With a classic sweet and tart flavor, this simple recipe for lemonade is made with only three ingredients and can be enjoyed as is or easily customized.

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Side view of two glasses of homemade lemonade, garnished with lemon slices, mint, and a straw.

About Homemade Lemonade

Nothing is quite as refreshing as a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day, and what better way is there to get ready for the lazy crazy days of summer than to have a recipe for the quintessential drink for warm weather hidden up your sleeve?

Because that’s exactly what this recipe is: the iconic flavors of tart lemons and sugar, made with only three simple ingredients, to create a perfectly balanced glass of lemonade.

Can you use fresh lemons?

Yes! In fact, squeezing lemons for fresh lemon juice is recommended for homemade lemonade.

You should be able to get enough juice for this recipe from six to eight large lemons.

Close up top down view of a glass of lemonade, showing off the plate yellow hue.

Can you add alcohol?

Certainly! This recipe is great for making spiked lemonade. However, if you do add any spirits, keep in mind that you may want to increase the amount of sugar (or at the very least, not reduce the amount listed in the recipe.)

To make spiked lemonade:

  • If you’re using vodka, rum, or something similar, I’d recommend adding about half a cup.
  • If you’re using champagne or wine, you can add anywhere from one or two cups.

Can you make lemonade in advance?

Yes, you totally can!

For best results, I’d recommend making the lemonade within one to two days before you intend to serve it. Lemonade can be stored in a covered pitcher in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Side view of a glass of lemonade with lemon slices, mint, and a straw.

How long is lemonade good for?

Once prepared, homemade lemonade can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered pitcher for up to 10 days.

Notes & tips for homemade lemonade

  • Whenever possible, freshly squeezed lemon juice is best.
  • This lemonade is made to be on the sweeter side, but you can easily adjust this by changing the amount of sugar. Use anywhere between 1 1/4 cup to 1 3/4 cup sugar to suit your tastes.
  • When serving, add ice to the serving cups, not the pitcher. This will keep the lemonade from getting watered down.
  • To make pink lemonade, add a few tablespoons of grenadine until you get your desired color.
  • If you’re using fresh lemon juice and don’t want the pulp, pour it through a mesh strainer.
Holding a glass of lemonade up to the camera.

More delicious drink recipes

Other great recipes with lemon and lime

How to make lemonade

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In a small saucepan, heat two cups of water and the sugar until the sugar completely dissolves. The liquid should look clear again, like water.

Step 2 – Pour the sugar water, the remaining two cups of water, and lemon juice into a large pitcher. Give it a good stir to mix everything together.

Step 3 – Chill!

Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Side view of two glasses of homemade lemonade, garnished with lemon slices, mint, and a straw.
5 from 1 vote

Homemade Lemonade

5 mins prep + 5 mins cook + 2 hrs Chilling Time
354 kcal
Yields: 4 drinks
With a classic sweet and tart flavor, this simple recipe for lemonade is made with only three ingredients and can be enjoyed as is or easily customized.

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon juice, freshly squeezed or bottled
  • lemon slices and mint leaves, as garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add 2 cups water and sugar and whisk to combine.
    4 cups water, 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Continue to heat and whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture looks crystal clear, about 5-8 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
  • In a large pitcher, add remaining 2 cups water, lemon juice, and prepared sugar water. Stir to combine.
    4 cups water, 1 1/4 cups lemon juice
  • Refrigerate lemonade for 2 hours or until chilled.
  • Serve immediately with lemon slices and mint leaves as garnish (optional)
    lemon slices and mint leaves

Nutrition

Serving: 1drink | Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 92g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 89g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy