Nothing quenches on a hot day quite like a glass of lemonade. Skip the minute maid and make this homemade frozen lemonade concentrate recipe instead. The flavor is much more natural and tangy that the store bought!
What Is Concentrate?
Lemonade concentrate is a bare bones, not watered down version of lemonade. This means that other than sugar and lemon juice, nothing is added. (We could get technical because there is water in the sugar to make a simple syrup, but I digress.)
It's kind of like having laundry detergent pods versus the big bottles of liquid. You're storing a smaller amount so you don't have to keep the water. And this is especially important with freezing liquids because the higher the water ratio, the better chance of freezer burn.
I would like to point out though that lemonade concentrate, and lemon concentrate are NOT the same thing. One is made with sugar and made into a drink, while the other is made from lemon oils and flavorings to accent what you are making. Almost like an essence or an extract.
How To Make It From Scratch
To make homemade frozen lemonade, first you are going to need a LOT of lemons. Around 12-15 per pint. And since this homemade lemonade concentrate only uses a ratio of one cup of water to one cup of juice, those 15 lemons only makes a two quarts of lemonade.
This isn't a bad thing, but it is important to keep in mind. You can definitely stretch it a bit further by watering it down more, but it loses its potency that way.
This is done simply by boiling water and sugar together briefly. Once removed from the heat and completely cooled to room temperature, mix equal parts lemon juice with the simple syrup and get ready to freeze.
How To Freeze It
If you have a lot of freezer space and a freezer that doesn't get moved a lot, you can freeze in mason jars. However, that is always a risk for shattering the jars and breaking glass into your hard work.
Instead, my favorite way to keep this frozen concentrated lemonade is in quart zippered bags. This way you can lay them flat to freeze and move them around as needed. They take up much less space that way and you don't have to worry about glass shattering.
Once frozen, homemade lemonade concentrate is good for 8-12 months. Once you are ready to drink it, don't let the thawed concentrate sit for more than a week stored in the refrigerator. Even though it is loaded with sugar and acid to preserve it, it still can absorb weird fridge flavors.
How Much Juice In a Lemon
On average there are three tablespoons of juice in a lemon, so you’ll need about 6 lemons to make a cup of juice. This makes it easy to guess how to scale the recipe based on how much frozen concentrate you want to make.
If you have a lemon tree, making homemade lemonade concentrate is a great way to use them up as they become ripe. It also makes a fun family activity if you find an irresistible sale.
How Much Do I Dilute?
For making a single glass of fresh lemonade dilute ½ cup of the concentrate with ½ cup water.
If you would like to make a pitcher to serve to a crowd, use one quart of the lemonade concentrate mixed with 4 cups of cold water.
If you know that you'll be drinking the concentrate by the glass more often, you can freeze it in individual portions using ice cube trays if needed.
Frozen Lemonade Concentrate Recipe
If you are used to drinking storebought frozen lemonade concentrate, you may notice that this homemade recipe has more zing. That's because in order to preserve the concentrate, many brands rely on lemon concentrate more than lemon juice.
If you find that the zingy flavor just isn't quite your style, maintain the recipe as is, but try using my lemon simple syrup instead of plain. It brings some of that flavor in from the lemon peel's oils and makes it taste more like traditional store bought. (Although, I think you'll like it as is.)
Happy Cooking! 🙂
Lemonade Concentrate from Scratch
- 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 12-15 lemons
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- In a small saucepan over medium low heat, bring the sugar and water to a simmer. Let cook for five minutes then turn off and let cool.
- Combine two cups of the sugar mixture with two cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Place in a ziploc bag and freeze flat for up to one year.
- When ready to drink, use one cup of thawed lemonade concentrate to one cup of water.