Recipe: Classic Lemonade

Cooks Illustrated's Classic Lemonade recipeMore than 1 million home cooks rely on Cook’s Illustrated magazine to provide trusted recipes that work, honest equipment reviews and ingredient taste tests, and time-saving kitchen tips.  Published by the hosts of America’s Test Kitchen television series, Cook’s Illustrated is known for an almost fanatical approach to creating the best recipes for the home cook’s favorite foods.  To do this, they test every recipe 20, 30, sometimes up to 100 times in their own 2,500 square foot test kitchen where they make the mistakes so you don’t have to.  They also test and recommend which kitchen equipment is the best to use, which supermarket ingredients really make a difference and which techniques work best for the home cook.  And because Cook’s Illustrated is advertising free, you can trust their objective ratings to identify what products are worth your money and which to avoid. Subscribe to Cooks Illustrated here, or sign up for the Perfectly Plated Sweepstakes for the chance to win $5,000 in merchandise from Ballard Designs.

For a lemonade recipe full of lemon flavor, balanced by just the right amount of sugar, we mashed sliced lemons with sugar until a syrup was produced (thereby releasing all of the citrus oils in the zest and fully dissolving the sugar). We then combined the lemon mixture with the correct amount of water to produce lemonade with authentic homemade flavor.

Recipe: Classic Lemonade
Serves: 1.5 quarts
If you like, scrape the pulp from a couple of mashed lemon slices into the pitcher to make a more pulpy lemonade. Adding one tablespoon of grenadine turns the lemonade pink and imparts extra sweetness.
  • 10 - 12 medium lemons, scrubbed well, halved pole to pole, all halves sliced thin
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • pinch table salt (optional)
  • 5 cups water (cold)
  1. Mash lemons and sugar (and salt, if using) in large, deep bowl or saucepan with potato masher or wooden spoon until lemon slices give up their juice, sugar is dissolved, and juice is thickened to syrup consistency, about 4 minutes. Pour half the lemon slices and syrup through large sieve over bowl or saucepan; press on solids with masher or back of wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Discard solids; transfer liquid to serving pitcher. Repeat process with remaining lemon slices. Stir in water until blended. Chill well and stir to blend before serving, over ice if desired.

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