This easy homemade lemonade is made from just 3 ingredients, is just the right amount of sweet, and is the perfect summer drink, or base for a flavored lemonade. There is just something about Fresh Squeezed Lemonade that hits differently than the kind from a powder or can, and this recipe is super simple to make, and will have you drinking lemonade on repeat all summer long.
The Easiest Lemonade Recipe
I realize lemonade is a pretty simple drink to make, and maybe you love a frozen version or powdered version, but even though it is an easy recipe, it is one you want to have in your arsenal. Having a reliable recipe is important because lemonade can go wrong, it can be too sweet, or too sour. And while it is easy to adjust, this recipe has been tested, tweaked, and enjoyed for years, making it the perfect go-to.
Making homemade lemonade is really simple, and honestly, if you can boil water, you can make homemade lemonade. It starts with water, sugar, and lemon juice, and you can take it a million different directions, but let’s start with a classic fresh squeezed lemonade made with ingredients you probably already have on hand:
Sugar and Water or Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is usually made with a 1:1 mixture, but for lemonade, I like it a little sweeter because the lemons can be a bit much, and you want it sweet enough to enjoy, so we tweak the simple syrup for an easy fix, and use a 1: 1.5 ratio instead. 1 cup water, 1 and 1/2 cups sugar.
Do not let the simple syrup overwhelm you, it is so easy to make, again, if you can boil water, you can make simple syrup. Simple syrup is just sugar dissolved in water, which makes the drink cohesive and smooth, by heating the water, the sugars melt, and won’t just sit in the bottom of the pitcher.
In order to get a fresh squeezed homemade lemonade, you need lemons. So you’ll need lemon juice to make this recipe. You want to end up with about a cup and a half, which usually takes between 8-10 lemons if they are small or 6-8 if they are medium to large sized, though it depends on the size of your lemons. If you are in a rush, or don’t have fresh lemons available, bottled lemon juice will work, but fresh is just so much better.
Ice is key to a good glass of lemonade, as no one wants a lukewarm, or tepid glass of lemonade. No, you want a nice, ice cold, frosty glass. It is just so much more refreshing on a hot day. But pro-tip: Don’t dilute your lemonade. Add your ice directly to your glasses, not your pitcher, that way your lemonade doesn’t get diluted, and you only ice the part you are drinking, while you are drinking it. Much better!
What I love about this lemonade:
- It is Deliciously Refreshing – Honestly, there is just something about lemonade on a hot day, and this is the BEST lemonade recipe around. So beware, you may never want store-bought again, it is just that good. I keep a tall pitcher in the fridge all summer long, and make it on repeat. Lemons are always on our summer grocery shopping list, because it is just THAT good!
- Easy 3 Ingredient Recipe – Lemons, sugar, and water! I mean can it get any easier? No matter how you like it, this is all you need, you simply adjust the sweetness to your liking. Of course, water could be counted as two, or even three, ingredients because you are going to use it for the simple syrup, and the lemonade, and you want to serve it over ice (frozen water). But trust, it is so simple. Just be sure to serve with lots of ice to make it even more refreshing.
- Make Ahead and Freezer-Friendly – This is one of those recipes you can totally make in advance. You can even freeze it. Double or triple the recipe, and freeze the lemon juice so you can simply add the syrup and water anytime you want, even when fresh lemons aren’t as easy to access or plentiful.
How to Make Homemade Lemonade
Let’s talk about the easy steps for making homemade lemonade. It is simple and worth the effort.
Step one: Juice Your Lemons
There are all kinds of tricks for getting the most juice out of your fresh lemons. Start by choosing the best lemons (tips below), then microwave them for just a few seconds, then firmly roll the lemons around on the counter to help release the juices. Cut the lemon in half, then squeeze out the juice by hand or with a juicer. Collect the juices in a large liquid measuring cup, and stop when you reach 1.5 cups. This usually takes 6-8 medium sized lemons.
Step Two: Make the Simple Syrup
Making simple syrup is easy, you simply measure 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups of sugar into a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Stir until the mixture is clear, the sugar is totally dissolved, and you don’t see a film on the bottom of the pan. Then pour out of the pan and allow to cool before making your lemonade.
Step Three: Combine and Stir
Once your lemons are juiced, and your simple syrup has cooled, add both to your pitcher or dispenser and pour cold water over the top. You can add the lemon juice and water first, then add the simple syrup to your taste. I personally love the ratio of everything added, but if you want it stronger, or less sweet, adjust the water, lemon juice, or simple syrup as needed to get it to your liking.
Step Four: Garnish and Serve
Serve over ice. Now this step is completely optional, but I love serving lemonade with a garnish, it just feels fancy and fun for summer, a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint take it up a notch for sure. However, this is unnecessary and does not impact the taste.
Tips and Tricks:
- Adjust to Preference: The beauty of a homemade lemonade is you get to adjust it to your preference. This recipe is not too sweet, and not too sour. But you can still adjust it to how you like it. Want a stronger lemon flavor? Use less water. Like it sweeter? More simple syrup!
- How to Choose Juicy Lemons: To use fewer lemons and still be able to make your fresh squeezed lemonade, you want to choose the best lemons. When choosing lemons, look for ones with a soft and tender rind, and that are heavy for their size. If you were to pick up two lemons the same size and one is heavier, it will be juicier. The rind starts to harden as the lemon ages, softer, more tender rinds are better for juicier lemons.
- Room Temp Lemons: You do not want cold lemons, they won’t juice as well. I love to warm mine for just 10 seconds in the microwave before juicing. Or at the very least, let them sit on the counter for a while so they are room temp before you squeeze them.
- How to Juice Lemons: You have several options. Handheld juicer like this one, an electric juicer like this one, (this is what I use and love) or even just squeeze, use a fork to juice by placing the times into the open part of the lemon, and working your way around the flesh to open each part and get the juice out.
How to Store Fresh Lemonade or Save for Later
While chances are you will gulp this one down, if you want to make it in advance or store your lemonade for later, simply put it in a pitcher or dispenser in the fridge without ice, and store for up to 5-7 days. Add ice just before serving.
To Make Ahead: This easy lemonade recipe can be made and kept covered in the fridge. It can also be frozen. See below.
To Freeze: While you can freeze it from the finished product, I prefer to reserve freezer space, and simply freeze the lemon juice concentrate. To do this mix the cool simple syrup, and the lemon juice together, then when ready to serve simply defrost and add water. Or, juice your lemons, and freeze in 1.5 cup increments so you can make this recipe quickly. This recipe freezes well in mason jars, glass jars, plastic containers, or even a freezer bag. I like to fill mine with these nifty holders to avoid spills.
Freeze for up to 5 months.
To serve: Allow the lemonade concentrate mixture to thaw and add it to a pitcher then add water, serve over ice.
- Sparkling: Use sparkling water instead of fresh.
- Adult: Add a few ounces of vodka for a fun summer cocktail.
- Fruit: Add fresh fruit, or fruit puree.
Other Drink Recipes You May Love:
- Pineapple Cooler Raspberry Refresher Frozen Drink
- Rainbow Punch
- Raspberry 7UP® Punch Recipe
- Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cups lemon juice fresh
- 7 cups cold water
- Ice as needed
- Lemon sliced and mint for garnish
- In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine sugar and 1 cup water.
- Stir constantly to dissolve sugar while mixture comes to a boil. Once liquid is clear, and no sugar remains coating the bottom, remove from heat, and pour into another container.
- Set aside to let cool.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons to get your 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice. To get the most juice out of your lemons bring them to room temp, then roll lemons around on your counter to soften. Cut in half lengthwise, and squeeze juice out into a liquid measuring cup.
- Discard any seeds, and use pulp only if desired.
- Now assemble homemade lemonade by pouring 7 cups ice-cold water into a pitcher. Stir in lemon juice add simple syrup to taste.
- Serve in glasses over ice. Do not add ice to the pitcher, as this can dilute the lemonade.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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