Learn how to make old fashioned, freshly squeezed homemade lemonade that’ll knock your socks off! It’s super easy. We even include instructions for sugar-free lemonade, honey-based lemonade, as well as how to easily make flavored lemonades all using the same recipe.
There’s nothing quite like a big glass of freshly squeezed homemade lemonade on a hot summer day. It’s the ultimate refreshing beverage. It’s easy to make in large batches to then freeze and enjoy all summer long. Classic old fashioned lemonade is made from freshly squeezed lemon juice and a simple syrup. Some people do simply stir sugar into lemon juice and water to make lemonade, but this can lead to graininess and separation. The best homemade lemonade uses a simple syrup to sweeten. A simply syrup doesn’t separate. We’re even including options for how to make a simple syrup using honey or Stevia.
Simple syrup is used as a sweetener in drinks and baked goods. It is significantly easier to blend a simple syrup with cold drinks than it is to blend in straight sugar.
Homemade lemonade starts by making a simple syrup base. This will allow you to sweeten the lemon juice from your freshly squeezed lemons without any problems getting the sugar to dissolve. The last thing you want is a gritty lemonade or one where the sugar separates and sinks to the bottom.
Lemonade Using Honey:
Dissolve equal parts honey and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. So, for every 1 cup of honey, use 1 cup of water. This will form a simple syrup using honey, rather than sugar. Then simply mix in equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice to form a lemonade concentrate.
For sugar free lemonade, use stevia powder. Stevia is a strong natural sweetener. Dissolve 1/4 cup stevia powder in 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Combine this mixture with 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice to form a lemonade concentrate.
Freshly Squeezed vs. Bottled Lemon Juice:
Freshly squeezed lemon juice has a brighter, cleaner flavor and is strongly preferred for making lemonade. Bottled lemon juice does not taste as fresh and can sometimes have a bitter, chemical taste. Any kind of lemon can be used to make lemonade, including Meyer lemons which have a distinct, sweeter flavor.
This recipe teaches you how to make your own plain lemonade, but you can use this same recipe to make a variety of flavors. Want Strawberry Lemonade? Add in a pound of hulled strawberries to your prepared lemonade and blend it in a blender. Raspberry lemonade? Do the same thing! It’s easy to mix and match various fruits and flavor combinations to quench your thirst with this old-fashioned treat.
Adjusting Sweet vs. Sour
Simple syrup has a specific ratio of water to sugar. If you want to adjust the sweetness of this recipe, do not change the ratio of the simple syrup. Rather, you’ll want to adjust the ratio of simple syrup to lemon juice. For a more sour lemonade, use more lemon juice. Alternately, you can also add less simple syrup to your lemon juice. Once you have your lemonade concentrate (the mixture of a simple syrup and lemon juice), you’ll add water to taste. At this point you can then thin out the lemonade as much as you’d like, depending on your own personal taste preferences.
In this recipe you create a lemonade concentrate by combining a simple syrup with lemon juice. The lemonade concentrate can be frozen for later use. Pour the cooled lemonade concentrate into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and lay flat in the freezer. When ready to serve, thaw, and add water to taste.
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious and refreshing cold beverage recipes:
- Key West Cooler Mocktail
- Blueberry Lemonade
- Easy Mexican Horchata
- Strawberry-Kiwi Lemonade
- Strawberry Lassi
How to Make Homemade Lemonade
- 5 lbs lemons
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar*
- Cut lemons in half. Juice each lemon through a strainer into a large measuring cup. Keep juicing until you have 2 cups of lemon juice.
- Pour water into a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in sugar. Continue cooking over heat until sugar is dissolved and liquid looks clear again.
- Combine sugar solution with lemon juice to create a lemonade concentrate.
- When ready to serve, add water to the lemonade concentrate to taste. For a stronger lemonade, add less water. For a less sweet, more sour lemonade, adjust the ratio of simple syrup to lemon juice by adding more lemon juice or less simple syrup.