A simple and refreshing homemade lemonade recipe! You only need three ingredients (sugar, water, and lemons, and does water really count as an ingredient?) to make this classic drink recipe.
The Only Lemonade Recipe You’ll Ever Need
On Monday we stretched our skill set a little bit and learned how to make the most gourmet cookies ever thanks to the addition of fancy brown butter. Today, we’re taking things a few steps backwards to something much more basics with a simple (so, so simple) recipe for lemonade.
I know, I know, there are plenty of you out there who don’t “need” a lemonade recipe. Just like not everyone needs a recipe for French Toast or Macaroni & Cheese and some people are perfectly fine just winging it. I totally respect that, but for the rest of us (particularly those of you like me, who like neatly spelled out instructions), we have a recipe.
Lemonade is easy to make, but I’ve found that getting the ratios right is critical. Too much lemon and your lemonade is too tart and undrinkable, too much water and it’s, well, watered down. What we have today is a perfectly balanced recipe that everyone is going to love.
I actually got this lemonade recipe from my brother, Josh. He is always being asked to make lemonade (and tea) for my family. He makes the best lemonade and so I asked him to share his secret recipe with me. Turns out, it came from the back of a lemon juice bottle 🤷🏼♀️. This recipe is similar to that one, but of course I had to make a few small tweaks, including using real, fresh lemons and simple syrup.
Simple Syrup in Lemonade
When Josh makes lemonade, he simply combines everything and stirs it together. Lemon juice, water, and sugar all go into the pitcher and get a good mixing and that’s that. However, the lemonade always needs to be stirred before serving, to make sure the sugar isn’t settled onto the bottom of the pitcher.
To prevent this, I recommend making a simple simple syrup. All this involves is combining one cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
And that’s it. The sugar will be completely dissolved into the water, so when you combine this with your lemon juice (and the rest of the water) the sweetness will be evenly distributed without any evident sugar granules remaining.
Can I Make Lemonade Using Bottled Lemon Juice?
Yes, you can make this lemonade recipe using bottled lemon juice. My brother does this all the time. And the lemonade is always excellent.
However, it probably won’t come as a surprise to you that I recommend using freshly squeezed lemons whenever you have the chance! You’ll only need 3-4 nice sized lemons to get the cup of juice you need for this lemonade recipe.
More Refreshing Summertime Recipes
Be sure to check out my How to Make Lemonade video at the bottom of the recipe! YES, this is an easy recipe that can be made without watching the video first, but I’ve been working hard to make videos for all of my recipes and thought this lemonade recipe shouldn’t be an exception! If you enjoy watching, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’ve already uploaded over 100 recipe videos that you can watch for free!
Homemade Lemonade Recipe
This recipe makes ½ gallon of lemonade but can successfully be doubled!
- 6 cups water divided (1.4liter)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice¹ seeds removed, pulp may remain (236ml)
- Combine 1 cup (236ml) water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside, allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice into a pitcher. Add sugar/water mixture (simple syrup).
- Add remaining 5 cups (1180ml) water and stir well. Pour over ice and serve, or transfer to refrigerator and allow to chill several hours before serving.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.