but I eat them anyway…). Or what about as a garnish on a cold yoghurt soup in summer? Or puree and rub on chicken before roasting or bbqing. Stuff a whole fish with a mix of fresh lemon and pickled lime. As part of an indian inspired potato salad?
    I could go on. I just think pickled and preserved citrus have the most intriguing flavour. I should put my money where my mouth is an make these pickles.

  3. Joel, You say that they will “Ferment” in the post…will they actually ferment in the way you usually mean producing bacillus and lactos and all that? Or is it more of just pickling them with the acid of the lime juice?

Leave a Reply