Know exactly how many limes you'll need for your next recipe.

The next time you're concocting a Moscow mule, or any other recipe that calls for lime juice, you'll need to know how many limes to purchase. There's no question that fresh lime juice gives you a unique, refreshing flavor that you just don't get with that stuff that comes out of a green bottle. Say your recipe calls for ¼ cup lime juice. While that may be the correct amount, it's not exactly helpful when it comes to determining how many limes to buy. To settle this once and for all, I juiced three different limes of varying size, to determine how much juice there is in one lime.

lime sliced with knife
Photo by Melanie Fincher

How to Pick a Lime

When picking a lime, you're going to want to go for one that's as packed with juice as possible. Unlike lemons, limes don't vary that much in size, making it easier to standardize the amount of juice in them. But there are still a few things to look out for when picking limes:

  • Pick firm fruit. Soft fruits have less liquid. The firmer and tighter limes are, the more juice is packed inside.
  • Look for a smooth rind. The rind of a fresh lime will be smooth. This is because the rind is stretched when the fruit is full of liquid.
  • Go green. The more green a lime is, the riper it is. For optimal flavor, go for the greens ones over the yellow-green ones.
  • Pick them up. Although two limes may not look different in size, one may still have more juice than another. Try picking them up, and go with the heavier one because that means it has more juice.

How to Juice a Lime

I put three different limes to the test by juicing them and measuring the results. Although limes don't vary in size too much, I tried to pick limes with slightly varying sizes and textures. Based on my testing, it's safe to include that there is about the same amount of juice in all the limes we see in our grocery stores. Next time you're using fresh lime juice, refer to this guide for how to juice a lime and how much juice is in one lime.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Knife
  • Handheld juicer or any other citrus juicer
  • Small prep bowl
Limes, juicers, knife, bowl, and measuring spoons on countertop
Photo by Melanie Fincher

1. First, massage your lime by rolling it on the countertop or cutting board using your palm. This will soften the lime and help to separate the individual segments inside (which means more juice).

Lime being rolled on countertop
Photo by Melanie Fincher

2. Slice the lime in half crosswise.

Lime sliced with knife on countertop
Photo by Melanie Fincher

3. Put the lime half in the juicer with the flesh side facing down. Slowly squeeze the handles of the juicer together over a prep bowl and watch (and smell) the fresh lime juice as it collects in your bowl.

handheld juicer squeezing lime juice
Photo by Melanie Fincher

4. If you wish to remove any seeds, you may use a small slotted spoon or fine strainer to do so. If you want to measure your lime juice, gently pour it from your prep bowl and into a measuring spoon or spoons.

Two tablespoons of lime juice next to a bowl.
Photo by Melanie Fincher

The Results: How Much Juice in One Lime

After squeezing the juice out of three different limes, each lime produced about the same amount of lime juice:

1 Lime = 2 tablespoons fresh juice (1 fl oz)

There was plenty of juice in each lime to make about 2 tablespoons of juice. The next time you're using fresh lime juice, you'll know exactly how many limes to add to your grocery list.

Limes, kitchen utensils, and spilled juice on countertop.
Photo by Melanie Fincher