How to Zest Citrus Fruit

Follow our easy steps to zesting citrus, such as lemons, limes and oranges, then watch our how-to video to see more.

How to Zest Citrus

In a minute or two you can have citrus zest at the ready. This finely grated or cut peel from lemons, limes or oranges adds vibrance to sweet and savory dishes.

Step 1: Fine Zest

Zest is perfect for dressings, sauces and cookies. The easiest way to make citrus zest is to use a tool called a microplane or a rasp. Simply run the fruit over the microplane and apply a little pressure. Be sure to turn the fruit as you go, so as not to mix the bitter pith, which is the white part of the skin, in with your zest.

Step 2: Using a Microplane or Rasp

A microplane or rasp makes fine citrus zest that adds a lot of flavor but not much additional texture to your dish.

Step 3: Course Zest

To make course zest for muffins or salads, use a tool called a zester. It has 3 or 4 holes at the top.

Step 3: Coarse Zest

To make coarse zest for muffins or salads, use a tool called a zester. It has three or four holes at the top.

Step 5: Using the Zest

Long strands of zest can be used as they are for a garnish or chopped into smaller pieces to incorporate into a recipe.

Step 6: Zesting with a Knife

You don't need a fancy tool to make zest, a knife will get the job done just as well. Just trim the bottom to make a flat surface. shave the peel from the fruit, leaving behind as much of the white pith as possible.

Step 7: Remove the Pith

Then, lay the peel on the cutting board, pith side up. Holding your knife horizontally, and your fingers on the opposite side of the blade, shave the pith to leave only the zest behind.

Step 8: Slice the Zest

Slice the zest into thin strips or finely chop as your recipe requires. It works in dressings or baked goods, salads and sauces. That's it! It's that easy to zest citrus.