State Fair Lemonade

This is the best lemonade I’ve ever had.

Pitcher of lemonade with a glass

The BEST Lemonade EVER

My family agrees. This is the best lemonade we've ever had.
4.56 from 141 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course beverages, Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 1332 kcal


  • vegetable peeler
  • large pitcher


  • 6 lemons thoroughly washed
  • 1-1ΒΌ C. granulated sugar I prefer using 1 cup of sugar.
  • 4 C. boiling water
  • 1 C. ice plus extra to serve


  • Thoroughly wash and dry the outsides of the lemons.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, gently peel the zest of the lemons into a large bowl. Try to avoid the bitter white pith beneath the zest.
  • Set the peeled lemons aside.
  • Pour the sugar over the lemon peels. Stir well and cover and let the mixture rest at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • The lemon and sugar mixture should look wet at this point. Pour 4 cups of boiling water over the sugar and lemon peel mixture. Stir to dissolve all of the sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Strain out the peels from the lemon syrup.
  • To the warm syrup at 1 cup of ice.
  • Squeeze the juice of all of the lemons (approximately 1 cup of juice) and add it to the now room temperature syrup.
  • Chill the lemonade for a couple of hours and serve over plenty of ice.


This recipe is adapted from Chef John’s at Food Wishes.
I have made this recipe several times now and prefer is with just 1 cup of sugar. It’s still plenty sweet, but less sugar allows the lemon to shine through.Β 


Calories: 1332kcalCarbohydrates: 356gProtein: 7gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 75mgPotassium: 900mgFiber: 18gSugar: 311gVitamin A: 143IUVitamin C: 343mgCalcium: 207mgIron: 4mg
Keyword best lemonade, beverages, lemonade, lemons, State Fair Lemonade
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

92 thoughts on “State Fair Lemonade”

  1. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe since I had lemons lying around and it truly is the best lemonade ever! I did half the recipe and it still worked just fine. I recommend adding your favorite sparkling water, but it’s also amazing as is.

  2. 5 stars
    Just tried this recipe and am glad to say that this is gonna be a hit all summer long. Thanks, Emmy!

  3. 5 stars
    This is the best lemonade ever! My 8 year old son said that it should cost $50 a cup because it is so delicious! He is already lobbying for a lemon tree so we can make it all the time!

  4. 5 stars
    Hello Emmy, thank you for this fantastic recipe. It is delicious & really does taste like the lemonade from the fair! Thanks too for your wonderful YouTube videos. They are such fun to watch. πŸ‘πŸ˜€

  5. 5 stars
    It was amazing! My peeler wasn’t as sharp as I preferred but the pith didn’t provide much bitterness. I can imaginr you can adjust the amount of sugar to your preference too.

  6. 5 stars
    tried this with some oranges that we had lying around, tweaked the amount of sugar…and oh MY is it delicious πŸ˜‹. next round will definitely be with lemons!

  7. 5 stars
    Made this recipe and absolutely loved it. So I made another batch with a twist instead of 6 lemons I did 4 lemons and 3 oranges and it turned out great. I think next batch I’m going to try 3 lemons 3 limes toe make limeade. Thanks for the recipeπŸ‘

  8. 5 stars
    Made this for my sons graduation party. It was an absolute hit. Everyone loved it and kept going back for more. Best lemonade ever!

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! The only thing I changed was the cup of ice; I didn’t have any! Once it was warm, I added a cup of the coldest water my tap could give me. Sweet, tangy, acidic, and the most amazing lemon flavor, this is definitely a keeper! Thank you, Emmy!

  10. 5 stars
    I brought home grown lemons from my dad’s house In So Cal last week to make this lemonade (we live in the Sierra foothills in Northern CA). I just finished making the first batch and it was wonderful. Reminded me of the LA County Fair.
    My husband gave it a big thumbs up. He’ll be using it to make his Arnold Palmer drink.
    I’m going to make another batch tonight. Got to use up the lemons before they go bad.
    Thanks for the awesome recipe, especially providing metric measurements.

  11. Haven’t tried it yet, but writing down the recipe to make this weekend and noticed there may be a typo or 2 in steps 7 and 8? Add 1c. ice instead of at. And maybe a couple words missing in step 8. Still able to be followed, I’m sure, but wanted to mention it anyway. Just watched the video and I’m sooooo excited to try it! πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

  12. Cindy Godshall

    Sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try it. I’ve heard if you heat lemons/limes in the microwave, it makes them juicier. I’ll have to try that and see if I get more juice out of the lemons.

  13. Are you using Eureka or Meyer lemons ? I’m guessing less sugar would be needed for Meyer ??

  14. Suzanne Calabria

    5 stars
    I made this with Organic Stevia instead of sugar. I must say this is the best lemonade I ever had hands down. Thanks so much!!

  15. 5 stars
    I’m a huge huge fan of good lemonade. Thank you for this recipe. I’m going to try it out right now!

  16. Tara Frauendienst

    My grandmother in law kept a lemon tree in a big pot and moved it to her greenhouse over winter and back out for summer. I’m thinking about doing the same so I can have lemons whenever!

  17. Oh, that’s great! A lot of people have asked if they could substitute stevia. How much did you end up using?

  18. I used Eureka lemons. I don’t see Meyers too often around here, but I’m sure they would make a wonderful lemonade, too, and yes, I imagine less sugar would be needed.

  19. Rolla Suttmiller

    5 stars
    This is THE BEST!!! I’m now doing it with limes for limeade and at this very minute I have a batch of lemon and orange peels combined soaking in sugar. Next, lemon-lime mix….

  20. 5 stars
    I saw the recipe on youtube today and thought it would be a refreshing idea for such a hot day. I haven’t tasted it yet BUT so far I found it really easy and everything you can do ahead of time. I put an empty pitcher in the fridge so it will get nice and cold. I want to also try this using ginger infused water and make a ginger lemonade.

  21. Mayra S LacΓ©n

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing and so full of possibilities!!!
    Steeped about a tablespoon of organic, culinary grade lavender for the first 10 minutes after adding the boiling water, and a teaspoon of vanilla along with the lemon juice.
    So elegant!!!
    Not too much to taste “perfumy” but enough to wonder “what is it?”.
    Thank you. I so enjoy your videos.
    Your joy is contagious!

  22. 5 stars
    This is the best lemonade ever. We have made it multiple times since seeing the YouTube video. I even bought an electric juicer so my hands wouldn’t be so tired because we love to make this.

  23. Jessica A Schaffer

    Making this right now. Cant wait to try this recipe. I have made homemade lemonade only 1 time a long time ago. That recipe was good but you had to stand at a hot stove to boil the water and sugar. Which is why i never made it again. Lol. So happy this one doesnt require that method… thank you for sharing. Cant wait to try this when its finished.

  24. 5 stars
    Just made this and IT IS AWESOME! So delicious and refreshing. Thank you for the recipe!

  25. 4 stars
    I made it today! I froze half of the batch in a ice cube tray so I can add it to my water.. because i don’t like it too sweet. I also blitzed up the inside of the lemons instead of juicing them.. can’t wait to try it!

  26. Tried this and it was delish! Tried again with limes and it was just as great! Thank you!

    Funny story – we turned the limeade into a slush w/ the ice cream maker. I made the mistake of hanging outside in the sun for the next two days after eating the yummy slushees (I ate w spoon)…I received the citrus burn on my lips! Thanks for sharing your story about citrus burn…otherwise I would have been so confused about the burning sensation all over my lips!

  27. Got up this morning and zested the lemons and put them in sugar. Made the lemonade for lunch. My son LOVED it. We drank it with our chicken salad. But this was the best lemonade EVER! Will definitely make this again.

  28. 5 stars
    My six lemons yielded 1 and 3/4 cups of lemon juice! I love the extra kick, such an awesome recipe.

  29. Henriette Zedlacher

    5 stars
    Emmy, this is the first recipe I tried since I started watching your videos β€” and it was a good decision! I served it in glasses with sugar frosted rims and decorated with a slice of lemon and a strawberry. My family loved it and my (paramedic) husband will take it to work tomorrow. 😁 Love from Vienna/Austria

  30. 5 stars
    Started making this yesterday, marinated the lemon peels and sugar overnight. Finished product is sooooo good! The best lemonade ive had! In addition to the six lemons zested, i added 3 more, so about 1&3/4 cup of lemon juice total and i didnt add ice to mixture. Once cooled to room temp, i added the lemon juice, mixed, then poured a serving over ice. The rest i put in a mason jar and stuck in fridge. *chef’s kiss*

  31. Can’t wait to try this but can you use the peels and candy them for a sweet snack? It’s a bit of a process so I only do them for the holidays but how refreshing would a bit of blueberry crumb cake with candied peels and a glass of that yummy lemonade!

  32. 5 stars
    BEST.LEMONADE.EVER!!! Tart ,sweet and refreshing everything you want in a glass of lemonade without any artificial sweetness… my family absolutely loved this and we finished it in one day and everyone said make more!!!!! Definitely more time consuming than just scooping some powder mix and adding water but once you try this you will never buy powder mix again… and let me add, this reminds me of the boardwalk at the beach. Thank you for sharing and we will be making this all summer and beyond!!! I only wish I had a lemon tree!!! 😊

  33. 5 stars
    I finally made this today after seeing your posts. It is the perfect lemonade. Absolutely delish! The only problem is that my son will probably drink it all!
    Will make again for sure!!!

  34. I am a lemonade fanatic and can’t wait to try this. May I ask, is Meyer the type of lemon I should use ir dies if matter?

  35. 5 stars
    OMG! I am surprised of how this lemonade tastes like. i love it so so much! β™‘ the best!!! yieee 😊😍

  36. 5 stars
    I have made this 4 times in the past weeks! It is the absolute best. I told my Mom about it, and she tried it with lemons and limes and she loved it.
    I made it to go with my K-pop sandwiches (egg/jelly/slaw) so weird, but so good!

    Thanks Emmy!

  37. Sharing another tip: Instead of throwing away the lemon zest, make candied lemon peels with them. You can even use a pressure cooker/Instant Pot to make the candied lemon peels (do a search for “candied lemon peel pressure cooker”), which takes less time, doesn’t require standing over the stove, and produces a tasty lemon syrup. I use the zest from about 3 batches of lemonade. Also, since the zest was already soaked in boiling water for several hours, you can skip the first phase (softening the zest) and go straight to the candying phase. Enjoy!

  38. 5 stars
    Living in the UK I’ve never had ‘proper’ lemonade but I thought I’d give this a go.
    Really easy recipe to follow, I added extra lemon juice as my lemons were a bit small!
    Turner out very nice and super refreshing!

  39. I have been invited to my first gathering/party since Covid – A swim/pool party and potluck, and I am going to take this….. Going to triple the recipe. I plan to take it as a concentrate and then dilute it and add ice when I am there.

  40. 5 stars
    I finally had the chance to make this, and it’s great!

    If you like your lemonade strong, just over ice works great. I like mine a little less strong so I pour half a glass and add water. Definitely recommend people trying it out!

  41. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice. The first time I followed it almost exactly but decreased the sugar. Perfection. I started craving strawberry lemonade so I used this recipe to make it. DELISH!!! My pitcher of lemonade looked like a liquefied sunset when it was all done.

  42. 5 stars
    Loved how it turned out, loved making it, the smell filled out home…lemons can equal love! Thanks emmy, your the best!

  43. 5 stars
    Even though I dread zesting the lemons (haha!) this recipe has totally spoiled me. No other lemonade will do. Thanks for sharing!

  44. 5 stars
    It was amazing! I couldn’t allow the sugar lemon peel mix to rest overnight because my 6 and 4 year olds were adamant about trying Emmymade’s Lemonade the same day. They loved it! And they loved helping to make it! Thanks, Emmy! It truly is the best lemonade ever!

  45. Wonderful. I did the overnight thing. I was very careful with the lemon peels. not bitter at all. I plan on making more for Easter Sunday!

  46. 5 stars
    Hi Emmy! Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I made a pitcher of it for this year’s Ramadan Iftar meal and it was a hit with the whole family. Very refreshing after the day’s fast. Thanks so much!πŸ‹πŸ‹πŸ‹

  47. I’m fasting for the month of Ramadan and nothing seems to be more delicious on Themis warm day! Started making it a couple of hours before sunset and the entire house smells amazing.

  48. 5 stars
    I love all of your videos, and YouTube recommended me this one yesterday! I am in the process of making it right now, and I’m so excited! Thanks Emmy!

  49. 5 stars
    This has become my go-to recipe for lemonade.
    I’ve altered the recipe a smidge. For every lemon, I throw in a lime as well. I keep the other ratios the same.
    I tend to only leave the citrus rinds in the sugar for an hour or so. If it’s sunny, I’ll pop seran wrap over the top and leave it outside for a while – this speeds up the melty gooey process significantly.
    After I’ve juiced the citrus, I throw the juice in the with rinds/sugar, then pass this whole slurry through a sieve into a larger bowl, then pour the boiling water over the rinds to wash off any lingering oils and sugar.
    Because my alterations makes a slightly stronger brew, it’s perfect for mixing with seltzer for a fizzy, refreshing drink! I use about 1 part lemonade to 2 or 3 parts seltzer.
    I also put this in my morning iced coffee! At about a half and half ratio, and with a good amount of ice, it is a delicious, zingy, tangy, refreshing wake up call!

    Thanks Emmy! You’re the best!

  50. 5 stars
    Made this recipe for lemonade as I am a HUGE fan of lemons and oh my goodness gracious Granny, it was DELISH! It’s most definitely my go to recipe for lemonade from now on!

  51. 5 stars
    Great recipe.
    To make it even better β€”>
    Make some unsweetened iced tea (Ceylon preferred)
    Tea over ice and top with 25β€”50% state fair lemonade. Makes an excellent 1/2 and 1/2

  52. 5 stars
    This is the one time when I have clearly out done my mom. This is the only lemonade my family wants. It is fantastic. I thought that using the lemon peels would make it bitter, but not a bit. I recommend this over any store brand lemonade! Wait can I say that? πŸ˜‰

    Thank You Em! Love Ya!

  53. 5 stars
    This lemonade was a big hit. half way through I added cut up strawberries. id love to freeze into ice cubes for the summer time. Just add your favorite sparkling drink with 3-4 cubes of Lemonade. it was beautiful. ty

  54. 5 stars
    This has become a tradition for my son and I to make together each summer since you’re video aired. It’s so stinking delicious. πŸ‹

  55. 5 stars
    since I found your recipe, I have been making it over and over again!
    This is by far the best recipe for lemonade I have ever tried!
    This recipe is way better than store bought. I even use this lemonade to make alcohol beverages. Simply delicious!

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