Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade

How to make real lemonade and the most lemony lemonade you've maybe ever tasted! The trick? A simple technique that extracts extra flavor from the lemon peels.

Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade ♥ KitchenParade.com. It's extra lemony! How? The zest infuses flavor into the sugar!

Fresh & Refreshing, a Summer Classic. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep.

A Summer to Remember.

When I was 12, the county 4-H clubs hired a bus to haul kids to the Minnesota State Fair 300 miles south.

Twas a trip of memorable firsts: I became a “woman” – if you know what I mean. In the darkness of a carnival ride, a boy named Joel held my hand.

But most of all, I discovered the elixir of summer, real lemonade!

You know the stuff, fresh-squeezed lemons, lots of sugar and lots of ice. Oh, it's such a thirst quencher!

Good news, perfect lemonade is as close as our kitchens, no bus, no boy required.

The Secret to Extra-Lemony Lemonade

For the most lemony lemonade ever tasted, infuse the sugar and water with aromatic oils from the lemon rinds.

How, you wonder? Just toss sugar and lemon zest and let the lemon oils seep into the sugar. Then add boiling water to release even more lemon oil.

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Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade
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Old-Fashioned Homemade Lemonade ♥ KitchenParade.com, how to make real lemonade using the oil from the lemon peel for extra zesty flavor.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 5-1/2 cups
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • Peel (see TIPS) from 4 lemons
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • Juice and pulp from 4 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • Extra lemon slices, for garnish

INFUSE SUGAR WITH LEMON OILS In a large heat-safe glass bowl (I use a four-cup Pyrex measuring cup) toss the sugar and lemon peel well. Let rest for 30 minutes, longer is fine, less not so much.

Pour the boiling water over the sugar mixture (four cups water will fill it alllllmost right to the top) and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the liquid steep for 30 minutes, for a head start chilling the lemonade, do this in the refrigerator.

STRAIN & CHILL Pour the liquid into a pitcher, straining out the lemon peel. Stir in the fresh lemon juice. Let this mixture get cold-cold-cold!

SERVE Serve over ice. Savor every sip!

ALANNA's TIPS The secret to the best lemonade is to extract the aromatic oils from the rinds. To use wine lingo, this makes the lemonade "full-bodied" with a "long finish". And extra lemony! When prepping the lemon peel, you want only the yellow part called the zest, not the white part which is called the pith. A knife works but is slow. A rasp Microplane works but consider straining the zest out after steeping. I use an inexpensive special tool for lemons that I really love. It’s called a "lemon stripper" (affiliate link) or a "channel knife" and digs deeper than a microplane but without going into the bitter white pith. There's no speeding this recipe along without sacrificing lemon flavor. But you can chill your serving pitcher while putting it all together. That makes a little difference! The cookbook suggests freezing an extra batch in ice cube trays. Lemonade with lemonade ice cubes, anyone? Or gin and tonics with lemonade ice cubes? The ideas are endless!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 73 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium; 19g Carb; 0g Fiber; 18g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 2 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 4 & myWW green 4 & blue 4 & purple 4
Adapted from Seasons of Santa Fe (affiliate link), a birthday gift from the dear Gluten-Free Goddess herself, a cookbook which, I confess, at first I didn’t properly appreciate but now can’t get enough of! Thank you, Karina!

More Cold Drinks for Summer

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~ Parade Day Gin & Tonics ~
~ more Drink & Smoothie recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Looks so refreshing. And I'm glad to hear you enjoy the cookbook- one of my favorites. :-)

  2. Must be the season. We just made a pitcher of lemonade yesterday afternoon. I just make a simple syrup with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, then let that cool. Add 1 cup lemon juice (fresh!) and 4 cups cold water.

  3. Every year my family goes to the Minnesota State Fair and every year we get the lemonade there - and it's always delicious! I'm not going to be at the fair this year, so instead I'm going to try out your recipe (which sounds great)!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna