Yuzu - Japanese Citrus

yuzu fruits
photo credit: vsarts


Yuzu is the most popular of all citrus fruits in Japan, with sudachi running a close second. The fruit is found fresh in Japan throughout the winter months but it can be found in many other convenient forms. Typically it is the yuzu rind that is used to flavor various dishes such as vegetables, fish or noodles. Dried, powdered yuzu is tangy and sweet and is used in desserts. Aside from culinary uses in Japan, the juice is added to a hot bath and is said to be good for the skin.

Yuzu History

As is the case with most citrus, the origins of the yuzu began in China. The fruit was introduced to Japan during the Tang Dynasty where it was used in a refreshing bath, medicinal purposes, as well as an array of culinary uses.

Culinary Uses

Yuzu became popular in the U.S. culinary scene in the early 2000's and it can still be found in on restaurant menus in the form sauces, cocktails and desserts.  Given the popularity, the juice became easy to find at specialty stores as well as online so home chefs were able to experiment with this popular ingredient.

yuzu cut open

The fresh fruit is difficult to find in the U.S. but you can purchase yuzu in various forms including bottled juice or dry powdered and in paste form

 bottled yuzu juice Yuzu Juice -  extracted from the yuzu fruit.  Fresh Yuzu are quite uncommon in the U.S. so bottle juice is an acceptable substitute in most recipes that call for Yuzu. 
bottled yuzu vinegar  Yuzu vinegar - A simple seasoned yuzu juice.  Use for marinades and salad dressings. 
 yuzu kosho green Yuzu paste - Yuzu paste is also referred to as kosho, is highly salted and also contains chile so it has a delightfully pungent flavor and a nice little kick.  It is a traditional accompaniment to sushi. Also can be added to noodle dishes or soups.  Kosho is available in green or red.
 yuzu powder Yuzu powder Buy online at Amazon.com - Dehydrated yuzu rind. While it can be reconstituted and used as a replacement for fresh or bottle yuzu juice the latest trend is to use the powder to dust over various foods from tartare to desserts.  A light dusting right before the final presentation adds just a hint of flavor. 
 fresh yuzu fruit on tree Whole yuzu - Fresh whole yuzu are now grown in the U.S. but continue to be challenging to find.  Look for the fruit in Japanese specialty stores.
 frozen yuzu puree Frozen Fruit Yuzu Puree -  Use for sauces, drinks and desserts. Typically available in Food Service shops or online.  This product requires overnight shipping.  You can find it on Amazon.com : Yuzu Fruit Puree - Frozen
 yuzu marmalade  Yuzu Marmalade (Yuzu Mararedo) - The yuzu adds a tart flavor to this marmalade similar to grapefruit, with overtones of Mandarin orange.  Use as you would any marmalade, on toast or even as an addition to your cheese-board. Look for Yuzu Marmalade in Japanese grocery stores or purchase it online at Amazon.com: Yuzu Marmalade

Featured Recipe

Yuzu Dipping Sauce

2 teaspoon grapeseed oil
3 tsp fresh yuzu juice
2 tsp soy
2 tsp hoisin
2 tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sambal
pinch black sesame seeds
2 leaves Thai basil, minced

Mix all ingredients, let stand 1 hour. Use dipping sauce for spring rolls.yuzu on tree

Where To Buy Yuzu

First, try finding Yuzu products in your local Japanese or other Asian grocery store. Some specialty food shops may carry it as well, like Sur La Table or William Sonoma.  If you can't find the products locally then they are available online at Gourmetsleuth.com.

Grow Your Own

If you live in an area where citrus trees can be grown like California, Arizona and Florida you can purchase a tree for your yard.  Yuzu can be planted in the ground or they can be grown in an ample size container.

Buy Live Yuzu Trees


Four Winds Growers  in California sells the trees in small containers. 

yuzu tree four winds growers



Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.