This is lemonade for grown-ups. Not because it has alcohol in it but because we’re using the whole lemon in this recipe—zest, pith, and all.
Using the whole lemon adds a bit of bitterness to that classic sweet-and-sour blend. It has the intensity of a state-fair-style lemonade, which often uses the zest to increase the lemon flavor. But because the whole lemon is blended with the sugar and water, it’s more complex, which is super refreshing on a hot day.
Just trim and seed the lemon, and then let your blender do all the work! Serve over ice for a lemonade that’s light-years from the powdered stuff.
Choosing the Right Lemons Is Key
When you make most lemonades, you’re after the citrus juice. But this recipe calls for the whole—seeded—lemon to be tossed in the blender. So, knowing which lemon is the best lemon will make the refreshing sweet, sour, bitter drink you’re after.
- Selecting thin-skinned lemons is key. Thin-skinned lemons are generally smooth and easy to squeeze.
- If the lemon is hard, it likely has a lot of pith, which will tip the lemonade from pleasantly bitter to grossly bitter.
- If you can find organic lemons, you might feel a little safer consuming the peel.
- If organic is not an option, that’s fine. Just give it a good washing under warm water to remove any wax or contaminants.
- Mind the shape of the lemon. The more round and self-contained it is, the better.
- If your lemons have a nubby, pointy end, which will be only pith, you can trim them (or not!) to control the bitterness.
- If you can only find craggy, thick-skinned lemons, just trim the ends of the lemon so you can get rid of any extra pith.
Blend and Strain Your Whole Lemon Lemonade Well
You don’t have to have a high-speed blender for this drink; you just have to make sure that the large chunks are well blended.
The blender extracts a lot of flavor but you will end up with pulp that needs to be strained out to achieve the expected lemonade consistency.
You can toss the pulp if you choose, but you can also spoon it into an ice cube tray and freeze it to pop into smoothies or frozen cocktails (like daiquiris) later.
Serve the Blender Lemonade Solo or as a Mixer
If you want play around but keep it alcohol-free:
- Go fifty-fifty with iced tea for an Arnold Palmer.
- Add a splash of sparkling water—flavored or not.
- Use it in a smoothie with berries or other citrus.
If you want a little booze, this is a great mixer—it’s like adding citrus and bitters all at once:
- Add a little gin and club soda, and you have a bold Tom Collins.
- Try mint and tequila for a Lemon Mojito vibe.
- Mix with bourbon for an easy Whiskey Sour.
This lemonade is fairly small-batch, so you don’t overflow your blender. But if you have any leftover, store it in a pitcher or container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
As the strained lemonade sits, it will separate. A quick shake or stir will bring it back together nicely.
More Ways to Make Lemonade
Blended Whole Lemon Lemonade
- 3 thin-skinned lemons (3 to 3 1/2 ounces each)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups cold water, divided
- Ice, for serving
Prep the lemons and add to blender:
Wash the lemons to remove any waxy coating. Trim the hard stem end; cut the lemons into quarters and remove the seeds. Cut the quarters into large chunks. Add to blender.
If your lemon has thicker skin, or if the blossom end is thick, trim it to reduce bitterness.
Add water and sugar and blend:
Add the sugar and 3 cups water to the carafe of a blender. Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Strain the lemonade over a pitcher using a fine-mesh sieve. Use a silicone spatula to press the pulp against the strainer and wring out the remaining juice. You could discard the pulp, if you’d like.
Mix in remaining water and serve:
Add the remaining 1 cup of water and stir to combine. Serve lemonade over ice.