Cranberry Limeade


Zesty homemade limeade recipe with a bit of cranberry juice for added flavor and color.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Once in awhile, Trader Joe’s has a great deal on limes; you can get a whole one pound bag for 99 cents. I’ll buy a bag with the best of intentions to put them to good use, but then most recipes that use lime only call for one. Not the 10 that are in the bag.

Unfortunately, limes don’t have the shelf life that we enjoy with lemons. A lime’s peel turns yellow and then brown fairly quickly, and limes tend to dry out sooner than you would expect (compared to lemons).

Here is a zesty summer drink you can easily make with those extra limes. Limeade itself can be rather tart (though alone it is still one of my favorite drinks); adding a bit of cranberry juice, sour cherry, or pomegranate juice, can take the edge off the lime while adding another dimension of flavor. I’m thinking this one would also make a great juice popsicle too!

Cranberry Limeade Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about one quart


  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4-8 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice (if you use sweetened cranberry juice, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe a little bit)
  • Simple syrup made with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water
  • An additional 1 1/2 cups water
  • Ice


1 Make simple syrup: Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil so that the sugar is completely dissolved, and remove from heat.

If you want an added zing to your limeade, zest a couple of the limes before juicing and add the zest to the sugar water while it's heating. Once the syrup has cooled, strain out the zest with a fine mesh strainer before using.

2 Juice the limes: While your simple syrup is cooling, juice the limes.

3 Add lime juice, cranberry juice, 1 1/2 cups of cold water, the simple syrup, and a few ice cubes to a serving pitcher. Depending on when and how the limeade is to be served, and how strong you want it, you can add more ice and water.

For example, if you want to serve it right away, and it is still a bit warm from the hot simple syrup, add lots of ice.

If it has had a chance to cool down and chill in the refrigerator, but is still too strong, add a bit more water until the strength is to your preference.

If the cranberry limeade is too sweet for your taste, add some more lime juice and water until you reach your desired level of sweetness, and use less sugar the next time you make it.

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Showing 4 of 11 Comments / Reviews

  • Anonymous

    I would like to put the limes I got to good use. This would be nice. However can you substitute something for the sugar? 1/2 cup sugar and ?


  • Elise

    Hi Anonymous – Personally, if I were to substitute some of the sugar with anything, it would be either stevia, agave nectar, or honey. Honey will change the flavor a bit, as it has its own pronounced flavor.

  • Andy

    This is really good! I just whipped up a batch. I ended up using 3 limes and one lemon as that was what I had on hand. Really good idea with adding the zest to the simple syrup.

  • lydia

    I learned from my husband’s aunt who lives in Mexico, and has several lime trees in her yard, to squeeze the lime juice as soon as I bring home that big Costco bag, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then it’s ready for limeade, or something more potent, whenever you want it.

  • tannaz

    Throw in some tequila and fresh mint and then let’s talk! El Carmen, the local tequila bar near my apartment, has a drink they call the Mexito. It’s a take on a mojito, but with tequila instead of rum, and a bit of cranberry juice. Quite delicious.

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