Are you looking to cool down on a hot summer day in the best way possible? This homemade strawberry lemonade is the answer. It’s an easy drink recipe that’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet and is the most refreshing.
You’re going to love that it’s ready in just about 15 minutes, and made with all-natural, fresh ingredients.
That’s right – if you’ve only had lemonade, or strawberry lemonade, or pink lemonade (I could go on), from the powder stuff, wait to be amazed by how much better lemonade tastes with fresh ingredients.
Just four ingredients at that. One of which is water…so, maybe just 3 ingredients? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter because we’ve got homemade lemonade waiting for us to take to picnics, cookouts, and enjoy under the hot summer sun! Let’s get to it.
Is it Pink Lemonade?
Before we get into how to make strawberry lemonade, you might be wondering if it’s technically pink lemonade. It is pink, after all.
There are quite a few versions of pink lemonade out there. Many store-bought pink lemonades use food coloring or dyes to get that vibrant pink color. Other times, fruit juices such as concentrated grape juice or cranberry juice are added for a splash of color, not necessarily flavor.
So really, it’s in the eye of the beholder whether you want to classify this strawberry lemonade as pink lemonade. Yep, it sure is pink after all, but it does have a fresh strawberry flavor. I’ll let you decide.
What is it made of?
As I mentioned you’ll need just 4 simple ingredients – and ok, really 3 if we’re not counting water or ice as an ingredient.
- Fresh Lemons: the most important ingredient when it comes to making homemade lemonade is fresh lemons. It will take a little time squeezing out the fresh juice, but I promise you it’s worth it. Grab your citrus juicer, and it will be a breeze. Do not use bottled lemon juice; the flavor will likely be bitter and off-tasting.
- Strawberries: this recipe is an excellent way to use up those fresh strawberries that are on their last leg because they end up as syrup. You can also use frozen strawberries.
- Granulated Sugar: the other ingredient in making our simple syrup. Granulated sugar will give you the most straightforward flavor, allowing the strawberries to shine through.
How to Make Strawberry Lemonade
…without a blender! This recipe is easy peasy, and the only equipment you’ll need is a saucepan, strainer, and a citrus juicer (that one’s optional, but recommended). Oh, and you’ll probably want a pitcher or a couple of large mason jars to store the lemonade in.
Step 1: Strawberry Syrup
The sweetness and strawberry infusion in this lemonade comes from making strawberry syrup.
Using simple syrup to sweeten lemonade is (IMO) a much simpler and more effective method of sweetening the lemonade because there’s no excess stirring until sugar dissolves and hoping that it all actually did dissolve. It’s a hands-off process that really makes things easier in the long run.
We’re starting the syrup first so it has a little time to cool, and so that it can do its thing while you juice the lemons. Multitasking for kitchen efficiency, FTW!
All you’ll need to do is combine the sugar, water, and strawberries in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Let them do their thing for 8-10 minutes until soft and pale, then you’ll strain out the berries and have a vibrant syrup to use.
Step 2: Juice the Lemons
It’s worth mentioning again: while the syrup is simmering, begin juicing the lemons to speed the process along. It’s also worth mentioning that fresh lemons are key.
Do note that the tartness and flavor of the lemons will vary by the variety of lemons you use. Meyer lemons are less tart than regular lemons you’ll find at the store. The sweet to tart levels can easily be adjusted to your preferences as you assemble the lemonade – more on that in a minute!
To easily juice the lemons, I recommend using a citrus juicer. There are many varieties of these on the market, and you can go as fancy or basic as you prefer. Here are a few options:
- Citrus Press– I find these pretty effective and the squeezing is pretty easy! Do note that when you use these, you usually have to put the fruit end-side-up (so cut side down in the curve). It’s the opposite of what feels intuitive, but this will get the most juice out.
- Hand Squeezer – I honestly love these things (I often use this OXO one for cocktails) because they catch the seeds and pulp, and have a separate container for the juice.
- Citrus Reamer – I prefer this when I’m juicing a small amount of citrus, but it’s effective if it’s what you’ve got.
- Legit Citrus Juicer – we’re talking backed by power, you can get a reasonably priced citrus juicer or a fancy electric citrus juicer. I don’t have one of these, but can see them being super useful if you plan on making lemonade on the ‘reg!
Step 3: Mix the Lemonade
With the syrup ready and the lemons juiced, all that’s left to do is mix up the lemonade and adjust it to your liking.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to mix up the lemonade, but I recommend first combining the lemon juice and strawberry syrup.
From there, add water, taste test, and adjust with more water if needed.
As the ice melts, it will also water down and mellow out the lemonade, so be sure to keep that in mind when testing it without ice.
Once it’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart, add ice to the pitcher if you’ll be serving to a crowd immediately, or store it in the fridge without ice for later.
For individual servings, add ice to a glass, pour it in, and garnish with a lemon slice, strawberry, and fresh mint as desired. Then, sit back and enjoy the most refreshing homemade lemonade you’ve ever had!
This glass pitcher is sleek and modern. It’s perfect for storing beverages in the fridge with its steel lid with two pour-spout options.
Adjusting Sweet vs. Tart
The lemon and sugar balance in this lemonade will really depend on two things: your lemons and your preferences.
I already mentioned that if you use Meyer lemons, they will be less tart and sweeter. As far as regular store lemons go, certain lemons are just more tart than the ones next to them.
The biggest factor though is your own preference for sweetness or tartness.
This is why making homemade lemonade is so fun, because you can adjust it to be exactly what you want it to be! Here are a few troubleshooting methods for adjusting the sweetness and tartness of the lemonade until it’s to your liking:
- Water: start by adding the water then taste testing, and add more water if it’s too tart. Water is an excellent way to mellow out the lemonade. You can also let the ice melt a little without adding more water and go from there.
- Not tart enough or too sweet: if it’s not tart enough or too sweet, add more lemon juice.
- Too tart: if it’s not sweet enough, or too tart, add more sugar. Do note that adding sugar on its own could result in a grainy texture if it doesn’t completely dissolve. Consider making a basic simple syrup if you need it sweeter and don’t have any more strawberries.
If you’re looking to mix it up a bit, why not give one of these variations a try next time?
- Raspberry Lemonade: use raspberry syrup instead to make a delicious raspberry lemonade!
- Add fresh mint to the syrup for a delicious minty addition.
- Make it a cocktail (adults only!): add a splash of vodka to your glass to make a delicious strawberry vodka lemonade or add a little tequila.
- Make it into a soda: add soda water instead of tap water for a fizzy homemade soda.
- Use Limes: replace the lemons with fresh limes for a strawberry limeade.
- Turn it into an Arnold Palmer with homemade iced tea.
Make-Ahead & Storage
Absolutely! You can either mix up the lemonade in its entirety, leaving out the ice until serving, or make the syrup up to a week in advance until you’re ready to mix the lemonade together. Just keep the ice out until you’re ready to serve so it doesn’t get too diluted.
If you are storing it in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week, place it in an airtight container in the fridge, omitting the ice until serving. If you served the lemonade at a party and have already put ice in it, simply store it in an airtight container like a pitcher or jar in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Yes, you can freeze both the strawberry syrup and lemon juice. Combine the two without the water, essentially making a lemonade concentrate, and freeze it. Then, when you’re ready to use, thaw the concentrate, add your water, and enjoy.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Easy Strawberry Lemonade (without a blender)
Strawberry Simple Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries (or frozen), hulled & quartered or halved
Strawberry Simple Syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and strawberries. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the berries are soft and pale in color.
- Remove from heat and strain out the berries through a fine-mesh sieve, being careful to not press the berries through but rather let the syrup strain out on its own. Discard the berry remnants.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons until you've reached 2 cups. Transfer the juice to a large pitcher and stir in the strawberry syrup. Add water and taste test; add more water if needed, depending on your desired tartness level. Once added, the ice will melt and further dilute the lemonade.
- If serving immediately, add ice to the pitcher and stir to combine. If serving later, store the lemonade in an airtight container in the fridge without the ice. Then add ice to individual glasses and/or the pitcher before serving.
- Garnish with fresh lemon slices or wedges, strawberries, and fresh mint as desired. Enjoy!
- Syrup: this recipe makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of syrup.
- Serving Size will depend on how much water you add. With the recommended 3 cups of water, you will have about 6 1/2 cups of lemonade, serving anywhere from 8-10 people.
- Too Tart: add more water or additional sugar/simple syrup.
- Too Sweet: add more lemon juice.