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Here’s how to make refreshingly tangy limeade! This homemade drink uses less sugar than store-bought and gets more real, sweet tart flavor.

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Want a way to beat the heat? Try this Homemade Limeade recipe. This refreshing lime drink has a tangy pop that will make you smile…at least, it did for us! Homemade limeade from real limes is infinitely tastier than store-bought. You use less sugar to get even more real, sweet tart flavor. The finish to the sip almost feels like you’re drinking a margarita, but it’s just limes, sugar and water. It’s a perfect summer drink for parties, or for making a big pitcher to drink off of all week. A friend of ours brought some over recently, and it made our evening. Here’s what to do!

What is limeade?

What is limeade? It’s a drink that’s made with limes, sugar and water. It’s like lemonade, but made with limes! It’s popular in America, tropical countries like Guyana and Trinidad, and in Southeast Asia like Thailand, though what you’ll find is likely less sweet than the American version.

Two ingredients for limeade (plus water)

All you need are two ingredients for limeade, plus water. We’re assuming you have water on hand, so it doesn’t have to count as an ingredient: does it? Here’s what you’ll need for this lime drink:

  • Limes: To make a full pitcher of 8 servings, you need about 10 limes. There are 2 tablespoons of lime juice in the average lime, and you’ll need 20 tablespoons for the recipe. Want to make limeade by the glass? Scroll down.
  • Sugar: The best sugar to use here is plain old granulated sugar. This type of sugar makes for the best green limeade color. But, you use other sugars like cane sugar or coconut sugar: the color will just be darker. Like using alternate sweeteners? Try this limeade with honey or maple syrup.
Limeade recipe

How to make limeade…the easy way!

Here’s the thing: many limeade recipes call for boiling a simple syrup on the stove. This is time consuming and heats up the sugar. So we decided to make our recipe even simpler. Here’s all you have to do for this limeade:

  • Juice the limes. 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. All you have to do is mix sugar into warm water and it dissolves: there’s no need to heat it on the stove.
  • Add the cold water and lime juice, and some ice. Cool it back down by adding the water, lime juice and some ice. Limeade is served!

The best way to juice a lime

When you make limeade, juicing 10 limes seems like a task after juicing the first one. Here’s our best tip for juicing lots of limes at once:

  • Get a good citrus juicer. Then you don’t have to do the rolling on the table trick, or break your fingers trying to squeeze as hard as you can! We recommend getting a press juicer: here’s the juicer we use. It ends up getting out much more juice than other types of juicers. (We’ve found this from experience after making 150+ cocktails.)
Limes and limade

How to make limeade by the glass

Don’t want to make an entire pitcher of limeade? We hear you. This recipe makes 8 to 9 cups of limeade, which is actually quite a bit. Want to make this lime drink by the glass? Here’s what to do:

  • Squeeze 2.5 tablespoons lime juice into a glass. That’s 1 large lime 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!

Variation: cherry limeade!

Arguably the most famous spin on limeade is cherry limeade. These two fruits go hand in hand: the sweet and tart go perfectly together! You can use this limeade and add cherry flavor using the juice from a jar or maraschino cherries. Go to Fresh Cherry Limeade.

Cherry limeade

More variations: fresh lemonade

Want to vary this limeade a bit more? Use lemons and make lemonade! The process is the same as this lime drink but it uses lemons instead. Here are a few types of lemonade: classic and a little boozy:

  • Fresh Lemonade Freshly squeezed lemons and sugar make extraordinary sweet tart flavor.
  • Bourbon Lemonade A perfect summer drink! Make fresh squeezed lemonade and swirl it with whiskey for a spicy finish.
  • Spiked Lemonade Beat the heat with this fresh and boozy homemade lemonade!
Easy limeade

This limeade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Easy Limeade Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 (8 to 9 cups) 1x


Here’s how to make refreshingly tangy limeade! This homemade drink uses less sugar than store-bought and gets more real, sweet tart flavor.


  • 1 ¼ cups lime juice (9 to 10 limes)*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • Ice
  • Fresh mint, for garnish (optional)


  1. Juice the limes.
  2. Add the sugar and 1 cup warm water to a large pitcher and stir until it is dissolved.
  3. Add 6 cups cold water and lime juice. Add ice and serve.


*To make it by the glass: Squeeze 2.5 tablespoons lime juice into a glass (1 large lime 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. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Squeezed
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

More lime recipes

There are so many great things to do with extra limes! This zesty citrus adds a zing to anything it touches. Here are some of our favorite lime recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I had a 2 lb. bag of small limes and it took almost the full bag. I had 2 limes left over. My family absolutely loves this limeade. I don’t think it is too sweet although I wouldn’t want to add any more sugar. The proportion of sugar to lime juice is just right. I’m saving this recipe to make again.

  2. Josué says:

    Me and my mother loved it.

  3. Lauren says:

    I meant to say I may try dialing back the sugar to a single tablespoon or a tablespoon and a half to see if it tastes less sweet but still sweet enough.

  4. Lauren says:

    I made a single cup of it, and thought it was great, but overly sweet for me personally. On my next try, I may try dialing. But overall very tasty and a great way to use up limes that you have sitting around when you buy a bag of limes.

    1. Marlee W says:

      I liked this recipe, but I’m not sure it takes 9-10 limes to get 1 1/4 cups of juice. It took me 4.5 limes to get that. Just in case you don’t want to have a ton of extra ones sitting around if you don’t use limes a lot. Or don’t want to make a double batch.