Lemon Ice

This lemon ice, made with lemon juice, sugar, and water, is a summer classic. No ice cream maker required. (Doesn’t just looking at it make you feel cooler?)

Two cardboard cups filled with lemon ice, one with a wooden spoon with of heap of ice on it

Much as we swoon over ice cream, we gotta say, sometimes it’s just too darn hot and humid for something so sweet and rich. Enter this tartly lovely sorbet, still an indulgence but with just enough sugar to appease your sweet tooth and enough lively acidity to keep you from feeling bogged down. Somewhere between Slurpy and sorbet, it’s sorta sophisticated to the palate but blessedly simple to make. No wonder it’s a classic. Originally published August 20, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Lemon Ice

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 7 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6
Print RecipeBuy the Mad Hungry Cravings cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup ice cold water

Directions

  • 1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and let cool.
  • 2. Combine the lemon juice and 1 cup simple syrup in an 8-inch square baking dish. Transfer to the freezer and chill, raking the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes, until flaky and frozen, about 3 hours total.
  • 3. Transfer the frozen mixture to a blender and puree with the water. Divide among six 4-ounce ramekins or disposable paper cups and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. Remove from the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before scooping and slurping.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? CHOW DOWN ON THESE:


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers Reviews

The taste of this Italian lemon ice is delicious, bracing, and exactly right—it’s cool, sweet, and tart all at once. The texture is wonderful. I wondered when I first read through the recipe whether the blending would be worth the extra step. It is.

And it’s easy enough for a 9-year-old to put together. The only difficulty we had was waiting through the crystal-making and freezing time. We froze half the icey in Popsicle molds and served the rest in pretty bowls with a tiny spoon. We were mighty happy to have this on hand for 2 of the hottest days on record in our area.

This lemon ice was cool, tart, and wonderfully refreshing. No need to ever buy lemon sorbet again.

I made this using Meyer lemon juice, which I just love. After “raking” the mixture every 30 minutes, I also nibbled what clung to the fork each time. By the time I put the mixture in our blender, I was so pleased with the taste, I added only 1/2 cup cold water (instead of 1 cup) because I didn’t want to dilute the taste that much.

I made this lemon ice twice. The first time because I was trying to do too many things at once in the kitchen and didn’t make it according to the recipe. I made the simple syrup, added the lemon juice and cold water, and put it in the freezer. Remembered it about 2 hours later and just “mushed” it up with a fork.

Then I remade it according to the recipe.

Both were wonderful—light, refreshing, and simple to make with ingredients I usually have on hand. You could hardly tell the difference between the 2 methods. And it was a good thing I had 2 recipes, because my 4 guests finished both bowls and probably would have eaten another recipe’s worth if I had made more. It was a very hot day and this was an absolutely perfect dessert to serve. Next time I may add some mint, but even as-is it was “yummo!” as a certain TV personality would say!

Tart, sweet, and refreshing were the words we used to describe this truly summery treat. It is simplicity itself to prepare, as the hardest part of the entire recipe was squeezing the lemons. I found the first taste to be very sweet, but then the tartness of the lemons came in and it was great.

The partial freezing and refreezing seems to give it a different texture than the normal type of iced juice pops we’ve made before. Very pleasant. I will be making these again and again for the summer. I think the next time I might try a mix of fresh lemon and lime juices or maybe add a little mint to the mix.

This lemon ice couldn’t have come at a better time as we're having a heat wave. It’s cool and bracing and so easy to make. Aside from the time involved in freezing, it’s much easier than getting out the ice cream freezer, putting it together, and cleaning up afterward. Just a little planning in the morning and this will be ready for the hot afternoon.

The ratio of ingredients makes everything easy to remember. A splash of limoncello, vodka, tequila, or rum would be wonderful in this. Can’t wait to try this with other citrus combinations.

When I was growing up, it was a summer tradition to walk to the corner store and buy an Italian ice. We would use the small wooden spoon to scrape the ice and the color from the ice would dye our tongues wild colors. Everyone knew that the most intense flavor was found at the bottom of the cup.

This easy recipe was a way to walk down memory lane and make me feel like a little girl again. I was able to introduce Italian ice to my own kids and now they, too, know to flip the ice over to scrape up the lemony crystals.

Comments

  1. Oh, yeah! I am always disappointed by the frozen lemonade I buy at fairs and ball games. I’m not sure why I never thought to make my own. Going to the store to get lemons now!

  2. This looks wonderful. I need to try it soon. A trick I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated a couple of years ago is to add a little vodka (or other flavorless alcohol) to the mix—approximately 1 tablespoon per cup of sugar or 1 to 2 cups of fruit/juice. It lowers the freezing point a little and helps create much finer ice crystals for a smoother, creamier sorbet. As Robert M. noted above, limoncello would also make a great addition.

  3. I should add that there’s also a neat bit of chemistry going on here. Making a simple syrup rather than just adding sugar changes a portion of the sugar (sucrose) into an invert sugar (glucose & fructose) which helps retard crystallization and makes for a smoother final product. It’s a handy trick.

  4. So, would this do for the lemon “ice cream” in the Sgroppino? Cause it sure sounds like it would be aces. ;) If not, do you have another suggestion? Thanks!

      1. Thanks, Renee. I was passing the Sgroppino link to a friend when I remembered this recipe. I’ll send it along too. She will love it, but I bet she makes it with Hendricks instead of vodka. ;)

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.