Three ways to juice a lemon: which method works best?

Livia Gamper
Translation: Katherine Martin

The internet would have me believe that I can get juice from a lemon simply by stabbing it with a chopstick. Have I been juicing my citrus fruits wrong all this time? I put TikTok’s new favourite trick to the test.

Lately, a new hack has been sweeping internet forums – or to be precise, TikTok: juicing lemons with nothing but a chopstick. This is supposed to be as effective as using a juicer – just without the seeds and the mess. But until I’ve tried the trick myself and compared it to other methods, I ain’t buying it.

I’ve always juiced lemons by hand, without equipment. This is down to laziness, because I live in a flat without a dishwasher and want to do as little washing-up as possible.

For the test, I grab a pack of lemons and a measuring cup, and get squeezing. To create fair conditions before juicing, I rolled each lemon over the kitchen counter exactly two times. This makes the lemons slightly softer and causes them to release more juice. I also made sure that my test lemons were all roughly the same weight.

1. Juicing by hand: yields 26 millilitres

Simply squeezing with my hand, I get 26 millilitres of juice out of the lemon – and as always, quite a messy kitchen. Seeds end up in the juice as well, and I get a few splashes of juice on the countertop and the sleeve of my jumper.

However, it’s very quick, easy, and there’s no kitchen gadget to wash afterwards.

2. With a juicer: yields 52 millilitres

Using the lemon juicer is the method that gives you the most juice – I get a whole 52 millilitres. My juice grabs the stray seeds and there’s no mess either. Although, I do have to wash the thing afterwards. But if you ask me, it’s worth it for all that juice.

3. With a chopstick: yields 15 millilitres

To get the juice out of the lemon, you have to pierce it with the chopstick and pull it back out again. You’d also be able to do it with a metal tube or some other kind of thick skewer.

The chopstick method yields by far the least juice. I’m only able to get 15 millilitres out of the fruit with my Chinese chopstick. But the method does have one important advantage. It allows me to get a little juice out of the lemon, then pop the fruit back in the fridge to use later. This way, I have a kind of «juice dispenser» in the fridge. What’s more, the seeds don’t manage to get through the little hole. And since all the juice flows nicely out of the bottom without splashing everywhere, there’s no mess either.

The findings of my lemon juice experiment

The experiment in my kitchen revealed that I get most juice out of a lemon when I use a juicer. However, if you only need a little juice – I, for example, am partial to drinking water with lemon – the chopstick method really is suitable. Once you run out of juice, you can still halve the lemon and squeeze it. It’s this combination that makes the method.

Research complete. Time to take all that juice and bake a nice, juicy lemon cake.

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Testing devices and gadgets is my thing. Some experiments lead to interesting insights, others to demolished phones. I’m hooked on series and can’t imagine life without Netflix. In summer, you’ll find me soaking up the sun by the lake or at a music festival.

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