The most important etiquette rules on how to serve and eat lime. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest.

Lime fruit

What lime etiquette is

Lime etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve lime. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow lime etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect lime etiquette rules to properly enjoy it.

What you should know about lime

Lime is a citric fruit. It is similar to a lemon but smaller in size. Lime is round in shape, with a thick green rind. Its texture is juicy with a sour taste. Compared to lemon, lime is more acidic but with a richer aroma.

How To Serve And use lime

Etiquette tips to serve and eat lime

1) How to store lime

You can keep whole limes out of the fridge. Place them in a fruit bowl. Keep them away from sources of heat or direct light. They should last for around 7 days.

When you store a whole lime in the fridge, it may last for 3 to 4 weeks. Do not wrap it in plastic.

Store sliced lime in the fridge. Place it in a sealed container. It will last for about 1 week.

In the freezer, lime can last for 3 or 4 months.

2) How to clean lime

Wash lime under cold running water before you prepare them. 

3) How to prepare and cook lime

If you serve lime as an accompaniment for other foods or drinks, do not serve it whole. Cut lime in halves, slices, or wedges. Leave the rind on.

You can use limes to prepare limeade or lime water. Squeeze them and pour the juice into the water before serving. Lime juice is popular in many cocktails. Squeeze lime at room temperature to extract the maximum amount of juice.

Alternatively, you can make lime preserves, pickles, or jam. 

Lime can be used as an ingredient for savory and sweet dishes. Squeeze the juice on salads, sauces, roasts, or raw or cured meat such as bresaola. Use it on fried foods, fish, or seafood.

4) How to serve & present lime

You should serve lime to accompany tea, seafood or fish dishes, salads, fried foods, or fruit salads.

Serve lime halves, slices, or wedges on a small serving plate. Then, let guests help themselves. Alternatively, if you serve food already plated, you can place a lime slice or wedge on each individual plate. Do not serve whole limes.

Present lime juice in a small jug.

Serve lime at room temperature. Take it out of the fridge between 1 and 2 hours before serving.

5) Foods and beverages to pair lime with

Lime slices or wedges are a common accompaniment or dish decoration.

Lime juice is ideal with raw or cured meat. With steaks and roasts. On fish or seafood, such as prawns, shrimp, or scampi. With fried, grilled, or spicy food. Such as barbecue, Mexican cuisine, or grilled Halloumi cheese.

Squeeze lime on salads and fruit salads. Lime pairs well with most fruits. Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Stone fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, or plums. Water-rich fruits, such as melon.

Lime juice is a common ingredient for drinks and cocktails too. It pairs well with many spirits. Tequila. Vodka. Gin. You can mix lime juice with almost every other fruit juice.

6) How to eat lime

Do not squeeze lime with your hand. Instead, hold the lime facing down and close to your plate. Spear a fork in it, and gently squeeze the juice by moving the fork up and down. While squeezing, cover the lime with your hand to avoid spraying the other guests. 

When lime is served in slices, like for tea or as a decoration, do not squeeze it. Put the whole slice into your cup of tea. 

It is not common to eat lime on its own, due to its sour taste.

lime etiquette mistakes

Lime etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst lime etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Spitting lime seeds.
  • 8/10. Serving spoiled lime.
  • 8/10. Squeezing lime the wrong way.
  • 3/10. Serving whole limes.

Additional information for properly serving lime

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

Lime contains around 30 calories per 100 grams. One medium-sized lime contains around 20 calories. A slice or a wedge contains around 2 calories.

How to buy the best lime

A crucial factor in lime etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Season and availability 

Limes are available all year round as they grow in several regions.

Choose the best

Ripe lime should feel firm and heavier than it looks.

Alternatives to lime

The best substitutes for lime are other citric fruits. Lemon is the obvious choice. Oranges are another valid substitute for many dishes.


What is the difference between lemon and lime?

Both lime and lemon are citric fruits. Compared to lemon, lime is smaller, round in shape, with a green rind, and a richer aroma.