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This easy homemade lemonade says summer with three ingredients and plenty of fresh flavors. It doesn’t require cooking a simple syrup.  It is quick, delicious, and refreshing – a summer crowd pleaser!

Homemade Lemonade with real lemons in a glass pitcher

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What makes this the Best Lemonade Recipe

Nothing says summer better than a tall, cool glass of lemonade. Most store-bought pre-made lemonade is too sugary or has a weird taste with not enough fresh citrus flavor. This recipe combines the right ratio of bright lemon flavor and sweetness to create the best lemonade recipe. It’s so refreshingperfect drink on a hot summer day! Freshly squeezed lemon juice elevates the flavor to another level. And mashing the lemons together with sugar provides just the right amount of sweetness and maximizes the lemon’s flavor: The sugar crystals absorb the intense flavor of the fragrant citrus oils in the lemon peel.

This recipe for homemade lemonade with lemon juice is also very easy to make – no need to turn on the cooktop and make a simple syrup, and then wait for it to cool off a little bit (you don’t want to pour the hot simple syrup into a glass pitcher because the glass will shatter). All you need is a mixing bowl and a potato masher or a wooden spoon to mash the lemons. This is not only quick to make but also makes the most flavorful lemonade.

homemade lemonade recipe served in glasses on a wooden tray

Best Homemade Lemonade ingredients

You need only 3 ingredients to make this fresh homemade lemonade

  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sweetener of choice
  • water

The most important part of making a good lemonade is to use the right ratio of lemon juice, sugar, and water. My perfect ratio is 8 – 2 – 8 (8 lemons, 2 cups sugar, 8 cups water). As written, this lemonade has the perfect amount of sweetness for me, but it goes without saying that you could adjust the sweetness, lemon flavor, or water quantity. Some people prefer not overly sweet or slightly bitter lemonade, that’s why it’s best to adjust the water quantity to your preference. But if you follow this recipe, you won’t end up with a bitter or super sweet lemonade that will make it impossible for people to drink and enjoy. Steps for the best lemonade recipe:

How to make Homemade Lemonade

  1. Thoroughly wash the lemons with soap and warm water, especially if you are mashing them whole with the skin.
  2. Roll each lemon with the palm of your hand, pressing down as you do.
  3. Cut the lemons into slices and add them to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add sweetener and mash the lemons for a couple of minutes until the lemon juices and the sweetener blend together.
  5. Strain the liquid (2 cups), and add 8 cups of water to a glass pitcher.
close up shot of lemonade ub a glass pitcher

Best Homemade Lemonade Recipe tips

  • For best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice from real lemons, not store-bought bottled lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t taste as good as lemon juice from fresh lemons. It usually has some things added to it and the flavor is not quite right. It’s definitely better to make your homemade lemonade with real lemons.
  • When purchasing lemons, choose large ones that give to gentle pressure; avoid lemons that still have some green spots. Hard lemons have thicker skin and yield less juice.
  • Also, if possible use Meyer lemons – they are sweeter and juicier than other lemon varieties. They make an amazing lemonade with a delicious sweet flavor. They are usually in season in the winter and spring months.
  • To extract the most lemon juice,  before you cut them, roll each lemon over your cutting board with the palm of your hand, pressing down as you do. This will help them to release their juice.
  • For a fuller, more complex lemon flavor, macerate lemon slices with the sugar in a bowl, and store them in the fridge for about 30 minutes if possible. Mashing the lemon slices with sugar (or your choice of sweetener) helps to extract the oils in the lemon peel and adds more of the fragrant citrus flavor.
lemonade - with a pitcher and glasses

How to make sugar-free homemade lemonade

You can make a healthy sugar-free lemonade by substituting the sugar with a natural sweetener. You can use honey, stevia, or monk fruit to make a healthy homemade lemonade without sugar. Homemade lemonade with honey tastes just as good as old-fashioned homemade lemonade.

homemade lemonade in a glass pitcher with lemons

How to store this Fresh Lemonade Recipe

Refrigerator: You can store freshly made lemonade in the fridge for up to 7 days (but I guarantee it won’t last that long!)

Freezer: You can also freeze the lemon juice concentrate in freezer safe containers (like freezer gallon ziplock bags, or souper cubes) for up to 5 – 6 months for best flavor. You can make lemonade anytime, just allow the mixture to thaw and add it to a pitcher. Add water, to taste, until you reach your desired sweetness.

Don’t forget to pin this fresh lemonade recipe on your ‘Summer Recipes’ board on Pinterest.

Homemade Lemonade with real lemons
5 from 23 votes

Homemade Lemonade Recipe

This easy homemade lemonade says summer with three ingredients and plenty of fresh flavors. It doesn’t require cooking a simple syrup. It is quick, delicious, and refreshing – a summer crowd pleaser!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10 cups

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Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Wash lemons thoroughly with soap or vegetable spray, and warm water. Roll lemons firmly on a hard surface until they become soft. This will help them to release their juice.
  • Slice the lemons. Mash the lemon slices and the sugar in a large bowl, using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved. If you have time you can chill the mashed lemons and sugar mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This will help the sugar and the lemon juices to combine and for better flavor.
  • Strain the sugar-lemon mixture into a glass measuring cup, and measure 2 cups. If you have less than 2 cups, juice some more lemon juice.
  • Add the 2 cups lemon-sugar mixture to a pitcher and add 8 cups water. Stir the lemonade, taste it to make sure it’s not too sweet for you. Add more water if necessary.
  • Pour in the lemonade in glasses! Garnish each glass with sliced lemons.
  • Store lemonade in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

  • For best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice from real lemons, not store-bought bottled lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t taste as good as lemon juice from fresh lemons. It usually has some things added to it and the flavor is not quite right. It’s definitely better to make your homemade lemonade with real lemons.
  • When purchasing lemons, choose large ones that give to gentle pressure; avoid lemons that still have some green spots. Hard lemons have thicker skin and yield less juice.
  • Also, if possible use Meyer lemons – they are sweeter and juicier than other lemon varieties. They make an amazing lemonade with a delicious sweet flavor. They are usually in season in the winter and spring months.
  • To extract the most lemon juice,  before you cut them, roll each lemon over your cutting board with the palm of your hand, pressing down as you do. This will help them to release their juice.
  • For a fuller, more complex lemon flavor, macerate lemon slices with the sugar in a bowl, and store them in the fridge for about 30 minutes if possible. Mashing the lemon slices with sugar (or your choice of sweetener) helps to extract the oils in the lemon peel and adds more of the fragrant citrus flavor.
* After you mash the lemons according to the recipe instructions, you should get 2 cups of lemon juice. If you are using smaller lemons, you would need between 8-10 lemons. 
As written, this lemonade has the perfect amount of sweetness for me, but it goes without saying that you could adjust the sweetness or lemon flavor to taste.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 51.5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Neli Howard

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Neli Howard and the food blogger behind Delicious Meets Healthy. I started Delicious Meets Healthy in 2014 while working in public accounting. While everything I did at work was very analytical and detail oriented, I have enjoyed cooking because I get to use my creativity and experiment with flavors and textures of different foods.

5 from 23 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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