easy strawberry lemonade

I would like to make clear from the outset that I do not think we, this site, or even the internet necessarily needs a new recipe for lemonade. I’ve covered lemonade that’s picnic pink (with any berry you like), with watermelon, with cucumber, with maple syrup and bourbon, and even lime and mint. But the thing I ran into when my kids left me, once again, with a basket of overpriced strawberries on their last legs — fruit they’d asked me to buy but then mysteriously lost interest in eating when it was presented to them at breakfast — and I decided to instead turn strawberries into strawberry-ade, so to speak, was that every lemonade recipe I’ve already published contains steps I lacked inclination to do.

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Like juicing lemons, which involves straining out seeds and pulp. Making simple syrup, which needs to be heated in a saucepan and cooled for later use. And any fresh fruit or vegetables added need to be blended and pushed through a strainer too, bringing us to three separate processes. Are they hard? No. But they aren’t lazy and this is — lazy in a good way. Lazy like barely-a-recipe lazy.

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Everything goes into the blender. Everything is blitzed and strained at once. And have never in my entire life tasted a more delicious and nuanced strawberry lemonade. It’s vivid and intensely flavorful and it tastes the way cotton candy at a carnival smells, and the strawberry summer cake cooling in the back of our station wagon does wafting through the car, and I hope you go immediately into your kitchen and find out for yourself.

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Easy Strawberry Lemonade

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

  • 4 large lemons (mine were 4 1/2 ounces each), plus a few slices for garnish
  • 1 pound (455 grams) fresh strawberries, plus and a few extra berries for garnish
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 to 3 cups of water
  • Ice

Cut the skin, including outer white pith, off your lemons and cut the lemons into chunks. Don’t worry about the seeds. Stem your strawberries. Toss the lemon chunks, strawberries, sugar, and first two cups of water into your blender and blend until coarsely pureed. Pour through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds. The lemonade will be very potent at this point and you can add as much of the remaining cup of water as you wish, or all of it, to taste. Fill glasses with ice and pour lemonade over and garnish with extra berry and/or lemon slices. This lemonade is also lovely finished with a splash of seltzer, if you like fizz.

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83 comments on easy strawberry lemonade

  1. Sonnie Swenston

    You don’t need to remove the strawberry stems. They’re nutritious, and also they’ll be removed when you strain it. (I leave them in unstrained in our morning smoothies.)

  2. Shane

    I can’t wait to try this!!! I can almost taste it now! I am curious about the direct blending of the sugar, rather than making a simple syrup. Does it not settle at the bottom?

  3. Alex

    I very much feel you on the demanding one food, only to then not eat it. I made my 4 year old a gorgeous strawberry cake with strawberry frosting, as he requested, for his birthday. I showed him pictures of what it would look like and he seemed thrilled. Upon presentation of said cake, he looked at me and demanded a marshmallow. All the more cake for the rest of us, but I would have been just as happy to buy a pint of ice cream, a bag of marshmallows, and call it a day.

    Next time he decides he doesn’t like strawberries, I’ll know what to do with them. This looks like a perfect summer drink.

  4. Craig

    My kid doesn’t even peel the lemons. He just washes the dirt off, cuts them in half, and chucks them in the blender with a bit of water. Strain directly into a glass full of ice. He likes the extra brightness from the lemon oil in the peel.

    1. Audrey Joubert

      It is the lemon peel that gives the flavour! The juice only gives sour. If you pour boiling water over the peels it will get the flavour!

    2. Liz

      This is how lemonade is made in Mexico, except with key limes. I thought people spent time juicing limes until my friend showed me to just toss lime halves into the blender with water, strain, then sweeten to taste. I love it.

  5. Liz

    At 24 weeks pregnant I’ve been excited for the summery not-cocktail options that are starting to pop up now that it’s late May! For this lemonade, you emphasize “fresh” strawberries – curious if using some or all frozen strawberries (since I often have those on hand) would be an option? Or would that change the taste since this has fewer ingredients than, e.g., a smoothie?

    1. Meg

      I made this with frozen strawberries and it was awesome! No changes needed. Made some with seltzer too rather than water and it was perfect both ways, not frozen just extra cold.

      Fellow pregnant person here, it really hits the spot.

      1. Liz

        Yes thank you!! I ended up making this with fresh strawberries but I’m interested to try again with frozen (and this made me want to try this method with all kinds of fruits like maybe watermelon & lime??). Also used ginger beer for some of the liquid and that was A+. Good luck with your pregnancy!

  6. Kristin

    Could you use frozen strawberries? I bought a ton of frozen to make smoothies for my kids when they had their orthodontic work done but they declared they no longer want smoothies.

    1. Marinda Sherman CT

      Well this worked out so well. Adults can add a splash or two of vodka, it is so smooth, delish and perfect for a summer evening cocktail

  7. mahri

    This is similar to a recipe posted in the Baltimore Sun a few decades ago. They used lemon juice and did not strain out strawberry pulp, also delicious. Another option is to lightly carbonate by adding club soda or sparkling wine instead of water. A soda stream type device may work too but I never tried it.

    1. Adrian

      The soda stream device we have is pretty emphatic about not fizzing anything but water (only adding flavoring after making plain seltzer.) We haven’t dared to break that rule yet, so I don’t know what could possibly go wrong.

      1. Jasmine

        They have an obscene amount of nooks and crannies where organic goo hides and then encourages the growth of biofilm and bacteria….which then makes the soda stream water taste awful. And they’re difficult to clean.

        1. Melanie K

          I’m planning to bring this to a cookout tomorrow, and I think I’ll make it extra-concentrated (maybe just 1-1.5 cups of water) and then keep it in the fridge next to the seltzer. That way people can add ice and dilute with sparkling water, regular water, a splash of gin…whatever their hearts desire! I’m excited.

  8. Bentley

    Commiserating as yet another parent who fails at forward guidance: grocery edition. And why is it always the most perishable and/or expensive item on the latest receipt?? You’re such a problem solver, Deb

    1. Bentley

      Inspirational!! Also going to run a test of blackberry lime now that the lemons are gone. I left the rind on one of the lemons and wow I like bitter nuance. Going to add basil or rosemary to the berry lemon next time…maybe lavender

  9. Adrian

    My friend and I were just talking about lemonade today and how lovely the strawberries are right now. I also have a brand new blender so this recipe was just fate. I went out, grabbed the ingredients and then threw it together with my 7 year old after school. It is divine! And now I am asking all sorts of questions. Could I do this with blackberries? Blueberries? What a lovely summer treat!

  10. Laurel

    Could I make this with watermelon instead of strawberries? That is the produce occupying my fridge that my fickle toddler begged for but is now not eating.

    1. Amanda

      Freeze the watermelon in cubes and throw it in the blender with some lime or lime juice and mint and a hint of sugar. You get a watermelon mojito mocktail that is to die for. (Also could just be a watermelon mojito if you add the rum, but that’s just crazy talk, of course.)

  11. Northeastern food fanatic

    This looks great but today I made your Martha Stewart strawberry summer cake (using half barley flour) from 12 years ago (with freshly whipped cream) and it’s still gorgeous and fab.

  12. Catherine

    Any way to omit the sugar and replace it with more strawberries or another fruit? Grands are sugar free.

    Also I have an immersion blender and a Cuisinart but not a regular blender. Can I use the Cuisinart?

      1. Dena

        I just tried with an (admittedly vintage) Cuisinart and it struggled with the volume of liquid and it seeped out everywhere. I might try just blending the fruit with a very small amount of water and then mixing it with the rest in the pitcher.

        1. Angie A.

          I had the same experience. I think I’d halve the recipe next time to see if that worked better. Otherwise, it seems like a recipe best suited to a blender.

  13. Emily

    Oh, we’re just not going to talk about your pretty petal-pink cutting board?! Deb, come on, you know we need the info on that. Curious about your beautifully thin glasses too. They look similar to the Bormiolo Roccos but yours look thinner.

    1. deb

      My cutting boards are from Material Kitchen; I have some big and small. The glasses are from CB2; I’m using the ridged largest ones here. The CB2 glasses are VERY thin but also very inexpensive so I feel that that makes it okay. We’ve broken far fewer than I’d expected, mostly because just the adults use them.

  14. Sura Sevastopoulos

    Sounds great, and I would definitely make it, but my favorite is lemonade with basil infused vodka.

  15. Terri Camp

    You had me at “ wafting”

    I made this with lemons I grew in Arizona plus locally grown berries. So, so good and just in time for the Memorial weekend.

  16. Rae

    Deb, pretty pretty please could you bring back the “On the other side of the world” part of the “Previously” section, with the archive recipes? I always loved getting that seasonal inspo from you here in the Southern Hemisphere! Thanks for all the gorgeous recipes, as usual. I’ve been loving working my way through Keepers.

  17. Cathy

    Mine wasn’t that potent at all. I chose the reddest berries I could buy and used nearly 2 lbs. I also increased the sugar just a bit, probably another T. Ill also decrease the water some too. I’ll pour it into glasses tomorrow and shoot a picture; yours looks pretty clear, mine not so much. I did a good job getting the pith off of the lemons. Next time— and there will be one—I might use 3 lemons.

  18. Erica

    This is INCREDIBLE! I made it within minutes of reading the recipe and am already looking forward to making it again. I’ve mixed the blended portion with still water and seltzer and both are wonderful. Don’t skip the straining. I got eager and had some sips before straining, and they were full of seeds.

  19. Jess

    I want to make this for a family cookout this weekend, but one of the attendees is allergic to strawberries – could I use this method with an equal amount of other berries?

        1. Kate

          I’m sad to report that this was a complete fail for us. Not one of my family members liked it 😔 All that work and such a beautiful product but the flavor wasn’t right for us.

      1. Jess

        Can confirm this method works for other berries (blackberries, in my case) and also for watermelon lemonade! I wish I’d weighed the lemons before I started, though, because the clamshell of berries I had was 12 ounces, and it turned out that my lemons were probably closer to 8 ounces each! The blackberry version was a delightful purple color that paired really well with bourbon and plain, unflavored seltzer. I could see more of it in my future, maybe blitzed with a handful or two of mint.

        I ended up using a little more than a pound of seedless watermelon chunks to get the flavor I wanted, and then poured it through a food mill on the finest setting into a fine mesh strainer. I know it seems like a lot of steps, but it resulted in a really smooth, beautifully pink lemonade!

  20. Sarah W

    I just made this but with limes instead of lemons (and without measuring, just using up what I had), and it was amazing!

  21. Anne Dy Buncio

    Love this❤️❤️❤️
    Preparing a 2nd batch today!
    Making the strawberry cake too!
    Thank you, Deb!

    Ps unable to send photo with reply👎🏻

  22. Bunnies

    I made this and thought it was great. I used more than a pound of strawberries because why not.

    I eagerly await local berry season here in New England as I’m sure that will make it even more delish.

  23. Elisa

    I also hate squeezing all those lemons and having to plan ahead to make simple syrup. This recipe barely even needs anything to be measured since I adjusted the sweetness and water content to what I like after blending. I used local small strawberries (northeast USA) and the kids loved it as much as I did.

  24. Emmk

    Adding to the praise for this lemonade. It is so refreshing and a cinch to make. I followed the recipe exactly using the lower amount of water and got a perfectly balanced sweet-tart drink.

  25. CathyR

    I made this for the second time with a couple of tweaks. As I’m retired I have loads more discretionary time so an “extra step” isn’t a huge deal.
    I chopped my lemons and whirred them in the blender with some water then put that mush in my strainer. While it dripped, I prepped my berries. Instead of plain water I added a 20 oz bottle of 0 calorie Vitamin water in the strawberry lemonade flavor. Then I proceeded as usual. I did add a bit more sugar to taste. The end result is chunky but I don’t mind it at all and there aren’t any errant seeds.

  26. MJ

    Where did I go wrong? Mine is more like a strawberry-lemon smoothie. I did use frozen berries but I weighed them and even weighed the lemons. Lovely flavour though.

  27. Pam

    Num! After straining, I added some vermouth (Dolin) to the strained solids and let it steep in the refrigerator, then strained it again. Made a lovely strawberry-lemon aperitif.

  28. Judy

    Made this today and love the tart freshness of this lemonade. The straining creates a smooth liquid and makes a lovely gin and tonic when you put 2 oz each of it and tonic along with the gin. Lovely.
    I plan to freeze leftovers to add to anything.
    Many thanks for sharing.

  29. Adrianne Mock

    Made this tonight! Yum! Only disappointment is it only makes about a quart.
    I may use frozen strawberries next time because $$.

  30. JP

    I thought you might be interested to know that I baked the Devil’s Food Cake with Salted Milk Chocolate Frosting from Smitten Kitchen Keepers yesterday. It turned out exactly as hoped, the cake very rich, moist and delicious. One thing I noticed is that the type of milk chocolate you choose for the frosting will make a difference. I guess it should have been obvious, but I think the flavor of milk chocolate is even more noticeable than dark chocolate. I happened to use Lindt milk chocolate and its flavor was very pronounced in the frosting. So make sure you really like the milk chocolate you are using for the frosting because the flavor stands out clearly. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Amber

      Not a winner in my book. Cutting the peel and pith off the lemons was just as futzy as juicing them. Mixture was so thick it didn’t want to go through my strainer, then was left with a big pile of berry pulp that seems a shame to throw away but has seeds and fibrous stuff from the lemons in it. Cloudy liquid was so strong and so sour that I had to keep adding water and sugar to make it drinkable. Going back to strawberry milk next time. That stuff is magic.

  31. Erin

    Made this tonight with strawberries my 4 year old and I picked fresh. Tastes amazing but definitely isn’t as clear as Deb’s photo. My vitamix pulverized everything but I strained anyway and got out a few strawberry seeds it missed. Don’t know if my kid will try it but that’s just more for me, especially with seltzer and vodka or gin

  32. It’s so good! Strawberries are my all time favourite! I have to admit I put a lot less water in it :-)

    The strawberry season has just begun here so I always have fresh strawberries!

  33. Aurora

    Happy Birthday, Deb! It’s my daughter’s birthday, too, and I made the Golden Sheet Cake with Berry Buttercream and thought of you.
    Hope you’re doing ok in all the smoke.

  34. Karyn

    I must have done something wrong, but I don’t know what. It looks like a pink smoothie and nothing like the picture! :(

  35. Valerie

    I’m on my third batch! We love this! Tonight I’m going to mix it with some vanilla ice cream. Stay tuned! #smittenkitchenforever

  36. Jennie

    I decided to double this recipe, and made it in the food processor, which meant that my personal experience wasn’t “easy”–it was a long process peeling all those lemons and then there was too much volume for the machine and it leaked all over the place. Not your fault, Deb, all my fault! However, the result? Absolutely delightful.