3 Easy Homemade Lemonade Recipes

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  • Fresh homemade lemonade is so simple and easy to make with just a few ingredients.  Here are 3 delicious versions of lemonade: Classic, Thyme, and Mint Lemonade. Grab your pitcher and kick off the summer with these icy cool drinks!

    Homemade Lemonade in bottles and two glass of ice with lemonade on table.

    There’s nothing more refreshing than a glass of icy cold homemade lemonade on a hot summer day.  And you will know when you taste the real freshly squeezed lemonade.  The best part is it’s really simple to make this quintessential thirst-quencher from scratch, and you can even make it in advance. Let’s enjoy homemade lemonade all summer along!

    3 Variations for Homemade Lemonade

    Today I’m sharing three delicious homemade lemonade variations for the long summer ahead!  In case you want a classic lemonade recipe, I’ve got you covered.  I like to add lemon zest to elevate the flavor of the drink.

    I’m also sharing a mint lemonade recipe. I fell in love with the combination when I tried it at a restaurant and it has been on rotation in my kitchen since.  That inspired me to make my 3rd lemonade, thyme lemonade, because thyme is my favorite herb! Both of these herb-infused lemonades make impressive mocktails you can serve at summer BBQ or parties.

    You need only 3 ingredients to make classic homemade lemonade: fresh lemons, sugar, and water.  The best way to make lemonade is to make a simple syrup first.

    What is Simple Syrup?

    Simple Syrup is sugar that has been dissolved in water.  Granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold liquids and requires a lot of mixing.  Simmering the mixture helps to speed up the dissolving process and to allow the water to absorb more sugar.

    Simple syrup is typically made in a 1:1 mixture (1 cup water : 1 cup sugar).  It takes just 5 minutes to make simple syrup while you juice your lemons. During the summer I make a big batch of simple syrup and keep it stored in the refrigerator (you can keep it for 6 months!).  With simple syrup ready for use, making lemonade from scratch cannot be any easier!

    Homemade Lemonade in bottles and two glass of ice with lemonade on table.

    3 Helpful Tips for Making Homemade Lemonade

    1. Get an electric lemon squeezer.

    If you make fresh lemonade often like we do, this electric lemon squeezer ($16) is a life savor!  But if you have a storage space issue, get this lemon squeezer ($22) instead.  When you make a big batch, these gadgets help you squeeze lemons efficiently and faster.

    2. Add simple syrup LAST.

    The key to make good homemade lemonade is a balanced acidity and sweetness.

    Some recipes combine lemon juice and simple syrup first to make “lemon syrup” and then combine with water and ice.

    My method is actually combine lemon juice and water first.  Then add simple syrup last.  Since the acidity of lemons vary greatly, adding the simple syrup last gives you a full control of the sweetness. Taste as you go until you find the perfect ratio.

    3. Add ice right before serving.

    No body wants a diluted lemonade, so you want to add in the ice right before serving.

    Homemade Lemonade in glass cups.

    A Little Story Behind Homemade Lemonade

    Our kids have been writing newspaper for fun while we work on recipes on weekends.  Their newspaper is called (OUR STREET) TIMES.  The newspaper covers local news to domestic news, and sometimes their school life, along with the local weather and a small comic section.  They are really into creating the newspaper for fun.

    One weekend they decided to sell fresh lemonade and wrote on the newspaper about their “Lemonade Sale”.  It was more of my daughter’s idea and she dragged my son into her project.  She pulled out my old Home and Garden Cookbook and made fresh lemonade just enough for the neighbors.

    It was a hot day, close to 80 ºF (27 ºC).  My daughter drew the “lemonade sale” banner and they both set up the desk, chair, and even found a colorful parasol from the garage that I haven’t seen in ages.  I was pretty impressed.

    Two Kids at the Lemonade Stand.

    The part you don’t know is that we live on top of a very steep hill.  Our small street off from the steep hill has only 10 houses. Basically no one comes to our neighborhood except for the residents, mailman, and delivery guy.  We never even had a trick-or-treater for the past 10 years!

    So how was their first lemonade sale?  Well, they finished selling all the freshly squeezed lemonade.  Our kind neighbors helped them by bringing the banner up to the top of the hill, calling passerby to buy fresh lemonade from my kids.  The things they learned:

    • Mountain bikers and dog walkers on the hill do not carry cash.
    • Need to find a better source for lemons because $1 per cup doesn’t quite cover the cost of lemons.
    • They live in a community with very kind & supportive neighbors.

    Have you made your first pitcher of lemonade yet? Do you or your kids have a lemonade stand story to share? We’d love to hear from you.

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    2.86 from 7 votes
    Homemade Lemonade (Classic, Thyme, and Mint)
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    30 mins
     
    Course: Drinks
    Ingredients
    Simple Syrup (makes 3 cups)
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • ½ cup fresh thyme (for Thyme Lemonade)
    For Classic Lemonade
    • zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tsp)
    • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8-10 lemons)
    • 3 cups cold water or sparkling water
    For Mint Lemonade
    • zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tsp)
    • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8-10 lemons)
    • 3 cups cold water or sparkling mineral water
    • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
    • 1 tsp sugar
    For Thyme Lemonade
    • zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tsp)
    • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8-10 lemons)
    • 3 cups cold water or sparkling mineral water
    To Serve
    • ice (as needed)
    • sliced lemons (for garnish)
    • fresh mint leaves (for garnish)
    • fresh thyme (for garnish)
    Instructions
    Gather all the ingredients
    1. Depends on lemons, the amount of juice varies.  You will need about 8-10 lemons to get 2 cups of lemon juice.

    Make sugar syrup (for Classic & Mint Lemonade)
    1. Combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bringing to a simmer. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then let cool.  You can keep this simple syrup for up to a month.

      Homemade Lemonade 1-a
    Make sugar syrup (for Thyme Lemonade)
    1. Combine 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, and ½ cup thyme in a saucepan and bringing to a simmer. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then let cool.

      Homemade Lemonade 1-b
    Classic Lemonade
    1. Zest 2 lemons and add to the 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Cut lemons in half.

      Homemade Lemonade 2
    2. Squeeze 8-10 lemons till you get 2 cups of lemon juice.
      Homemade Lemonade 3
    3. If you have an electric lemon squeezer, it is helpful.  Now in your measuring cup, you should have 2 cups lemon juice and zest from 2 lemons.

      Homemade Lemonade 4
    4. In a large pitcher, add zest from 2 lemons, pour 2 cups lemon juice, and 3 cups water.
      Homemade Lemonade 5
    5. Gradually add the simple syrup and taste to reach desired sweetness (I usually add 1 to 1 ¼ cup simple syrup depends on lemons I use).  I recommend to chill the lemonade for at least 1 hour.

      Homemade Lemonade 6
    Mint Lemonade
    1. Make Classic Lemonade (See above).

    2. In a glass cup, combine ½ cup mint, sprinkle sugar, and a lemon wheel.

      Homemade Lemonade 8
    3. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, gently muddle the mint leaves. Transfer the mint leaves to the lemonade pitcher and stir well.  I recommend to chill the lemonade for at least 1 hour.

      Homemade Lemonade 9
    Thyme Lemonade
    1. In a large pitcher, add zest from 2 lemons, pour 2 cups lemon juice, and 3 cups water.
      Homemade Lemonade 5
    2. Gradually add the thyme infused simple syrup and thymes and taste to reach desired sweetness (I usually add 1 cup to 1 ¼ cup simple syrup depends on lemons I use).  I recommend to chill the lemonade for at least 1 hour.
      Homemade Lemonade 12
    To Serve
    1. In a serving pitcher, add ice and lemon slices. If you do not use all of it, do not add ice and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

      Homemade Lemonade 7
    2. For mint/thyme lemonade, add more mint/thyme for decoration. Note: If you don't finish the mint lemonade the first day, discard the mint leaves as they turn brown.

      Homemade Lemonade 11
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook.  All images and content on this site are copyright protected.  Please do not use my images without my permission.  If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source.  Thank you.

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