How to make lemonade

a pitcher of lemonade

How to make delicious lemonade with the perfect ratio of water, lemon juice, and sugar ~ this recipe needs no cooked simple syrup!

a pitcher of lemonade

how to make lemonade that’s refreshingly sweet-tart ~ an easy no cook recipe

From front yard stands to baby shower brunches, Memorial Day and the 4th of July, lemonade is a summer staple. We all love it and think we know how to make it, but it’s usually an add-a-little of this ~ then taste it ~ then add-a-little of that dance until we get it just right. It’s messy, and not efficient, especially when you’re parched and thirsty. So let’s learn the ideal ratio of water to lemon juice (and sugar!) for the perfect quick pitcher of lemonade. It’s gonna make the season so much better.

lemons cut in quarters

the perfect ratio of water to lemon juice for lemonade is 4:1

This ratio results in lots of tart lemon flavor and a nice sunny yellow color. Just double or triple these amounts for larger batches.

WATER: 4 parts water

LEMON JUICE: 1 part lemon juice

SUGAR: should be added to taste, but I use 2 tablespoons.

order of operations for perfect lemonade (no need for simple syrup)

  • Add the sugar to the lemon juice and stir to dissolve.
  • Add the sweetened lemon juice to the water, stir, and chill. Do not add ice yet.
  • When ready to serve, pour each serving over ice.
ingredients for lemonade

recipe tips and faqs

Can I use bottled lemon juice for lemonade?

I don’t recommend it, the flavor of bottled lemon juice is not like fresh squeezed. Plus, it has additives and preservatives, yuck.

What’s the best way to squeeze lemons?

Lemons can be very expensive, so I want to get every last drop of juice out of each one. I use an electric citrus juicer that does a great job with no mess.

How much juice is in one lemon?

It depends on the size, but anywhere from 3-6 tablespoons or more. There are some really ginormous lemons in the market right now, and I got a cup of juice from just 2 1/2 lemons.

Should I use the pulp in my lemonade?

Absolutely, I do! I think it adds even more lemon flavor.

Do I need to make a simple syrup for lemonade?

No, you can add sugar to the lemonade and stir to dissolve it, no need to make a syrup first. Sugar dissolves in cold or room temperature liquids just fine, just stir to dissolve.

How to keep lemonade from getting watered down

Never add ice to your pitcher. Chill the lemonade without ice and then pour over ice just before serving. I like to have a bowl or bucket of ice next to the pitcher of lemonade so everyone can serve themselves.
If you want a really pure lemonade flavor that never fades, freeze some of your lemonade in ice cube trays and use that for your ice. Your lemonade will stay fresh and vibrant.
Another tip: add some lemon slices to your pitcher of lemonade and extra lemon flavor will infuse slowly over time.

a glass of homemade lemonade with yellow striped straw

How long does lemonade last?

It will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Is lemonade healthy?

Yes, especially if you don’t overdo the sugar. I use just 2 tablespoons per quart of lemonade (6 grams per serving,) and you can even get away with less than that for a tarter flavor. Lemonade is a much healthier alternative to sodas or even fruit juices. It’s hydrating and gives you a boost of Vitamin C. Drinking lemon water is a healthy habit!

Can I make carbonated lemonade?

Yes, if you’re going to serve it right away, mix it up with carbonated water, that’s delicious and refreshing. Mix the sugar into the lemon juice first to dissolve, then add the carbonated water and just give it a gentle stir so you don’t disturb the bubbles. This works great if you want to make one glass at a time.

How can I flavor my lemonade?

So many ways to do this. I love a little bit of pureed fruit like blueberry or strawberry. Mint makes an incredibly refreshing lemonade. My most recent lemonade experiment was with violets! Try muddling fresh herbs like rosemary

Can I make popsicles out of lemonade?

Sure, just mix well and pour it into your popsicle mold.

How can I make lemonade for one?

That’s easy, just follow the ratio of 4 to 1. Start with a cup of water, add 1/4 cup lemon juice, and sweeten to taste.

How can I make this sugar-free?

Use your favorite alternative sweetener like liquid Stevia, or honey or agave syrup.

Pouring lemonade over ice

more lemons, please!

a pitcher of lemonade
5 from 6 votes

How to Make Lemonade

How to make delicious lemonade with the perfect ratio of water, lemon juice, and sugar ~ no cooked simple syrup!
Course beverage
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 5 servings
Calories 29kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, or more or less to taste
  • 1 qt filtered water


  • Combine the lemon juice and sugar and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Then add the water and stir again. Taste to adjust the level of sugar to your liking.
  • Chill the lemonade thoroughly before serving. Do not add ice at this point.
  • Serve the lemonade over ice with a slice of lemon.


Serving: 8oz | Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
e book

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Susan C
    May 26, 2022 at 11:02 am

    5 stars
    I also zest my lemons first and let the zest dry on wax paper before storing in glass jars. Tastes so much better than store bought (and less expensive). Love your recipes, Sue!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2022 at 8:22 am

    5 stars
    Suggesting adding fizz to lemonade and making lemonade ice cubes, what great and easy ideas!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!


Get my tips, tricks & recipes for easy

foolproof baking


logo png