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Although a popular beverage in the summertime, I enjoy a lemonade during any season. What I like even more than lemonade is limeade. The lime flavor adds an extra twist that lemonade doesn't have. I usually just squeeze limes and mix with sugar and water while tasting to determine quantities, but I've finally worked out the right proportions for a concentrated limeade syrup that can be refrigerated or frozen. Just add water to serve!

Maybe it's because lemonade is so readily available that causes the less popular limeade to taste better to me. In any case, I am a sucker for "exotic" or "different" beverages. If there's a new soda flavor, I've got to try it. When limes are on sale, I can't help but make limeade.

I use sour Persian limes (the type the supermarkets label simply "Limes"). All limes turn yellow as they ripen (or overripen), so don't be thrown off if the limes have some yellow spots. For juicing, buy limes that are not completely hard. The softer limes generally have thinner rinds and more juice. I find that, in general, six limes produce about one cup of lime juice.

Before juicing the limes, roll them on the counter while pressing down with your palm to help break down the interior membranes and make juicing easier. Then cut them in half along the equator and press and twist against a reamer to release the juice. I don't like pulp in my fruit drinks, so I juice through a fine mesh strainer. Then I pour the liquid through another strainer (because I really don't like pulp in my juice). You should plan to have the juice end up in a measuring cup when you are done juicing and straining.

You can pour sugar directly into the lime juice and water when you prepare limeade, but sometimes you get gritty pieces of undissolved granules of sugar. To solve this problem, just prepare a simple syrup by heating one cup water and dissolving one cup granulated sugar into it. The simple syrup can be made in larger quantities and kept in the fridge for future use in making lemonade, sweetened iced tea, caramel sauces, etc.

Now how much simple syrup should we add to the lime juice? I worked it out to be 3 times as much. This quantity of simple syrup will be enough to temper the tart acidity of the lime juice without being overly sweet. So, for each cup of lime juice, heat 1-1/2 cup water and 1-1/2 cup granulated sugar. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved and remove from heat. Pour the three cups of simple syrup into the lime juice and stir. Now you have four cups of limeade concentrate. You can refrigerate this or even freeze them into ice cube trays for instant limeade whenever you want.

To convert the limeade concentrate into limeade, simply add two cups of water for each cup of concentrate. If you desire a little less tartness and sweetness, just add an addition half cup of water to the mixture.

Limeade concentrate
1 cup (240 mL) lime juicemix
1-1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugarmix while heating
1-1/2 cups (360 mL) water

Limeade (makes 3 cups)
1 cup (240 mL) limeade concentratemix
2 cups (480 mL) water
Copyright Michael Chu 2004
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Written by Michael Chu
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48 comments on Limeade:(Post a comment)

On October 15, 2005 at 01:38 PM, an anonymous reader said...
I really like your weblog and would like to contribute, but I don't have a paypal account - it doesn't "support" my country, Portugal.

Could you offer other alternatives to contribute? Maybe an Amazon wishlist ?

Please keep on posting :)

SÚrgio N.

On October 15, 2005 at 01:40 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Its interesting that you should post about limade this time of year, since its Ramadan. During this time our family would break our fast with a glass of limeade; for some reason we called it "serbet".

On October 15, 2005 at 01:43 PM, Rob M (guest) said...
Another way to cut the acidity is to use a ery small amount of backing soda. I use about 1/8 tsp for a cup of lemon juice. It depends on the acidity of the fruit but I guess would be similar for limes.

On October 15, 2005 at 01:46 PM, FudgyBear (guest) said...
Thank you! In attempting to relive a fond childhood memory, I was looking for a limeade recipe, since I don't like the one made with commercial concentrate (a bitterness one cannot get rid of). So I Googled the recipe, and yours was first on the list. None of my favorite recipe sites had anything near a recipe for it, the closest being a mix for daiquiris or margaritas. Your recipe is perfect!

On October 15, 2005 at 01:50 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Just tried this ... excellent recipe! It has the right balance of tartness and sweetness for me, and is easily adjusted for other tastes as well.

On October 15, 2005 at 01:54 PM, Ryan H (guest) said...
I just made this and its perfect. A hint about juicing the limes: use a handheld lime juicer. In about 2 minutes I went from having 6 limes to a cup of lime juice. Just be careful because it can squirt out (possibly into your eyes!) if you're squeezing hard. The one I used is like this (though I got a much cheaper one). Make sure you get a metal one!
Thanks Michael for the great site!

On October 15, 2005 at 01:56 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Thank God for people who love doing things from scratch, over yonder...if it weren't for you people...Betty Crocker would be useless to us in the east.

Also the actual name for limeade in urdu/hindi (Indian) is Iskanjwein (Iss-kaanj-ween).

On October 15, 2005 at 01:59 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Thanks for this idea. My lime tree is in full season and I have limes galore. I had to adjust the sugar proportion a bit as I have the small yellow 'Mexican' or 'Margarita' limes - the same tree in Florida would be called a key lime - and they tend to be somewhat sweeter than the larger standard limes.

On October 26, 2005 at 11:34 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Simple syrup
One comment about simple syrup: 1.5c sugar plus 1.5c water will not yield 3c simple syrup. I usually make simple syrup from 2 parts sugar to 1 part water and find that the resulting syrup is roughly the same volume as the sugar was originally. This is handy since it means that the syrup has the same sweetening power by volume as sugar.


On November 25, 2005 at 11:26 PM, ltabor (guest) said...
Subject: the best limeade--margaritas!
My sister's sister-in-law makes incredible margaritas using frozen concentrate. I'm sure you could use the limeade recipe minus all of the water instead is you wanted to be 100% from scratch.

I'm not an engineer (but the daughter of one), so the recipe isn't precise:

In a blender, combine:

1/2 can limeade concentrate
4-8 shots of good tequila (I use 1800)
1-2 shots Grand Marnier (you could use triple sec if you're cheap)

fill the blender w/ cracked ice

blend until slushy, then taste and adjust amount of tequila, limeade, etc (you can add a little h2o if it's too thick)

rub a cut lime on the edge of each glass and dip in sea salt or kosher salt

pour margaritas into the glasses and enjoy! Makes enough for at least 2 people!

On December 18, 2005 at 12:21 PM, Francoise (guest) said...
Subject: Limeade
Ah - truly better than lemonade. For an added 'zing' add some fresh ginger!

On February 03, 2006 at 07:04 AM, Ashirin (guest) said...
If you actually like the bubbles, try using SodaStream with the mixture. It's great!

On April 12, 2006 at 07:24 PM, Mabel (guest) said...
Subject: limmmmmmmmmeade
another great recipe! i'm sipping one right now, with a shot of seltzer water for the bubbles =)
by the way, what's the deal with quinine and all that stuff in club soda/seltzer water/whatnot? i ended up getting whichever one had the least 'stuff' listed in the ingredients. is it bubble-preservative?

On June 08, 2006 at 10:25 AM, grayskies (guest) said...
Subject: RE: limmmmmmmmmeade
Quinine is actually an anti-malarial additive. It was sent in the water to the British in india during their occupation. It was quite sour, originally, so the gin and tonic was invented, gin added to sweeten it up a bit. Hard to believe from my point of view, because I'm of the opinion that all gin tastes like pine-sol. Anyways, the quinine is added into the tonic water not to keep the original flavor.

On June 08, 2006 at 10:27 AM, grayskies (guest) said...
Subject: typo
whoops, typo

change: not to keep the original flavor.
to keep the orignial flavor.

On June 10, 2006 at 06:50 PM, Ian (guest) said...
Subject: Great stuff!
Wow, this is great! My whole family loves this stuff. Thanks a bunch and rest assured that you have gained one more frequent visitor.

Ian from Finland

On June 24, 2006 at 07:55 PM, H (guest) said...
Fantastic...really delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

On August 05, 2006 at 10:18 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Try cutting your lime peels into sections and running them through a blender with the water you're going to put in your limeade, then straining them back out again. This is a Brazilian form of limeade that gives an interesting, creamy sort of drink -- very tasty. But it does NOT keep well, so this is a serve-as-it's-made type drink, extremely unsuitable for a mix. If you let it stand too long it will become bitter. Also, don't try it with lemons.

On February 02, 2007 at 03:24 AM, guest from Alaska (guest) said...
I just wanted to make two quarts of limeaid. I skipped the syrup step and ended up with a delightful drink by approximating the various ratios of water, squeezed lime juice, and sugar. I took into account the comments regarding equating parts of sugar and water. To make sure the sugar mixed well I used a metal wisk which mixes much better than a spoon and seems to facilitate the dissolving faster. Here is my "secret" recipe for anyone who is as impatient as I am and wants to expedite that glass of limeaid being ready to drink.

1. Juice 4 lemons as described in original recipie. I happen to have an electric juicer so it is a task that takes little time or effort.
2. Pour the lime juice into a two quart pitcher (in my case the 4 limes made about 4/5 of a cup of juice.)
3. Add one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Wisk well. This made one pint of concentrate after the sugar dissolved.
4. Fill the pitcher to the top with cold water to make two quarts combined. Wisk away like crazy. After a few minutes it is ready to pour into a cup filled with ice cubes. Drink and enjoy.
5. Put the pitcher in the refrigerator and watch how fast it disappears as the other members of your household sip and taste and you keep returning for more.

On February 02, 2007 at 03:29 AM, Guest from Alaska (guest) said...
Subject: Use Limes, not Lemons - correction to above recipe
Well as you all know, when life gives you lemons, trade them for limes. In my haste to divulge to the world my "secret" recipe for two quarts of quick made limeaid I said to juice 4 lemons. Switch that to limes or you will otherwise end up like the guy who was given lemons and made lemonaid. :D

On February 13, 2007 at 04:57 AM, Dave (guest) said...
Subject: bit of twist on this great recipe
I love this recipe.. i have used it a few times when limes go on sale 10 for a 1$.

I have one little twist for it that my family at least seems to love
thinly slice a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root and add it when you are making the simple syrup fish it out after the syrup has cooled before you mix with the juice. Use the concentrate as normal .

On March 29, 2007 at 03:30 AM, Adam (guest) said...
Subject: Thanks!
I modified the recipe, as my GF and I love really intensely tart and sweet limeade (the stuff at Trader Joe's is our baseline standard, for those who know the grocery outlet).

We used a professional juicer to juice the limes, removing only the peels and the heavy white stuff between the peel and the meat of the lime. We then squeezed the pulp through cheese cloth, which got us a lot more juice. 10 smallish limes yielded 20 fl. oz. of liquid.

To the 20 fl. oz. of lime juice we added 40 fl. oz. of water and 3 cups (24 fl. oz.) of sugar. After refrigeration, we got the same sort of very tart, very sweet sipping limeade we love from the store. Your recipe might be a tad more drinkable for those not wishing quite such a punch in the face for flavor. ;)

On May 23, 2007 at 02:49 PM, BerylCourt (guest) said...
Subject: Lemonade - > Cream Soda
When I am making lemonade I like to infuse a vanilla pod in the syrup for an hour or so and then add the lemon juice. This produces a fantastic Cream Soda drink.

On May 26, 2007 at 10:21 PM, Limey (guest) said...
Subject: Limeade
Try making a cherry concentrate with a Cherry Kool-Aid. one half cup sugar, one package of Kool-Aid and a cup of water. Mix well and add to your Limeade. Fantastic Cherry Limeade!

On June 11, 2007 at 09:32 PM, Eurasian7 (guest) said...
Subject: vanilla-limeade
I'm with Berylcourt--vanilla limeades are to die for! I always ask the folks at Sonic to add a splash of vanilla to mine. They make a diet version too, yummy.

On June 11, 2007 at 11:29 PM, GaryProtein said...
Subject: Re: vanilla-limeade
Eurasian7 wrote:
I'm with Berylcourt--vanilla limeades are to die for! I always ask the folks at Sonic to add a splash of vanilla to mine. They make a diet version too, yummy.

The closest Sonic to me is 133 miles away according to the Sonic website locator. That is disappointing because I hear they are very good.

On July 16, 2007 at 04:37 AM, pastrychef1 (guest) said...
Subject: limes
Don't forget to nuke those limes for more juice. If I am doing a cup of juice, I will nuke 6-7 limes for about 30 - 40 seconds. SO much more juice!

On August 02, 2007 at 12:54 PM, bpod (guest) said...
Subject: Limeade tweaks: mint and garnish
I tasted my first limeade a couple weeks ago and vowed to try making it myself. I found your recipe last night and mixed up a batch - delicious! Thank you for posting it.

My tweaks: added a bunch of coarsely chopped mint leaves to the lime juice and let it steep while making/cooling my simple syrup (next time, I'll try mashing it up a bit to release more of that minty goodness). Run it through a fine seive and squeeze the leaves to extract all the juice before mixing with simple syrup/water. Yum.

Also, added thin slices of lemon and lime to the pitcher. You could also garnish glasses with a small sprig of fresh mint.

On January 31, 2008 at 05:01 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: shaved ice syrup
I found your site today as I was searching for a recipe for shaved ice syrup.

I made your Limeade concentrate with Key Lime juice and poured it over snow from my back porch. It was delicious!

On June 13, 2008 at 12:07 AM, pheelgood (guest) said...
Subject: limeade! Those B!@#$%^&! ...and they don't even have a single limeade recipe on the whole damn site! Write them and demand they post one!


Way too much time on my hands.

P.S. Great recipe!

On July 09, 2008 at 04:16 PM, Scratchcook (guest) said...
Subject: limeade
Great website. Thank you - I no longer feel like the only person on this planet that cooks from scratch.

On July 14, 2008 at 04:05 PM, missin44 said...
Subject: Same ratio for Lemonaide?
Great Limeade recipe, I bet your into baking also. Anyway have you tried lemonade? Would it be same ratio?

Also, anyone tried the recipe with Splenda?


On July 14, 2008 at 08:44 PM, missin44 said...
Subject: Very Good with Splenda!
Just made a batch with Splenda and did a blind taste test with a batch made with sugar. Hard to tell the difference but of the 3 testers all said the edge went to the Splenda version, but only very narrow. Just very slightly more tart with the Splenda.

On July 15, 2008 at 01:30 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Same ratio for Lemonaide?
missin44 wrote:
Anyway have you tried lemonade? Would it be same ratio?

I actually do use the same ratio for lemonade. In fact, I've been making it so often that I just add the sugar directly into the lemon juice and stir until dissolved (it take a while). Then I pour out a little bit into a cup and add water as my lemonade mix (without taking up too much space in the already cramped fridge).

On August 13, 2008 at 07:43 PM, Shana (guest) said...
Subject: Mmmm!
This is just exactly right! The simple syrup makes it smoother and really worth the tiny extra bit of time to make. I have one of those old-fashioned metal lemon presses from my grandma and my kids were having a great time squeezing them, it's pretty fast. :) Probably great with a splash of vodka, too!

On August 14, 2008 at 10:23 AM, Mike K said...
Sooooo much better than the frozen limeaid. I love limeaid for the same reason as Michael and many times use lime juice when a recipe calls for lemon juice. Excellent!!


On June 15, 2009 at 10:51 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: NOOOOO!!! Limeade without lime peel!?!??!
The best lemon and lime ades get their additional burst of flavor from incorporating the lime zest into the juicing process. Usually a juice is used to grind up the peel with the limes, but I've been searching for a recipe that allows one to do so by hand. Very few people I have known actually make limeade and even fewer have told me that they use the peel, and you can definitely taste the difference.

On June 16, 2009 at 02:44 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: NOOOOO!!! Limeade without lime peel!?!??!
Anonymous wrote:
The best lemon and lime ades get their additional burst of flavor from incorporating the lime zest into the juicing process.

I'm glad you posted this comment. I'm running low on lemonade and just bought a bunch of limes to make limeade later this week. I'll try the zesting tip and see if I need to alter the recipe in the future.

On July 03, 2009 at 05:45 PM, rhg (guest) said...
Subject: Limeade
I've made this recipe several times and love it. I just bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker and used this recipe to make my first batch of ice cream, well actually it's sorbet or frozen ice. I just tossed the syrup into the machine with a little lime zest. 20 minutes later you get an amazing lime ice! It's as good as what they sell down at my local Italian deli.

On August 09, 2009 at 04:52 PM, greatrecipe (guest) said...
Subject: for juicing
a great way to get the most juice out of the limes is to cut them into slices, lightly squeeze first, then put it into a garlic press and squeeze harder. this also get a good amount of pulp in the juice, which i like, but can be strained out if desired.

thanks for the great recipe.

On August 12, 2009 at 01:05 AM, Alison (guest) said...
Subject: hits the spot on a 94 degree day
Take a jar of limeade concentrate to a summertime party. Add sparkling water and ice. Everyone at the party will love you for it. Let people experiment... Tonight we discovered it mixes well with Irish whiskey.

Thanks for the recipe!

On October 06, 2009 at 12:25 PM, kcboomer said...
Subject: Sonic Limeade
For those of you who love Sonic's cherry limeades try this:

1) Squeeze the juice of half a lime into a larger glass
2) Pour in 12 ounces of Sprite (Diet is fine)
3) Add a shot of Reese Maraschino Syrup
4) Add crushed ice

This is the nectar of the gods.

On November 28, 2009 at 10:37 PM, limeadelover (guest) said...
Subject: great recipe
Absolutely perfect. Thanks for the recipe.

On July 10, 2010 at 01:49 PM, emma (guest) said...
Subject: great recipe!
We just tried this and it turned out perfect! For a slightly sweeter version we also tried using seltzer water and adding a slpash of the italian Cherry syrup they use in italian sodas and it turned out fabulously.

Thanks so much for the recipe!

On June 02, 2011 at 09:38 PM, Matt.1977 (guest) said...
Subject: This Limeade concentrate rocks!
Great limeade, just made summer brew using 12oz of this concentrate with 12oz of vodka and 4 light beers! Out of this world good on a hot day by the pool. Like another poster said, works great with splenda instead of sugar too!

On July 21, 2011 at 04:31 PM, Allan (guest) said...
Subject: Great Solution for a Hot Day
It┤s 109 outside and I┤ve made a batch of the limeade.
WOW! After I finish this batch I┤m headed to pickup some additional lines, ginger, and Sonic ice... gotta get ready for the weekend! Thanks to everyone who increased my knowledge of one of the original "homemade" brews! ;)

On December 07, 2011 at 07:52 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Vanilla & Limeade
Someone in an earlier post mentioinsed adding a splash of Vanilla to the mix. I used the Torani Sugar Free French Vanilla syrup that is normally7 added as a flavoring to coffee, etc. DELICIOUS and no extra calories. :)

On January 01, 2012 at 04:30 PM, guest in California (guest) said...
Subject: limeade
I took an herb class and the teacher made Agua Fresca. Very refreshing and beautiful green. Limes, sugar, water, parsley. Any one know the proportions - or anything else to add.
Thank you

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