Looking for a new sweet syrup to add to your repertoire? Well don't try those watered-down versions, this is the best lemon syrup recipe because it is made with 100% juice.
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This lemon syrup is the basis of my favorite lemon Italian soda recipe. But it has so many other uses, I wanted to highlight on its own.
📖Why This Recipe Works
And that versatility is what makes this simple lemon syrup recipe special. You can use it as a cake syrup, for drinks, and of course, cocktails.
This tangy lemon syrup skips the water to ensure maximum lemon flavor. Considering it has about 5 minutes of hands-on time, it can't be beat.
Fresh Lemons- You can use any variety of lemons in this recipe. You are going to lemon zest (not lemon rinds) and lemon juice in this recipe.
You can use bottled lemon juice to supplement if needed.
Sugar- Plain white sugar or honey works best in this recipe. Using brown sugar or maple syrup will darken the syrup giving it an unappealing color, so best to skip those.
You can also add more water to this lemon simple syrup recipe if you prefer a lighter flavor. I only recommend this for cocktails where too much lemon might alter the final drink.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make Lemon Syrup
This easy recipe follows the standard simple syrup method with a sugar-to-liquid ratio of 1:1.
Step 1- Zest and Juice
I prefer to use a small paring knife to remove the zest. You want to leave the white pith which will taste bitter.
You make think using a grater to remove the zest is the easiest way, and maybe for removal it is but I promise that even with straining you will get floaties.
Cut your lemons in half and juice. You will need a bunch of lemons to get to 1 cup of juice.
Step 2- Simmer
Next up we dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice. You just need a small pan and to heat the ingredients over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and add the lemon peel.
Steep for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. The syrup should now be at room temperature so simply strain the syrup to remove the zest any seeds that may have snuck in.
One note is that you can use hot lemon syrup in hot tea.
🥗Lemon Syrup Uses
There is an endless number of ways to use this little bottle of sunshine.
- Italian Soda- Mix with club soda and ice for a refreshing lemon soda.
- Iced Tea- Just like our blueberry tea recipe, you can make lemon iced tea.
- Lemonade: Mix the syrup with cold water and ice to create a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade.
- Lemon Cake Syrup- You can use it on a gluten-free lemon drizzle cake or brush on cake layers before assembling to keep them moist.
- Fruit Salad - Drizzle lightly over your favorite berries.
- Ice Cream-Drizzle over vanilla ice cream, or pistachio!
- Greek Yogurt- Turn plain yogurt into lemon yogurt and add a few fresh berries.
- Cocktails: Whether you're creating a classic lemon-based cocktail or a non-alcoholic mocktail, a dash of this lemon syrup will increase the lemon flavor without watering down your drink.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Didn't get enough juice out of your lemons? Just make up the rest with filtered water.
After cooling the syrup to room temperature, transfer any remaining lemon syrup into a clean, airtight container, preferably glass, and store it in the refrigerator. Enjoy its refreshing flavor for up to a month.
Before each use, give the container a good shake as natural lemon oils may slightly separate during storage. If the syrup appears cloudy or has particles floating in it, toss it out.
You can also freeze lemon syrup by pouring it into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, move to a freezer bag for long-term storage.
More Homemade Syrup Recipes
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
For a thicker syrup increase the sugar content by up to 50%. You can even add more sugar after straining if you like. Just warm the lemon mixture back up and stir to dissolve the additional sugar.
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- 2 lemons regular or Meyer lemons
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Use a small paring knife to remove the yellow part of the peel avoiding the bitter white pith. Set the zest aside.2 lemons
- Place a small saucepan over heat medium-low heat, add the granulated sugar. and lemon juice. Gently stir until the sugar has dissolved completely about 3 to 5 minutes.1 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 cup granulated sugar
- Once dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and add the lemon zest. Allow the syrup to steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain the syrup to remove the lemon zest and any stray seeds.
- Experiment with the sweetness level using Meyer lemons or embrace tanginess with traditional lemons.
- Zest the lemons before squeezing out the juice.
- It takes about 5 lemons to make 1 cup of fresh lemon juice. You can also use bottled lemon juice