This Is Alton Brown’s Secret for Best-Ever Lemonade

Searching for the best drink ever? This trick from Alton will take your favorite lemonade recipe over the top.

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If you’re like us, you believe few beverages are as perfect as fresh-squeezed ice-cold lemonade…until you make it using this trick from Alton Brown, that is. Turns out, his lemonade recipe is perfection perfected.

The Secret: Preserved Lemons

Alton Brown details his favorite lemonade recipe in his cookbook EveryDayCook. He starts with the same ingredients you already know and love—sugar, water and lemon juice—just like we do in this top-rated recipe. The star of the drink, though, is Alton’s preserved lemons.

Unlike fresh lemons, preserved lemons add a burst of flavor to a dish. The brining process not only draws out oils from the peels, but it amplifies that natural citrus flavor, leaving you with a deliciously juicy and tasty ingredient, ideal for any of your favorite lemon-based dishes.

Need lemonade quicker? Find out which store-bought lemonades our Test Kitchen ranked the highest.

How to Preserve Lemons

Preserving lemons isn’t a quick process—it’ll take about eight days total, but trust in Alton. He hasn’t let us down yet—remember his incredible recipe for chocolate chip cookies?

In his cookbook, Alton explains that you’ll need 4 lemons, 1/4 c. sea salt and the juice of one lemon. Wedge the lemons and add them to a mason jar, layering with salt along the way. Add the juice and tightly seal, leaving it in your fridge for four full days. Flip the jar and age it for another four days, then rinse off the lemon wedges and move forward with your favorite lemonade recipe. (Here are a few to get you started.)

More Uses for Preserved Lemons

After making a full jar of preserved lemons and drinking from Alton’s stunningly delicious pitcher of lemonade, you’ll find yourself staring at the rest of the preserved lemons and thinking, “Now what?”

Don’t sweat—preserved lemons keep for up to 6 months, and you can use them in just about any recipe that calls for lemons or lemon juice. Remember, they pack a lot more flavor than regular lemon wedges, so be sure to use them according to your palate.

We recommend trying them with:

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Kate Ellsworth
Kate is an avid baker, knitter and writer. Her passions include Star Wars, stress baking and—of course—chocolate. When she's not chasing her partner around the house asking him to try her latest recipe, Kate is probably knitting (another) sweater.