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.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
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.
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
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
- Make Simple Syrup – simmer 1 cup water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to dissolve the sugar. Cool to room temperature and chill.
- Squeeze 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice and refrigerate.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course! This is the perfect recipe for a lemonade stand or even a summer barbecue.
What to Serve with Lemonade
Lemonade is delicious on its own, but also compliments these delicious recipes:
- Grilled Hamburgers
- Cheeseburger Sliders
- Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Pulled Pork Recipe
- Avocado Corn Salad
- Blueberry Pie Recipe
- 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.
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:
- Iced Tea Recipe
- Cherry Lemonade
- Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade
- Cranberry Pineapple Punch
- Brazilian Lemonade
- Raspberry Sherbet Party Punch
- 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)
- 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.