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Lemon Paste (for Panettone)

This is a quick and easy recipe for making citrus paste (lemon or orange paste) that is called for in some panettone recipes. The ingredients are lemon or orange juice (fresh!), grated peel/zest, sugar, cornstarch, and liquor.

This recipe is from the Italian language panettone book, pH4.1 The Science and Craftsmanship of Leavened Dough (Author, Montanari). Available from Amazon.it

I feel like this is a hard recipe to find. Some panettone recipes call for “lemon paste” or “orange paste” but I don’t know of any stores in the USA that sell orange or lemon paste. And so, let’s make some!

In his recent book, Panettone: The King of Bread, Jimmy Griffin provides a recipe for candied citrus peel and states to puree it to make orange or lemon paste. I am going to try that one of these days but this recipe seems a little easier, at least after you grate and juice all of your citrus! That’s the hardest part it seems…

top view of lemon paste in jar

Citrus paste ingredients (lemon or orange)

Overview of Process

  • Add sugar and cornstarch to pan and combine
  • Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium/medium low and keep stirring until thickened
  • Be careful as this can burn quickly!

📖 Recipe

top view of lemon paste in jar

Lemon or Orange Paste for Panettone

This is a quick and easy recipe for making citrus paste (lemon or orange paste) needed for some panettone recipes. This recipe is from the Italian language panettone book, "pH4.1 The Science and Craftsmanship of Leavened Dough" (Author, Montanari). Available from Amazon.it
Makes about 2 pints.
5 from 4 votes
Author: Marie
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 64 tablespoons
Calories 31 kcal


  • 75 grams cornstarch
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 500 grams lemon juice or orange, fresh
  • 75 grams lemon zest or orange zest
  • 20 grams lemoncello or Grand Manier


  • Add sugar and cornstarch to a medium sized pot and whisk to combine
  • Add juice, and zest and heat over medium high heat until soft boil
  • Stir well, reduce heat to medium low, and keep heating until thickened. Note that this can burn quickly around edge so watch carefully and stir continuously when thickening.
  • Remove from heat and stir in liquor after it has cooled.
  • Store in glass jar in the refrigerator.


Calories: 31kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 0.05gFat: 0.04gSaturated Fat: 0.004gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.003gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.001gSodium: 0.3mgPotassium: 10mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.02mg
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  1. Hello, i like this recipe over the traditional method of cooking the lemons or oranges even with the white piff. Yours isn’t bitter but i have to ask if I did it right. After mine cooled it turned into a mass similar to gelatinized stock. Well, it was more bounce then gelatin. Is that the right texture or did I mess up? Yours looks different from mine. I think i went to a full boil instead of a soft boil

    1. Sorry Connor I missed your comment! It’s hard to say – mine looked like a very thick jam, maybe even gelatinized yes. I think if the taste is good it might not matter.

      1. Do I have to use the lemoncello? And if I don’t use it, am I to replace it with something else?
        Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Catalin, It depends on the recipe but usually a small amount. If you search my panettone post and scroll down for the Montanari recipe, he uses 29 grams for a single panettone. I think that’s roughly 2 tablespoons or so.

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