How to Make the Best Homemade, Fresh Lemonade Ever

Updated on June 9, 2018
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Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

The Best Fresh, Homemade Lemonade Ever: Seriously addictive and perfect for hot summer days, this homemade lemonade is about the best thing you've ever had!
The Best Fresh, Homemade Lemonade Ever: Seriously addictive and perfect for hot summer days, this homemade lemonade is about the best thing you've ever had!

Summer in a Glass

My grandfather was a serious lemonade lover, and fresh lemonade brings my childhood back like nothing else. He'd sing to my grandmother until she made a pitcher of it, and of course, I was also right under her elbow while she did it.

This is the secret family recipe for the perfect lemonade. Taking a few moments to make the simple syrup first is key—you'll get much better results than if you try to get the sugar to dissolve in cold liquid. This is the perfect balance between sweet and the tart of the lemons.

Now about the lemons—of course, fresh lemons are best. They just are. But if you're making more than just one batch, it can take some serious elbow grease. I use a citrus squeezer, and even that gets old after about the third lemon. A juicer works better, and if you have an electric one, knock yourself out. But...

Good bottled lemon juice will do in a pinch. I know—foodies everywhere will kick me out of the club. But I'm not going to tell on you, especially if you it half and half with fresh juice. Bottled juice is good quality (not the best, but good), it's inexpensive, it's fast and it's easy. So don't beat yourself up over that.

Finally, this is best if you add cold water only at the end, then chill the whole batch in the fridge. But if you're in a hurry, mix about two cups of ice with four cups of water to bring the temp down more quickly.

That's it—now go whip up a batch and make everybody happy!

Ingredients

  • 5-6 fresh lemons, juiced - enough to equal 1 1/2 cups
  • 8 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • lemon slices or fresh mint to garnish

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine two cups of water and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow the sugar water to come down to room temperature or just a little above.
  2. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Add remaining six cups of cold water and stir. If you need to hurry on the chilling part, add two cups of ice to four cups of water (six cups total liquid measure) and stir well to melt the ice.
  4. Chill and serve!

Start with Fresh Lemons - Or Not....

Fresh lemons are the best of course, but if you're making more than one batch, it makes for a serious workout. A lemon squeezer, electric juicer or other device makes it easier. Or you can cheat and supplement with bottled juice, and I won't tell!
Fresh lemons are the best of course, but if you're making more than one batch, it makes for a serious workout. A lemon squeezer, electric juicer or other device makes it easier. Or you can cheat and supplement with bottled juice, and I won't tell!

Make a Simple Syrup

A simple syrup is just that - a mixture of sugar and water heated just enough to dissolve the sugar. Starting lemonade this way results in a perfectly sweet - but not over sweet - result.
A simple syrup is just that - a mixture of sugar and water heated just enough to dissolve the sugar. Starting lemonade this way results in a perfectly sweet - but not over sweet - result.

Heat Just Until the Sugar Dissolves

There's no real need to bring the simple syrup to a boil - all you really need is to dissolve the sugar. And the hotter you get it, the longer it will take to chill before serving. And who wants to wait any longer for treats than necessary?
There's no real need to bring the simple syrup to a boil - all you really need is to dissolve the sugar. And the hotter you get it, the longer it will take to chill before serving. And who wants to wait any longer for treats than necessary?

Squeeze the Lemons - then Squeeze Some More

A batch of lemonade takes about 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice. I'd like to tell you it's about 5-6 lemons, but it depends on how big they are and how 'juicy' they end up being - which depends on how fresh they are as well. So just measure!
A batch of lemonade takes about 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice. I'd like to tell you it's about 5-6 lemons, but it depends on how big they are and how 'juicy' they end up being - which depends on how fresh they are as well. So just measure!

Add Lemon Juice

Remove the simple syrup from the heat, let it cool a bit, and add the fresh lemon juice. If you add it too hot, you'll lose some of the fresh, tart 'zing' of the lemon juice. Just over room temperature is fine - do it then.
Remove the simple syrup from the heat, let it cool a bit, and add the fresh lemon juice. If you add it too hot, you'll lose some of the fresh, tart 'zing' of the lemon juice. Just over room temperature is fine - do it then.

Add Water and/or Ice and it's Ready!

Add six cups of cold water, or a combination of water and ice to equal six cups to chill it more quickly. You'll end up with a total of eight cups of lemonade.
Add six cups of cold water, or a combination of water and ice to equal six cups to chill it more quickly. You'll end up with a total of eight cups of lemonade.

Fresh, Homemade Lemondade

Like summer in a glass, real lemonade is about the best thing you can have on a hot day. Turn on the sprinklers and make a big pitcher!
Like summer in a glass, real lemonade is about the best thing you can have on a hot day. Turn on the sprinklers and make a big pitcher!

How to Make a Simple Syrup

How to Zest a Lemon - for Even More Intense Flavor!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jan Charles

    Comments

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      • RedElf profile image

        RedElf 

        4 months ago from Canada

        Perfect proportions! I have always loved fresh lemonade. It truly is, as you said, summer in a glass. And the tinkle of ice in the big glass pitcher is intoxicating. Now all I want to do is relax on the porch with a tall, frosty glass of yumminess...

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 

        4 months ago from Home Sweet Home

        No wonder, you know Malaysia lemonade taste sourish because no sugar is used

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