There is absolutely nothing better than homemade lemonade! Made with fresh lemons, water and sugar, you’re not going to believe how easy it is to make.
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Easy Homemade Lemonade recipe
I can think of few things more divine than an ice-cold glass of fresh lemonade on a hot summer day.
From lemonade stands to picnics, there’s never a bad time for lemonade!
Fresh lemonade is so easy to make, so if you haven’t tried making it from scratch, this is the summer you should start.
It does require a little effort when it comes to juicing the lemons — trust me, you want to use the real thing here — but the payoff is so good!
Why you’ll love this recipe
This recipe is so perfect for a hot day!
- Fresh lemonade is an easy recipe that will be ready in less than 15 minutes.
- It’s made with simple ingredients yet tastes amazing, so you can feel good about what you are drinking.
- It is perfect for a lemonade stand! Little ones will love learning how to juice lemons.
- You can sip it on its own or mix it into cocktails.
This lemonade is the perfect drink for any occasion. Serve it at cookouts, parties, baby showers, bridal showers and picnics. It is a must for the Fourth of July!
To make a good homemade lemonade, you only need three simple ingredients: lemon juice, sugar and water.
Let’s talk a little bit about each:
For the perfect pale yellow color, use granulated sugar or cane sugar. You may use honey, agave nectar, maple syrup and brown sugar, but keep in mind these will affect the color. Your lemonade will be more brown, but it will still taste great!
You can use less sugar if you like. To do this, I recommend making the simple syrup and then adding it ¼ cup at a time. Taste after each addition until you reach your desired sweetness.
If you want to use a sugar-free substitute, like Stevia, go for it. You should use about 10 packets’ worth in the simple syrup. Or try it with your sweetener of choice.
For a natural sweetener, coconut sugar is a great refined sugar-free option. You can also use maple syrup, honey or agave nectar.
Ideally you should use filtered water for the freshest taste. If you have a Brita or Soma filter, that will be great. Bottled water works too.
You absolutely can use tap water though if needed.
Okay, so yes… you technically can use the bottled concentrate from the store. Have I done it? Yes, it is SO handy sometimes! So if you need to, it’s okay.
But the flavor is SO much better if you use real lemons — trust me. It takes a little extra time, but I promise the effort is worth it!
If you really need to take a shortcut, look in your grocery store’s produce section and see if the grocery store sells fresh lemon juice. You can get the same taste with less effort, though the fresh-pressed juice will likely be more expensive than the concentrate.
You have some options when it comes to choosing the right fresh lemons. Regular lemons will be perfectly juicy. Meyer lemons have a sweeter flavor than regular lemons, but they are still perfectly tart.
You will need a bunch of lemons. If you live in an area where you can get lemons from a local farm, do that! One of my friends has a lemon tree in her yard. If you do, too, please know I am so jealous and let me know how this lemonade turns out! I bet it has the best flavor.
I used a mix of medium and large lemons in this recipe, but you can use whatever size you can find. You will need about 2 cups for this fresh lemonade recipe.
Tip: Room temperature lemons will juice a lot easier than cold, refrigerated ones. Set your citrus fruits out on the counter for a couple hours to warm up before making lemonade.
Best way to juice lemons
Lemonade tastes amazing with freshly juiced lemons.
My favorite way to juice lemons for lemonade is with an electric juicer. (This is the exact one I use.) Now, as a cocktail blogger, this makes sense for me to have on hand. But if you cook with citrus a lot and have the cabinet space, you will NOT regret getting one of these, I promise!
An electric juicer makes juicing citrus so easy — you can use it for grapefruit, oranges and limes too. It does a great job of getting allllll the juice out of each fruit. And it’s a great price.
You can also use a lemon squeezer, a reamer or a hand juicer. Any handheld juicer will take some hand strength though! Here are some of my favorite juicers:
No juicer? No problem. Check out these tips for juicing lemons without a juicer.
How to make the best homemade lemonade
Making lemonade from scratch is pretty simple to do. Here’s how to tackle this easy recipe:
- First, juice all your lemons. You can do this in advance and store it in the fridge for a day if you like.
- Then, make a simple syrup on the stove. We will use this to sweeten the lemonade. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Combine the lemon juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Top with cold water.
- Serve in glasses filled with ice. Garnish with fresh berries, mint leaves and/or lemon slices.
Enjoy! Now you’re ready for a cookout or a lemonade stand!
Lemonade vs. sour mix
Lemonade and sour mix are made similarly but are different.
With simple syrup added to sweeten it, lemonade is crushable right out of the gate. It is often served in a pitcher over ice.
Variations and substitutions
This fresh homemade lemonade is the best lemonade recipe ever, but you can make this summer drink even better with some additions!
Limeade: Use fresh limes instead of lemons for a zippier libation.
Honey lemonade: Use a honey simple syrup to make a sweet version of this lemonade
Beet lemonade: Beets make for a delicious and colorful addition in this beet lemonade.
What to serve with lemonade
Lemonade goes with just about anything:
More pitcher recipes
If you loved this delicious homemade lemonade recipe, check out these other recipes:
- Herbal limeade
- Berry infused water
- Citrus infused water
- Vanilla lemonade
- Strawberry lemonade
- Lavender lemonade
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- 1½ cups sugar
- 7 cup water, divided
- 2 cups lemon juice (~10 lemons)
- First, make a simple syrup: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and 1 cup water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a large pitcher, stir together simple syrup and lemon juice. Top with cold water and stir together.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon slices, mint leaves or fresh fruit.
Boozy lemonade. Add a shot of vodka, tequila or rum for an adult treat. Or try adding limoncello for extra tart flavor.
Limeade: Use fresh limes instead of lemons for a zippier libation.
Honey lemonade: Use a honey simple syrup to make a sweet version of this lemonade.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 6 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 0gSugar: 31gProtein: 0g