Brazilian Lemonade

Brazilian Lemonade is my most favorite drink, ever.  I fell it love with it while living in Brazil where at most restaurants and homes, fresh squeezed tropical beverages are the norm. It’s tart, but sweet, made with fresh limes and a secret ingredient (spoiler alert: sweetened condensed milk) that makes it mildly creamy.  It looks a little strange but is refreshingly delicious and unlike any other beverage!

The first question that people generally ask about Brazilian Lemonade is why it’s called lemonade when it’s actually made with limes??  In Brazil, lemons are not common.  Their word for lemonade, “Limonada” actually refers to limes.  And in Brazil, they actually call this beverage  Swiss Lemonade.  This is because the signature ingredient there, Nestle brand sweetened condensed milk, shows a Swiss milkmaid on the label.  So.  We’ve got Brazilian lemonade, which they call Swiss Lemonade, which is actually limeade.  Got it?  All you need to know is that it’s DELICIOUS.

brazilian lemonade in cups

Make a Simple Syrup and Mix Limes

The first thing you’ll do is make a simple syrup, and it’s not cooked or anything.  You’ll simply stir sugar into water and stir until it’s dissolved.  You’ll place part of that in a blender and add fresh limes, peel and all (no substitutes for fresh here).

limes in blender

Pulse Mixture in Blender

You will pulse this mixture several times but DO NOT just blend the heck out of it.  If you do that, you’ll break up the peel too much and blend in that bitter pith.   Using the whole lime and pulsing just a few times takes advantage of the flavors from both the juice and the flavorful oils in the rind.  I’ve made this using only the fresh squeezed lime juice, and it’s better this way with the whole fruit!  I usually press the pulse button 4-5 times for just a couple seconds each.
brazilian lemonade in blender

Strain the Brazilian Lemonade

Pour the mixture from the blender through a fine mesh strainer ( like this one) and into a pitcher, thus saving all of the flavorful liquid. You might need to do this in a couple of batches.  Use a spoon to smash down limes in strainer and extract all that great flavor.

straining lime juice

Add Sweetened Condensed Milk

Then the secret ingredient: sweetened condensed milk.  You can often buy mini cans in the latin section of the grocery store.  This recipes needs about 1 1/2 little cans.  Since you’ll probably want to double this recipe, that’s 3 cans.  They also sell a squeeze bottle in the Latin foods section which is also helpful.   Or just open a regular sized can and make some chocolate sauce with the leftovers! 

sweetened condensed milk in lemonade

The sweetened condensed milk makes the drink itself look like milk, which is sometimes confusing to guests!  It’s unique and so crazy good that I love serving this to people who have never had it before.

Chill and Pour

You’ll want to avoid adding ice to your actual pitcher because it will water it down.  Instead, add ice to the glasses before you pour.

brazilian lemonade in serving cups

You can add fresh limes to the glasses if you like, it looks pretty and adds a little punch of extra flavor.
brazilian lemonade in cups
I hope you try a batch of this Brazilian Lemonade – it will most likely become your official drink of summer!
Brazilian Lemonade

Brazilian Lemonade

5 from 2 votes
Citrus and sweetened condensed milk may sound like a strange combination, but trust me on this amazing Brazilian beverage that's cool, creamy, sweet-tart and refreshing!
Servings4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 juicy limes try and find ones with thin, smooth skins; they're the juiciest and the thin skin cuts down on the chance of your drink being bitter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

  • Mix cold water and sugar very well and chill until ready to use. This step can be done ahead of time.
  • Wash limes thoroughly with soap (hand-dishwashing soap or regular hand soap works great). Cut the ends off the limes and then cut each lime into 8ths.
  • Place 1/2 of the limes in your blender.
  • Add 1/2 of the sugar water, place the lid on your blender, and pulse about 5 times. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a pitcher (the one you'll serve the lemonade in) and pour the blended mixture through the strainer and into the pitcher. Use a spoon to press the rest of the liquid into the pitcher. Dump the pulp and stuff in the strainer into the trash. Repeat with remaining limes and sugar water.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk and stir.  You may want to taste test it at this point; Sometimes if you use bitter limes, it will need more sugar and maybe a little more milk. *In Brazil, they will actually place the lime liquid back into the blender to blend the sweetened condensed milk in- this creates kind of a frothy consistency that's super good!  Feel free to do this, or simply stir the milk in as directed in this recipe.
  • Serve immediately over lots of ice. This does not keep well, so don't make this in advance (although you can cut the limes, mix the sugar water, and measure the sweetened condensed milk in advance).

Notes

Serving Note

  • Serves 4, technically, although I can pretty much guarantee you that people will want more.  You can double, triple, etc.  the recipe.  Just make in batches that will fit in your blender.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Just made this tonight and it was a hit! Thanks for the step-by-step instructions and the great recipe! Oh, and the pictures help lots too and make the posts even more interesting and try-able. Now, if only I had found out about those small containers of sweetened condensed milk before. I’ve got some left over sweetened condensed milk I need to do something with…

  2. I have made this drink and I thought it was really good, but I thought it had pretty intense flavor. I thought to myself that the next time I made it that I would add a bit more water or something. After reading the other comments posted on this recipe, I have discovered that I used Key Limes rather than regular limes. I feel like such a bonehead, but now I can’t wait to get regular limes (I thought the limes looked small, but I have never cooked with them before) and try this again. LOL! I LOVE THE DAILY BITE!

  3. so delish! you’re right, though…it doesn’t keep well…the bitterness comes back out after it’s been in the fridge for a few hours…adding a bit more condensed milk helps, but definitely better to finish it all at once!

  4. AMAZING!!! My sister Stephanie (who knew?) came in town this weekend and made this (and your chocolate chip cookies-yum) and we LOVED it! It is so good, we will definitely be making this a lot.

  5. haha I said lemons in my earlier comment when I meant to say limes…guess the name is more confusing than I thought!

  6. I had no idea you would use the entire lime in a drink. I’m really excited to make this. Any chance a brazilian meat recipe is coming up?

  7. I don’t think Ryan has ever mentioned “Swiss Lemonade” before. I’ll have to ask him. It’ll be nice to have an alternative to Guarana. (I’m not a huge fan of it.)

  8. Emily, they don’t use lemons in Brazil- that’s what they call limes, so hence the name Brazilian “lemon”ade!

  9. Yeah, Hillary, the milk takes the edge off the tartness; the whole concept kind of reminds me of a Sonic cream slush, but not quite as sweet.

  10. Does the condensed milk make it less tart? I’m not a huge fan of lemonade generally because it’s just too tart for my taste, but this recipe has me intrigued!

  11. I am definitely going to make this – I am going grocery shopping today and getting the ingredients for this and the chicken salad. Great ideas.

    Congrats on the baby, Sara!

  12. I am definitely going to make this – I am going grocery shopping today and getting the ingredients for this and the chicken salad. Great ideas.

    Congrats on the baby, Sara!

  13. I am definitely going to make this – I am going grocery shopping today and getting the ingredients for this and the chicken salad. Great ideas.

    Congrats on the baby, Sara!

  14. Mmmmm… I can’t wait to try this, and the chipotle salad. All of your recipes so far have been delicious! Keep them coming!

  15. Mmmmm… I can’t wait to try this, and the chipotle salad. All of your recipes so far have been delicious! Keep them coming!

  16. Mmmmm… I can’t wait to try this, and the chipotle salad. All of your recipes so far have been delicious! Keep them coming!

  17. Sounds delish! I remember having this at Tucano’s and I’m glad I can get a recipe for it. Thanks!

    (Carly’s sis)

  18. Just jumped over here from bbc, and I already love this blog! Everything looks so yummy and is motivating me to cook more often…

  19. Shouldn’t it be Brazilian Limeade?
    No matter – Brazilian whatever. . . it looks delicious!

    1. It is Brazilian Lemonade! I don’t know why, linguistically speaking, but there is a fuuny thing about this words… Lime is, for us brazilian, limão, and lemon is LIMA, which doesn’t make any sense AT ALL. I mean… Maybe that is why this is not called Limeade! Haha.

      Greetings from Brasil!

      =)

      1. My husband is from Mexico and had been confused on the difference between lemons and limes because he grew up thinking that limes AND lemons were BOTH called lemons or limón. I have since taught him the difference. Maybe it is the same in Brazil. Just a thought.

  20. I saw this on the site this morning, and I just HAD to try it. We were headed to a playdate and lunch at my sister’s house, so I made a pit stop and grabbed some limes.

    We tried it for lunch, and it was delicious! In fact, I liked it so much, I made another batch for dinner (and so my husband could try it).

    My favorite part, my kids don’t care for it, so it’s all MINE!!! With some for the hubby, of course.

  21. oooh, I wanted to add something (and Kate, this might be a good thing to add into the post) that you can buy mini-cans of sweetened condensed milk. They aren’t in the baking isle though, they are with the Latin foods. I love them because they come in a little 6-pack and each can is only 3.5oz, which is perfect for recipes like this when you have to open a whole can and then have a lot of left-overs. I use them for a lot of things that call for small amounts of sweetened condensed milk.

    The cans look like this: http://www.amazon.com/Nestle-Lechera-Mini-6-Count-Boxes/dp/B000H13450

  22. I’ve made this several times since the first time you gave me the recipe and I loooooove it. I wish someone would make it for me everyday.

  23. Oooh, that’s a good question! I know key limes are smaller and the juice is tarter, so I don’t now how many limes you’d need or if you’d need to add any extra sugar, but you could always try it and experiment!

  24. You could totally use it. But don’t use the Walmart brand; I’ve noticed that Walmart sweetened condensed milk is pretty gritty and the fat-free s.c. milk is SUPER gritty.

  25. I’m wondering if you can use fat free sweetened condensed milk? Or is that just an insult?

  26. I’m just having time to check in here and can i just say, YUM??! I sure wish I could attend this baby shower!

    Most of you know that my husband and I both lived in Brazil and we love love LOVE Brazilian Lemonade. Ironically, in Brazil, they call this version “Swiss Lemonade” because of the milk in it, funny huh? We love making this for summer BBQ’s and it goes great with all types of food. I hope you all try it!

      1. I have tried Yerba Mate and it’s yucky!!! at least the way it was presented to us by our exchange student!

      2. I’m brazilian and I live on the souther region where mate is most common, my inlaw drinks this for water, I don’t like the taste very much, but there are different types of herbs … some are more bitter , other are more “tea” like. But i always feel a “boost” when i drink

    1. Wow- this is fabulous!!!! No worries about it not keeping…it won’t last long around here! Delicious!