Homemade Lemon Sorbet

I’m making homemade limoncello with the 95% alcohol I brought from Italy. (I will post about the limoncello in a few months, as it requires 10 weeks to make it.) One bottle of limoncello requires the zest of five lemons, so I ended up with five zested leftover lemons. What to do with the juice? I decided to make homemade lemon sorbet. It’s very easy to make if you own an ice cream maker: simply mix the juice with a simple sugar syrup and let the ice cream maker do the rest. Lemon sorbet can be served as a palate cleanser, or be used for an Italian drink called sgroppino, about which I will do a post later. For now, here’s how to make lemon sorbet.


250 ml (1 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 5 lemons

275 grams (1 3/8 cup) sugar

275 ml (1 cup + 2 Tbsp) water


Combine the water and the sugar in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil gently for 1 minute.

Turn off the heat. The syrup will be completely clear.

Allow to cool to room temperature. You can speed up this process by putting the pot in cold water.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for some hours to cool off completely.

Squeeze the lemons. Cover the lemon juice and refrigerate to cool off.

Combine the lemon juice and syrup once they are cold.

Stir to mix.

Put the mixture in the ice cream maker at the slow speed (if it has speeds).

Churn until the sorbet has frozen, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the lemon sorbet to a plastic container and freeze to store and to firm up further if desired.

You can also serve it straight away.

19 thoughts on “Homemade Lemon Sorbet

  1. A small amount of liquid glucose to replace some sugar will transform the texture of your sorbet and prevent it from freezing rock, a little chef trickery!


  2. Lemon… quite possibly my favourite! A recipe I have suggests adding zest as well (you made it quite obvious why you didn’t in this case) and a little bit of orange juice – mostly for added colour I guess.
    Ladyredspecs mentioned glucose syrup, which we know helps control crystallisation. Good idea, but a bit of a specialty ingredient. Don’t know about you people but I don’t tend to stock it. Also found that it can be a bit fussy thing to find.

    In this case, though, I think the same could be achieved by adding a some of the lemon juice to the simple syrup while it’s being made. The citric acid in the lemon juice should break down the sugar into glucose and fructose and hey, presto: Invert sugar syrup and improved texture. In theory, at least ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Add 1/2 Tbsp of the lemoncello to the sorbet when it is almost done. The alcohol content of the lemoncello will prevent the sorbet from freezing brick hard. If you want to add another dimension you can use 1 Tbsp grand marnier, or perhaps 1 Tbsp of creme de menthe (although it would color the sorbet). You could even use a little tequila. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Baby Lady & I love lemoncello and make at least 1 batch a year. I have tried various time lengths for allowing the lemon zest to sit in the alcohol and never found it made much difference, if any. We allow 2 – 3 weeks in the alcohol to allow the oils from the zest to be extracted and finish with a simple syrup mixture of 3 cups sugar and 4 cups water. We then serve it with a ridiculously cheap Spumante (Verdi). It gives you a nice sparkling cooler that is perfect in the hot Texas summers. You just have to be careful not to drink more than 2 because, with 95% grain alcohol as its base, it packs quite a punch yet it is so cool and soothing you don’t realize it. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ


    1. I intend to use the sorbet for sgroppini, which is spumante, vodka, and lemon sorbet. They’re blended together, so the texture of the sorbet isn’t as important in this case. Great idea to use limoncello instead of vodka ๐Ÿ™‚ You are right about these kinds of drinks being dangerous to drink as if they are lemonade… ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. You’re starting to scare me, Stefan. Earlier today, I filtered 2 different types of limoncello. I cannot post the recipes for them, though, because they are intended to be Christmas gifts for people who read my blog.
    I’m afraid to ask what your next post is going to be. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lemon sorbet is a favorite, though it was hardly sorbet season when I started the limoncello. (With our temps taking a dive overnight, it still isn’t sorbet season!) I ended up freezing the Meyer lemon juice in ice cube trays and eventually using it to make lemon curd. Still, I will definitely give your recipe a try later this Summer — if it ever arrives.


  5. Once again I’m singing your praises! This is a delightful recipe…and a very nice change from the ice cream I’ve been making. I have tons of lemons, so this is great for that reason, too. I’ll be waiting for the limoncello, though. Yum!


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