This homemade lemon cordial is an old-fashioned syrup and forms the base of many refreshing summer drinks. Made without citric acid, this easy lemon concentrate requires only 3 ingredients – lemons, sugar, and water. Perfect for lemonade, cocktails, and mocktails, or with your favorite dessert.
Easy way to preserve lemons
Every year there comes a time when neighbors, colleagues, and friends are almost begging you to take a load of lemons off them. Homemade lemon cordial is a great way to preserve the abundance of lemons, turning them into delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and zesty toppings for cakes and desserts.
- Lemons – You need about 4-5 ripe lemons depending on size for 1 cup of lemon juice. If you’re using store-bought lemons make sure you wash them thoroughly before zesting them.
- Sugar – This recipe works best with white sugar, raw sugar, or mild-flavored honey. Brown sugar changes the flavor and color and I don’t recommend using it.
- Water – I recommend using filtered water for the cordial.
- Other flavors – You can add mint, ginger, rosemary, or verbena to your cordial alongside the lemon juice for a more complex flavor.
This recipe makes about 500ml of lemon cordial concentrate. Mixed in a ratio of 1:4 with still or sparkling water it makes 2 litres of lemonade.
Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan and add the raw sugar. Stir thoroughly until the sugar has fully dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the lemon juice through a sieve and the zest. Let the cordial cool down before storing it in the fridge.
To make a refreshing lemon drink, simply use 1 part lemon cordial and 4 parts still or sparkling water in a glass. You can add ice cubes and some mint leaves to make it extra refreshing.
Lemon cordial can also be used in the following drinks and desserts:
- Hot lemon drink aka hot toddy
- Lemon-based cocktails such as lemon drop, whiskey sour, limoncello mojito, gin fizz, French 75, vodka lemonade, and cosmopolitan
- Lemon-based mocktails featuring ginger, lime, orange, mint, or rosemary
- Lemon iced tea
- Lemon ice popsicles
- Use as a lemon syrup for drizzle cakes
- Topping for pancakes, waffles, or ice cream
Sign-up for my newsletter to receive more from-scratch recipes straight to your inbox.
You can store lemon cordial in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Yes, you can. Just make sure the cordial has fully cooled down and you leave a generous gap between the cordial and lid of your freezer-proof container for the liquid to be able to expand. Lemon cordial lasts for up to a year in the freezer.
Yes, you can use other citrus fruit such as oranges, limes, or grapefruit. Just make sure the juice to water and sugar ratio remains the same.
Homemade Lemon Cordial
- 1 cup lemon juice 4-5 depending on size
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup raw sugar
- 1 cup filtered water
- Sterilise a large glass bottle including the lid with boiling water.
- Juice lemons and measure out 1 cup of juice.1 cup lemon juice
- In a medium saucepan, bring the filtered water to a simmer. Add the raw sugar and stir thoroughly until it has fully dissolved.1 cup filtered water, 1 cup raw sugar
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the lemon juice through a sieve and the zest. Combine everything thoroughly.1 cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp lemon zest
- Let the cordial cool down and add it to the sterilised bottle using a funnel. Close the bottle and store it in the fridge.