Here’s how to make the best lemonade recipe from freshly squeezed lemons! Using real citrus makes extraordinary sweet tart flavor.
Compare this lemonade recipe to store-bought and there’s no contest. This is the way it was meant to be! Make it the real way, and you’ll find out why this beverage became so popular in the first place. You’ll use less sugar than anything you’ll find in a store, and the flavor is perfectly sweet tart. Serve it for summer parties, or make up a big pitcher to sip off all week. Either way, you’ll be singing its praises! Here’s the best lemonade recipe: and it’s quicker and easier than most methods, too.
Ingredients for lemonade
You only need two ingredients to make fresh squeezed lemonade. Well, three ingredients, if you count water! Here’s what you need to make a fresh squeezed lemonade recipe:
- Lemons: You’ll need about 7 to 8 large lemons to make a full pitcher of 8 servings. This is a lot, so you can also make it by the glass if you’re not serving it for guests. Scroll down!
- Sugar: The best sugar to use for lemonade is plain old granulated sugar. This type of sugar makes for the best yellow lemonade color. You use other sugars like cane sugar or coconut sugar: the color will just be slightly darker. Like using natural sweeteners? Try this lemonade with honey or maple syrup.
How to make lemonade…the easy way!
Many lemonade recipes call for boiling a simple syrup on the stove. This can be time consuming, so we decided to make our recipe even simpler. It’s true that you can’t stir sugar right into cold water because it doesn’t dissolve. But we found a trick! Here’s all you have to do for this easy lemonade recipe:
- Juice the lemons. This is the most time consuming part of the process…by far! See below for a few tips on juicing.
- Mix the sugar with 1 cup warm water. No simple syrup necessary! All you have to do is mix sugar into warm water and it dissolves.
- Add the cold water and lemon juice, and some ice. Cool it back down by adding cold water, lime juice and some ice. Voila: homemade lemonade!
The best way to juice lemons
Juicing lemons might not sound intimidating…until you have to juice 7 to 8 in a row! If you don’t have a great citrus juicer, this recipe will do a number on your finger strength. Here are the best juicers we recommend:
- Top choice: a press citrus juicer. This type of juicer is incredibly efficient and ends up getting out even more juice than other types. Here’s the press juicer we use. It’s held up the best of any method, after making 150+ cocktails.
- Next best choice: a handheld citrus juicer. The next best juicer is the type with a ridged top (similar to this).
Whatever the case: don’t try to juice them with your hands only! Not only will your hands hurt, you’ll get seeds into the lemonade. Of course, you can strain those out if you don’t have a juicer and are dying to make this recipe. (We won’t judge!)
Make lemonade by the glass
Don’t want to make an entire pitcher of lemonade? We hear you. This recipe makes 8 to 9 cups of lemonade, so it’s intended for parties or entertaining. Of course, you can also make a big pitcher and refrigerate it. But want to make lemonade by the glass? Here’s what to do:
- Squeeze 3 tablespoons lemon juice into a glass. That’s 1 large lemon or 2 small.
- Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons warm water and stir until it dissolves.
- Add 1 cup cold water and a handful of ice. Water it down more if necessary. Enjoy!
Variations on lemonade
There are so many tasty spins on lemonade! You can easily jazz up this lemonade recipe by making it boozy. Here are a few ideas (all single serving):
- Sparkling Lemonade: Add soda water for a sparkle!
- Bourbon Lemonade: Mix 1/2 cup lemonade with 3 tablespoons bourbon for a boozy cocktail.
- Spiked Lemonade: Mix 1/2 cup lemonade with 2 tablespoons vodka and 2 tablespoons limoncello. It makes a lemony, zingy lemon cocktail!
- Vodka Lemonade: Mix 1 cup lemonade with 1/4 cup vodka. Tangy and so easy to drink!
- Lavender Lemonade: This culinary flower adds a subtle floral undertone to each sip, and a beautiful light purple color!
- Limeade or Cherry Limeade: Use limes instead! Head to the recipes for more.
Want more lemon drinks? Try these 15 Best Lemon Cocktails.
This lemonade recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.Print
Here’s how to make the best lemonade you’ll taste from freshly squeezed lemons! Using real citrus gives this recipe extraordinary sweet tart flavor.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons)*
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 7 cups water, divided
- Fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
- Juice the lemons.
- Add the sugar and 1 cup warm water to a large pitcher and stir until it is dissolved.
- Add 6 cups cold water and lemon juice. Add ice and serve.
*To make it by the glass: Squeeze 3 tablespoons lemon juice into a glass (1 large lemon, or two small). Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons warm water and stir until it dissolves. Add 1 cup cold water and a handful of ice.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Squeezed
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Lemonade, Lemonade recipe, Homemade lemonade, How to make lemonade
More recipes with lemon
The lemon is one of our most used ingredients in the kitchen! Here are a few more tasty lemon recipes:
- Lemon Blueberry Pancakes Light and fluffy, with just the right citrus zing and sweet bursts of berries!
- Lemon Aioli A tangy sauce great for dipping fries, vegetables or using as a sandwich spread!
- Peas with Lemon Cooking peas with garlic and lemon makes them taste incredible.
- Lemon Dill Salmon Takes just 10 minutes to bake! Mix up a zesty dill sauce while it cooks.
- Lemon Water Oh so refreshing, with 0 calories and no sugar.
- Lemon Vinaigrette Tastes like pure lemon, and uses only 4 ingredients.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.