Perfect Lemonade

How doesn't love a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day? Here's our easy method for perfect lemonade every time, with simple syrup and fresh lemon juice.

A pitcher of Perfect Lemonade with ice

Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

Lemonade: sugar, water, lemon juice. Easy, right?

The Secret to Making Sure the Sugar Dissolves

Well, the problem is that if you just stir all of these together the sugar will sink to the bottom. So the best way to make lemonade is to make a simple syrup first, by heating water and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then mix that with the lemon juice.

The proportions will vary depending on how sweet and strong you like your lemonade, and how sour your lemons are to begin with. Late season lemons are less sour than early season lemons. Meyer lemons are sweeter than standard lemons.

A glass and pitcher of lemonade from scratch

Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

Sweeten Your Lemonade to Your Taste

Start with the proportions of 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of lemon juice. Reduce the sugar amount if you are using Meyer lemons or if you like your lemonade less sweet. (I usually use 3/4 cup of sugar.)

Make the simple syrup, combine with the lemon juice, and then add more water (and ice) to dilute the lemonade to your taste.

Simple syrup you can easily make ahead and chill for later use. If you have a bunch of lemons you need to process, you can juice them and freeze the juice too.


Watch This Perfect Lemonade Recipe

Refreshing Drinks for All Ages

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Perfect Lemonade

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 6 servings

For more intense lemon flavor, grate the zest from one fresh lemon and add the zest to the simple syrup as you are making it. Once the sugar has dissolved in the water remove from heat and let the zest seep in the simple syrup for several minutes, then strain out the zest when you add the simple syrup to the lemon juice.


  • 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)

  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 to 3 cups cold water, to dilute


  1. Make the simple syrup:

    Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir so that the sugar dissolves completely and remove from heat.

    Making simple syrup for homemade Lemonade

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

  2. Juice the lemons:

    While the water is heating for the simple syrup, juice your lemons. Depending on the size of the lemons, 4 to 6 of them should be enough for 1 cup of juice.

    Juicing fresh lemons for a Lemonade recipe

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

  3. Mix the lemonade:

    Pour the juice and the simple syrup sugar water into a serving pitcher. Add 2 to 3 cups of cold water and taste. Add more water if you would like it to be more diluted (though note that when you add ice, it will melt and naturally dilute the lemonade).

    If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

    Mixing simple syrup, water, and lemon juice to make a lemonade recipe

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

  4. Chill and serve:

    Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

    Serve with ice and sliced lemons.

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    A glass of Perfect Lemonade on a summer day

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
104 Calories
0g Fat
27g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 104
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 6mg 29%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 45mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.