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Best Limeade Recipe


  • I am fortunate to have a very fruitful lime tree.  For tips on growing lime trees see my most recent post.
  • With so many limes, I have taken the opportunity to experiment in efforts to make the best possible limeade.
  • If you are looking for fresh, delicious, organic limeade, then just follow my simple formula below.
Bearss lime cultivation

Bearss lime ripe for home picking

What you will need for the limeade recipe:

  • 6 to 8 limes (or  about ¾ cup of lime juice)
  • Juicer
  • Pure cane granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • Saucepan
  • A 2-quart juice container

Note: If you just mix all of those ingredients together, it won’t taste very good. Following the simple steps and insights outlined below makes the world of difference.

Limes for Best Limeade

Limes for Limeade


Step 1: dissolve the sugar

Note: This is an important step because cold sugar in water does not dissolve that well.  For example, if you put the sugar directly in your juice mix without dissolving the sugar crystals, the drink will not be be very sweet till you hit the bottom of the drink where the sugar settles. Then, when you get to the bottom where the lump of sugar is, it will be painfully sweet.  Yuck.

  1. Put 1 cup of water and then 1 cup of sugar in your saucepan.
  2. Stir. (At this point the mix will look pretty milky)
  3. Turn on the heat of the stove to medium and bring the water to a barely perceptible simmer.  As soon as you reach this minimal simmer turn off the stove. Don’t let it boil; you don’t want to burn the sugar or make a bubbling mess. You just want it to be warm enough to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Stir.  When the sugar crystals are completely dissolved, the sugar water should look clear.
  5. Make sure to turn off the stove and move the sauce pan to a different burner that is turned off and let it cool down.
Sugar water for Limeade

Milky looking undissolved sugar

Step 2: get your container

  • If you use a 2 quart container then you don’t have to measure the amount of water.  You just fill up the pitcher with water when all the ingredients are ready.
  • I like to use glass containers because I believe there are too many chemicals in plastic that can leach-out into what you are drinking.  You can get the pitcher that I used in the pictures on Amazon.  However, it certainly doesn’t have to be a glass container to make this limeade.


Step 3: juice your limes

  1. Cut 6 to 8 limes in half
  2. Squeeze/juice the limes which should make about ¾ cup of fresh lime juice.

Note:  The amount of limes needed to make the perfect drink will depend on the size of the limes, the ripeness or the limes and of course your personal preference.  One strategy is to start on the low side and add more limes/juice as needed to give you the right kick. 

Another Note: There are a lot of juicers out there.  Many of them are complicated, messy and difficult to use.  However, about 2 years ago I found an awesome one on Amazon and I couldn’t be happier with it (see pictures). The Amco Lemon Squeezer is elegant, very simple to use, and easy to clean.

juicer for lime

Best lemon / lime juicer


Tip 1: When using this juicer, you can just situate it over the container and save a step (see below).  I haven’t had any problem doing things this way, but depending on your technique, this method could potentially be messy.  Therefore, when doing this for the first time, it might be a good idea to do your squeezing over the sink.

Tip 2: I put the limes in the juicer so the cut-side of the lime is down where the juicer holes are.  With this orientation and a slow squeeze, I have never had a mess.

Best lemon lime juicer

Juice technique for Limeade

Step 5: add the sugar water

  • The sugar water has to be cool-room temperature before you do anything with it.
  • This is important for two reasons:
    1. Hot sugar water will cook your fresh lime juice.  Burnt/cooked lime juice is not a flavor you are looking for in a refreshing drink.
    2. Hot sugar water can cause a glass or plastic container to crack.
  • If you can’t wait for the sugar water to fully cool down, just add in some ice cubes and stir until it reaches room temperature or cooler.


Step 6: filler up

  1. Fill the remainder of the 2 quart container with water.
  2. Stir, add ice and enjoy.
  3. Yum!!
Bearss lime limeade

Homemade organic limeade

Different options:


Option 1: Less sugar

The recipe outlined above will provide you with a flavor that surpasses any store bought drink.  However, I recently tried the same formula with half the sugar and it was still pretty darn awesome.


Option 2: More flavor

Adding a pinch or two of salt to the mix adds a wonderful dimension and helps to bring out the lime flavor.


Option 3: Lime soda

To make a delicious organic lime soda, just add bubble water/carbonated water instead of regular water (at step 6).


Option 4: Lemon-Limeade

I recently made an awesome Lemon-Limeade.   If you would like to try this option, just follow the same steps outlined above but use 3 limes and 6 Meyer lemons instead (Meyer lemons are milder/less intense than a traditional lemon so you need to use more).


Option 5: Add in the fruit

I have tried adding in cut limes (the peel and all) into the drink.  Some people say they like the added element that the oils in the peel bring out.  However, I have found that the drink tastes much better (to me) if the peels are left out of the equation.


3/12/14 Update:

I just created a similar post that outlines my Meyer lemonade recipe




About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.


  1. It’s “peel” not “peal”. Peal is the sound of a bell or siren.

  2. So jealous of your lime haul! Thanks for your great posts, especially on how to tell when to pick.

    I have an adorable little container bearss that has a lime on it I am waiting to pick. I appreciate each lime I get so much I just eat it raw like an orange.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thank you for the note and great feedback.
      Congrats on getting limes from a container grown tree. That can be challenging.
      Wow! Eating raw limes… That is appreciation.

  3. Less cooking and less sugar! Try with the lemonade fruit…

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