This Lemonade recipe is so refreshing and timeless. You won’t believe how easy it is to make with just 2 ingredients! Once you try homemade lemonade, it will spoil you forever.

If you’re wondering what to do with lemons, making lemonade is our favorite way to use freshly-squeezed lemon juice along with our Lemon Bars and Easy Lemon Curd.

homemade lemonade in mason jars with lemon slices

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Perfect Lemonade

This lemonade recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. We’re sharing our favorite proportions of sugar to lemon juice, but you can add more sugar or more lemon juice to taste.

This is the perfect base recipe to use for so many lemonade varieties. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the variations below. Our favorite is pink lemonade, which is actually Strawberry Lemonade.

Simple Syrup Makes the Best Lemonade

Simple syrup is a thick and sweet syrup used to sweeten a variety of different drinks. Why is this important for lemonade? If you just stir the sugar into cold water, it will sink to the bottom and won’t dissolve. We promise it’s quick and so worth it!

The simple syrup really is the secret to the perfect lemonade recipe, and it allows you to adjust the sweetness of the mixture to your liking. Just add the syrup slowly to the freshly squeezed lemon juice, and then taste test to find the right balance.

a pitcher of lemonade made with fresh squeezed lemons

Ingredients

This simple recipe perfectly balances the sour and sweet flavors of freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar. After one sip, you’ll see why homemade lemonade is better than store-bought every time.

  • Sugar – we prefer using organic sugar to make the simple syrup and sweeten the lemonade. If you want to substitute for a different sweetener, see the variations below.
  • Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed lemon juice is ideal, and you’ll need 6-8 lemons depending on the size, but store-bought lemon juice could work in a pinch
Lemons, sugar and water combine to make this iconic and refreshing summer drink

Pro Tip: Use room-temperature lemons to make juicing easier. Then, roll the lemon firmly on the counter before cutting to help release juices.

How to Buy Lemons

When you’re shopping for lemons, here is what to look for to ensure you are getting the juiciest lemons:

  • Size – look for smaller to medium-sized fruit.
  • Color – a bright yellow color is a good indicator of ripeness.
  • Texture – the skin should be wrinkle-free and firm but with a slight give. Then, when you pick it up, the lemon will feel heavy for its size.

The Best Lemons for Lemonade

Plain lemons which are known as Lisbon lemons are the best for homemade lemonade and are easy to find year-round in the grocery store and give a more traditional sour flavor to the drink.

Note: Meyer Lemons are sweeter than other varieties, so cut back on how much simple syrup you use in the mixture so the lemonade has a balanced sour and sweet flavor.

Pro Tip: Store lemons on the counter for up to 10 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a month. You can also juice the lemons immediately and store the juice in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for 3-4 months.

How to Make Lemonade

All you need to make this recipe is a great lemon juicer, a saucepan, and a pitcher. If you don’t have a lemon juicer, use a fork to break up the membrane and release more juice.

  1. Make Simple Syrup – simmer 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to dissolve the sugar. Cool to room temperature and chill.
  2. Squeeze 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice and refrigerate.
  3. To serve – combine 7 cups cold water, chilled sugar syrup, and chilled lemon juice. Serve over glasses filled with ice and garnish with lemon slices.
Step by step instructions for making simple syrup with just water and sugar

Pro Tip: Get even more lemon flavor by adding the zest of a lemon to the sugar and water when creating the simple syrup. Avoid the white pith of the lemon skins which can make it bitter and remember to strain the zest out before adding to the lemon juice.

Variations

This base lemonade recipe is delicious and versatile! Here are a few ideas on how to put your own spin on the recipe:

  • Fruit Purees– raspberry, strawberry, and peach would be delicious
  • Agave or honey – these will work as a substitute for sugar with a slightly different taste
  • Herbs – add mint, lavender, or even rosemary to the final mixture
  • Soda water – get a bubbly twist on lemonade using sparkling water
  • Iced Tea – mix equal parts lemonade and unsweetened iced tea for an Arnold Palmer

Pro Tip: Add lemon juice ice cubes along with regular ice cubes when serving to keep the lemonade from being diluted when the ice melts.

Common Questions

Is lemonade good for you?

Homemade lemonade is a sweet drink, but it’s certainly better than store-bought concentrate. You can add less of the simple sugar to cut down on calories and carbs. This lemonade is also high in Vitamin C as each glass has about the equivalent of 1 juiced lemon. Read the nutrition label below to get a full calorie count per serving.

Can I make lemonade without simple syrup?

Sugar is difficult to dissolve in cold water. While you can make lemonade without a simple syrup, you may have crunchy sugar crystals in your drink. The Syrup isn’t hard to make, and it’s so worth it.

Can I double this lemonade recipe?

Of course! This is the perfect recipe for a lemonade stand or even a summer barbecue.

Homemade Lemonade recipe over ice with lemon rounds and mason jars

What to Serve with Lemonade

Lemonade is delicious on its own, but also compliments these delicious recipes:

Make-Ahead

  • Refrigerate: Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. The simple syrup and lemon juice will also keep separately refrigerated for the same time.
  • Freezing: Freeze the simple syrup and lemon juice separately, or mix them together before freezing as a substitute for store-bought lemonade concentrate.
  • Thaw: allow frozen lemonade to defrost in the refrigerator and serve over ice.
Lemonade in pitcher with lemon slices

Homemade lemonade will never go out of style. It’s a real treat in summer. Next step? Stock up on lemons and satisfy that craving.

Refreshing Summer Drinks

As temperatures climb, we stay hydrated and keep cool with these crisp, bubbly, and flavorful summer drink recipes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Lemonade Recipe

4.97 from 76 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Lemonade served in a carafe with yellow towel and lemon rounds
Lemonade is so refreshing and timeless. You won’t believe how easy it is to make lemonade. Once you try homemade lemonade, it will spoil you forever.
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 people
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water, (cold), plus 7 cups to serve
  • 1 1/2 cups Lemon Juice , (from 8 medium or 6 large lemons)

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water with 1 1/2 cups sugar. Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. Transfer to a mason jar, cover and refrigerate until ready serving.
  • Squeeze 1 1/2 cups lemon juice. Transfer to a mason jar and refrigerate up to 2 weeks until ready to make lemonade.
  • To make the full batch of lemonade, pour 7 cups cold water into a pitcher, add the 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice and 1 1/2 cups chilled sugar syrup and stir to combine. You can also add the lemon juice and sugar syrup to taste. Add ice to glasses when serving.

Nutrition Per Serving

155kcal Calories41g Carbs1g Protein1g Fat1g Saturated Fat2mg Sodium47mg Potassium1g Fiber39g Sugar17.7mg Vitamin C3mg Calcium
Nutrition Facts
Lemonade Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
155
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
1
g
2
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Sodium
 
2
mg
0
%
Potassium
 
47
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
41
g
14
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
39
g
43
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin C
 
17.7
mg
21
%
Calcium
 
3
mg
0
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade lemonade, lemonade, lemonade recipe
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 155

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Comments

  • Faith Lewis
    May 23, 2024

    I have been watching you since the beginning. I love you and your family. Your kids are getting so big God bless you continue your success.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 24, 2024

      Thank you for your love and support, it means a lot to us!

      Reply

  • Margaret G
    May 18, 2024

    Walmart has seedless lemons. They seem to keep longer than regular grocery store lemons. My next lemonade will made using your method. Also I would like to thank you for adding the print versions of the video recipes. Sometimes I am ready to make something and dont have time for videos.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 18, 2024

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Carolina
    May 12, 2024

    Hi Natasha 😀 i really like to come here and read recipes and get inspired! I’m from Brazil living in Norway. In Brazil we do mix sugar in the water to make lemon, we actually bled the whole fruit in water and sugar, but one thing catch me here is make ahead lemon juice since I know the juice gets bitter after not to long time seriously 10-15 min after its has been prepared. Do you have any tips on that? The bitter taste after the just being squeezed? Thank you for always come with nice recipes and ideas and inspire us all.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 13, 2024

      Hi Carolina, the bitterness comes from the white pith of the lemon peel. If the pith is in the lemonade, it will have a bitter taste.

      Reply

  • unicornlover
    May 7, 2024

    I love lemonade!! Also I love how you can change the serving size, how high does it go!?!?!?

    Reply

  • L
    April 25, 2024

    Everything you want in a simple, classic lemonade. I prefer to dilute mine just a little more, but the ratio of tart to sweet is perfect.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 26, 2024

      Thank you for your great comments and feedback!

      Reply

  • Kathy
    April 23, 2024

    Delicious! I will definitely be making this a lot this summer. Thanks! 🍋

    Reply

  • Erica Curtis
    April 10, 2024

    Wow! Way better than regular lemonade thanks for sharing this recipe! I have been a fan for months great stuff!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 10, 2024

      You’re very welcome, Erica!

      Reply

  • Kim Simpson
    August 27, 2023

    I have read the recipe, and re-read it two more times. I only see the initial 1/2 c. sugar added to the water to make the syrup. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 c. sugar. Am I missing something?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 28, 2023

      Hi Kim, You can check this part of the recipe “Make Simple Syrup – simmer 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to dissolve the sugar. Cool to room temperature and chill.”

      Reply

      • Kim Simpson
        August 30, 2023

        Ah! The “1” was displayed on the previous line on my phone so I missed it. Thanks!!

        Reply

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