Simple Homemade Lemonade
The easiest and best homemade lemonade ever…and it doesn’t require cooking a simple syrup. It is quick, delicious, and perfect!
I’m firmly convinced of two things in my life:
1) chocolate chips are not meant for cookies alone (and their higher calling in life may or may not be direct therapy as they are eaten plain, by the handful)…
…and, 2) everyone should make homemade lemonade from scratch at least once in their life.
I’d say those are two fairly simple sentiments, but I stand by them.
I’m the poster child for over-consumption of chocolate chips whilst hiding in the pantry (the world’s smallest pantry, in case you care, which doesn’t bother me a bit as I cram my whole momma self in there and enjoy a little quiet sitting on top of the flour bin).
And I’m also a serious lover of homemade lemonade.
There’s just something about it that screams lazy days of summer, which is a funny statement since I’m not exactly the most relaxed person in the world.
My kids would laugh (or cry??) if they heard that some people actually get to participate in the lazy days of summer.
Our summer days look more like chores, projects, to-do lists, reading, typing lessons, more jobs…and then usually swimming at the community pool.
But still, homemade lemonade is always a good reminder that summer is here and meant to be enjoyed.
Many lemonade recipes call for simmering a simple syrup (sugar + water) on the stove. I don’t mind doing that every once in a while, but I was after a homemade lemonade recipe that didn’t require any cooking or cooling or mandatory chilling.
And this is the one.
Instead of making a sugar syrup, lemon slices and sugar are mashed together (great project for the kiddos!), then mixed with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice (this little inexpensive electric citrus juicer is indispensable for tasks like this!), and water.
I then strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer in order to leave pulp and seeds behind.
Do not forget an excessive amount of ice. Warm homemade lemonade is no bueno.
But cold, icy homemade lemonade? That’s the stuff dreams are made of.
This lemonade recipe is simple enough to make with only a few minutes notice and still wow family, friends, guests, friends of your children, and random mail delivery people.
Honestly, I’ve never met anyone that isn’t a little happier to have a glass of icy cold homemade lemonade shoved at them.
In case you are about to ask, I have NOT made this with limes for limeade, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be done!
I’m so devoted to this Brazilian lemonade recipe (which is actually made with limes, not lemons, and if you are thoroughly confused, that’s ok – just know that a) it should be retitled Brazilian limeade and 2) it is amazing) that I haven’t made another kind of homemade limeade in a long time, so if you try it, report back!
Below the recipe, I’ve linked to my most favorite glass pitcher (the one in these pictures).
I love it so much that I have two (it’s fairly inexpensive, less than $13). It’s got a little quirkiness to it with the random indentations; it makes me feel at home with my own quirks.
Please promise me you’ll add to your summer bucket list right this minute: MAKE HOMEMADE LEMONADE! I can’t promise it won’t be the highlight of your whole summer.
One Year Ago: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two Years Ago: Whole Grain Pumpkin Blueberry Muffins
Three Years Ago: Grilled Honey & Ginger Marinated Flank Steak
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 10 lemons, for 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice; use more lemons if needed to get to that amount
- 8 cups water
- Extra lemon slices for garnish, if desired
- Slice two of the lemons into thin slices (try to remove all the seeds and discard).
- In a large bowl, using a potato masher, mash the sugar and the lemon slices until the sugar is completely wet, about 1 minute.
- Juice the remaining 8 lemons (for 2 cups lemon juice; use more lemons, if needed, to get to that amount).
- Add the water and lemon juice to the bowl with the lemon slices and sugar, and stir everything together until the sugar is completely dissolved, 1-2 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a pitcher or large bowl, pressing on the lemon slices a bit to get as much juice as possible; discard solids.
- Chill the lemonade until ready to serve (or serve immediately). Garnish with extra lemon slices, if desired.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country Aug/Sept 2016
64 Comments on “Simple Homemade Lemonade”
Hi Mel! Just made this lemonade and it is delicious and very thirst quenching. I find it sweet enough and maybe a touch too sweet. I like tart lemon flavour. I didn’t bother straining out pulp. I just fished out the seeds. Will def make again.
This is simple, and quick. This recipe has the perfect amount of sweetness, and its not very hard to make. I would swap out the regular water for sparkling water. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE!!!!!
Thank you for letting me know I’m not losing my mind! Every recipe I looked at (trying to get a ratio of lemons to water) talked about a syrup! Syrup? Grandma never used syrup or a stove to make the best lemonade I’ve ever had. She also didn’t mash lemon slices and sugar, but I’m going to use your recipe as is because it sounds delicious!
I grew up drinking and making home made limeade. Limes are staples where I grew up and there was no such a thing as store bought lemonade or limeade. I still make limeade at home with my children, which is simply squeezing limes into a pitcher of water and adding sugar. Yesterday, they bought a bunch of lemons because they said they have never had “real” lemonade so they want me to make them some 🙂
They actually never realized that what they believed it was lemonade was actually limeade because in Spanish we call it “limonada”. 🙂
I’ve made this with my preschool classes the past couple of years and it’s always a hit! Thanks for such a fun tasty recipe!
How much sugar do you put, I tried and It never became sweet?
another thing what if you just want to make one cup then how much lemons would i use?
I looked and looked but don’t see the link to the pitcher.
Here you go!
Crate and Barrel Pitcher
this recipe tastes super good. but, i was kind of annoyed because i was planning on making 2 batches so i bought 20 lemons but didn’t know i had to have 2 cups. it might be nice to include that in the ingredients. 10 lemons (2 cups, buy more if needed). i could only make one batch because i had to use all 20 lemons.
Made this for a house warming party we had and it was a major hit! We ran out within the first hour and a half! I left some of the lemon pulp for the “fresh squeezed” feel. Super easy and definitely the best tasting lemonade!
Glad it was a hit, Dani!
This is stunningly good lemonade. Planning to make a big batch for my sons graduation party next weeke.
Really yummy! Perfect sweetness for my family!
Best lemonade recipe, takes the guessing out of whether you had enough lemons or sugar. Really good! Thank you for sharing
I added a couple extra spoonfuls of sugar since it wasn’t quite sweet enough for me as written, it is really yummy!
I am a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic who craves lemonade in the summer … Thank you for rescuing me with this delicious, adaptable (Splenda) recipe. It is delicious, easy to prepare and much more nutritional than diet soda.
Oh this lemonade was a HIT! I accidentally got 30 lemons rather than 3 from a Walmart Grocery Pickup gone wrong, and so we made this for our family dinner- it was soo good! I ended up blending a few strawberries so my family could make strawberry lemonade if they wanted, but most of us loved it just as it was! Soo easy, soo refreshing, so delicious! Might not be a mistake next time I get 30 lemons in my order! ❤️
This tasted just exactly how I wanted it to on a hot July Day!!!! Delicious and so refreshing!! Perfect Lemonade for sure!!
this was a great recipe, thanks!
It’s so easy! Thank you for sharing! I did lemonade many times and not every time has the same taste 😀 Gonna try your recipe!
I didn’t actually get to taste this lemonade, but my 17 yr old son made it for a cooking video for Spanish class! He had to make a main dish and a drink for a final project and show himself making it while saying the instructions in Spanish. I knew your recipe would “work” and he wouldn’t get frustrated. The next day he had me deliver it to school right at the start of class and he said it was gone instantly. So if a bunch of High-Schoolers are any indication…this recipe is a winner! He mentioned he wants to make it often during the summer. I can’t wait. Maybe I’ll finally get to taste it!
I love that he made a video in Spanish! That’s awesome!
In AZ We use to live across the street from a lemon orchard. We could pick lemons for free. It was amazing. When it wasn’t hot we’d turn it into a lemonaid slushing by adding ice or freezing the lemon juice. It was super tasty!
I cheated and used club soda instead of water for some fizz. Way tasty! Going to be buying bulk lemons…
My son’s only request for his birthday(uuhh so far) was to have lemonade in his water bottle with his school lunch. So. 7 AM I was making homemade lemonade. But thanks for the super easy recipe! timing was perfect because if I was going to have to go the simple syrup route, we would have had one disappointed boy on our hands. I can do some things, but making simple syrup before noon is not one of them. birthday or no birthday. PS I scaled the recipe down to make just 2 cups… used 2 lemons and 2 cups of water. Worked perfect.
Mel~ This Lemonade is so so GOOD! I don’t have a potato masher and so I put a double batch of the lemon slices and sugar in my kitchen aide and used the paddle attachment. I turned it low and let it work its magic while I juiced the rest of the lemons. It worked out AMAZING!
Glad it worked out so well, Jen!
Tried this this weekend, we enjoyed it a lot. Personally, we liked a bit more sugar. It’s reminiscent of a lemon shake up, which, in our minds, is a very good thing. 🙂
So yummy. Just the right tartness. I’m having it for lunch today with a salad mash-up of your Greek Pita Bread Salad and Greek Chicken Burritos. (leftovers from last night.) The rest of the lemonade to give us strength to finish building new raised beds and planting the veggie garden.
So happy you loved it, Rebecca (love seeing your comments!). Good luck with garnering the strength to finish…we did that last year and it was brutal (but so worth it).
I have a lemon tree that we harvest lemons from in January. It makes me wonder how lemonade became a summer drink. We have a freezer full of lemon juice ice cubes, so I can’t try this recipe until next year haha, but will have to remember it for then.
Made it for a church activity last night, and I got so many compliments. There were people that didn’t believe it was from scratch!!
I love it! So simple and so delicious
You can also freeze the leftover lemon peel and run it through your food disposal unit to give it a little “freshen up”.
Delicious! And so easy! I’ve never made homemade lemonade until now! Thanks Mel
Glad you loved it, Jill!
Hey Mel, not sure if anyone else has reported this but your photos do not come up when I read your blog in my reader (I use Feedly)
This lemonade looks delicious, we will have to give it a try ASAP!
Urgh! I knew that was happening but had hoped the redesign fixed the issue. I’ll do some more digging!
Reading this post just made me acutely aware that I don’t think I’ve ever made real lemonade before… #summergoals.
If your in a crunch and want that homemade lemonade taste, here’s a “recipe” that was shared with me. Mix a up a gallon pitcher of Country Time lemonade as stated on the container. Add an extra cup of sugar and float fresh lemon slices on the top. This works great when you’re short on time or need enough for a large group. I won’t tell if you don’t!!
This looks wonderful! And this post has me singing. If you are not familiar with Tom Chapin and his song ” Homemade Lemonade” you should give it a listen. Your kids are the perfect ages to enjoy his music!
We love that song!
Oh my gosh! I love(d) Harry Chapin and had no idea his brother also did ballads. I found this youtube of Homemade Lemonade and it has me laughing … plus I’ll be singing the chorus all day! Thanks, Kendra:
Hahahahaha! That is AWESOME! And I agree, I’m going to be singing that all day.
I love homemade lemonade so much. I will have to try this method, as I always use the simple syrup version. Yours reminds me of an old recipe I have called “English Lemonade”. I got it from an old cooking newsletter I used to subscribe to, before food blogs, called Gourmet Mom written by a mom on Cape Cod, and I still have all of the issues! It is kind of like the Brazilian in that you take the entire lemons and the sugar and put them in the blender, pulse a bit, and strain–really good, I think it’s the zest flavor that makes it so delicious. I can’t wait for summer to arrive. I do hope you and your family get to enjoy some lazy, hazy days. My kids are grown up (17 and 19) and will be working this summer, and I really miss those days.
Yum, that sounds delicious, Teresa! And I wish I had access to those fun-sounding cooking newsletters. I love stuff like that.
We had lemons on hand and my toddler and I were looking for a good afternoon project. This was delicious!!! I have made several lemonades with the simple syrup and this recipe was much easier and more tasty. Summer game changer. Thanks for sharing!
So happy to hear this, Megan!
yum! looking forward to giving this lemonade a try 🙂
Sneaking chocolate chips by the handful, summer days of chores & mom homework assignments followed by the pool… I thought I was reading something written by me! Except I don’t like lemonade. But my kids are obsessed with making homemade lemonade so they’ll love it! I’ve followed your blog for as long as I have read blogs- 7 years I think-but have never commented. I figured it was time. My family loves your recipes & we’d be best buds if we knew one another in real life. Thank you for sharing your kitchen with us!
Thanks, Jessica! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and love that our summer days are so similar! ❤️
Hi! Just wanted to share our family lemonade recipe found by my brother that we have used for years now. Very simple and easy to remember. Easy to multiply recipe for a large group. 1 part sugar, 1 part fresh lemon juice, 5 parts water! Mix together well. Can strain out pulp if you like. Add ice! Have been drinking it the last week or so. YUM! Though this recipe isn’t sweet at all, I have cut down the amount of sugar some more myself. The tartness quenches the thirst more now that the summer heat has come. May have to try out your recipe as well. Always like trying new things!
Just curious, what is the purpose of mashing the lemons in the sugar? I have a much-loved recipe that simply requires juicing lemons and adding water and sugar. No simple syrup or a bunch of extra dishes to do. But I’d love to take my lemonade game to the next level if it really makes a difference!
Hey Angie – I think it imparts a much more fresh, potent lemon flavor.
At work we make Blueberry Lemon Zest Cinnamon Roll Biscuits and by the end of the week we have dozens of zested lemons. I’ve been making lemon curd and lemon buttermilk pie for ages. I’ve done Lemonade a few times, but I do not enjoy making the simple syrup and waiting for everything to chill etc. This just changed my world! Seriously, Thank you! Bring on the Lemonade and Ssuuuuuummmmmeerrrrrrrr! (That word can never be said without singing it in Olafs voice) 😀 You’re Welcome ha! ha! 😀 😀
Haha. And the “you’re welcome” instantly puts the Moana song in my head!
I made lemonade once with a simple syrup and it was life changing.
Lemonade is my husband’s favorite drink .. and everywhere we go he is on a quest to find the perfect lemonade… more often than not he is dissatisfied! I can’t wait to WOW him with this …. I’m so excited you posted this ..perfect timing. I’ll let you know how it goes
Mel- finding your site is honestly the best thing that has EVER happened to my family! We rarely make any recipe that isn’t from your site- and every holiday I rely on your gift guides to help me figure out what to get my kids/husband/me! This lemonade recipe came at the perfect time! Thank you!!! I am wondering- have you ever used this recipe to serve a crowd? Or have you used something else that’s successful for a crowd? I’m a Girl Scout troop leader, and our Girl Scouts are hoping to sell lemonade for a fundraiser, I just haven’t found a good recipe for large scale production, if you know what I mean! Thank you!!!
Thanks, Krista! So much! Actually, I’m making this lemonade this morning to serve 40-50 (well, actually, I’m doing a presentation to a group of 18-year old girls and THEY are going to make it). I think it should work as long as I can find a bowl big enough for the mashing!