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This easy 4-ingredient basil lemonade is packed with fresh, herbaceous flavor and is a total crowd-pleaser for summer get-togethers! Enjoy it plain or try more flavor variations below and enjoy in just 10 minutes.

completed Basil Lemonade in a glass with ingredients in the background

The summer sun is shining, and there’s an abundance of fresh basil growing in our gardens – making it the perfect time to pull together large batches of fresh basil pesto, basil salad dressing, and this super refreshing recipe for basil lemonade!

While you may think of this herb primarily in savory uses (like to garnish pasta), aromatic basil pairs amazingly with the bright, citrusy flavor of lemon and a touch of sweetness to pull together a harmonious, unique (and delicious!) summer sipper. Plus, the combination of basil and lemon also contains a heap of health benefits.

Better yet, this easy basil lemonade recipe is easily customizable. Whether you want to prepare the recipe as written or experiment with add-ins to create fun variations like strawberry basil lemonade and more.

All you need to do is prepare the basil simple syrup, add the lemon juice and remaining water, and enjoy (leave it to infuse for a bit for even better flavor)! It’s the perfect addition poolside, on a porch swing, at picnics, or even BBQs – ready to enjoy with vegan burgers, vegan brisket, plant-based hotdogs, and more.

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The Ingredients

ingredients for Basil Lemonade [+ Flavor Variations] measured out against a white surface
  • Lemons: Use Meyer lemons for the sweetest, most flavorful homemade lemonade.
  • Water: For a regular basil lemonade recipe, use still, filtered water. Alternatively, use sparkling water if preferred.
  • Sweetener: We used brown sugar, though it’s possible to use other granulated or liquid sweeteners (like agave), or even a sugar alternative, like erythritol.
  • Basil leaves: Make sure to use fresh, vibrant, and aromatic leaves.

What Else Could I Add?

  • Other citrus: You could play with making basil limeade, add orange juice, etc.
  • Fruits: There are several fruits that you can muddle or blend (and optionally strain) then add to the homemade lemonade, like strawberry basil lemonade, or other fruits like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, watermelon, peach, pineapple, or mango. Add 1-2 cups of fruit. Garnish with more fresh fruit in the pitcher.
  • Basil mint lemonade: Use equal parts fresh mint and basil in the syrup.
  • Ginger: For aromatic basil ginger lemonade, add some ginger coins to the basil syrup or mince it directly into the lemonade.
  • Chia seeds: Add ¼ cup chia seeds to this lemonade and leave it to chill for several hours for added texture and protein.
  • Ice: Optional – for serving.

How to Make Fresh Basil Lemonade

  • 1) First, combine the sugar, water, basil (muddle it first for extra flavor), and one cup of water in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  • 2) Then remove it from the heat and allow it to steep and cool for 20-30 minutes.
  • 3) Meanwhile, juice the lemons (by hand, with a fork, or a juicer – manual or electric). Then strain the basil syrup into a pitcher and add the remaining water, lemon juice, and stir.

To get the most juice out of the lemons, it can help to microwave them for 15-25 seconds, then roll them firmly back and forth against the countertop.

  • 4) Finally, taste the basil lemonade and add more sugar or lemon if preferred. Then either leave it to ‘infuse’ for 30 minutes first or serve immediately!

To serve over ice, it’s better to add the ice to the glasses rather than the pitcher so you don’t water down the entire batch of lemonade. For more aromatic flavor, gently muddle a few basil leaves into the bottom of the pitcher/each glass.

FAQs

How much lemon juice is in a lemon?

There are about three tablespoons (usually just under) of lemon juice per medium lemon, so you’ll need 5-6 lemons to create a cup of lemon juice.

How to make a simple syrup for lemonade?

Use equal parts sugar and water for simple syrup. Heat the two ingredients over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Then leave it to cool.

How to make basil syrup in advance?

Use equal parts sugar, water, and fresh basil leaves (pack the basil leaves tightly). Heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves, then leave it to steep for 30 minutes before straining the basil.

Once cooled, store it in a jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks – ready for multiple batches of basil lemonade (+ mocktails, vegan sorbet, and desserts). The general ratio is 4:1:1 water, lemon juice, and basil syrup, but you can adjust that.

How long will homemade lemonade keep?

You can store any leftovers in a jug in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Stir well between serving.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Adjust the ratios: When making homemade lemonade, you can easily adjust the amount of sweetener and lemon juice to your liking.
  • Chill before serving: For the best flavor, allow the lemonade to rest in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.
  • Add fresh basil to serve: They should be gently muddled, but not overly so (or they can become bitter), then added to the pitcher or glasses when serving for heaps of extra aromatic smell and flavor.
  • Make popsicles: Yes, you can turn this basil lemonade into delicious, refreshing popsicles, too, by pouring it into popsicle molds.
  • When serving a crowd: Optionally set up a lemonade ‘bar.’ Add the various optional fruits alongside the pitcher of basil lemonade so your guests can create their desired flavor profile.
completed Basil Lemonade in a glass with ingredients in the background

More Fun Vegan Drinks

Or enjoy browsing our entire collection of budget-friendly vegan drink recipes!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Basil Lemonade [+ Flavor Variations]

5 from 60 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
This easy 4-ingredient basil lemonade is packed with fresh, herbaceous flavor and is a total crowd-pleaser for summer get-togethers! Enjoy it plain or try more flavor variations below and enjoy in just 10 minutes.

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup of brown sugar, or to taste
  • ½ cup of packed chopped basil leaves
  • 5 cup of water, divided
  • 6 lemons

Instructions 

  • In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, basil, and 1 cup of water and boil over low medium heat stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.
  • Once the basil simple syrup cools, strain it into a pitcher. Add the rest of the water and juice of squeezed lemons. Stir well, taste and add more sugar if needed, and serve over ice.

Notes

  • Adjust the ratios: When making homemade lemonade, you can easily adjust the amount of sweetener and lemon juice to your liking.
  • Chill before serving: For the best flavor, allow the lemonade to rest in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.
  • Add fresh basil to serve: They should be gently muddled, but not overly so (or they can become bitter), then added to the pitcher or glasses when serving for heaps of extra aromatic smell and flavor.
  • Make popsicles: Yes, you can turn this basil lemonade into delicious, refreshing popsicles, too, by pouring it into popsicle molds.

Nutrition

Calories: 87kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 16mgPotassium: 110mgFiber: 2gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 118IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto
5 from 60 votes (59 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I love basil and lemons, but would never thought of basil lemonade. This lemonade is super fresh and perfect for summer!