The Very Best Homemade Lemonade

5 from 27 votes
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When life gives you lemons, you make fresh lemonade! My lemonade recipe only uses three ingredients and less sugar than store-bought.

A glass with homemade lemonade and a slice of lemon

Fresh squeezed lemonade is one of my favorite treats during the summertime. It brings back a lot of memories of hot summer afternoons spent cooling off with a glass of something sweet.

Now that I’m a little older, I realize how easy it is to make lemonade out of lemons at home! This easy recipe tastes just as good as any you might get from the store – or your local stand. 

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What Is the Secret to Making Perfect Lemonade

Learning how to make lemonade isn’t complicated either. You don’t even need any fancy equipment! The best homemade lemonade has a little bit of sweetness and gets a punch of flavor from fresh lemons and simple syrup.

You first prepare the sugar syrup which you then mix with the lemon juice. So much easier than adding granulated sugar which you have to keep on stirring to dissolve.

A pitcher with homemade lemonade and slices of lemon

Plus, making it at home means that you can tweak it to your personal taste and reach the ideal level of sweetness, strength, or sourness. The lemons are too tart, add a bit more syrup. If you think it’s too strong, add a bit more water or ice.

Lemonade Ingredients

This simple recipe only has three ingredients:

  • Fresh lemons: You want to use lemons that will cater to your taste. Did you know there are many different types of lemons? For example, Meyers lemons are slightly sweeter. The type of lemon you choose will change the tartness of your drink.
    Also, for the best lemon flavor, use fresh lemon juice and not bottled lemon juice.
  • Water: Use filtered and/or drinking water. If you want to create a fresh lemon soda, swap out the water for sparkling water.
  • Simple syrup: You can buy simple syrup pre-made, but it’s so easy to make at home! I love using my simple syrup recipe – you need only sugar and water. If preferred, you can also use other sweeteners, like honey.
Ingredients for homemade lemonade

How to Make Homemade Lemonade

Making the best lemonade recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Prepare the Simple Syrup

Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan. The ratio is 1:1 – e.g. 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in volume. Stir to combine and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and formed a syrup. For more info and tricks on the perfect syrup, follow my How-To Guide.

Once ready, set it aside to cool. You can also prepare it in advance and keep it in the frige (for up to a month).

Steps for making sugar syrup

Juice the Lemons

If you’re finding your lemons a little lackluster, there are a few tricks to help that tricky citrus release more juice:

  • Roll your lemons. It sounds odd, but it works like a charm. Simply place your hand firmly on top of the lemon. Then roll it on a wooden board or counter for a few seconds. 
  • Put the lemon in the microwave. Another odd-sounding one. Put the lemon on a plate or a paper towel and microwave for 10-20 seconds. 
  • Cut the lemons and juice them. I’ve found the best method is to use an electric juicer. But if you don’t have one, you can discover my other juicing methods here
A bowl with freshly squeezed lemon juice

What Is the Ratio of Lemon Juice to Water for Lemonade

I recommend a standard lemonade ratio of 3:1:1 for water to simple syrup to lemon juice.

In a large pitcher, combine the freshly squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, and cold water and stir.

You can serve this fresh drink with or without ice. If you are using ice, I’d recommend adding the ice cubes to the serving glasses rather than to the pitcher. Ice in the pitcher can dilute the drink.

Or, freeze a batch of lemon juice in ice cube trays and add those to the mix the next time you make it.

And voila, the process of how to make lemonade with lemon juice is that simple.

Homemade lemonade in a pitcher

How to Make Flavored Lemonade

The simplest way to elevate the look of your drink is to serve it with thin lemon slices. Or, you can also:

  • Rose water – for some floral sweet notes,
  • Orange juice – to mix up the citrus flavor,
  • Other juices – strawberry juice, cranberry juice, etc, will make your drink’s flavor unique. Play around with how much you add (starting with a few tablespoons) to find your perfect ratio. You can also give this pink lemonade a try.
  • Add some fresh, muddled, strained, or blended fruit. I love to use raspberries, peaches, blackberries, or strawberries.
  • And another great way to spice up your drink is to add some herbs like rosemary, basil, fresh mint, or lavender.

How Long Will Homemade Lemonade Keep

If you’ve got any leftovers, they will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator – stir it before serving. 

You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Pour it into a freezer-safe bottle or ice cube tray. Don’t fill the bottle to the top, as liquids expand when frozen.

A glass with homemade lemonade

Recipe Tips

  • Adjust the ratios to your taste. I’ve suggested my perfect ratios but you can easily add more syrup or lemon juice to make it more sweet or tart and to reach your preferred flavor.
  • Keep it chilled! It’s best to chill and keep the drink in the refrigerator and serve it over ice. That’s the perfect summer cooler!
  • Stir away! It’s natural that after a while the lemonade separates. If you notice that, give it a stir or, if it’s in a bottle, give it a good shake. It’s as good as new!

More Delicious Summer Drinks

If you try this lemonade recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

The Very Best Homemade Lemonade

5 from 27 votes
By: Samira
When life gives you lemons, you make fresh lemonade! My lemonade recipe only uses three ingredients and less sugar than store-bought.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 5

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • You can use store-bought or made-at-home simple syrup.
    If you need to make it, mix sugar and water (ratio 1:1 – e.g. 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in volume) in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and formed a syrup. For more info and tricks on the perfect syrup, follow my How-To Guide.
    Let it cool before you continue with the recipe. You can also prepare it in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  • Juice your lemons. I've found the best method is to use an electric juicer – but if you don't have one, you can discover my other juicing methods here
  • Combine the freshly squeezed lemon juice, cold water, and simple syrup into a jug or bottle and stir.
  • Optionally, add herbs or other fruit, for garnish, and serve with or without ice cubes. 

Video

Notes

  • If you want a fresh version of lemonade soda, simply add sparkling water instead of still.
  • For fun glass decoration, you can zest the lemons before juicing them. Then mix the zest with a bit of sugar and muddle the mixture. 
There are a few ways to get the most juice out of your lemons. 
  • Roll your lemons. It sounds odd, but it works like a charm. Simply place your hand firmly on top of the lemon and roll it on a wooden board or counter for a few seconds. 
  • Put the lemon in the microwave. Another odd-sounding one. Put the lemon on a plate or a paper towel and microwave for 10-20 seconds.
Once you have your lemonade base recipe, then this recipe can be easily customized with syrups and ingredients.
Check the blog post for more tips and flavor variations!
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: 2 Months
Shelf life: 5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cup, Calories: 195kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.02g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.002g, Sodium: 47mg, Potassium: 94mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 51g, Vitamin A: 3IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Comments

  1. I can’t really review this recipe yet since I haven’t tried it. I have a question. Can I use cane sugar with this recipe? Diabetic so I need the lower GI.

    1. Hi Scott,
      Yes, you can use cane sugar to make the simple syrup but I am not sure if it’s lower GI! It’s best to confirm with your medical professional if you haven’t already 🙂
      If you do go ahead with the cane sugar, keep in mind that the simple syrup will have a darker color which will in turn make the lemonade darker.