Lemonade is one of the childhood delicacies that you never truly grow out of. While it might just be a simple concoction of various parts lemons, water, and sweet things, mixing up a huge batch of homemade lemonade is always a special occasion.
Maybe you’re missing the nostalgic taste of fresh lemons or you simply want a little inspiration for a tasty beverage you can make at home enjoyed by both kids and adults. Either way, you’ve found your way here to our guide on how to make lemonade from scratch.
This might not be the drink you remember as a kid, though, but in the best way possible. Our recipe is a slightly more sophisticated and mature take on the drink while still being just as easy to put together.
Whether it’s for a party, a front yard stand, or just to cool off in the summer heat, this step by step guide for making lemonade with real lemon will knock your socks off long before you jump in the pool.
Step #1. Prepare Ingredients
- 4-6 lemons, depending on taste
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Basil leaves (optional)
Step #2. Cut the Lemons in Half
Cut the lemons into halves.
Step #3. Add Water & Lemon Juice to Pitcher
Pour the water into a large pitcher and squeeze in the lemon juice. Some lemons will have more juice than others so start out with a few, adding more to taste.
Step #4. Add Sugar & Vanilla
Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the pitcher.
Step #5. Stir the Lemonade
Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Step #6. Pour the Lemonade into Glasses
Serve in individual glasses with ice. You can add some basil leaves to serve, if you wish.
Now you’ve got everything you’ll need to make lemonade. A single sip of this stuff will so thoroughly outpace the stuff you buy in a can or mix up from a powder that you might even forget there was a way to do it besides making it fresh.
One of the best things about it is just how easy it is to change up, too. You could make a version without sugar by swapping in honey or try muddling the basil or other plants for a spicier and more herb-forward flavor. So long as you’re using quality ingredients with lemon juice straight from the fruit, you basically can’t go wrong.
Do you have a favorite way to drink lemonade? On the rocks by itself? Mixed in a cocktail? Relaxing by the beach? Let us know what your favorite is after you’ve stirred up a pitcher for yourself.
- 4-6 lemons - depending on taste
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- basil leaves - optional
- Cut the lemons into halves.
- Pour the water into a large pitcher and squeeze in the lemon juice. Some lemons will have more juice than others so start out with a few, adding more to taste.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the pitcher.
- Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Serve in individual glasses with ice. You can add some basil leaves to serve, if you wish.
- You can adjust to your taste by adding more water, lemon juice and/or sugar. Sometimes I will add strawberry-flavored sparkling water, so you could even give that a try.
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.
Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out…How to Make Kale Chips
There’s nothing more refreshing than homemade lemonade, and I definitely need to try the vanilla addition. Thanks for sharing!
What a great idea on adding some vanilla – i’ve never done that! Thanks for the tip
I love the vanilla. Thanks Nancy!
What a lovely post. Mixing up homemade lemonade is such a treat and something I do on a regular basis. I love being able to control the sugar level because I love mine extra ‘puckery’.
Thank you Bernice. It’s been our treat too, all summer!
The basil would be so refreshing! This is perfect for the end of summer on the last warm days.
It’s definitely a good way to soak up the end of summer. Thanks Shelby!
Wow! I’ve never tried to add vanilla extract and basil leaves to my lemonade. What a great idea!
The vanilla in it is the best! I won’t have it without it now. And the basil is nice and refreshing. Thanks Nat!
Love this kicked up version of lemonade! Also tastes great in cocktails!
Wait a minute Vanessa, did you know that I was having a cocktail with this lemonade as the comment came through? lol. So good! Thanks so much for the comment and I’m glad you love it!
I think this might be the best lemonade I’ve ever had. The vanilla really adds to it! My kids loved it.
Thank you so much Sierra!