Strawberry Lemonade

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This refreshing Strawberry Lemonade recipe is made with fresh strawberry sauce that is lightly sweetened with honey.  The bright strawberry sauce is combined with tart lemonade, then garnished with a strawberry sugar glass rim and a fresh strawberry slice for a stunning summer beverage!   

Refreshing Strawberry Lemonade

What beverage do you think of when it is a super hot, middle of the summer, day?  I immediately went to margarita, but that wasn’t the answer.  How about a non-alcoholic fruity summer drink?  Yes!  Lemonade!  And I’m sure you’ve seen the already made store-bought version of Strawberry Lemonade, but let’s just make our own.  It will be better.  I promise.

What Makes This Strawberry Lemonade Recipe Better Than Store Bought

  • It is homemade – May seem trivial, but there is always something better about homemade.  Plus, you get to control sweetness and flavor volumes.
  • Strawberry is the star flavor – Some flavored store-bought lemonade may just taste like lemonade.  With this recipe, because we are using fresh strawberries, the flavor shines.
  • Delicately sweet – This goes with making it homemade because you get to control how much and which type of sweetener to use.
  • It’s prettier – Another trivial one, but there is something about a pretty presentation.  And homemade Strawberry Lemonade gives you the opportunity to make a strawberry layered beverage!
Close up of a glass of strawberry lemonade with a pink straw

What You Need To Make Strawberry Lemonade

Ingredients

  • Fresh Strawberries – Fresh is always best, especially in season!  Though, frozen strawberries will work fine to the make the strawberry sauce.
  • Honey – I like the flavor pairing of floral fruity honey with the strawberries.  However, swap in any sweetener of choice.
  • Lemon Juice – The lemon juice simply brightens the flavor of the strawberries.
  • Water – Just a little water is needed to help cook the strawberries down.
  • Lemonade – Homemade or store-bought will work.  I just used my favorite store-bought lemonade – Simply Lemonade – because it is not overly sweet and as close to homemade lemonade as you can get.
  • Freeze Dried Strawberries – These are totally optional.  The freeze-dried strawberries are used for the rim of the glasses.
  • Granulated Sugar – Also, totally optional.  The sugar is combined with the freeze-dried strawberries for the glass rims.  The sugar gives a nice texture – and sweetness!  

Equipment

  • Medium Saucepan – A good saucepan for making the strawberry syrup.
  • Fine Mesh Strainer – The strainer is only if you choose to strain the strawberry syrup.  I like to use these smaller strainers.
  • Serving Glasses – The glasses in the photos are 8 ounce glasses, but any glass you have will work!
  • Ice Cube Tray – Only if you want to make cute little round ice cubes!

Homemade Strawberry Sauce

The strawberry sauce deserves a post all by itself because it is that good!  But, for the sake of this Strawberry Lemonade recipe, I will focus on the delicious features it brings to this refreshing summer drink.

To start, I am calling is a sauce vs. a syrup because it is a little thicker than a syrup.  And that is because the strawberries themselves have a little more plump to them.  As opposed to the blueberry syrup in the ever-popular Blueberry Lemonade recipe.

Strawberries by themselves are full of bright and sweet flavor.  And when you cook them down with a little honey and lemon, that strawberry flavor we all love is even more pronounced.   With that, the strawberry flavor really shines through when paired with sweet and tart lemonade.

And, if you are like me, you may find yourself sneaking spoonful’s of the sauce as you prepare your beverage … 🙂  Which made me realize all of the other treats you can drizzle with this delicious fruit sauce:

  • Ice Cream – Obviously it would be a fantastic topping on the Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream!
  • Yogurt – To keep it on the healthy side!
  • Overnight Oats – How about swapping in some of the flavors in overnight oats with this strawberry sauce?!  I smell a new recipe coming soon …!
  • Chia Pudding – Same as the oats, and another recipe to add to the list!
  • Ice Cubes – Why not freeze it (like I did for these photos!), and add it to your favorite seltzer, or jazz up plain ol’ water!
Strawberry sauce in a jar on a white plate

Tips For Making Strawberry Lemonade

  • Use fresh strawberries – Fresh is best, especially if in season!  But, frozen will work too if you find yourself longing for a summer beverage in the middle of winter!
  • Cook the strawberries for the strawberry sauce – I’m adding this as a tip because I thought that just pureeing and straining the strawberries would work as wellHowever, the sauce won’t have the bold flavor like it does when it gets cooked down and all the fruity juices are released.
  • Strain the strawberry sauce – This is personal preference, but I do like that the strawberry sauce is smooth and seed free for a drink.  You can certainly skip the straining if you like some texture in your lemonade.
  • Use some of the strawberry sauce to make ice cubes – Reserve a little sauce to make cute little ice cubes.  Totally optional but a fun presentation!
  • Store-bought lemonade is just as good – I did it, and it was just as delicious as all homemade!  Though, I would recommend trying to find a more natural lemonade for the true lemon flavor and they won’t be as sweet.  If you use a powder lemonade mix, you may want to cut back on some of the sweetness in the strawberry sauce.
  • Try the strawberry sugar rim – You won’t be disappointed!  The freeze-dried strawberries are like a flavor bomb and the make for a pretty presentation!
  • Use extra strawberry slices to make ice cubes – If you want to keep all the strawberry sauce to pour into your drink, why not try slicing some strawberries, submerge in water in your ice cube tray, and make pretty ice cubes with floating fruit?!
Two glasses of strawberry lemonade on a table

common questions for making strawberry lemonade

Can I make a larger batch?

You certainly can. Doubling or tripling the ingredients will work just fine.

Do I have to fresh strawberries, or will frozen work?

Frozen will work fine. My preference is to use fresh when in season because of the brighter flavor. And, fresh is nice should you want to garnish the drink with a strawberry slice!

Is it necessary to cook down the strawberries? Would pureeing them in a blender work instead?

I like to heat the strawberries to release all of their juices. And this allows for the strawberries, honey, and lemon juice to get nicely incorporated. With that, I think pureeing would work. It just may not yield the same robust flavor.

Will another sweetener work for the strawberry sauce?

Yes – I would say use your sweetener of choice. Just taste test the sauce as you make it to get it to your desired sweetness. I chose honey because I like how the floral fruity flavor works with the strawberries.

Do you have a recipe for regular homemade lemonade?

I provided a very basic lemonade recipe in the Notes of the recipe!

What is on the rim of the glasses on the photos?

Strawberry Sugar! Which is freeze dried strawberries, ground to a powder, then mixed with sugar.

Can I make this using different fruit?

You certainly can! I think raspberry, blackberry, cherry, peach, and the super popular on the blog – blueberry, would be delicious! Just taste along the way to get your desired sweetness and flavor level.

Strawberry lemonade in a small glass with strawberry sugar rim

More Refreshing Summer Drinks

Close up inside a glass of strawberry lemonade with strawberry sugar rim
Two glasses of strawberry lemonade on a table
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Strawberry Lemonade

Yield: 4 Servings
This refreshing Strawberry Lemonade recipe is made with fresh strawberry sauce that is lightly sweetened with honey.  The bright strawberry sauce is combined with tart lemonade, then garnished with a strawberry sugar glass rim and a fresh strawberry slice for a stunning summer beverage! 
Prep20 mins
Total20 mins

Equipment

  • 4 – Serving Glasses
  • Pitcher

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh strawberries - plus additional for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey - or any sweetener of choice; sweeten to taste
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • lemonade - store-bought or homemade (see Notes)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freeze dried strawberries, ground to powder - for rim of glass – more or less to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar - for rim of glass – more or less to taste

Instructions

  • You can make your own lemonade (see Notes), or use store-bought lemonade.
  • Hull and rough chop the strawberries.
  • In a medium saucepan, add the prepared strawberries, honey, water, and lemon juice. Heat over medium-low heat until the strawberries reach the consistency of a jam. While heating, use a wooden spoon to help break down the strawberries and release their juices.
  • Optional – At this point you can strain the strawberries to get a smooth sauce, or not.
  • Transfer the strawberry sauce to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate to cool down and until ready to serve.
  • When Ready To Serve – In a small shallow dish, mix together the strawberry powder and sugar. Use a lemon wedge or fresh strawberry slice to moisten the rim of the glass, so the strawberry sugar sticks. Swirl the rim of the glasses in the strawberry sugar.
  • Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of strawberry sauce into each glass, then pour over your lemonade. Note – see Notes for making strawberry sauce ice cubes! Add ice cubes and a fresh strawberry for garnish (optional), and Enjoy!
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Notes

  • Serving Size – The strawberry sauce yields enough for approximately 4, 8 ounce servings, where you can actually taste the strawberry.  You can easily double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch.
  • Sweeten to Taste – If you use store-bought lemonade, you may not want to over-sweeten the strawberry sauce.
  • Homemade Lemonade – Feel free to use store-bought lemonade (I did!), or make your own.  Start with about 3 to 4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of honey.  Add more lemon and honey to taste.  You can also swap in any sweetener of choice.
  • Strawberry Sugar Rim – This is completely optional, but makes for a nice presentation!
  • Strawberry Sauce (and slices) Ice Cubes – You may have a little extra strawberry sauce depending on how many servings you plan.  For example, I made 4, 8 ounce glasses of Strawberry Lemonade to take pictures, and I still had strawberry sauce leftover.  You can pour the sauce into small ice cube trays for a pretty presentation.  Or, slice strawberries and put in your ice cube tray (cover with water!)  These small round ice cube molds are great for this! 
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

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