Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade and Limeade

I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, back when all the lemonade everyone I knew drank was either from a Kool-Aid pouch or in a 2 liter bottle. I was not particularly impressed. The first time I ever had fresh-squeezed lemonade, I was at an amusement park and it made quite the impression on me, but it wasn’t until I was an adult when I realized how easy and delicious it is to make your own fresh-squeezed lemonade and limeade–or mix the two for a really wild time!
This lemonade recipe is easily customizable–you can adjust how much water you add at the end depending on how sweet you want it, and it’s also the perfect base for mixing in fresh fruit syrups, herbs like basil or fresh mint, and even things like jalapeños (which may sound weird, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, especially with another flavor dimension like peach).

A few notes on ingredients–when you only have a handful of simple ingredients, they all need to be top-notch or you’ll taste something weird. I only use cane sugar (it will say on the bag, but I buy Imperial, C&H, or Domino) because the more inexpensive sugars are made with sugar beets instead of sugar cane and have a mildew-y smell and taste. If you have heavily chlorinated water, make sure you either filter it or consider buying bottled water.

how to make it

To make the lemonade, you’ll start with making a simple syrup by whisking together  some sugar and water in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

While the simple syrup mixture is cooling, juice the lemons or limes. Add the simple syrup mixture to the fruit juice. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance–just store the lemonade/limeade mix in the refrigerator.

A lemonade bar is always fun–set out these syrups, fresh fruit, and herbs and let guests (or your fancy lemonade stand kids) mix up custom lemonades!

When ready to serve, add the lemonade/limeade mix to up to 8 cups of cold, filtered water (or chilled club soda) and serve over ice. If using syrups, add in desired amount of syrup (start with about 2 tablespoons and go from there) and fresh lemon or lime slices or wedges.

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Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade and Limeade

  • Author: kate jones

Description

Nothing says summer quite like fresh-squeezed lemonade and limeade. This master recipe is perfect just as it is, or feel free to mix in fresh fruit, flavored syrups, or fresh herbs like basil or mint.


Scale

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups cane sugar (see notes)
2 cups cold, filtered water
1 ½ cups lemon juice for lemonade or lime juice for limeade (or a mix of both if you’re wild)
8 additional cups water (for sparkling lemonade, substitute 2 liters of sparkling water/club soda)


Instructions

To make the simple syrup, whisk together sugar and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

While the simple syrup mixture is cooling, juice the lemons or limes. Add the simple syrup mixture to the fruit juice. This step can be done up to 2 days in advance–just store the lemonade/limeade mix in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, add the lemonade/limeade mix to up to 8 cups of cold, filtered water (or chilled club soda; adjust water according to taste) and serve over ice.



Notes

ABOUT SUGAR

I don’t always buy name-brand ingredients, but when it comes to sugar, I always do. Many generic or store-brand sugars smell sour or kind of like mildew–that’s because that sugar likely comes from sugar beets instead of sugar cane, simply because it’s cheaper to manufacture sugar from sugar beets. In simple recipes like this homemade lemonade or limeade, that mildew-y smell/taste isn’t masked by other ingredients, so I recommend using a name-brand sugar like Domino, Imperial, or C&H.

to add fresh fruit syrups

Fill a glass half full with ice, add 2-3 tablespoons syrup and any other mix-ins like mint or basil sprigs, jalapeño slices, and/or lemon or lime wedges or slices, then add in lemonade and stir with a straw or long-handled spoon.

35 comments

  1. I think this post should always stay right at the top of this section because it matches our blog design so well!

    I didn’t know you put lime in it too, I’m going to have to make it- it looks so good!

    And here in Idaho we keep getting teased with warm weather; I’m hoping one of these days it will actually stick around for good.

  2. oooh, and while we’re on the subject of super secret recipes, how about the Bagel Deli’s garlic cream cheese?? C’mon Teeny, I know you’re reading this!

  3. I’m right there with ya on being a lemon(ade) snob! My in-laws froze a ton of strawberries and blackberries from their garden last year. I take a bag of frozen berries,puree it and add it to the fresh lemonade. Mmm, strawberry lemonade is my ABSOLUTE FAV!

  4. FYI-I judge a deli on how good it is by their lemonade…yeah I am a snob!

    I flipped my recipe and did it with limes, pureed the berries and had a choice of blackberry or strawberry lemonade or limeade. Everyone chose a different mix and they were all great!

  5. After a weekend teaser of 65 degrees (woohoo!) it is snowing again here 🙁

    I am so excited for summer and I am definitely going to try this. I have never thought of adding lime juice… what a GREAT idea!

  6. OK, yeah – I just TOTALLY had a “Oh, that’s who she is!” moment. Seriously – you’ve got to write to me. I think I might have taken photos at your wedding. Which brother did you marry??! LOL

  7. I too love the lemonade at the deli. Auntie Anne’s is my other favorite. If I ever remember to buy lemons I’ll definitely have to make this. I wish spring would hurrry up and get here!

  8. Mmmmm! This recipe looks really good. Here in KS we are having wacky spring weather (like usual).

    I would also looooove the recipe of the super secret garlic cream cheese! That sounds awesome! Of course, it has garlic in it so you can’t really go wrong. You should have a garlic week! Followed by a mint week!

  9. Sounds great. It reminds me of the Italian lemonade recipe from the food network site (Giada’s, I think). It calls for a simple syrup with basil leaves. This sounds very refreshing too.

  10. We leave the mint out but this is hands down the best lemonade we've ever had! I had no reamer/juicer the first time I made it and I literally squeezed the lemons and lime by hand for an hour and it was still worth the effort! 🙂

  11. Yes, yes – I'm a bit late, but I'm a newcomer, and now a HUGE fan. I just made this lemonade for the second time…and it's DELISH!

    I have to be honest, I had never made homemade lemonade before, because to me it was never worth the effort. But knowing that my husband LOVES lemonade, I thought I'd make it special for him. Now I am hooked. Thanks for posting this!

  12. I made this to go with the Pete's lasagna recipe from this site for Father's day. Everyone loved it. I added in the strawberry sauce from this site, too. I hosted a large dinner for a group of women on Monday and had enough leftover to serve with dinner. It was a huge hit. I LOVE the strawberry sauce added into it. I used to almost exclusively get my internet recipes from the Pioneer Woman, but I'm finding myself using a lot more of your recipes. Thanks so much. They've all been wonderful!

  13. I made this for a family reunion this weekend and I cannot get over how INCREDIBLE it was! I am a huge lemonade fan and this was probably the best I've ever had! And I made it – which was more exciting. My husband even requested it on more occasion if lemons are a good price at the market! Thanks!

  14. After my 5 yr old saw Special Agent Oso making lemonade, he has been asking for some lemons. We finally brought some home with our Bountiful Basket and I put him to work with the lemons. Squeeze, Twist and Push…his fun lemon song. We LOVE your recipe. I am savoring a glass now, nothing wrong with lemonade in December. Just wanted to say thanks for another awesome recipe!
    Roosevelt, Utah

  15. YUM!!! Made this this weekend for a BBQ get together. This was the first time I had ever tasted fresh squeezed lemonade (well except for hot dog on a stick, but that doesn’t count because it was not made with love). I must say, you set the bar pretty high. The kids LOVED it and the adults too, I even caught my husband mixing it with vodka (shame, shame!) Thanks for the great recipe ladies!

  16. Hi! Where have you been all my life? or more appropriately….where have I been? This is the BEST blog!!! I am making this strawberry lemonade for my family today for mother’s day and wondering if you have ever frozen the sugar syrup and strawberry puree? I bought TONS of lemons and TONS of strawberries and thinking I would make a bunch and freeze. Just thought I would ask the experts.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Jaisey- The strawberry sauce freezes great, and I’ve never frozen simple syrup, but I’m sure that freezes just fine too. Glad you found us!

  17. Well I have to say I am sort of a skeptic when it comes to recipes. They always sound so good and are just ok once I make them. I decided to try and make your lemonade and was pleasantly surprised. I love it! I mean love love love it! My husband did too and he is super picky. Thank you so much for this recipe. It will definantly become a regular at our house 🙂

  18. There aren’t very many comments here….there need to be more. This is THE BEST lemonade I’ve ever had! It’s delicious!! And with the warmer weather here I am CRAVING it! Sooooo GOOD!! (also good with a little vodka splashed in ;o)

  19. AMAZING lemonade!! I live all the way out in Sunny South Africa, so this is appropriate all year round, and boy am I thrilled about that!!

    I doubled up the recipe and made it for a family lunch, there wasn’t a dry glass in the house!! Of course, it’s easier now I bought myself a citrus juicer. Juicing a dozen (or more) lemons the old-fashioned way is exhausting!

    Huge fan of this blog, thanks for the amazing recipes!!!

  20. I know this post was written three years ago, but in looking for a recipe for my daughter’s “Lemonade Day” I found this one (I’m already a big fan. Big fan.). Well, we made 5 gallons of lemonade (got a little carried away buying lemons) and my daughter earned $60! (She’s almost 5, by the way.) It was FA-HAH-HABULOUS lemonade and I’m so excited to freeze the leftover stuff (and keep a little out to have tonight-boozed up a bit. Thanks for ANOTHER great recipe-you two never fail to come through!

  21. Mmmm… Will be making this. Mouth watering just reading about it. I’m a snob about my lemonade too which is why I rarely ever drink it. You’ve inspired me to make my own though, and with this hot weather it will be welcome and loved I assure you! Thanks again! And beautiful photography BTW!

  22. Hi girls, I am OBSESSED with your cookbooks and finally made this lemonaid from the first one, but I am wondering how long do you think it is good for in the fridge? Thanks!

    1. Um, until it doesn’t taste good anymore? haha, I’m really not sure- mine never lasts long enough to find out! Definitely a few days though 🙂

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