Limeade made the old-fashioned way with fresh lime juice, sugar, water, and not much else. Easy as heck and gosh darn good.

A pitcher and two glasses of limeade on a colorful platter with a linen napkin on the side.

Limeade, when properly made, is supposed to be a little more tart than sweet. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in this easy rendition made with fresh lime juice, sugar or agave nectar, water, and not a lot else. No preservatives. No artificial sweeteners. No chemicals of any sort. Just old-fashioned puckery perfection. This post has been updated. Originally published May 3, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi


  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Serves 4
4.5/5 - 2 reviews
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Pour the water into a pitcher, add the agave syrup or sugar mixture, and mix well.

Squeeze the juice from the lemons and limes into the pitcher, reserving the spent citrus halves. Taste and, if desired, add agave syrup or sugar according to taste.

If desired, slice 2 squeezed lemon halves and 4 squeezed lime halves in half again (by our count, that makes 12 wedges) and toss them in the pitcher.

Serve over ice.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Cannot wait for the warm weather to come so that I can always have a pitcher of limeade at the ready. The first time I made this as per the recipe instructions; for the second batch I omitted the agave. My advice is to allow each person to add however much agave he or she wants straight into that cup. I actually prefer it without, as it’s so very refreshing and has a nice bitter taste, which makes it that much more of a thirst quencher but not so overly bitter that it hurts your palette. My older daughter, who of course liked it with the agave, actually decided to blend it all and created a slushy. I tried it and thought it was genius! Another idea is to add orange slices, which will lend some sweetness.

I expected this to be a subtle, citrus-flavored water, but the amount of citrus specified packed quite a punch. This bold flavor actually worked nicely for an iced drink that inevitably gets watered down as it sits and the ice melts. I really enjoyed this recipe, and I expect to make it often this summer. I used superfine sugar instead of agave syrup because I didn’t have any on hand and it turned out wonderfully. I actually think honey would work well, too, and plan to try that in the future. The second time I made this I tried it with sparkling water instead of still and I liked that quite a bit, too.


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  1. Easy recipe. Problem is the variation of lemons and limes—tartness, size. At least you can adjust as you go. Next time I may try an orange and see if you can go without sweetener.

  2. I do this same recipe except instead of water, I fill the pitcher with ice and then use my immersion blender to make a sort of smoothie…perfect for hot or cold weather 😉 You could use a stand blender, too, but I prefer the quick cleanup of my hand-held immersion blender.

  3. Augas frescas of Mexico are wonderful. This is one of my favorites. For something a little different add a handful of fresh strawberries and a little orange juice.

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