This recipe for homemade lemonade concentrate comes from my husband’s nana. Once you’ve had it, you’ll never use powdered or frozen lemonade mix again!

Nana's Homemade Lemonade Concentrate Recipe
My hubby’s family has been having this lemonade since his mom was a little girl!

Homemade Lemonade Concentrate Recipe

Seeing all the lemonade stands this summer gave me a hankering for some real lemonade – lemonade that smells like summer and looks like sunshine! So I whipped up a batch of Nana’s Homemade Lemonade Concentrate and wondered why I ever use anything else. It’s so easy and fast to make, it lasts for 3 weeks in the fridge, my kids love it, my husband loves it. And it also happens to go nicely with gin but that’s besides the point!

Nana's Homemade Lemonade Concentrate Recipe
You can get lemons all year round which means you can make this homemade lemonade concentrate any time!

How do you make lemonade concentrate?

Nana’s Homemade Lemonade Concentrate is really easy but you do need one ingredient that you might not have on hand: tartaric acid or citric acid. I learned something new as I was preparing this recipe: tartaric acid and cream of tartar are essentially the same thing – in the same family though cream of tartar is more neutralized therefore not a good substitute. Tartaric acid is found in grapes and bananas,  and is the main acid found in wine. So it gets points right there for that. You can purchase tartaric acid from wine making supply stores or from Amazon. I did not think of this when I was making the recipe so instead I used citric acid. Citric acid comes from citrus foods and can be found in the canning section of grocery stores or you can also order from Amazon.  The taste is slightly more sour with tartaric acid but not so different that you HAVE to use it to get the full nana lemonade experience.

What Citric Acid looks like
I got this from H.E.B. but Trader Joe’s *sometimes* carries it, and it can be found with the vitamins and natural products there. Apparently.

Aside from the acid, you need lemons and sugar. LOTS of sugar…

Nana's Homemade Lemonade Concentrate
Six cups of sugar to be exact.

Nana’s recipe calls for the rind and juice of four large lemons, but since my lemons were small, I used ten and ended up with about a cup of juice. A note about grating the rind and squeezing the lemons: a few years ago I bought a citrus juicer from Tupperware and haven’t looked back since. It came with a little zester and that things works like a charm!

Homemade Lemonade Concentrate Recipe
I heart you, Tupperware zester!
Tupperware citrus juicer in action!
I buy small lemons because they work best with this Tupperware juicer. No seeds get in, there’s no straining hassle and it squeezes out every last drop.

This is just my personal recommendation, I’m not an official Tupperware rep or anything. If you want one, my friend Yolande sells Tupperware and can hook you up! They run $35 but that is money well spent; I use mine every time I make a cocktail, pico de gallo, or any other recipe requiring citrus juice.

Homemade Lemonade Concentrate recipe
Bring 6 cups sugar, 1 quart of water and the lemon juice and rind to a boil. SMELLS AMAZING!

While that concoction is coming to a boil, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the citrus/tartaric acid in 4 tablespoons of hot water. After the lemon mixture boils, turn off the heat and stir in the acid then let cool.

To make a delicious class of lemonade, use about 3-4 tablespoons of concentrate to 8 ounces of water, or to taste!

Nana's Homemade Lemonade Concentrate
One of these glasses of lemonade is made with water; one is made with *gin* and water.

I made this especially for my friend Becky whose birthday is TODAY! Happy birthday Becky! She requested a drink recipe that can be made with no fizz.

Homemade Lemonade Concentrate
What you mix this with, Becky, is totally up to you! 😉 (P.S. Doesn’t this make a cute little gift?!)

Store Nana’s Homemade Lemonade Concentrate in mason jars in the fridge for up to three weeks or freeze it for a month or two, but you’ll probably use it up before then!

I’m so glad to have married into a family of good cooks! Hope you enjoy a nice glass of cool lemonade on a summer day and think of me! Cheers!

xoxo Nicole

Don't forget to pin this post by The Spirited Thrifter!

PIN this recipe to your DRINKS board and remember to

follow THE SPIRITED THRIFTER on Pinterest!

Nana's Homemade Lemonade Concentrate

Nana's Homemade Lemonade Concentrate

This recipe for homemade lemonade concentrate smells like summer and looks like sunshine! It is delicious and easy to prepare and once you taste it, you'll never use anything else!

Course Drinks
Keyword lemonade concentrate
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author The Spirited Thrifter


  • 6 cups white sugar
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 large lemons or 8-10 small lemons, juice and rind

Stir together in large pot and bring to a boil.

  • 2 tbsp tartaric or citric acid
  • 4 tbsp hot water

Dissolve acid in hot water.


  1. After lemon mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and stir in dissolved acid.

  2. Use 3-4 tbsp of concentrate per 8 oz of water, or to taste.

  3. Store for 3 weeks in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.

Make the kids' lemonade with water, but add gin to yours. 😉


  1. Nancy Jacobson

    My mom made something similar with both acids but used a combo of oranges and lemons. Let me know if you would like that recipe.
    Looking forward to trying yours.

    • nicole

      Sure! That would be wonderful Nancy! Anything citrusy and homemade hits the spot, especially in the Houston heat!!

  2. 5 stars
    DELICIOUS!! So fresh tasting. No more frozen (*gag* corn syrup containing) lemonade concentrate for us. The ONLY thing is (seemed super weird), I made extra to freeze and after over 24 hrs in the feeezer, it was a bit thicker but very much UNfrozen! Any idea why that would be?

    • nicole

      So glad you liked it, Wendy! The only thing I can think of is maybe the sugar content prevents it from freezing – kind of how the other kind of concentrate can sometimes go in the freezer. I would think, regardless, it would help to preserve the concentrate for longer! Now I’m thinking I need to make some!! Thanks for commenting!