Perfect Lemonade

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.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cups cold water (to dilute)


1 Make "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.

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 one cup of juice.

3 Combine lemon juice, simple syrup, water: 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.

4 Chill: Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.

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  • Lisa Gehman

    Wow! This is sooooo good! I live on lemonade. It is all I drink. This will become a regular drink in my house from now on. This recipe made a little under a quart. I am going to double it next time to make 2 quarts.


  • Bella

    I would put how much Lemonade you are going to make so we know if we want to make more or less


  • Johnnybuoy4

    This is a great recipe I’ve made many times. However, I use Splenda Instead of sugar which helps With the calories and dissolves easily in plain hot water from the tap. I also don’t want it tasting too sugary so I add it to the mixture afterwards to taste. Delicious and refreshing.


  • Marsha

    I have shared this recipe with friends who have loved it! A hint from one of them said they purchased Caster Sugar for their sugar because it dissolves so well. Grands visiting next week.
    Always make a point of baking with them. This time showing them the joys of Summertime Lemonade!


  • ron

    very good taste great temperature reached 103 this week nice thirst quencher :)


  • Margaret Francis

    Great. My granddaughter loved and asked for the recipe. Delicious!!!!!!!


  • Upama Bose

    It’s simple , easy to make , very fast ,useful drink for someone who is in hurry and wants to maintain weight and hydration. I’m a fan of lemonade and drink this whenever I get home.


  • Donna

    This is the best recipe ever. Perfect. Definitely recommend it- and store bought does not hold a candle to the freshness, the pulp, and the taste!


  • Peter Krastins

    This is the best lemonade I might have ever tasted! I bet you could sell this at a famous fair for 10.00 dollars! I really like it and should get the chance to do so too. This is very easy to make and is not too sweet or sour. But, I do recommend sticking this in a cold place like a fridge before drinking or it will not taste very good.


  • Craig

    This lemonade is absolutely delicious. Perfect for a hot summer day or night. Be good with some Vodka as well. But not something that’s needed by any stretch. The whole family loves it. First time making lemonade from scratch and it’s super easy. Way better then store bought lemonade. Definitely will make this often.


  • person who tried this lemondae

    It was really good and looked super pretty!


  • Stacie

    Very simple, and perfect! I’ll be making this all the time!


  • Traci

    This recipe is delicious.


  • Tiana

    It tasted DELICIOUS i will make it every week.

  • Ashley

    Loved it me and my step son made this together easy to do and taste beautiful always nice to do with family and now he knows hows to do it aswell


  • Grace

    Very simple. The texture was smooth and sweet


  • Finn

    Soooooo good

  • Donna

    I have never been a fan of lemonade in my life. I have never tasted a lemonade that even came close to perfection for me. I have also never made it myself. Not until today that is…and wow…I am now a fan of lemonade!!! This recipe is absolutely perfect and I was originally making it for my son and my husband but now I think I am going to make this a normal thing in our house for everyone. Thank you so much for this recipe that opened a door to a simple pleasure! This is the first recipe that I came upon and I made it exactly like the directions said to and I have to agree with many others: there is no need to search any further for the perfect recipe!!!


  • Jojo

    Made it exactly as the recipe. Wonderfully fresh. The sugar lemon ratio was perfect. Made it for a party with kids and adults and got all raves. Will definitely make again! Thanks!


  • Lisette Elise Paris

    Thank You! oxox

  • AnnieD

    Totally delicious, refreshing, wonderful!

  • Gayle

    Nice recipe…going to make a batch this afternoon. Will cut back on the sugar a bit tho, and definitely add some vodka!!

  • Anne

    I love this! I’m making a booth with this lemonade!!

  • Kayla

    Great lemonade going to make it again. Love it


  • Kelly

    Very good! Made it for the first time to serve at a party and everyone enjoyed!
    Will make again!


  • Helene

    Very easy recipe but a bit to sweet for my taste. But thank you for sharing


    • Peter Krastins

      Well, if you do not want it to be too sweet add water!

  • Maryn

    Delicious! I even cheated and used store bought lemon juice and it was still good and super easy. I will never do powdered lemonade again!


  • Sue

    My dozen lemons yielded 2 1/2 cus of juice, I made 2 batches of lemonade. The extra1/2 cup of juice went into the ice cubes. My daughter used them in her white wine. Delicious!

  • Ariana

    I had 3 lemons so, I added 1/3 cups of lemons BUT still, that was delicious! And easy too! ♡♡


  • Shelly


  • Lajoya

    I’m going to be making lemonade today after Skyping with granny!
    -Love from,

  • Rose Jeanne

    This tasted really good! Since I have a sweet tooth, I added even more sugar! :) Very pleased!!


  • shirley

    Great flavor. I had some extra lemon zest and juice from making lemon squares. Added the zest to the simple syrup on the stove. Then strained as I poured it in with the lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Came out perfect. Omitting the 3rd cup of water allows for the ice melt.

  • Elissa

    I lovr this recipe! I always add some raspberries and starwberrys (they just float at tbe top) to twist the flavor. Yummy!!

  • noobcooker

    Hey I have a question. I did the recipe for the second time (because first time was absolutely delicious) and it did something very weird this time, maybe I did it wrong. So I heat the syrup and mixed it directly with the lemon juice (I put it in a jar so I could shake it to mix better) and then I saw those big white bubbles appear like it was soap. I took the bubbles in my hand and it felt just like it was soap. Those that normally happens?

    • Elise Bauer

      That’s weird, but my guess only an issue if it tastes like soap. In that case my guess would be the jar had some residual soap in it.

      • noobcooker

        It does tastes very good haha.

      • Jean Wye

        I wonder if the problem is that you didn’t cool the syrup first.

  • Delphine J

    Wow that is really good !!! I ran out of Pepsi Max so had to find something to settle my sugar cravings after a long day of hard labour. All I had was lemon juice and omg I am glad I made it.

  • Angela Mihalski

    It is SO good. Thanks. We didn’t add any extra water to it, though. We just did the simple syrup and lemon juice. We like it sweet and sour, so, we just let the ice melt and thin it out a bit. I used 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water too, so, that helped. Enjoy!!

  • Mansimaran

    Hi I made now so delicous

  • Mc Bernard Ochea


    I would like to try making activated charcoal lemonade. Can you help me make the formulation using varieties of sweeteners such as Honey, Stevia, Agave and Dates syrup? serving for 1litre.

  • Klair

    This helped me with my science project

  • Lee

    Kc do you think Splenda is risk-free to use?
    I don’t believe those things containing Chlorine is PROPER to eat.

    • Shane

      No, I think it’s risky. I would use Stevia or sugar instead of Splenda.

  • Kim Hamilton

    Just made fresh lemonade for the first time. This recipe is delicious!! I used 3/4 cup of sugar and it is perfect! Great for summertime!

  • Misty

    We just made this tonight and loved it! This is a great lemonade recipe. For fun, we had different fruits, basil, and mint for people to choose from to make their unique cup. The simple syrup is a game changer.

  • Alex Campuzano

    I used ¼ of a cup of lemon juice with ¼ of a cup of orange juice and 2cups of water and ⅓ cups of granulated sugar with ½ of a cup of SunnyD and then mixed it then I threw 1cup of ice in a blender with about ⅔ of the lemonade and blended it until the ice was crushed and it tasted delicious

  • I used Splenda and it was splendid! 1 cup lemon juice (I used bottled) 1 cup of Splenda and 3 cup of cold water. PERFECT! And with Splenda no need to make a simple syrup it dissolve in cold water without issue.

  • Edgar

    This is really good! Thanks Elise

  • Anna

    How much lemonade does this recipe make? it doesn’t mention it. :)

    • Elise Bauer

      It makes 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups, depending on how much water you add.

  • enzo

    Can you substitute sugar with stevia?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Enzo, you won’t be able to make a simple syrup with stevia, but you could easily sweeten your lemonade with it. The taste is a little different from sugar though. If you try it, let us know how you like it!

      • Monica

        Why can’t you make a simple syrup with Stevia?

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Monica, stevia is a dried herb. On a molecular level it does not work the same way that pure sugar does.

  • Mary

    My daughters use this recipe when they set up their lemonade stand each summer. It is so popular two years ago they made enough money to buy an ipod touch and an ipad mini! After 8 years we are moving from our apartment complex and so this week, they will have their final lemonade stand set up. Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I’m sure our new neighborhood in Orangevale will love it as much as the Folsomites did! :)

  • Alonso

    As you simmer the sugar syrup, add a few leaves of mint and 5-6 thin pieces of the lemon peel. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Kevin

    As someone who tries to maximize food use, I usually zest the lemon to get that extra lemon flavor without the sourness and add that to my lemonade. I’ll also add a very crushed strawberries and garnish with mint or basil if I’m feeling fancy. Just make sure to leave the pith out of the lemonade (it makes it pulpy and bitter).

  • rita

    This is the recipe that introduced me to this site. I love all your posts and your family blog Elise! I now follow you on pinterest and never miss a recipe. Thank you for your wonderful insight on family cooking!

    • Elise Bauer

      Thank you for your kind words Rita, I’m so glad you like the recipes!

  • kharen

    how long does it last

    • Elise Bauer

      You mean in the fridge? Several days at least. 2 things can happen over time. You might notice some light bubbles developing as the lemonade starts to ferment. Mold rather quickly develops on citrus, so if you see that the lemonade is starting to develop mold, that’s when you need to toss it.

      • Cathy

        Mine never lasts long enough to spoil!

  • JeanBean

    We love tart lemonade, so we just put 1 cup for the syrup. This is our favorite, the best, and perfect lemonade recipe! I make this recipe year after year. Thank you!

    • JeanBean

      I meant 3/4 cup sugar, not 1 cup!

  • maran

    do we have to put sweet or sour lemon juice

    • Elise Bauer

      Sour lemon juice because you are making your own sugar water to add to the lemon juice.

  • Sam

    Hi there!
    I’m planning on trying this recipe sometime this week and I was wondering if using soda water to make it a bit fizzy would work at all? Or if it would take too much away from the favour?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sam, you can easily add soda water to the base of simple syrup and lemon juice to make it lightly bubbly.

  • Sophie v.

    Hey there! Sounds like a great receipt for the summer! gonna try it out soon! Though I have a question: Do I need to buy lemon juice from a store or do I just buy lemons? In the Ingredients list it said 1 cup of lemon juice, so can I buy lemons and press them to get lemon juice or should i buy lemon juice from a store?
    Would be great if you could answer soon!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sophie, we have lemon trees so we always make this with the lemons from our tree. That said, depending on where you are lemons can be rather expensive. So do what you want! If you have access to a good supply of fresh lemons, I would use those. If fresh lemons are prohibitively expensive and you can more affordably get lemon juice, use that. Fresh lemons are best of course.

  • AJ

    I found adding about 1/4 cup of Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice on top if this recipe gave it a special zing, much more complex flavor. Love this recipe, drink it all summer. :)

  • Aziha Mahmud

    when i used this method it tasted very nice…………… and very one in my family liked it ….

    • tiffany

      This is my first time ever making my own lemonade from scratch thanks for or recipes and its looking good so far lest tastes test are a must Cuz eveyone is different ….. Well iam checking my syrup now to c how ivw done i did… well my syrup is.. perfect now time to add the lemon juice i squeesed n sifted to get the paulp n seeds that were iam adding 4 cups of ice cold water to my 2 1/2 cups lemon juice .. woww sooooooooooooooooooooooo good thanks for this i love it my first gon was a success xoxxo i added a lil extra water and addded ectra slices of lemonds

  • Leah

    Well, I inadvertently learned how to make hard candy… haha. No need to boil the sugar way, way down into a thick syrup. And if you do, definitely don’t add it to the cold lemon water mixture right away!

    • Elise Bauer

      No, “simple syrup” is not syrupy. You only need to boil the water until the sugar dissolves.

  • Heather

    I could not be more satisfied with this!! I added a slice of orange too it is fabulos!

  • Karina Cole

    amazing lemonade thanks so much for the recipe, it was delicious (;

  • isaac

    it’s easy to make lemonade

    Indeed it is. ~Elise

  • Nicole LeBlanc

    We used Organic evaporated cane juice (from Costco) in place of white sugar and it turned out great!

  • Shedevil

    This reminds me of a rock candy recipe. The order of mixing sugar and water is VERY important. To grow rock candy crystals add sugar to hot water a little at a time.
    If you add water to the sugar you will get SUGAR SYRUP (very stubborn). No crystals will form unless all the water is boiled away.
    The difference is striking!

    • Just Me

      The difference is not in the order of adding sugar to water or water to sugar. Rather, it is the ratio of sugar to water.

      In a simple syrup, the ratio is either 1 : 1 sugar-to-water or a rich syrup of 2 : 1 sugar-to-water.

      For rock candy, the ratio is typically 3 : 1 sugar-to-water. The higher amount of sugar is unable to dissolve in a lower ratio of water.

      A tip for smooth simple syrup without crystallization forming is to use hot water, and whisk in sugar, as colder water holds less dissolved sugar than hot water does.

      However, in the case of lemon syrup, the acid from the lemons prevents crystallization altogether.

  • christy

    i used oranges also and cooked the juice with the syrup. should have used less sugar cause oranges were sweet but other than that it is great!

  • Deb

    Very nice! I just tried it. My daughter was craving lemonade. This was my first time making an entire pitcher of it homemade. Thank you!

  • Gabby

    My son and I just made this lemonade for his lemonade stand. It’s fantastic. He’s so proud of himself and he read the recipe too. I wrote it out with little pictures above each word. High fives all around here!

  • Ashley

    Lemonade is awsome with meyer lemons:)

  • nathan parrish

    the best i have ever had.

  • Toni

    Best lemonade I have ever had. Thanks a lot.

  • Tanya

    I tried this recipe because I had tons of lemons from our 2 lemon trees. The recipe doubles easy and is really quick to make. It’s also fun to get the get kids involved too. My little girl (5) can’t wait to make a batch (which is currently done every 2nd day). Thanks for a fantastic recipe

  • anita

    great recipe! and thanks for the tips on freezing :) I just wanted to mention that I also substitute grapefruit juice for the lemon juice sometimes and it’s delicious! sooo refreshing.

  • lemonsorbet

    hi, i’m 12 and i have tried this recipe- it’s brilliant! it’s practically my only perfect cooking achievement so far. I’m going to serve this at our barbecue. Thank you so much!

  • Shirinalzebari

    Made the lemon Juice and store it in the ice cube track, so now whenever I need to make a quick lemonade, just take the lemon iced, from the freezer and put it in the warm syrup, add the water and the Lemonade is ready, Thanks.

  • Vera

    Very simple to make but 1 cup, even 3/4 cup of sugar is way too sweet for me. I only use 1/2 cup and the sweetness/tartness is well balanced.

  • karla

    wow really nice my 5 year old daughter and I have just made this and yummy will be doing again thanks had to use lemon juice (JIF) natural strength as lemons are too expensive in rainy old England (70 pence for 1 small lemon) which we did use for decoration also added some peppermint extract really yummy 1 TSP

  • Melissa

    My husband made this for us this weeking using the above recipe and since we didn’t have a juicer we had a huge mess but I must say that it was worth it because the lemonade was fabulous! Will be making again…and again….with a juicer!

  • Amanda

    This recipe is simple and perfect. But after making delicious lemonade with this recipe multiple times, I decided to change it up a bit. I muddled a packed cup of basil leaves into the lemon juice and then strained it out. The basil added another dimension of flavor and my husband and I absolutely loved it.

  • Tara

    Wonderful recipe! I added a little extra cold water so it wasn’t so tart – everyone has their own taste preference. Also, I put some lemonade in an ice cube tray and froze it, will add this later, and it won’t dilute the drink!

  • Caroline M.

    This was my first time making “homemade” lemonade. It came out great, tart and sweet and soo simple to make the simple syrup is a good idea too. I have a customer that gives me free lemons so I will definately be making this again : )

  • Chris

    Made this lemonade on a really hot 90 degree day and it cooled me down perfectly!! :D thanks

  • Patrick M.

    Great recipe! But I tried something different that makes it even tastier; instead of just lemon juice, I used half lemon and half lime juice(Which is the equivalent of 3 lemons and 3 limes, and makes 1 cup of juice). I also used slightly less than 1 cup of sugar, and it was still very sweet. And I used only 3 cups of dissolving water. Any more would have diluted it too much in my opinion. Making the simple syrup really enhances the flavors. Makes a great sweet and tangy lemon-limeade. Serve over plenty of ice!

  • Monica

    This lemonade is so delicous! It tastes just like the stuff I’ve had at fairs =) Perfect for summer, many thanks Elise!!

  • Jay

    Absolutely delicious, thank you oh so much!!!

  • Connie

    I love it my family taste it and loved it.

  • lanie

    Hi Elise, I haven’t tried the recipe yet but I will make this tomorrow. I’m sure it will be great. I was wondering though, have you ever made this with splenda? I try to stay away from sugar as much as possible but at the same time I don’t want my lemonade to have a bad taste. I know somethings I can’t tell but splenda mess up the taste of my coffee every morning. Just wasn’t as good as the sugar.
    Thanks in advance for any feed back.

    I have not. But if you do try it, please let us know how it works out for you. ~Elise

  • Ashley

    This is exactly what I needed today! I had some fresh lemonade at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday and have been craving it ever since. I found this recipe tonight and whipped up a batch and WOW. This is perfect! And since I’m pregnant, it’s a great alternative to a cocktail with dinner tonight ;) I posted a review with a link to this page over on my blog. Thanks!!

  • Baylee and Anika

    omg this is so simple and so good!! better than store bought and restaraunts :) really enjoyed it and now cant get enought of it!!

    – thanks

  • Wanda

    I had a lemonade stand with my son and nephew, to earn a little extra money for their expense on vacation. We stepped it up a little by offering flavoring options. We made up flavored syrups to add on top of the lemonade to add variety and “POW” that no others had. We made the flavored syrups with Kool Aid mixes and water in very concentrated amounts. We put the syrups in inexpensive condoment containers and named them “Cherry Bomb”, “Strawberry Slam”, and “Punch Pow”. We added these to the lemonade if the customer wanted it at no extra cost. The personalization and customer attention along with the “swirl” design of contrasting colors was a success. The kids had so much fun and the self esteem boost was a plus. It builds character.

  • Anonymous

    I made simple syrup with lavender. I strained out the lavender buds. Now can I freeze the simple syrup with the lavender in it? or/will the simple syrup/lavender keep in the refrigerator for a month like just like plain simple syrup? Thanks so much.

    I’m pretty sure the lavender simple syrup will keep for a month in the fridge. The sugar will keep the bacteria away. The only issue you may have is mold. So, if it gets moldy, throw it out. ~Elise

  • Juicefanattic

    best HEALTHY Lemonaid (and i might add tastes WAY better than the tradional sugar water)

    2 Apples, for every lemon used, (juice the apples and the lemon) no need to add water, 2 apples adn 1 lemmon will usualy make ONE serving.

    But it tastes amazing, without all the added sugar.

    Also add a little bit of ginger for a nice twist

  • Anna Lindsay, Lucy Dickens and Rebecca Holland

    amazing the best lemonade we have ever made!!!! And it tasted yummy :)

  • Sonic98

    I tried it and it came out “alright.” Maybe my lemons did not have a great amount of flavor. I will definitely looking to the lemon extract or lemon peeling methods to see how it turns out or some combination. When I finally get the flavor I want, I will try adding strawberries and raspberries, then I’ll try replacing the cold water with ice in a blender for a frozen version or possiblly club soda instead of water.

  • James

    What I started doing 20 years ago is freeze 4 or 6 gal. jug of water get my 20 gal cooler put 4 gal. distilled water in then i would boil 1 gal.distilled water with 5 LBS suger until dissolved and add it to the cooler (this cooler has a spout at the bottom like the ones at sport events)ok i set it on the counter with trash can under it to catch the drips ok put 1 pint lemon juice in and squeezed 6 fresh lemons in a cup pick out seeds put in cooler i pitch in the lemon skin now stir it up and get 2 gal. jug of frozen water sit in cooler leave lids on jug so when they melt it will not delute the lemonaid after 3 or 4 hours take the melted ice out rinse the jug off put back in freezer get out 2 more frozen jugs and put in cooler now you can swap in the morning and you never have to put left over in your refergerator we do tea and punches coolaid With my son and daughter and 6 grandkids it saves a lot of open and closing the frig. and freezer have to keep it in the house in the summer time it draws a lot bees and wasp and humming birds like it to

  • Alice James

    Thanks for the sugar syrup tip, will be using this for all my juices and shakes. I love that there are no sugar granules on my tongue, and I love the consistent sweetness. I’d throw in a bit of rind shavings for extra zest and tang!

  • JellyBean

    tried a different lemonade recipe last week which said to use brown sugar and it tasted awful, this lemonade sounds great, but which sugar do I use? Caster, raw, cane?

    White, granulated sugar. ~Elise

  • Casey

    I made this last weekend for a BBQ, added some torn mint leaves at the end to give it a bit of extra freshness. It was delicious.

  • MJ

    This was delicious! I made a big batch for 60 people, and it was very well received. Making the sugar syrup is such a good idea! I used 10 cups of lemon juice and 8-9 cups of sugar (I lost count), and added some lemon extract as was suggested. Yummy!

  • Sarah

    Oh my goodness!! I have never made true “homemade” from scratch lemonade… This was soooooo good! Ha Ha I’m sitting here with 2 feet of snow around my house and I’m drinking a big ol glass of iced lemonade. Next time I’ll add some mushed up strawberries or blueberries. :D

  • Hannah

    Thanks a lot, it is a great recipe. My first time making lemonade. I am 9 years old.

  • Chet

    What is the shelf life of lemonade? Can anyone tell me please?

    Homemade lemonade will last several days in the refrigerator. ~Elise

  • Richard

    In reference to the posting by T on July 13,2010, hot tap water should never be used when preparing food or drinks. If you look it up on the internet, you will discover that many contaminants, including lead, can enter your food and drink from using hot tap water.

  • Jeff

    I used one cup of water, one cup of organic lemon juice, and 20 drops of liquid stevia. Stirred and served. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

  • Braedon

    This is simply the best lemonade I have EVER had in my life. Keep coming with those recipes.

  • M

    I tried this recipe with my brother my brother and myself think this recipe was simply delightful!

  • T

    I use hot tap water and the sugar dissolves fine. I then add some crushed ice and water to make 3 more cups of water and it cools instantly and ready to drink. I used bottled lemon juice and 1 cup was just fine.

    I like rasberry version so I add some thick Rasberry Daquiri mixer (no alchohol)and decrease sugar and am on my 3rd glass now. Thanks for the recipe and variations

  • Terry

    Thank you for a great lemonade. This has just decreased my carbon footprint no more processed store lemonade for me.

  • Bill

    I have been using this recipe for a while and people definetely love it. I have made a few changes others might like. Add about 3tbls of lime juice in for a more in depth flavor. Add about 1tbls of lemon zest into the pan while making the simple syrup (strain) for a kick. Serve in a 5-6 oz old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and add about 1tsp of marchiano cherry juice and two cherries.

    I guarantee people will be asking for another.

  • Daila

    It works even greater if you put some fresh mint in it C:

  • Neshang

    I’m an 11-year-old Nepalese girl. For one of my school’s summer fairs, I was in charge of one of the stalls. It was a lemanade stall. I went online for help, and found this recipe. So, I tried it out, it worked! My stall earned the most money in the fair. I would really love to try out more recipes.

  • Autumn

    My boyfriends mother has a lemon tree in her back yard. I was thrilled when she gave me a bag full of ’em, planning on making lemonade as soon as I got home. I couldn’t remember my mom’s ratios, but ,when I came across this recipe, I was willing to give it a try. After juicing 4 lemons to get a cup (these things were massive) I ended up with the most wonderful, glorious pitcher of lemonade. I simply had to thank you for sharing it. Shhh! Don’t tell my mom, but it is better than hers.

  • janny

    I love your lemonade; it is the best.

  • Moriah

    Thanks for posting this recipe online! It made my day. It is the perfect lemonade after all. :D

  • Kat

    My 2 and 3 year old daughters were begging me for some juice! And wouldn’t you know I didn’t have anything but a bottle of lemon juice. I googled “lemonade” and this was the first recipe I saw. We added a bit more water (they are toddlers), but they are loving it! Thanks!

  • Caite

    I add 1/2 a tsp of baking soda to make it fizzy. And I also reduced the amount of sugar.

  • felix

    Your ratios are off in my opinion. For a more tart and classic recipe, use 1,2,3,4.

    1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    2/3 cup sugar
    4 cups water

    Mix all ingredients with ice and thin slice lemon wedges.

  • Julia

    WOW this was terrific ! i reduced the repice to 1/4 to 1 cup and it will make one glass of lemonaid ! THANKS !

  • Mitch

    WOW!!!This recipe is really good…I mean really really good

  • Tinka

    I made this recipe using:

    6 large meyer lemons from our garden (juiced by hand)
    26 ounces of water
    8 teaspoons of organic brown sugar
    4 sachets of Stevia

    I boiled up the water and added the sugar and Stevia, stirring until fully dissolved.

    I added the lemon juice and stirred.

    I poured the liquid mix into two 16 ounce old tomato sauce jars, popped in 2 lemon rind peels (more for aesthetics than anything else really!), screwed the tops on and popped them in the fridge.


    Less sugar = healthier I guess!


  • Lucia


    The yellow lemon juice was magnificent. When we added the sour juice to the simple syrup it tasted delicious. Thanks for the recipe. Loved it.


  • Jan

    I loved this recipe. Our neighbor gave us some lemons from his lemon tree; after my husband just bought me a batch of lemons from the store. I use lemon slices in my iced tea every day. This recipe was quick and easy.

  • Paige

    I had a really strong craving for some sort citrus all day and decided to postpone my essays to try this recipe.
    I liked it so much! I plan to have a constant stock of lemons now so I can keep a supply of this lemonade on hand for the fam.

  • Julie

    Just wanted to let you know that we made this recipe yesterday with calamondins (small sour oranges) instead of using lemons and it came out terrific. Thanks for posting this really simple recipe.

  • sara williams

    My son made this very sweet and delicious lemonade in seven miniutes. We all love it and will use the recipe again.

  • izzy

    Tomorrow I’m planning to make a lemonade stand and I’m using little dixie cups. How much should each little dixie cup be? should it be $0.50 or $0.25 or $0.75 or a $1.00? I want to get a lot of custumers and I want to make a reasonable price.’s so delicious!

    If it’s just a little dixie cup I would say a quarter each. Who would be willing to pay more than a quarter for a dixie cup full of lemonade? Maybe 50 cents, depending on how big those cups are. ~Elise

  • Tasha

    I’m twelve years old and consider myself quite a good little “chef” (if I do say so my self). I make dinner and breakfast for my family at least once a week. I made this lemonade topped it off with blackberries floating on the ice at the top sprinkled with sugar,and found myself wondering why I hadn’t tried this recipe before. Great recipe. Definitely going to make again, thanks so much.

  • Geoff

    Wayyyy too syrupy. Lots of damage control with this recipe.

    Sounds like you needed to add more water. ~Elise

  • bobbi

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I just made it and my boys LOVE it. ages 16 and 13
    Thanks again! It was so easy to make too.

  • sierra

    Nice recipe! I like to make the lemonade less diluted, then pour it in a big glass of crushed ice. The ice dilutes it as it melts, and after the lemonade is gone, you can eat the lemon flavored ice like a snowcone!

  • rboyko

    I’ve made lemonade using this recipe many times and it was great, but I just tried to make it using bottled lemon juice concentrate and it wasnt as good.

  • tammy

    Really good! My son inspired me to make this and although he did not like it (picky boy!) the girls in the family did!

    Any suggestions for making this diabetic friendly? Do you think we could substitute the sugar with splenda??

  • Madeline Smith

    Dear lemonade people!
    Your lemonade recipe has helped me and my friends have some VERY successful lemonade stands over the years! Thanx a million!

  • Mark

    Thanks for the truly “perfect” recipe. With hot days finally upon us and a hand full of lemons and limes sitting in the refrigerator, I googled your recipe. I wanted to show our children that lemonade comes neither from a carton nor from powder. It worked out perfectly.

  • Kim

    Last minute company today. I googled your recipe and I just “happened” to have 2 bags of lemons. This recipe turned out perfect (and was quick to make, too!)

  • roy and kirsta and connie

    It’s pretty good but we ended up adding way more lemon juice than sugar water. I guess everyone has different taste. We’s likes ours sour. We don’t know nuthin ’bout growin citrus.

    Yep, it’s all a matter of personal taste. And the lemons. Late in the season lemons are less sour than early in the season. Meyers are sweeter than regular lemons. Some people like things sweet, others tart. ~Elise

  • Rachel

    Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe – my husband and kids say it’s the best they’ve ever had. No more store-bought powder for us! My second batch, we used half limes, half lemons and it was even better.

  • momo

    For a nice twist add a dash of rose water. It adds a refreshing aroma and flavor that complement the sour lemon. You can even reduce the sugar a little.

  • Gloria

    I did not know so many recipes for lemonade existed. There seems to be no limit. Has anyone tried agave nectar in place of sugar.

  • Janet

    I’ve made a committment to wean myself off of diet soda and I’m not that crazy about just plain water. This Lemonade recipe is very good. I made it last night, let it chill when I went to bed and had it this morning. Great great recipe. I’ll be putting some in a water bottle to take to the beach this summer.

    I made the first batch with regular sugar so that’s kinda fattening. Anyone have any luck with sweet n low or stevia?

    Jess – great idea on the Limoncello, I’m definitely trying that one.

    Elise – thanks for the tip on the extract – I will be buying some today.

  • Carolyn

    Add a couple of springs of Rosemary to the simple syrup – let steep and strain before continuing to make Lemonade. Excellent flavored lemonade!

  • Jon C.

    This is an excellent recipe. I just made two bottles of it. I found that if you use powdered sugar instead of granulated, there is sweetness when you first drink it then it finishes off when you swallow with a bit of bitter lemon taste. I just thought that was cool.

  • Jacqueline Church

    Variations to try: using culinary lavender in the simple syrup (strain)
    or basil in the simple syrup. Both are delicious for lemonade or in cocktails.

  • Gina Maria

    I made this recipe 5 minutes ago, and I tried a little bit before putting it in the fridge. Delicious! I can’t wait to drink it after the lemonade cools down!

  • Tiara

    ~Is 100% lemon juice from the bottle the same as squeezing lemons?~ If not what is the ratio. Lemons have gotten quite expensive in Iowa. Usual 2 for a dollar!

    Honestly I don’t know. We don’t use bottled lemon juice as we grow our own lemons and always have some on hand. I would experiment with the recipe if bottled lemon juice is the only reasonable option available to you and see the ratio of simple syrup (sugar water) and water with lemon juice that works for you. You might end up being better off buying lemonade concentrate than using bottled juice. ~Elise

  • Luke

    I know you already have got a lot of comments on this, but your recipe is amazing! I just tried it and the lemonade tastes fantastic. Thank you very much.

  • Winona

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I am 36 and making lemonade for the first time. It tastes great and I will be making it again!!

  • Julie

    Hi. I just wanted to say I tried your recipe and loved it. I was wondering if you have ever tried adding strawberries to it to make strawberry lemonade? Thanks so much.

    Haven’t tried it, but it sounds great! ~Elise

  • mim

    I tried this lemonade it was way too sour.

    Sounds like you didn’t use enough sugar for your particular lemons. This recipe is a guideline. You need to make adjustments to your particular taste and ingredients. ~Elise

  • Celana

    My son and I really loved making this for his bball party on Sat. It’s so easy! We had some and it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to blend some with mint on a hot summers day…

  • Stephanie

    Tried your recipe yesterday, and it was FABULOUS! My boyfriend and I argued over who got the last glass. Ha ha.
    He came up with the good idea to put Limoncello in it. That’s an Italian liquor that is yummy!
    My idea is to color some sugar with a drop or two of yellow food coloring and dip the moistened rim of your glass in lemonade then the sugar for a fancy and tasty drink.
    Going to make some more TODAY!

  • jess

    Thank you for this quick recipe. My son and I had a great time making it together.

  • Matt

    Thannk so much; this makes great lemonade! I live in Arizona and have a bunch of lemon trees in the yard and had no clue what to do with them all till now.

  • Laura Young

    I have seven citrus trees in my yard, including a lemon. I normally use about one lemon a month, and I am overrun with these things! I’m going to try your lemonade recipe soon, and if it comes out as well as everyone says it is, I think I will be making and freezing a bunch of it to save for summer!

    If you are planning to freeze, I suggest freezing the lemon juice only (will take up less room in your freezer), in 1-cup sized containers. That way anytime you want some lemonade, you can defrost a cup of lemon juice and easily make the lemonade. ~Elise

  • Keish!

    How do you feel about SimplyLemon instead of the fresh lemon juice? Lemons are expensive here in GA. It would cost me $5 for a glass.

    Don’t know what SimplyLemon is. If I didn’t have access to fresh lemons, to make lemonade I would just buy frozen lemonade concentrate (check the ingredients of course). If you do ever get access to fresh lemons in bulk at a cheap price, you can juice them and freeze the juice by the way. We freeze our lemon juice in 8 ounce jars, so that they can easily be defrosted to make lemonade. ~Elise

  • Debbie in Texas

    Perfect! So easy to make…I made it for all our friends and neighbors. We had hundreds of lemons and no idea what to do with them. Thank you!

  • Marianne

    This is a simple and delicious recipe, I added a splash of ruby red grapefruit juice for a bit of color. Thanks for making it so easy, and thanks for the all of the blog-tips, I can’t wait to try them!

  • Val

    Hello! Our twins are 5 yrs old and they were
    watching a show on abc channel “Olivia”
    and she was making lemonade.I took them
    with a list to the shops and we picked up the
    ingredients.I made the simple syrup
    and the twinnies did the rest.
    Its in the refrigerator at the moment for
    minutes to chill.
    We had a taste first and “Yummy”.

    I tried it to and loved it.
    sooo easy to make.

    thank you
    Warm Tasmania

  • mike

    Well actually I tested the honey theory and you need an extra 1/4 cup of honey because it is not as sweet as plain sugar, and subtract 1/4 cup of hot water.

  • EK

    This was a wonderful recipe. Not too sour, not too sweet. I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of the full cup, and it came out perfect! Thanks!

  • shimla

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Of course everyone knows how to make lemonade, and I was doing it in the normal way. And then I wanted to find a better way to make it for my husband’s surprise bday dinner. I found this and you know what? My husband, who is a huge fan of lemonade and who chooses it, wherever he goes(I mean restaurents), said this was the best lemonade he ever had! Better than the ones he drink at restaurents. I was so happy. This simple recipe made his bday dinner extra special and memorable. Thank you soo much.

  • Evieman

    Really hot day so decided to make this recipe, very delicious and refreshing and easy to make. Thanks!

  • Kristy

    I’ve made this with Splenda if you’re looking for a sugar free version. This way, you don’t have to make the simple syrup since the Splenda dissolves quickly.

    It’s quite tasty!

  • jeclyn sialofi

    That recipe worked pretty well.
    I loved it!

  • Kerry

    I love this recipe, I also added some lemon peel and fresh mint into the syrup mixture. Delicious!

  • marsh terry

    Did the basic recipe: Wonderful ! Added a cap of lemon extract: Wonderfuller ! Sprinkled a coupla pinches of salt: Wonderfulist ! I’ll try the ginger next (and the almond? – – – y’know, I’ve got some coconut extract that I use in biscotti – – – maybe a dram or two ?

  • tim winter

    What if you already have sugar syrup from the super market?

    Use it; it saves you a step. The proportions you will have to mix to taste. ~Elise

  • Sarah


  • Carrie Russell

    This was great! I was at a local farmers market and my friend paid $3.00 for lemonade that tasted exactly like this one!

  • Carolynne

    I just made this and it is no joke – this lemonade is truly the best I have ever had!

    I added the small amount of lemon extract K suggested, but only because my fresh lemons were a bit on the mild side. Fabulous!

  • Cerys

    I want to make lemonade to sell at a fundraising event and was wondering how far in advance could I make up this lemonade. Will it keep for a few weeks?

    No, the lemonade as made will not keep for a few weeks. If you want to make ahead, I suggest juicing the lemons and freezing the juice, and making the simple syrup, and keeping that refrigerated. The put it together the day before your event. ~Elise

  • jonathan.j

    This recipe is great! I love making it on hot steamy Canadian summer.

  • Rose

    I am in charge of a lemonade sale for a community fundraiser in a few weeks. We want to prepare about 300 servings. We will use 16oz. cups, but serve about 12oz. of the lemonade over ice. Any suggestions about how to scale up your recipe. I plan on spending the day before, squeezing lemons and making simple syrup. Any ideas on how to “fancy it up”. There is desire by some to embellish and charge a bit more. Personally, I love it plain and simple, but I will keep an open mind

    Thanks for any help—Rose

    Hi Rose, your guess is as good as mine on the scaling. I would make more than you think you might need of the lemon juice and the simple syrup. Keep them separate. That way, if you have leftovers, you can freeze the concentrated lemon juice, and the simple syrup lasts a long time in the fridge. For something extra special, grate the lemon zest and add it to the simple syrup as you are cooking the syrup. Strain it out before using. That will give your lemonade an extra lift. Also add some fresh mint leaves to glasses or the serving pitchers. ~Elise

  • erin

    I just made your lemonade with fresh California lemons from my backyard and it was delicious! We are pretty low on regular sugar so I just used powdered sugar instead and I used a cup and a half of lemon juice because I like my lemonade tart.

    Very yummy and like you said, the sugar mixed in perfectly. Thanks!

  • Layal

    Pretty hot day today and felt like drinking some fresh lemonade.
    The method is great and I think the measures are good, although I found it a little too sweet… But then again, I tasted it right before putting it in the fridge. Will see in 30 minutes.
    Thanks :)

  • Tonie M.

    We have made lemonade for years with Lemon juice in the bottle. Put 1 cup juice, 1cup of sugar, and a capful of almond extract in a 2 quart container. Fill with water. Add sliced strawberries and lemons to the top for decoration.

    This is great on a hot day or just any day.


  • Jerry Rosenfeld

    Dear Elise
    I usually make lemonde for about 7 or 8 people. In addition to sugar (1 tbsp.per glass dissolved in hot water, then cooled before adding lemon juice), the juice and the solids (that are scraped off while juicing), I grate one of the lemons and add the grated peel to the mixture. The grated peel is not dominant but adds a tang or “bite” to the taste. This is utterly delicious and shoulds be served only to special and deserving company.

  • Garrett

    When making the simple syrup, I love to add a vanilla bean to it to add some lovely vanilla flavor. Of course, lemonade and a bit of vanilla or lemon vodka is equally tasty!

  • teresa

    Wow.. Just in reading this recipe… I can’t wait to get out of work and to the grocery store to make some refreshing, homemade lemonade! Just out of curiousity, will LIMES do? or half and half?

    Limes work great, or half limes and half lemons. ~Elise

  • Michael

    I was wondering if you can add sparkling mineral water to it instead of water?

    Of course, that would be great. ~Elise

  • Joanna Belum

    I absolutely loved this recipe. I added 5 cups of cold water instead of 4, and it came out perfect. It was just the right combination. It was very, very easy for me to make and was well worth it.

  • Dawn Gilliland

    When you make your simple syrup add 14 ginger slices (about 3-4 thumbs worth – or 1/4 of a cup or to taste)…. Some people leave them in, but I would recommend taking them out after the simple syrup is made, makes it too strong for me.

    This will make a lovely refreshing Ginger Lemonade, which is simply wonderful. It cuts the tartness of the lemons and makes it something to savor.

  • sandy

    We can also add some mint leaves to our prepared lemonade or we can crush few leaves and add to the lemonade. It’s more refreshing. I usually have mine with a pinch of rock salt and a dash of black pepper.

  • Tim

    Thanks for the recipe – haven’t tried it yet as there is a tree in the yard and the lemons are just starting to drop! Last week in the park we bought some fresh-squeezed lemonade. The lady at the stand said to use castor sugar because it will dissolve more quickly and completely. We are going to try that with your recipe.
    Tim and Monique, Western Australia

    Note from Elise: With the recipe shown here there is no need for castor sugar or super fine sugar, as the sugar is completely dissolved in boiling water.

  • Ellen

    This sounded like a great recipe, so I decided to try it. But, when I squeezed the lemon juice, I only had 2/3 of a cup. So I got creative and added 1/3 cup of strawberry juice. Then I followed the recipe, as you put. It ended up coming out quite well.

  • Melissa Reed

    I just love this lemonade. It’s perfect for a summer picnic. My children love it! I have tested many homemade lemonades, some too sweet, some too sour, some don’t even taste like lemonade, but this is the BEST lemonade recipe I have ever made. My children want to say something:

    Brianna (11) : The lemonade is amazing. I love to make the lemonde with my mom cause it’s just so fun. And it turned out really good.

    Daniel (7) : I like the lemonade because my mom made it and it is sweet.

    Claire (5) : The lemonade is sweet and I like it.

    Thank You for the Recipe,

    Melissa, Brianna, Dnaiel, and Claire Reed of Manhattan, New York

  • Tania

    If you add half a cup of fresh raspberries that you have mushed up you have a really tasty raspberry lemonade.

  • Sunnie Eastman

    This is an awesome recipe the best lemonade and my first time making homemade lemonade. My 4yr old loves it and so will my guests at my candle party tomorrow night :D
    Thanks for the recipe


  • Amy

    This is seriously the most simple most delicious lemonade recipe! It is easy enough for the kids to make it for their lemonade stands.

    It also makes a very refreshing adult drink. Add vodka, or even make lemonade-margaritas with Tequila and Gran Marnier. They were both a hit at our last BBQ.

  • Connie Brakken-Smith

    We were recently at a garden dinner party on a very warm evening. The hostess made a pitcher of lemonade and served it as a cocktail by adding a small amount of vodka to each glass. It was a delicious and refreshing accompanyment to the appetizers that were being served!

  • ami

    Dear Elise, thanks for the lemons recipe. It’s great for summers :-)
    and it’s great for 12 year olds.

  • Margaret

    This works very well! I tried it and it tasted AWESOME! If a 12 year-old can make it, anyone can. I love simple and tasy recipes =)

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for the correct proportions! I’ve been winging it for years, and it never came out quite right until I tried this. My kids and neighbors picked a bunch of lemons today and really wanted a treat, and it was so easy. So glad I could accommodate them!

  • Robyn

    Made lemonade to sell at a gala, fundraising for a public pool for Waiheke this past weekend. It was a great hit, on a hot day.

    I used your proportions Elise, but this time used Donna Hay’s method. Her idea is to mix the sugar and the lemon juice to make the simple syrup. Bottled the lemon syrup and used chilled soda water to dilute it.

    Thanks for the idea.

  • Cris

    Elise, try adding some light cream (table cream?) to it in a blender… here:
    Sorry, in portuguese! Fernanda can help you… Your syrup is sure worth it a try, limes are about 50c a pound here at this time of year.

  • Tri

    I’m Vietnamese and have fond memories of my mom making me “lemonade”. Vietnamese “lemonade” is actually made with lime and seltzer water, and is really called Soda Chanh. I make it by squeezing half of a lime into a large glass, spooning sugar in until it becomes gritty yet syrupy, then adding seltzer water and of course ice. Its delicious and very easy to make.

  • cross

    I am from Thailand,in my country we love to add salt to any kind of drink that kind of sour. So next time you try making your lemonade put a little of salt in to it. Becareful not to make it too salty that people realize but just to add some dept to your drink, Cheers!

    • raj kamal bordoloi

      i am from India. here we too add a pinch of salt along with sugar. crushed ice with ice cubes makes the drink chilling during this hot period of the year.

  • Serbia Broadband

    Wow! You made my day with this recipe.

    What’s more, lemonade is a healthy & tasty, yet cheap drink, compared to a commercial junk like sprite/fanta/you-name-it. Way to go!

  • __little_miss_piggie__

    When I first made lemonaid I used 2 cut up 3 wax free lemons, put them in my smoothie maker with some sugar and a little water and blend them up and then strain them and then add fizzy water. :) It’s really nice.. Think I’ll give yours a go tho..

  • John

    Good point to add: 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water makes a syrup that you can use for all sorts of purposes. If you make sure you simmer it just long enough for the sugar and water molecules to bond, it’ll keep on the shelf for a while. Add any extract to make a syrup for adding to other drinks (vanilla, for example). It’s a trick I learned working in an ice cream store.

    • Samantha Bee

      Exactly how much simple syrup does this need? I already have some made.

      • Elise Bauer

        Well it all depends on how sour your lemon juice is, which depends on the variety of lemons and at what point in the season they were picked. I would start with a cup and go from there. Adjust to the level of sweetness you like.

  • ruben

    Here’s another great lemonade recipe. Makes 1 liter


    6 teaspoons brown sugar
    2 lemons, washed and rinsed.

    Add the sugar and the lemons whole (skin, seeds and all)to a blender with a little water. Filter and add to the rest of the water. That’s it.

    Almost instant lemon water :-) (and big lemon saver, too). Won’t last long because you’re blending the skin and the seeds, which are quite sour; best before 24 hrs.

  • r

    Is it possible to use raw cane sugar?

    • Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt

      Yep. You can substitute raw cane sugar 1:1 for the white sugar.

  • Ryan

    Putting the lemons in the microwave for ten seconds makes the juices come out easier if you don’t have a juicer. I just saw this technique of dissolving the sugar in the water on TV. It sounds great.

    • Charlotte Fiebig

      Thank you. I can never seem to get the juice out of lemons. Does this do anything to the seeds (e.g. make them easier to get out)? Thanks again!

  • verenia

    If you use a vegetable peeler and peel a few thin sections of some lemons befor you squeeze them you can add this to the sugar and hot water to seep for a few minutes this gives more depth of flavour.

  • auntysam

    It was great! Thank you for a fabulous lemonade recipe! We tried it in our class and the children loved it. We didn’t know we were supposed to dissolve the sugar and water first. We also used fresh, homegrown lemons, which made it even tastier!

  • K.

    I find that this classic recipe is greatly enhanced with just one capful of pure lemon extract. That little bit of lemon “oomph” covers a multitude of sins if you have not terribly flavorful lemons. I frequently hear “My Lemonade never tastes as intense as yours.” Now you know why.

  • Elise Bauer

    From a quick search on the web I found that one cup of honey is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar. But since honey has more liquid in it, if you do a substitution, reduce the water in your recipe by 1/4 cup for every cup of honey used.

  • bidrohi

    I think you can substitute Honey for Sugar, but I’m not sure what ratio… last time I just made some stab at it. But if you’re using hot water to begin with, this isn’t so big a deal.