Recipes for Cooking with Citrus Zest

Give your favorite dishes extra pep

The most flavorful part of citrus? Just scratch the surface. Zest, the hard, bright exterior layer of limes, lemons, grapefruit and oranges can give just about any dish a major boost. Start by using a Microplane or grater to remove the very outside of the peel—if you hit the white pith beneath the peel, you've gone too far. Then add the superfine and flavorable shavings to just about anything and everything, from roast vegetables and proteins to cakes and cocktails.

Need some fresh new recipes? These citrus–driven recipes from Sunkist will give your meals—and your cooking—a zesty new lease on life.

Brighten Up Broccolini

There aren't many roast vegetables that a hit of zest won't improve. Here, broccolini gets a dusting of Meyer lemon zest (see the recipe), along with some toasted pine nuts and dill.

Sweet 'n' Zesty

Zest is great for baking, and this spectacular orange cake (see the recipe) gets a double dose of orange zest: first in the batter, then in whipped Greek yogurt, which finishes off the baked cake.

Start Your Day Right

These sweet and creamy ricotta toasts (see the recipe)—with toasted sourdough, a thick spread of ricotta and orange zest—are poised to become the best thing since sliced bread.

Zest Up Steak Night

Zest is great in marinades, too. This flank steak (see the recipe) is marinated in lemon zest, garlic and red wine before hitting the grill. Then it's served with a lemon olive vinaigrette, a final hit of citrus.

Citrus + Salt = Maximum Flavor

For the ultimate flavor booster, preserve citrus zest with salt (see the recipe). This recipe calls for lemon and orange zest, but try it with whatever citrus you've got lying around from tangelos to pummelos.

Lemon Bars for the 21st Century

Lemon bars owe their ultra–concentrated flavor to—you guessed it—lemon zest. To give retro lemon bars a touch of modern sophistication, add just a hint of herbs, like thyme (see the recipe).

Perk Up Snack Time

Orange zest jazzes up this creamy goat cheese, cranberry and walnut dip (see the recipe), which is great as part of a party buffet—or just hanging out in the fridge in case the cravings hit.

Dessert in a Jar

Much like lemon bars, lemon meringue pie also owes its concentrated, zippy flavor to zest. This version is baked in mason jars (see the recipe), making it a perfect (and cute!) single–serving dessert for dinner parties.

Perfect Pesto

Pesto doesn't traditionally include lemon zest—but, boy, when it does, it tastes delicious. This recipe, with lemon zest and raw garlic, is fantastic on sandwiches, grilled meats and pastas (see the recipe). Make a big batch; it freezes really well.

Winner, Winner

This fabulous roast chicken (see the recipe) is dry–marinated in Meyer lemon zest, garlic, thyme and white pepper, and then served with a marmalade sauce.