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Honey Sweetened Lemonade (with Tips for Using Lemony Herbs)

This honey sweetened lemonade is naturally sweetened with honey – no refined sugar. We also share tips on adding lemon flavored herbs, juicing lemons, and making honey lemon ice cubes.

homemade honey sweetened lemonade

Using honey in recipes always reminds me of my grandmother, who used home raised honey as their only sweetener during WWII. We buy bulk local honey from apiaries we trust (until our own hives are ready). Much of the honey on store shelves has been stretched with other ingredients.

Be aware that honey adds a distinctive flavor, and tends to be sweeter than sugar per unit volume. If you switch to sugar for sweetening instead of honey, you may need more.

You may also wish to experiment with using homemade stevia extract for sweetening.

The Trick to Making Honey Sweetened Lemonade

Unlike white sugar, raw honey likes to sink to the bottom instead of dissolving nicely in your homemade lemonade recipe. To avoid this, mix your half cup of honey with a cup of hot water first. Then add the rest of the cold water.

Most of honey sweetened lemonade recipes we looked at used about half as much water and twice as much honey. That was way too sweet and strong for my palette, especially if you add the honey-lemon ice cubes. You can adjust proportions to your tastes.

The honey lemon ice cubes are great for iced tea, too, and of course, naturally gluten free.

A Note About Lemons…

Before I get into the recipe, I'd like to make a note about lemons. All lemons are not created equal. I avoid using lemon zest from lemons that are not organic. Any sprays used on the tree will tend to accumulate in the skin.

There can be a huge difference in the size of lemons. If a recipe says “the juice from one lemon”, this can be an issue. Depending on the size of the lemon, you could get from 1/4 to 1/2 cup of juice. An average largish lemon yields around 1/3 cup.

We decided to make this honey lemonade recipe when my friend, Julie, came to visit and brought some gigantic lemons. (Her brother has a lemon tree and sent fresh lemons.)

From left to right:  Julie's monster lemon, “average” lemon, and small organic lemon. As you can see, quite a bit of variation.

lemons

Lemons harvested at different times of the year and under different conditions will also yield more or less juice. Lemons store best in the refrigerator, but yield more juice at room temperature, or warmed.

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Honey-Sweetened Lemonade with Honey Lemon Ice Cubes

Made with fresh lemon juice and raw honey, this honey lemonade is great served warm or cold.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: Beverage

Ingredients

Scale

For the lemonade:

  • 1 cup lemon juice (35 lemons, depending on size)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 cups water, separated

For the ice cubes:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup hot water

Instructions

For the lemonade:

Warm one cup of water and mix with honey until dissolved. (This helps to avoid the honey settling in the bottom of the pitcher.)  Blend with remaining water and lemon juice in a large pitcher. Serve hot or cold.

For the ice cubes:

Blend the honey with the hot water and lemon juice. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze at once. (If you let it sit, the honey may settle out.)  Serve with lemonade, fruit punch or iced tea (my personal favorite). This recipe will fit into one standard ice cube tray with room to spare.

Notes

Hot lemonade with honey is great for congestion and sore throats.

Keywords: lemonade, summer drinks, gluten free, naturally sweetened

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Quick Tips for Juicing Lemons

Use lemons that are at room temperature or warmer, rather than those that are fresh out of the refrigerator. This will give you more juice per lemon.

If you don't have a juicer, you can use a spoon to help press out the juice. (As demonstrated by Julie in this photo.)

juicing lemons without a juicer
If you don't have a juicer, you can use the back of a spoon to juice your lemons.

Making Honey Lemonade with Lemon Flavored Herbs

One of our readers (Teresa) noted:

Adding lemon verbena or lemon balm also intensifies the flavor. I tear the leaves first to let the oils out, particularly the verbena as the leaves are a little stiff. Don't make the pieces too small, or they are a hassle to strain.

Lemon balm is good, but lemon verbena is so very intense it is amazing! I've used both just to flavor water and leave the sweetener out entirely. When I do this in a large jar I just leave the herbs in.

So, if you have some lemony herbs on hand, throw them right into your lemonade.

Note: Lemon verbena is a shrub that's native to South America. Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family, known for its calming effects.

Order lemon balm seeds here.

Can you use Bottled Lemon Juice?

You can use bottled lemon juice to make honey lemonade, but the flavor is much better with fresh lemons.

I drink lemon water each morning for the health benefits. If we run out of fresh lemons, I skip it, because the taste of the bottled juice is so dramatically different. I save the bottled juice for home canning, where the specific pH is more important.

More Drink Recipes on Common Sense Home

We have dozens of made from scratch recipes on the site, including:

honey sweetened lemonade

Originally published in 2013, last updated in 2022.

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2 Comments

  1. here’s a very interesting drink that my Brazilian ex-change students mother [ Yara] taught me. take a pineapple wash it, cut the rine off as we all do, but before you throw it to the chickens….put it in a pot with enough water to cover [ I used a 2qt stock pot ] bring it to a boil, turn it off cover and let it sit over night. [ we left ours just sitting on the stove ] next morning run it through a screen style strainer. you got it pineapple tea. add sugar if you like, I thought it was great plain very light and a different taste. ps now throw the rine to the chickens…… everybody’s happy

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