There’s nothing like a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. Making homemade lemonade might seem as easy as 1-2-3, but throwing some lemon juice, water, and sugar into a pitcher is not going to make splendid lemonade — the sugar will just sink to the bottom. That’s why most folks stick to canned mixes or premade juices. But, here’s the thing: Homemade lemonade is actually easy to make! All you need to do is prepare a simple syrup — and our recipe will show you how.
Easy Homemade Lemonade
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup lemon juice (4-6 lemons at room temperature)
- 2 1/2 cups cold water (to dilute the lemonade)
- ice cubes (optional)
- small saucepan
- wooden spoon
- juicer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
- plastic or splashguard (optional)
- sieve (optional)
- small bowl (optional)
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar and water to create a simple syrup. Bring to a simmer. Using a wooden spoon, stir the syrup to help the sugar dissolve more quickly, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Set it aside.
As the water and sugar are heating, wash and dry the lemons. Massage the lemons on a hard surface to soften the pulp.
Juice the lemons using either a juicer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. If you use a juicer, slice the lemons in half lengthwise in order to extract more juice. Juice the lemons until you have 1 cup of juice.
If you use a stand mixer, cut your lemons into quarters. Toss the quartered lemons into the bowl of the stand mixer. Place plastic or a splash guard on the bowl. Mix the lemons until the juice has been extracted from them. Pour the lemon juice through a sieve into a small bowl. Discard the lemon seeds and pulp.
Combine the lemon juice and the simple syrup in a pitcher. Pour in cold water to taste — more can be added later. Adding ice will naturally dilute the lemonade.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Room-temperature lemons help soften the pulp, making it easier to juice.
If the lemonade is too sweet, add a little more lemon juice to it. If the lemonade is sour, add a bit of sugar to it.
A Not-So-Basic Lemonade
Classic lemonade will always be summer’s best sip, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change things up a bit. Here are some tasty ideas for a not-so-basic lemonade.
- Add strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries to your lemonade. Simply purée the fruit in a food processor and blend it into the lemonade. You can add the fruit whole for some lovely pops of color.
- To make pink lemonade, add cranberry juice until you achieve the desired color.
- Spruce up your lemonade by incorporating herbs such as basil, rosemary, lavender, or mint into your simple syrup. Add the herbs to the dissolved sugar water; then cover the saucepan and allow the sugar water to sit for 30 minutes. Pour the sugar water through a sieve to remove the herbs, and then pour the water into a pitcher.
- Make a splash with frozen lemonade vodka pops made from our delicious homemade lemonade. Don’t want to wait for your lemonade to freeze for some boozy fun? Just stir in a cup of your favorite wine or spirit, such as vodka, bourbon, rum, or sparkling wine.
This summer, try your hand at making easy homemade lemonade, and live life to your tastes by creating new and exciting flavors.