This Lemon Simple Syrup is made with just 2 ingredients and is great for everything from lemon soda to cakes. It’s sweet, tart, and such an easy recipe that you’ll make it again and again.
If you have a lemon tree this recipe is a great way to use all those lemons. And because the lemon syrup can be frozen it will keep for months. It's also a great recipe for when you want to add flavor to a drink, a dessert, or a salad dressing where you would normally use honey.
What Is Lemon Simple Syrup
A simple syrup recipe is usually made with equal parts of water and granulated sugar. The mixture is heated to dissolve the sugar which creates a sugar syrup that can be used to sweeten and flavor a variety of drinks and food.
Lemon syrup is the same as simple syrup except you’re using fresh lemon juice instead of water. The final syrup has a bright lemony flavor with just the right amount of sweetness. You can also use limes to make lime syrup or passion fruit to make a passion fruit simple syrup.
What You'll Need for This Recipe
Here is what you’ll need for this lemon syrup recipe:
- Fresh Lemons: For this recipe you’ll need fresh lemons and fresh lemon juice, so don’t throw away the lemons after you juice them. You can also use Meyer lemons for this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar: Make sure to use granulated sugar and not powdered sugar.
Most lemon simple syrup recipes use a combination of fresh lemon juice, water and sugar. But this recipe uses only lemons and sugar because I want a strong and concentrated lemon flavor, so that when it's mixed with other ingredients like water for lemon made or soda water for homemade lemon soda the lemon flavor is still strong.
How to Make Lemon Simple Syrup
Clean the container for the lemon syrup by washing it with soap and hot water, and thoroughly rinsing it. Next pour boiling water into the container twice to ensure it is thoroughly clean.
Wash the outside of the lemons with cold water. Juice the lemons until you have 1 cup of lemon juice. You will need 4-6 lemons depending on their size and how juicy they are. I recommend using an electric juicer to get the most juice possible out of the lemons.
Strain the lemon juice through a small fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds and pulp. Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, 2 or 3-quarts.
Bring the lemon juice and sugar to a boil making sure the sugar dissolves and let boil for a few seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the lemon rinds to the simple syrup. Return the pan to the heat, bring it back to a boil, and let boil for 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid and let it steep for 1 hour.
Pour the warm lemon syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Let the lemon halves drain for about 10 minutes then use the back of a large spoon to press any remaining juice out of the lemons or use your hands to squeeze the lemons.
How to Store Lemon Simple Syrup
Store the lemon syrup in an airtight container. Use a funnel to pour it into a glass jar or bottle that has a lid. Store the lemon simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Because it has fruit juice in it, it can’t sit at room temperature like plain simple syrup.
Uses for Lemon Syrup
- Combine with club soda. or ginger ale to make lemon soda
- Use to flavor and sweeten iced tea or hot tea
- Use it to brush cake layers with a silicone brush to add lemon flavor and to help keep the cake layer moist
- Warm it up and drizzle it over pancakes and waffles
- Use on a fresh fruit salad for a little extra zing
- Drizzle it over pound cake or Bundt cake
- Use a natural lemon extract in recipes
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- When selecting the lemons don’t use lemons that have a soft (mushy) texture and some discoloration.
- Use lemons with bright yellow skin for this lemon syrup. Lemons that appear dry and shriveled do not have as much oil in the outer layer for flavor.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
I haven't tried this recipe with other sweeteners. You're more than welcome to give it a try. If you do, please let me know how it turns out.
Yes, you can freeze the lemon simple syrup for up to 3 months. Place it in an airtight container and thaw it in the refrigerator. Or pour it into an ice cube tray and use the ice cubes in drinks.
Yes, the syrup can go bad. If it turns cloudy or opaque then it has started to ferment and go bad. At that point discard the syrup.
The simple syrup will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
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Lemon Simple Syrup
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250 grams) lemon juice 4-6 lemons depending on the size
- This recipe makes 1-1/3 cups of lemon simple syrup, enough for 5 individual lemon soda drinks or one large 48-ounce glass picture of lemon soda.
- Wash the outside the lemons under cool water. Juice the lemons until you have 1 cup of juice. Keep the lemon halves. Place the sugar in a 2 or 3-quart saucepan. Strain the lemon juice into the same pot. Heat the mixture on medium high heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 5 or 6 of the juiced lemon halves into the lemon syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Let the lemons steep for 1 hour.
- Strain the lemon syrup into a bowl through fine mesh strainer. Let the lemons drain and squeeze them to get as much juice out of them as possible. Let the syrup cool to room temperature, then pour it into a jar. Refrigerate the lemon syrup for up to 3-4 weeks.
- Use the lemon syrup to make lemonade, lemon soda, or brush it on cake layers to help keep them moist.