Lemon Ice Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. + freezing
This three-ingredient lemon ice recipe is tangy, bright and so easy to make.

Updated: Jun. 12, 2024

With its sweet-tart flavor, lemon ice is the only treat I want on a hot day. This classic Italian American dessert has three simple ingredients: water, sugar and fresh lemon juice. The mouthfeel is smooth and cold, similar to a granita, though granitas traditionally have larger ice crystals and a slightly coarser texture.

Lemon Ice Ingredients

  • Simple syrup: Dissolve granulated sugar in water to create a simple syrup. As when it’s used in cocktails, simple syrup sweetens lemon ice without adding grittiness.
  • Lemon juice: For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Use your food processor to juice lemons quickly.
  • Garnish: For a dessert that looks as good as it tastes, garnish each scoop of lemon ice with lemon slices or mint leaves.


Step 1: Make the lemon syrup

In a large saucepan over low heat, cook and stir the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in the lemon juice.

Step 2: Freeze the lemon ice

Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container. Freeze until the mixture becomes slushy, about eight hours or overnight. If desired, top servings with lemon slices and fresh mint.

Two glasses of Lemon Ice with mint leaves and orangesTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Switch up the citrus: Replace half of the lemon juice with freshly squeezed lime juice for a lemon-lime ice. Or replace the lemon juice entirely with freshly squeezed orange juice or grapefruit juice.
  • Flavor the simple syrup: Infuse the simple syrup with basil leaves, mint leaves or fresh ginger. To make an infused simple syrup, remove the syrup from the heat, add your herbs to the saucepan and cover. Once the syrup has cooled completely, remove the added ingredients using a sieve. Then, add the lemon juice and follow the rest of the recipe as directed.
  • Add a splash of Prosecco: Put a small scoop of lemon ice in a Champagne or coupe glass, and top with 2 ounces of Prosecco and 1 ounce of cold vodka.

How to Store Lemon Ice

Store lemon ice in an airtight container in the freezer. For the best flavor, eat this frozen treat within four or five days.

Lemon Ice Tips

Lemon Ice served in two glasses with mint leaves and orangesTMB Studio

What can you do if your lemon ice is rock-hard?

To soften the lemon ice, remove it from the freezer, and let it thaw in the refrigerator until it’s scoopable. Another option is to use a large metal utensil to carefully break the lemon ice into chunks. Place the chunks in a blender or food processor, and pulse until smooth.

What can you serve with lemon ice?

Pair a serving of lemon ice with fresh blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. For a creamy finish, top the lemon ice with homemade whipped cream. For a summer drink, use lemon ice in place of thawed pink lemonade in this rhubarb lemonade slush recipe.

Lemon Ice

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 6 servings.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • Optional: Lemon slices and fresh mint leaves


  1. In a large saucepan over low heat, cook and stir sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.
  2. Pour into a freezer container. Freeze until mixture becomes slushy, about 8 hours or overnight. If desired, top servings with lemon slices and mint.

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup: 278 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 73g carbohydrate (69g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

This delicious sweet-tart lemon ice is a perfectly refreshing way to end a summer meal ... or any meal, for that matter. —Concetta Maranto Skenfield, Bakersfield, California