Easy Lemon Sorbet With Fresh Lemon Zest Recipe

Lemon Sorbet Ice Cream Maker Recipe

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Cool/Chill/Churn: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 1 quart
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
274 Calories
0g Fat
72g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 274
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 24mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 68g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 17mg 84%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 96mg 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.

"The lemon sorbet turned out delicious, with a balanced sweet and tart flavor. It takes a bit of time to squeeze a dozen lemons, but the results are well worth it. Whether you're looking for a palate cleanser or a sweet frozen treat for lemon lovers, this sorbet is an excellent choice." —Diana Rattray

easy lemon sorbet/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 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.

    ingredients to make lemon sorbet ice cream

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.

    water in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  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. Stir the syrup occasionally until it cools.

    pan full of water cooling on a wire rack

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add the lemon zest and juice to the syrup mixture. ​Stir until well combined.

    lemon zest in simple syrup in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  5. Carefully pour the mixture into a nonmetal (nonreactive) container with a lid. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours.

    lemon sorbet in a glass container

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  6. Once the mixture is completely chilled, process it according to your ice-cream machine manufacturer's instructions. Serve soft sorbet immediately or pack it into a freezer container and freeze for an hour or more for a firmer texture.

    lemon sorbet mixture in an ice cream maker

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck


  • 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.
  • To get the most juice from a lemons, microwave it for about 30 seconds, until slightly warm, then use your hand to roll it firmly on the counter.

Serving Suggestions

  • Add a sprig of fresh mint to each 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.

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.
  • Make the lemon sorbet with Meyer lemons.
  • Add about 1/4 cup of Limoncello along with the lemon juice.

How to Store Lemon Sorbet

Pack the lemon sorbet into an airtight container, placing a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on the surface to keep ice crystals from forming. Place a lid on the container and label with the name and date. Freeze for up to 1 to 2 months.