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Jar of lemonade with lemon slices being stirred on a light wooden table.

Homemade Lemonade

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Lemonade is refreshing and super easy! Making it at home allows for customization of the sweetness and tartness levels to suit your taste. It's typically chilled and served over ice, making it perfect for hot weather.  The different components can be made ahead. Unlike store-bought lemonade, it does not contain preservatives or artificial flavors.

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 glasses

Ingredients

Units
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (6 to 8 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (see Notes below if you like very sweet lemonade)
  • 3/4 cup water, at room temperature
  • 2-3 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices and mint leaves (optional), for serving

 

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 1 cup of water.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat when it starts to boil and let the syrup cool to room temperature. The sugar will have dissolved and you'll have a clear, simple syrup. You can store it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep it in the fridge almost indefinitely. 
  4. Juice lemons to make 1 cup. You might find an electric citrus juicer handy for this task. 
  5. Combine 3/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of cold syrup, 2 cups of cold water, and a cup of ice cubes in a large pitcher (about 6 cup capacity).
  6. Stir well, taste, and adjust to your palate. I use the whole of the lemon juice and syrup, but the first time it's better if you mix less of each and then adjust. You might want more sweetness and less lemon or the other way around. 
  7. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if not using ice cubes.
  8. Pour into glasses with a few cubes of ice with lemon slices and mint leaves if desired.

Notes

  • Simple sugar syrup: I like it much better than using sugar because the latter sometimes doesn't dissolve completely or you have to stir frequently. Making the syrup takes about 5 minutes and it keeps in the fridge almost indefinitely. Always in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Sweeter lemonade: if you generally like very sweet drinks, use 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water to make the syrup. Don't add it all at once, but you'll have extra if you need to add more. 
  • Freezing lemonade: it keeps for a month.
  • Stir before serving: The ingredients can settle at the bottom of the jar or pitcher over time. Give it a good stir before serving to distribute the ingredients evenly.
  • Store it in an airtight container: transfer your lemonade from the pitcher to a clean container with a tight-fitting lid or cover.
  • Keep it refrigerated: it should be in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or below. This will help prevent bacterial growth and keep it fresh.
  • Check for signs of spoilage: If your lemonade looks cloudy, has an off odor or taste, or shows signs of mold, discard it immediately.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: International

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6
  • Calories: 73
  • Sugar: 17.7 g
  • Sodium: 5.3 mg
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg