Homemade Lemonade

This homemade lemonade is made with a concentrated syrup that you keep on hand and then dilute as desired. It requires only lemons, sugar, and water, and is easy as can be. Here’s how to make it.

One of the loveliest things about this homemade lemonade recipe—and there are many such things, including it being easy, elegant, and eminently giftable—is your ability to emphasize whatever qualities you most love in it. Like it tart? Use a light touch with the sugar. Like it fizzy? Swap tap water for seltzer. The one constant in the sweetly tart concoction is its ability to instantly summon summers gone by. Talk about a soulful sipper.–Renee Schettler

HOW LONG DOES HOMEMADE LEMONADE LAST?

This homemade syrup, or concentrate, will last for several weeks in your fridge if stored in a sterilized container. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on sterilization in the instructions. Who loves you?

Homemade Lemonade

A glass bottle filled with homemade lemonade syrup, a bowl of lemons, and two glasses on a wooden table.
This homemade lemonade is made with a concentrated syrup that you keep on hand and then dilute as desired. It requires only lemons, sugar, and water, and is easy as can be. Here's how to make it.
Pitt Cue Co.

Prep 45 mins
Cool 15 mins
Total 1 hr
Drinks
American
16 servings
116 kcal
5 / 4 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Pitt Cue Co.: The Cookbook cookbook

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Equipment

  • Large glass bottle with a stopper

Ingredients 

For the concentrated lemonade syrup

  • 10 unwaxed lemons preferably organic
  • 2 cups sugar (any kind of sugar will do but the folks at Pitt Cue Co. use light brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water

For the lemonade

  • 1 part concentrated lemonade syrup
  • 3 parts cold water or more, (you can use chilled seltzer if you like)
  • Ice (optional)

Directions
 

Make the concentrated lemonade syrup

  • Remove the zest but not the underlying white pith from the lemons using a paring knife, vegetable peeler, or zester. [Editor's Note: This may amount to more zest than you've ever seen in a single place. That's okay.] Then juice the lemons. You'll probably end up with about 1 1/2 cups juice.
  • Place all the zest and juice in a saucepan, add the sugar and water, and heat slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. The liquid should approach boiling but should not actually boil.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Strain the mixture and discard the lemon zest and any seeds. You should have about 4 cups concentrated lemonade syrup. Let it cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, sterilize a large glass bottle and its stopper however you choose. (The authors like to thoroughly wash and dry the bottle, place it in a cold oven, and heat it to 320°F. After 20 minutes, they turn the oven off and let the jars cool slightly.)
  • Pour the warm lemonade syrup into the bottle and let it cool. Cover the bottle and stash it in the fridge until it's chilled through and up to several weeks.

Make the lemonade

  • For each serving, stir together 1 part concentrated lemonade syrup with 3 to 4 parts cold water. (We like to use 1/4 cup lemonade syrup and 3/4 cup cold water per serving.) If desired, serve over ice. Sip and sigh.
Print RecipeBuy the Pitt Cue Co.: The Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 18 oz glassfullCalories: 116kcal (6%)Carbohydrates: 31g (10%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Sodium: 3mgPotassium: 94mg (3%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 27g (30%)Vitamin A: 15IUVitamin C: 36mg (44%)Calcium: 18mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This lemonade is summer in a glass—tart, sweet, and crisp. The syrup is just the right blend of sour, sweet, and a hint of bitter. I love the idea of having a stash of lemonade concentrate in the fridge ready for me to make lemonade at a moment’s notice. And the entire house smelled amazing after all that zesting.

The zesting and juicing took time and seemed quite daunting. I wanted an electric juicer about halfway through! I ended up with a mountain of zest—probably over 1/2 cup, which is more lemon zest than I've ever seen in a single place. I also had a mountain of dishes when I finished—the juicer, cutting board, saucepan, mesh strainer, bowl, and funnel. And it was all sticky. In the end, though, it was worth it to make a few week's worth of lemonade concentrate.

Next time I'll make the lemonade syrup when I have help, both with the preparation and the cleanup!

I used 1/4 cup lemonade syrup to 3/4 cup cold water to make each glass. The recipe yielded 16 servings.

Everyone loved this lemonade. It's easy to make and refreshing to drink. This was the first beverage to disappear at the table. The kids loved it, saying it tasted like a melted lemon chill.

My lemon juice measured 3 cups and I only added 9 cups of water because we like our lemonade tart. This gave us 12 one-cup servings, which was just right after you added a little ice to the glass. I didn't put the lemonade syrup in a jar because we used the whole amount in one day. I used granulated sugar since I was out of brown sugar, but I'll try the recipe again with the brown sugar to see the difference. I also want to try the gin version.


Originally published June 3, 2014

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Comments

  1. I love your recipes (delicious, clear, and generous). Even more, I love the graciousness, respect, and kindness with which you treat all your readers (especially novices).

    THANKS for both and everything!!

  2. 5 stars
    This has been a summer staple in my frig since I first saw the recipe several years ago. I love to use a shot of the concentrate in my Kentucky Bourbon Iced Tea!

    1. John, that’s a terrific question, thanks so much for inquiring. The zest is the outermost part of the citrus peel. It’s the colored part. It’s a very thin layer. Underneath it is a thick white layer known as the pith which tastes bitter. So you want to be careful to remove just the zest, as that’s where the intense lemon flavor is found, but without any of the bitter white pith underneath it which will impart a not-so-nice taste to your lemonade. Does this help clarify things?

    1. Yes, Yunith, it’s best to store the lemonade in the fridge rather than at room temperature so it doesn’t spoil. As the recipe indicates, it will last in the fridge for up to a couple weeks. Hope you like this recipe as much as we do!

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