Home Desserts Lemon Sorbet Recipe

Lemon Sorbet Recipe

Lemon sorbet is the perfect no-bake summer dessert.

It’s cool, slushy, and totally refreshing. Not to mention it’s absolutely brimming with bright, zingy lemon flavor.

It’s also super easy to prepare – you need only fresh lemons, sugar, and water! Try it at your next summer gathering, and it’s sure to please.

Spoon scooping lemon sorbet in a glass.
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Homemade Lemon Sorbet

I love homemade ice cream recipes – truly, I do. But sometimes, they can be too sweet to be refreshing. Especially on really hot days.

That’s not the case with this simple, 3-ingredient lemon sorbet.

It’s perfectly cooling. And while it’s sweet enough to be a satisfying dessert, it isn’t overly sugary or rich.

Like most sorbet recipes, it’s naturally dairy-, gluten-, and egg-free. That makes it an excellent choice for guests with different dietary needs.

Did I mention it’s also vegan-friendly? And with the right sugar substitute, it can even be low-carb!

Scoops of lemon sorbet in a glass.

Ingredients

This no-bake summer dessert has only three required ingredients and one optional one. They are:

  • Sugar and Water. Boil these to make simple syrup so the sourness isn’t overwhelming.
  • Lemons. Use fresh lemons for the best flavor. Now isn’t the time to reach for a bottle.
  • Vodka. Vodka is optional, but highly recommended. It helps prevent the sorbet from freezing too hard. Be careful not to add too much, though. If you do, it will prevent the sorbet from setting at all.

How to Make Lemon Sorbet

The easiest way to make lemon sorbet is with an ice cream maker.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make simple syrup. Simmer the sugar in water until it dissolves, then let it cool fully.

2. Finish the syrup. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vodka (if using). Then, refrigerate the mixture until it’s cold.

3. Make the sorbet. Strain the cold mixture into an ice cream maker. Then follow the instructions for churning until the sorbet is slushy and soft.

4. Freeze. Transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe, airtight container. Freeze for at least 4 hours to firm it up. Then, serve and enjoy!

Lemon sorbet in a square dish scooped with a spoon, garnished with mint leaves.

How to Make Sorbet Without an Ice Cream Maker

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t worry! You can make an easy no-churn sorbet with a few extra steps.

Here’s how:

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above, then pour the mixture into a shallow freezer-safe container.
  2. Freeze the sorbet, but stir it with a fork every 30 minutes to break up any ice crystals.
  3. Repeat freezing and stirring until the sorbet is fully frozen and ready to eat.

Full disclosure, it won’t be as smooth as sorbet made in an ice cream maker. But it’s still really tasty!

Scoops of lemon sorbet in a white bowl garnished with lemon wedge.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind before you start:

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  • Roll the lemons to maximize juice extraction. Just press them gently on the counter and roll them under your palm to release the juices. It also makes them easier to squeeze.
  • Use room-temperature lemons as they release more juice than cold fruits. If you store them in the fridge, get them out about 30 minutes early.
  • Chill the syrup. That’s the simple syrup and the lemon syrup. Chill both well before moving onto the next step in the recipe. If the syrup is warm, it won’t set properly and will take much longer to churn.
  • Freeze the ice cream maker bowl. Ensure it’s frozen solid (at least 8-12 hours in the freezer) before churning. If the bowl isn’t cold enough, the sorbet won’t set properly.
  • Don’t go overboard with vodka. You should use no more than 2 to 3 tablespoons. Any more and it won’t set.
  • Change the flavor. Try lime, orange, or grapefruit juice and zest. You can even add herbs or lavender to the mix if you like. Just don’t forget to strain it before churning.

More Lemon Desserts

Lemon Cheesecake
Starbucks Lemon Loaf (Copycat Recipe)
Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies
Lemon Cake With Yellow Cake Mix
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Sorbet

Course: DessertCuisine: Italian
Servings

6

servings
Prep and Chill time

6

hours

10

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

135

kcal

Lemon sorbet is the perfect no-bake summer dessert. It’s cool, slushy, and refreshing. Plus, it’s absolutely brimming with bright, zingy lemon flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2-3 vodka, optional

  • Equipment
  • ice cream maker

Instructions

  • Freeze the ice cream maker bowl for 8 hours or overnight.
  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely, then let cool to room temperature (about an hour).
  • Stir the lemon juice and zest into the cooled syrup. Stir in vodka, if using, and refrigerate until cold (about an hour).
  • Strain the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until soft and slushy.
  • Serve immediately for soft serve consistency, or transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours or until firm.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Chill the simple syrup and the lemon syrup well before moving onto the next step in the recipe. If the syrup is warm, it won’t set properly and will take much longer to churn.
  • Don’t go overboard with vodka. Use no more than 2 to 3 tablespoons. Any more and it won’t set.
Easy Lemon Sorbet Recipe

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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