When the dog days of summer hit, there’s one thing I crave above all others: an ice cold glass of lemonade. No afternoon at the pool or relaxing day on my patio is complete without it. When I’ve got the time, scratch made is a real treat, but after a long day of gardening or just a little too much time in the sun, I’m not in the mood for any extra work. That’s when a good store-bought lemonade comes in. But I admit, not every glass is the same—some can be too sugary or too tart.
That’s why I wanted to put some of the brands I’ve tried (plus some new ones) to the test. Along with a dedicated testing crew, I tried these popular brands:
- Full Circle Market, an organic option
- Market Pantry, available exclusively at Target
- Minute Maid Premium
- Newman’s Own
- Simply Lemonade
- Simply Nature, an Aldi brand
- Trader Joe’s
Let’s see which one is worthy of our afternoons on the porch.
Honorable Mention: Minute Maid Premium
Is it any surprise that the biggest name in lemonade got high marks in our tasting? Minute Maid had a bit more mild of a flavor—not too acidic or sweet—which was a big hit with a handful of testers. Some folks said that lighter flavor made it more refreshing and a great option for quenching your thirst after a long day in the sun.
Runner-Up: Full Circle Market
Falling just short of first place was organic option Full Circle Market. This lemonade had by far the most powerful lemon taste of all those we tested—pefect for people that love all things tart (just like these tasty recipes). We found that the pronounced lemon flavor really made us feel like it was summer, even inside the Taste of Home offices. For folks looking for something a bit less acidic, you might want to go with our number one pick.
Best in Show: Simply Lemonade
After comparing all of the brands, Simply Lemonade was the brand we wanted to relax in a hammock with. This lemonade was incredibly refreshing. Testers found that while sweet, thanks to real cane sugar, this option was balanced with some serious lemon tartness. We also found this option tasted the freshest of them all—likely thanks to the fresh lemon (no juice concentrates here!).
Our major takeaway with this test is that ingredients matter! When it comes to finding the best lemonade, the fewer the ingredients the better. Our top picks in this test were made with water, sugar and lemon juice—no high fructose corn syrup to be seen. In our panel’s opinion, this real sugar and real lemon flavor made all the difference. It made our top picks taste fresher and more authentically sweet. So even if you’re not opting for our top picks, be sure to keep an eye out for quality ingredients (the fewer the better).