Simple Homemade Lemon Syrup

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Add a little sweetness and burst of brightness to tea, iced and hot, with homemade lemon syrup. Super easy to make with just 3 ingredients!

Lemon syrup in a glass bottle.

About This Lemon Syrup

  • Lemon syrup is a lemon flavored simple syrup (liquid sugar) made with three ingredients: sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. It’s super easy to make at home.
  • It can be used to flavor and sweeten hot and cold drinks like tea and coffee. It’s especially great in iced tea since it mixes well with the cold beverage unlike sugar which can sink straight to the bottom of the cup.
  • Add it to iced tea so instantly make an Arnold Palmer drink or a lemon iced tea.
  • The recipe makes a cup of syrup, which can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.

Syrups are an easy way add flavor to tea. Try making my mint syrup, vanilla syrup, brown sugar syrup, and cinnamon syrup. See all homemade simple syrups.

Ingredient Notes

Simple Homemade Lemon Syrup Ingredients.
  • Sugar
    Regular white sugar or cane sugar can be used. Brown sugar can be used too but the syrup will be a brown color instead of yellow.
  • Lemon juice
    About 6 lemons will be enough for this recipe. Use a citrus juicer to freshly squeeze the lemons.
  • Lemon zest
    This is the yellow part of the peel of a lemon. Make sure the peel is thoroughly cleaned before zesting. Use a grater to scrape the yellow peel but make sure not to add the white part of the lemon which can make it taste bitter. You’ll only need the zest from one lemon for this recipe.

Steps to Make Lemon Syrup

Here’s a quick overview of the steps to make this syrup. For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.

  1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer.
    Stir to make sure sugar dissolves completely.
  2. Take off heat and cool.
  3. Strain and pour syrup into an airtight container.
My Airtight Container Pick

Photo Credit:

Perfectly sized to hold a cup of syrup. The swing closure keeps the syrup airtight.

Notes & Tips

  • The recipe makes a cup of lemon syrup which is 16 tablespoons. Use 1-2 tablespoons to flavor and sweeten a cup of tea.
  • This simple syrup will keep for about 3 weeks when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Use lemon syrup on pancakes or drizzled on slices of pound cake. Add it to sparkling water to get fizzy lemonade.
  • Don’t cook it for too long otherwise it’ll get too thick and won’t be as easy to add to iced drinks.

Questions You May Have

Do I need to let the syrup come to a boil?

Nope, a simmer is all you need to fully dissolve the sugar into the lemon juice.

How is lemon syrup different than lemonade?

Lemonade is basically diluted lemon syrup. You can add water to the lemon syrup and make homemade lemonade.

What can I use to strain the lemon zest?

I place a mesh strainer on top of the funnel and strain the syrup straight into the glass bottle.

More Simple Syrups

Simple Lemon Syrup

Author: Jee Choe
Add a little sweetness and burst of brightness to tea with homemade lemon syrup.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 4 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Drinks
Yield8 servings


  • ¾ cup lemon juice (6 lemons)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest


  • Put all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer.
    Stir to make sure sugar dissolves completely.
  • Take off heat and cool.
  • Strain and pour syrup into an airtight container.
    Use a mesh strainer to separate the lemon zest from the syrup. The syrup will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.


  • Recipe makes 1 cup (16 tablespoons) of lemon syrup.
  • Use 1-2 tablespoons of syrup for each cup.


Calories: 78 | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 1mg
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