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Refreshing homemade lemonade is made with a simple syrup for the perfect sweet-to-tart ratio. It is perfect for warm summer days, or any day!
Fresh-squeezed homemade lemonade is my drink of choice. It is not too sweet and is perfectly thirst-quenching. For a yummy twist, try our Best Homemade Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, and Frozen Strawberry Lemonade!
The BEST Summer Drink!
Nothing says summer quite like fresh lemonade!!
Arizona citrus season is actually in the winter, so we enjoy fresh lemonade in our perfect-to-be-outside weather. Then I like to freeze bags of fresh-squeezed juice for use all year long, whether in lemon main dishes or lemon desserts!
Whether we are enjoying it in the summer or winter, fresh lemonade is our favorite drink. It is refreshing and so easy to make! This version uses a simple syrup as the sweetener so it does require a bit extra time, but the result is worth it!
I’ve included a few tips for getting the most juice out of your lemons. You are going to want as much of this homemade lemonade recipe because it’s the BEST. 😉
How to make lemonade
Lemonade is perfect to have on hand for a hot summer day, but we enjoy this drink year-round!
PREP. To get the most juice from the lemons you will want to soak them in HOT water for about 10 minutes.
SYRUP. While the lemons are soaking make the syrup: Add the sugar and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once it has reached room temperature cover the syrup and place it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
JUICE. After soaking the lemons allow them to cool enough to handle. Firmly roll each lemon on the countertop a few times. Cut the lemons in half and juice them. Remove all the seeds, but leave the pulp. Set juice aside until the syrup has chilled.
COMBINE. Mix the lemonade by adding the chilled syrup, lemon juice, and 7 cups of water to a pitcher. Stir and serve.
Save For Later!
STORE lemonade in the fridge for about 5 days.
FREEZE the lemon concentrate. Make the syrup as directed and mix it with the squeezed lemon juice. Freeze it in a freezer Ziploc for up to 5 months. When you’re ready to use, add the concentrate to 7 cups of water. Stir until combined.
Getting the Most Juice From Your Lemons
You really want to get the most juice out of each of your lemons and there are a couple of tricks to accomplish that.
- Soaking them in HOT water is what we did for this recipe. Then rolling the lemons on the counter to further aid in getting the most juice.
- Freeze them. Just toss the entire lemon into the freezer for several hours until it is frozen solid. Allow the lemons to thaw by soaking them in warm water or just leaving them out on the counter. I have actually frozen whole lemons before and I can attest that they get super soft and all the liquids are released.
- Use the microwave. I have not tried this one personally but saw it online. It seems like it’s the same idea as soaking them in water. You microwave each lemon for about 30 seconds to help release juices and then roll them on the counter. If you give this one a try let me know how it worked in the comments.
We love to dress this homemade lemonade up when serving it. This best lemonade recipe deserves to look as good as it tastes!
Dress it up. I think a really pretty presentation makes this homemade lemonade recipe taste even better.
Here are some of my favorite presentation ideas:
- Adding lemon slices to the drink makes it so pretty. You can even go a step further and freeze the lemon slices first so you can cool the drink without diluting it with traditional ice cubes.
- Top with a simple sprig of fresh mint.
- Add fresh sliced strawberries or raspberries into the pitcher. It looks pretty and will add a hint of flavor.
- Rim the drinking glasses with sugar: Simply dip the rim of the glasses in some lemon juice and then into a bowl of sugar. Let dry.
Variations. Change up the flavors in this fresh lemonade recipe with some simple additions!
- Limeade. Simply substitute the lemons with limes. So simple!
- Berry lemonade. To make strawberry or raspberry lemonade, place berries into a bowl with some sugar. Let them sit and then mash them. Mix the puree into the lemonade to whatever taste preference you desire (or check out our favorite Strawberry Lemonade).
- Watermelon lemonade. Mix in equal parts Watermelon Juice (or to taste).
- Herb infused. Try infusing the lemonade with a few sprigs of lavender, rosemary, or basil for a more herbaceous flavoring. (Just be sure to strain as you serve).
You can substitute the fresh-squeezed lemon juice with store-bought bottled lemon juice. The flavor is a bit different, but it works and is delicious. If you have lemon trees, as I do, I like to keep freshly squeezed lemon juice in the freezer to use year-round.
You will need some type of sweeter for the lemonade. If you don’t wish to use white sugar you can use a sugar substitute or natural sweeteners. Just note that some natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup will add a lot of extra flavor to the drink.
Creating a sugared rim is quite simple, dip the rim in lemon juice and then into sugar. Let dry.
For More Refreshing Drinks, Try:
- Copycat Sonic Cherry Limeade
- Mint Julep (non-alcoholic)
- Best Strawberry Lemonade
- Shirley Temple
- Sonic Ocean Water
Homemade Lemonade Recipe
- 1½ cups sugar
- 8 cups water divided
- 1½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 8 lemons
- To get the most juice from the lemons you will want to soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes.
- While the lemons are soaking, make the syrup: Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once syrup has reached room temperature, cover, and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove lemons from the hot water and allow them to cool enough to handle. Firmly roll each lemon on the countertop a few times. Cut lemons in half and juice them. Remove all the seeds but leave the pulp. Set juice aside until syrup has chilled.
- To mix the lemonade, combine chilled syrup, lemon juice, and remaining 7 cups water in a pitcher. Stir and serve over ice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.