When it comes to refreshing summer-time drinks, you can’t beat a glass of old-fashioned, fresh-squeezed lemonade! It’s tart, cool and delicious, and it’s super-easy to make! Today I’ll show you how to make homemade lemonade in 3 easy steps with 3 ingredients: fresh lemons, sugar and water!
How to Make Lemonade with Real Lemons
My boys love lemonade! Yellow lemonade, pink lemonade, lemonade from the can, lemonade from the carton… they’ll drink it anyway you serve it and they drink it all year ’round. For a real treat, several weeks ago, I decided to make homemade lemonade for the first time, and WOW, it was amazing!
Homemade lemonade is such a classic summer-time treat, perfect for lazy days by the pool or a backyard BBQ with family and friends.
(By the way, if you love lemon recipes, you’ll want to check out my luscious lemon delight as well!)
Making Lemonade is Easier than you Think
I was surprised and completely delighted to find out how easy it is to make fresh squeezed lemonade, and I’m not kidding you, my guys can’t get enough of it!
Because it only takes a few minutes to whip up a fresh batch, I make some every few days, and we’ve been enjoying old-fashioned, fresh-squeezed lemonade all summer long!
Let me show you how to make homemade lemonade that’s so easy and delicious you’ll never buy store-bought again.
To make fresh-squeezed lemonade, you’ll need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 5 lemons
- 5 more cups water
How To Make Homemade Lemonade In 3 Easy Steps:
- simple syrup (see instructions below)
- squeeze the lemons
- mix it all together
Let’s start with the simple syrup.
What is Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is simply a solution of sugar and water. Sugar is added to water, and the solution is heated to dissolve the sugar. The result is a liquid sugar that’s used to sweeten drinks. Because the sugar has been dissolved, it won’t settle to the bottom of your glass.
The thought of making simple syrup always intimidated me in the past. In fact, it’s probably the one reason why I’d never made lemonade from scratch before. Ha! How silly! Simple syrup couldn’t be any easier to make. It truly is SIMPLE. Seriously! It only takes about 2 minutes.
How To Make Simple Syrup:
- Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pot and stir over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. That’s it!
- Remove from heat, and let it cool while you’re squeezing your lemons.
How easy was that? You can see here that my 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar produced a cup and a half of simple syrup.
Next step: squeeze the lemons!
This is my favourite step in making lemonade because the smell of freshly-squeezed lemons is one of my favourite scents ever! One whiff of a lemon or a lime, and I’m in heaven. It’s been that way since I was a little kid. You may recall me talking about my love of citrus fruits in my key lime pie martini recipe.
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How To Squeeze Lemons:
OK, so , there are two ways that I know of to squeeze a lemon. The first method calls for an old fashioned lemon juicer.
You can get one of these handy squeezable lemon juicers but I love my glass juicer. It seriously gets every single drop of lemon juice out of a lemon.
If you don’t have a lemon juicer, don’t fret; you can squeeze a lemon with a fork!
How To Squeeze A Lemon With A Fork:
This is a fun and easy way to squeeze a lemon. You’ll be surprised by how much lemon juice you can actually get out of a lemon this way! This method works almost as well as the glass juicer.
This is how to do it:
- Cut lemon in half and spear with a fork.
- Hold the lemon half in one hand and the fork in the other.
- Squeeze the lemon in one hand while pumping the fork up and down with the other hand, as if it were the handle of a water pump.
- Continue to squeeze and pump until you’ve extracted all the lemon juice that you can.
Strain Your Lemon Juice:
Pour the lemon juice through a strainer, and mash the pulp around to get every last drop of lemony goodness.
Turn Lemons Into Delicious, Fresh Lemonade:
Now, pour your lemon juice into a pitcher.
Add the 5 cups of water.
Add as much or as little of the simple syrup as you like.
The nice thing about making homemade lemonade is you can sweeten it to your personal liking. I use all of the simple syrup to make a pitcher of my lemonade, but you can make your lemonade to suit your taste. Sample a bit as you’re mixing the syrup into the juice, and your taste buds will let you know when you’re happy with it.
I have to show you a the cool pitcher that I keep our homemade lemonade in. It’s an infuser pitcher. There’s a column in the middle of the jug which attaches to the lid, and you can fill it with fruit to make fruit-infused water, or to make your fruit juice fruitier. I fill that column with several lemon wedges to add some extra tartness to my lemonade.
Of course, you can always just float lemon slices or wedges in a regular jug to get the same effect.
Pop your lemonade into the fridge to chill it, or serve it immediately over ice!
Mmmmm! So refreshing!
A creative way to use empty lemon rinds
Save the lemon rinds when you make homemade lemonade because you can do something kind of cool with them. Check it out:
I wash the outsides of the lemon rinds and place them all into a mini-muffin tin.
Then I fill them with water, and put them in the freezer overnight.
Now I have a bunch of icy lemon cups to toss into a fruit punch or a jug of ice water, or yes, into a jug of homemade lemonade!
You know what I want to try making next? This Homemade Strawberry Lemonade that I found over at Spend with Pennies. It looks amazing!
- 5 lemons
- 5 more cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
To Make Simple Syrup
- Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small pot and stir over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Allow to cool while you’re squeezing your lemons.
To Make Lemonade
- Squeeze lemons with a lemon juicer or a fork (see post for the how-to).
- Strain lemon juice into a jug.
- Add 5 cups of water.
- Add simple syrup to taste.
- Chill and serve over ice.
More easy summer recipes:
- Luscious Lemon Delight
- Easy, Perfect Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
- Best Homemade Tomato Soup
- Key Lime Martini
- Tomato and Bocconcini Salad
- 2-Ingredient Homemade Creamsicles
- Microwave S’mores
- Fresh, Easy Guacamole
- Easy Gazpacho with Fresh Tomatoes
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
why would you just not use sugar, instead of a syrup? Is there a difference in taste?
I think it’s because you want the sugar to be fully dissolved, which you achieve by heating it in the water.
Sounds good, you can also add the juice of a squeezed orange to make it a little tastier and a wonderful rich golden yellow color for more fun. Also if the lemons are not great, a pinch of salt helps add pzazz to the drink. We actually just throw our sugar in at the end, and it dissolves fine, there just has to be enough liquid for the sugar to dissolve in before it reaches saturation point. If you like it really sweet the syrup would work better for it all to be dissolved. My 3 year old loves to make lemonade 🙂
Wonderful suggestions, Diane! Thanks so much for sharing them!
I filled the empty lemon cups with shop brought lemon sorbet and kept them in the freezer until a dessert was required…. Just right for a dinner party….!!
What a great way to serve dessert, Sue!
If you poke a couple holes in each lemon and stick in the microwave for 35-45 seconds then cup your hand over the lemon and roll on the counter you get more juice out of them.
Brilliant idea, my son would love this! Thanks for linking with Tuesday Tutorials #pintorials
You’re right! Making the simple syrup was SO easy. Two questions: about how much lemonade does this recipe yield? About how many cups of lemon juice do you get from five lemons/use for this recipe?
My lemons are quite large. When you make this what is the amount of lemon juice you use?
The recipe is really flexible, so you can just add as much sweet syrup and water as you need to achieve the taste you’re looking for. 🙂
Making this recipe was the best decision I’ve made in eons. Thanks for sharing!
So clever! I love how you have used the skins too Jackie. You’re so clever.
Looks delicious and so refreshing! Love it!
Why do you recommend using sugar? Instead of sugar you can put honey in lemonade. Will I still get the same benefits from the lemon water if I would like to add honey to my lemon water?
If you prefer to make your simple syrup with honey, go for it. Honey definitely has more health benefits than white sugar. I’ve never used it to make a simple syrup, but I’m sure if you hit up Google, you can find out how it’s done.
Made this recipe and I really loved it. Will most likely make it again.
Made this recipe at home and I loved it. Will be most likely be making it again! I doubled the batch and is a very good quality drink to serve family or friends! Thanks
I absolutely loved the recipe! Your lemonade for so fresh, cool and delicious! Have you ever tried lemonade with mango? It is so good as well – and perfect for hot summer days!
Thanks, Camilla! I’m glad you loved it. I haven’t tried it with mango. That would be such a refreshing twist!