Once you know how simple it is to make this delicious Homemade Lemonade Recipe, you’ll never let another craving go unquenched. While it really is as simple as mixing sugar and lemon juice in your favorite pitcher, there are a few key tricks for the perfect ratio of sweet and tart.
Nothing goes better with a BBQ chicken salad or baby back ribs than an ice-cold refreshing glass of lemonade. Once you try it, we know you’ll be making double batches for everyone to enjoy all summer long!
How to Make Homemade Lemonade
Lemons and sugar are all you need for a big pitcher of fresh lemonade. Once you make a simple syrup and squeeze your lemons, it’s as simple as mixing with water and chilling with ice.
- Pour 1 cup water and sugar into a small pot and simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Transfer simple syrup to a large bowl and stir in lemon juice.
- Stir in the remaining 6 cups of water until completely combined.
- Fill a large pitcher with ice and pour in lemonade. Fill glasses with ice and lemon slices. Pour lemonade into glasses and serve.
Why We Think This is the BEST Homemade Lemonade You’ll Ever Try!
We’re biased, we know, but after drinking a lot of lemonade and trialing different combinations, we’re convinced this is the best homemade lemonade you’ll ever have.
It’s perfectly sweet – Making a simple syrup to add the sugar helps the lemonade stay consistently sweet in every sip. If you add the sugar directly, it may not dissolve, and you’ll end up with sugar at the bottom of the pitcher with bland lemon water near the top.
And a little bit tart – It won’t make you pucker, but squeezing fresh lemons adds the pleasant tartness you expect from a thirst-quenching glass of lemonade.
No “off” taste – After drinking this lemonade, you’ll be tuned into the “off” flavor many store-bought varieties have from the various sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial flavors.
What Can Be Added to This Homemade Lemonade Recipe
While this three-ingredient lemonade recipe is simple and classic, you can easily add your own special flair to each batch.
Fresh herbs are best for adding subtle natural flavors. Infusing the simple syrup with herbs or fruit is a great way to extract maximum flavor without picking pieces of the plant out of your glass. Then, toss a few large sprigs or slices into the pitcher as garnish and for extra flavor!
Here are some flavorful herbs and fruits to add to your next batch of lemonade:
- Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries
Can Bottled Lemon Juice Be Used Instead of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice?
Technically, you can use bottled lemon juice instead of freshly squeezed lemons for making lemonade. But, since bottled lemon juice tends to be more tart than freshly squeezed, you may have to add more sugar to help balance the flavors.
We highly recommend freshly squeezed lemon juice when possible.
The Best Way to Squeeze Fresh Lemons for Homemade Lemonade
You have your lemons, but now what? Here are some tips and tricks to get the most delicious juice out of your lemons!
Choose ripe lemons. Making the best lemonade starts at the store. Choose lemons that are large and tender to the touch. They should give slightly when you press on them but aren’t mushy (which would indicate they’re too ripe).
Warm and roll. If your lemons are ripe, you may only need to roll them on the countertop with gentle pressure. This will get the juice moving away from the membranes, making it easier to extract. If your lemons are on the harder side, put them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until they’re just slightly warmed, then roll them on the counter.
Use a citrus juicer. Yes, you can slice them in half and use a fork to press out the juice, but you’ll miss a lot with this method. Invest in a low-cost electric citrus juicer (or a manual one!) that gets every drop of delicious juice out of your lemons to get the most juice out of your lemons.
Strain. After you’ve juiced your lemons, you’ll likely have a lot of seeds and chunky bits floating in the juice. Run it through a fine mesh strainer or one layer of cheesecloth to leave you with pure concentrated lemon juice.
Storage Information and Shelf Life
Once made, store lemonade in a covered pitcher in the fridge for up to 1 week.
This recipe is freezer-friendly, which makes it easy to enjoy a glass whenever the craving strikes. Make your concentrate with simple syrup and lemon juice and freeze into ice cubes before adding water.
Store the lemonade cubes in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. When you want to make your lemonade, remove as many ice cubes as you want, let them thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, and add enough water to taste!
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Homemade Lemonade Recipe
- 7 cups water divided
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice about 8 lemons
- lemon slices for garnish
- Pour 1 cup water and sugar into a small pot and simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Transfer simple syrup to a large bowl and stir in lemon juice.
- Stir in remaining 6 cups water until completely combined.
- Fill a large pitcher with ice and pour in lemonade.
- Fill glasses with ice and lemon slices. Pour lemonade into glasses and serve.
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Freezing juice into cubes then using them in the glass eliminates dilution,but it requires making more juice.