Homemade Lemonade

Fresh Lemons and Lemonade
jeff giniewicz/Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
209 Calories
0g Fat
55g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 209
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 1g
Calcium 44mg 3%
*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.)

Lemons, sugar, water. That's it. Homemade lemonade is easy, delicious, and endlessly customizable. The key to perfect lemonade every time is taking those few extra minutes to make a simple syrup, in which sugar is completely dissolved in water by heating it. This keeps the sugar from sinking to the bottom of the pitcher or your glass.

This recipe yields about 3 cups of lemonade—that's two to four servings depending on how big your glasses are. Feel free to double, triple, and beyond if you have a thirsty crowd to quench or a lemonade stand to supply.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Put the sugar and 1/2 cup of the water in a small saucepan. Heat to a simmer and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a measuring cup or metal bowl to let cool. If you're in a hurry, nestle the metal bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. This is the simple sugar syrup.

  3. Combine the lemon juice, 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup, and the remaining water. Stir (or roll) to combine and taste. Add more sugar syrup to taste. Serve over ice, of course.

  4. Enjoy!


  • You can make your lemons release more juice by warming and tenderizing them before cutting and squeezing. The lemons should be at room temperature, or you can give them a few seconds in the microwave for gentle heating. Then roll them firmly against the counter or cutting board.

Recipe Variations

  • Mix the citrus flavors: Use 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup of other citrus juice, such as Meyer lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit juice. Or, try "pioneer lemonade" with 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
  • Intensify it: Use 2 cups of water, 1 cup lemon juice, and 1 cup simple syrup to produce 4 cups of lemonade that is more concentrated.
  • More lemon, more flavor: Cut off or grate the zest (the thin bright yellow outer part of the peel) of the lemon and add the zest to the sugar and water while you make the syrup. Let the zest sit in the syrup while it cools. This will infuse the syrup with lemon flavor. Strain the syrup before mixing with the lemon juice.
  • Add some fruit: Mash strawberriescherries, raspberries, peach, or nectarine to add. They need to be very ripe for the best flavor and ease in crushing them.
  • Give it a ginger kick: Swirl in some fresh ginger—peel off the thin beige skin and use a fine grater for an intense ginger flavor or simply add a thin slice or two to each glass for a subtle ginger twist.
  • Herbs are your friends: Muddle in a few mint leaves, use a rosemary sprig to stir everything together (watch out, rosemary flavor can get intense), or add a fresh basil leaf to each glass to add a decidedly grown-up edge to a glass of the cool stuff.
  • Make it sparkle: Use sparkling water instead of regular water for a lovely bit of refreshing fizz.
  • Go the cocktail route: Add a shot of gin, vodka, tequila, or rum to each glass to make an instant hard lemonade. Herbs such as mint or basil also go well with a lemonade cocktail.
  • Try a different sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, or molasses can be used instead of granulated sugar to give lemonade a deeper, more complex flavor.