Homemade Lemonade

Homemade Lemonade

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Yield: 1 pitcher
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
323 Calories
1g Fat
85g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 323
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 85g 31%
Dietary Fiber 7g 27%
Total Sugars 66g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 156mg 778%
Calcium 72mg 6%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 641mg 14%
*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.)

Lemonade is a beloved refreshment, and for good reason. It's the perfect balance of sweet and tart, making it extremely refreshing on a hot day. It's also very easy to make at home, requiring only three basic ingredients and a few minutes of your time. You'll never reach for bottled lemonade at the store again—nevermind the powdered and frozen stuff.

This recipe makes one pitcher of lemonade or about six servings. It's easy to scale it up or down depending on the size of your party. Feel free to adjust the sugar to make a more or less sweet lemonade, and enjoy it as-is or mix it into iced tea, punch, or even mixed drinks. Serve homemade lemonade at your next barbecue, pool party, or picnic to thirsty guests of all ages. It's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 6 cups cold water, divided

  • 5 to 8 lemons (1 cup of juice)

  • Lemon slices or fresh mint, garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Homemade Lemonade ingredients

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  2. In a medium (2- or 3-quart) saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water.

    sugar and water in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.

    sugar dissolved in water in a pot

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe container like a jar. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the simple syrup while you make the rest of the lemonade.

    simple syrup in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. Juice the lemons and strain the juice. You want 1 cup of fresh lemon juice.

    Juice the lemons over a strainer

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. In a pitcher, add the lemon juice to the remaining 5 cups of cold water.

    lemon juice and water in a pitcher

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  7. Stir in the refrigerated simple syrup.

    simple syrup added to the water and lemon juice mixture in the pitcher

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  8. Serve in ice-filled glasses, garnishing with lemon slices or fresh mint, and enjoy.

    Homemade Lemonade in glasses

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store lemonade in a covered container (such as a bottle) in the fridge for up to 5 days. If making ahead, aim for mixing up your lemonade up to a day before for the freshest lemon flavor.
  • You can freeze leftover lemonade in an airtight, freezer-safe container, leaving an inch of headroom. It will last for up to 6 months.
  • Try freezing lemonade in an ice tray. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and use as a flavorful way to cool down iced tea, water, or even more lemonade.

Tips

  • Always use fresh lemons for lemonade, not bottled juice.
  • If you're making a small amount of lemonade, you can simply squeeze the lemons by hand. Roll the whole fruit on the counter first, slice in half, and squeeze over a strainer. Reamers and juicers are good options for squeezing several lemons.
  • You can make the simple syrup for lemonade up to a week or two ahead of time and stash it in the fridge. Consider making extra for use in iced coffee and tea, cocktails, and more.

Recipe Variations

  • You can easily adjust the sweetness of the lemonade by adding less sugar. For a little more pucker, start with 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar.
  • You can also adjust the strength by adding less water. If you think you'd like a stronger lemonade or plan on adding lots of ice, try adding 3 or 4 cups of water to the juice and simple syrup and taste.
  • To make this refined sugar-free, make the simple syrup using 1 1/2 cups honey to 1 cup water. Or replace the sugar with a cup-for-cup sugar substitute.
  • If using Meyer lemons, you may want to reduce the sugar a bit since they aren't quite as tart.
  • Make a sparkling lemonade by swapping half of the water for sparkling water.
  • Add fresh fruit to make watermelon lemonade and blueberry lemonade.
  • Add herbs or spices to make ginger lemonade and lavender lemonade.
  • You can also add alcohol to lemonade to make spiked lemonade or use it to make mixed drinks like a refreshing shandy.