Part of Summer Central

How to Make Lemonade

Refreshing, sweet and tart is exactly what you should expect from homemade lemonade.

Making Lemonade from Scratch

Warm weather means a few things for certain: more time spent outdoors, lovely long evenings and cravings for frosty, refreshing drinks. Lemonade has long topped the list of summertime deliciousness, and is the best thirst-quencher for when the sun has taken its toll. Homemade lemonade makes me think of shaded porches, rocking chairs, bare feet and lightning bugs.
It’s incredibly simple to make—so simple that you will wonder why you ever bought a powdered mix. Or thought that your grandma was the only one who could make lemonade from-scratch. You only need 3 ingredients to launch your taste buds into summer nostalgia: lemons, sugar and water.

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1 Wash Lemons

Give your 7 lemons a good scrub, because to make lemonade we’ll be using both the juice and the peel. If your lemons feel too firm, juicing them can be tricky. To make this a little simpler, place the lemons on the counter and roll them back and forth with the heel of your hand before proceeding to step 2.

Microwaving your lemons before juicing can also help to yield more juice. Microwave them on high for 10 - 20 seconds (depending on the size of your citrus), let them cool and then they will be perfect for juicing!

2 Zest Lemons

Just like the best lemon desserts, the best lemonade needs lemon zest. If you haven’t yet invested in a microplane, now is the time! This handy tool is like a tiny grater that takes the most flavorful parts of the lemon peel while leaving behind the more bitter pith. You will need the zest of 3 lemons.

3 Dissolve Sugar

Add 1 cup of sugar to a medium saucepan, along with all your lemon zest. 1 cup of sugar will yield a mildly sweet lemonade. If you prefer sweeter lemonade, use 1-1/2 cups of sugar. Pour in 2 cups of water and bring the mixture to a simmer. You are just trying to dissolve the sugar here, so there is no need to boil. Simmer for 1 minute, stir and then remove the pan from the heat to let the sugar and lemon zest steep.

4 Juice Lemons

Juice all 7 of your lemons into a serving pitcher, taking care to keep seeds out. If you prefer a less pulpy lemonade, be sure to juice the lemons through a fine mesh strainer.

5 Serve & Enjoy

Pour the lemon and sugar mixture into the pitcher (using the strainer again if you prefer no pulp) and stir. Then add 6 cups of water. One more good stir and you’ll be ready to pour your homemade lemonade over ice and serve.

Get even more drink inspiration with our top-rated lemonades and summer cocktail recipes.

About Heather T.

Heather, who runs, has been making messes in the kitchen since she was a little kid when her mom handed her a cook book and told her, “If you can read, you can cook.” Today she serves up fresh, healthy eats, easy weeknight meals and decadent sweet treats.