Easy Lemon Sorbet With Fresh Lemon Zest

Lemon sorbet

France Ruffenach / Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 3 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
109 Calories
0g Fat
29g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 109
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 13mg 63%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 72mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Once only used as a palate cleanser—a refreshing food eaten between courses—sorbets are now often served for dessert. This lemon sorbet is particularly enjoyable after a spicy meal on a hot day but can be enjoyed any time of year.

The tart, bright lemon flavor comes from both the juice and the zest. While most sorbets are placed directly in the freezer and stirred frequently to keep them from freezing solid, this version is made in an ice-cream maker, creating a much smoother consistency. This recipe makes about three cups of sorbet.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon zest

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon​ juice, from about 12 medium lemons

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring the water and sugar just to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This will take about 10 minutes.

  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. If in a hurry, place the pan in a big bowl of ice.

  4. Stir the syrup until it cools.

  5. Add the lemon zest and juice. ​Stir until well combined.

  6. Carefully pour the mixture into a resealable, nonmetal container.

  7. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.

  8. Once the mixture is completely chilled, process it according to your ice-cream machine manufacturer's instructions.

  9. Serve and enjoy.


It is always easier to zest a lemon before it has been squeezed, so make sure to zest the three to four lemons prior to removing their juice.

Recipe Variations

  • You may substitute limes for the lemons to make a lime sorbet. Key limes will add a great flavor addition to this recipe. Your sorbet will also be yellow, as key limes are more yellow than green.
  • Use the juice from 3 to 4 lemons and add bottled lemon juice for the remaining juice needed.
  • The zest of 4 lemons will make the sorbet mouth-puckering but still deliciously sweet. If you'd prefer a less tart sorbet, use less lemon zest or add more sugar.

Serving Suggestions

  • Add a sprig of fresh mint to the serving for a bit of color.
  • Drizzle the sorbet with strawberry sauce or raspberry sauce.
  • Place a few scoops of sorbet in a cookie cup, which can be store-bought or homemade; to make your own, place circles of rolled-out sugar cookie dough over the underside of muffin tins and bake until golden.
  • For a cute presentation, serve the sorbet in hollowed-out lemons. Before squeezing some of the lemons, cut eight lemons so that you have a "cup" and a "cap." Scoop out the flesh and squeeze the juice separately; place the hollowed-out lemons in the freezer until ready to fill with sorbet and top with the cap for a fun finish.