Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (2024)

Light and refreshing, this simple lemon sorbet recipe is the perfect balance of tart and sweet. It’s an absolutely wonderful frozen summer dessert!

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (1)

It only takes three ingredients to make your own lemon sorbet at home.

Serve it in bowls as a simple weekday treat. Or scoop the sorbet into hollowed out lemons and top with basil or mint, for a fancy dinner party.

You may also like this Coconut Ice Cream

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (3)

A light summer fruit sorbet recipe

The lemon sorbet can be dairy free, egg free, vegan, gluten free, fat free, and keto. Serve it as an easy dessert or a low calorie palate cleanser between courses at dinner.

If you’ve never tried making your own lemon sorbet at home, prepare to be completely shocked at how much better it tastes than store bought versions.

The lemon flavor is more pronounced, the sweetness is more balanced, and there’s no corn syrup or concentrated lemon juice, no guar gum, and no carrageenan!

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Above, watch the step-by-step recipe video

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (4)

Homemade lemon sorbet ingredients

To make the recipe, you need lemon juice, water, sugar, and lemon zest. That’s it!

You can squeeze fresh lemons, discarding the seeds. Or buy 100% lemon juice in a bottle at the store from brands such as Whole Foods, Wegmans, or Santa Cruz.

The recipe works with white sugar, unrefined coconut sugar, or evaporated cane juice. For sugar free lemon sorbet, try granulated erythritol or xylitol.

Do not omit or cut back on the lemon zest, as this is what will give the sorbet much of its tangy lemon flavor.

Readers also love this Peach Crisp

Prefer a chocolate version? Try this Chocolate Sorbet

How to make lemon sorbet

If using an ice cream maker, prepare the machine ahead of time according to the instruction manual for your specific brand and model.

Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Let cool, then refrigerate this simple syrup until cold. To save time, this step can be done the night before or even days ahead.

Add the chilled sugar water, lemon juice, and lemon zest to your ice cream machine, and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions for your machine.

After fifteen minutes, it should look like lemon slush. Feel free to serve it now in glasses. (Hello, frozen lemonade!) For sorbet, transfer to a large container and freeze for about an hour.

Stir the thick and frosty lemon mixture. It is often ready at this time. If yours is still slushy, let it chill in the freezer for another half hour, then stir again.

For authentic presentation, use an ice cream scoop to serve. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or basil if desired.

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (6)

Sorbet without an ice cream maker

No ice cream machine? No problem!

There are two methods for making sorbet with no ice cream machine. The first one calls for a blender, and the second option needs just a large container and spoon.

Blender option: For no churn sorbet, pour the liquid mixture into two ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Let the lemon ice cubes thaw just enough to be easily processed in a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. Use a tamper to blend until smooth and creamy.

Container option: Chill a large shallow container overnight in the freezer. Pour the liquid lemon mix into the cold container, and freeze for a half hour. Stir very well to break up ice crystals and whisk air into the concoction. Return to the freezer.

Repeat this stirring process each half hour for about three hours in total. The texture should be somewhere between granita and ice cream.

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (7)

Tips & storage instructions

Some brands and models of ice cream makers need to be frozen for 24 to 48 hours so that the base is frozen solid before use.

Be sure to thoroughly chill the sugar syrup after boiling the sugar and water. If the liquid is still warm, it will never thicken in the ice cream machine. I like refrigerate the lemon juice as well, although this is not as important.

Because alcohol does not freeze solid, I sometimes like to add a tablespoon of vodka to the sorbet before churning. This helps keep the finished sorbet from freezing rock hard. Do not add more than a tablespoon unless you want a slushy texture.

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (8)

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Lemon Sorbet

Light and refreshing, this simple lemon sorbet recipe is a wonderful frozen summer dessert.

Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (9)

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Print Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes minutes

Total Time 15 minutes minutes

Yield 3 1/2 cups

5 from 136 votes


  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar (or granulated erythritol)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • optional 1 tbsp vodka


  • Prepare ice cream machine according to the instruction manual for your specific machine. (If you want to make the recipe without an ice cream machine, see above.) Heat water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let cool, then refrigerate until cold. Add all ingredients (including the sugar water) to the ice cream maker. Churn 15 minutes. It should look slushy. Either serve the frozen lemonade in glasses now, or transfer to a container and freeze for an hour. Stir the now-thicker sorbet. It is usually done at this time, but if yours is still slushy, simply let it chill in the freezer for an additional half hour, then stir again. Repeat until it has a sorbet texture. Serve with an ice cream scoop.

    View Nutrition Facts


Also be sure to try this creamy Lemon Mousse.

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Lemon Sorbet Recipe - Just 3 ingredients, and so refreshing! (2024)


What makes sorbet so creamy? ›

Without fat from dairy or eggs, it's the suspension of sugar within the fruit purée that allows the sorbet to churn into something with a creamy mouthfeel. You need 20-30% sugar in your sorbet, which will come from your fruit plus some added sugar.

What holds sorbet together? ›

Sugar doesn't just sweeten sorbet—it's also responsible for sorbet's structure. In ice cream, a combination of fat, protein, and sugar all influences ice cream's texture, but in sorbet sugar is the big fish.

What thickens sorbet? ›

Tapioca starch (or corn starch): tapioca starch fis our go-to starch to thicken a sorbet mixture, for the velvety texture it creates. If you do not have tapioca starch, you can use corn starch instead, which is not the same, but it still works.

What is lemon sorbet made of? ›

Stir lemon syrup with peel, lemon juice, and mineral water together in a pitcher or bowl. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Garnish each serving with a twist of lemon peel. If you do not have an ice cream maker, you may freeze it in a tall canister.

Does sorbet need milk? ›

"Sorbet is made with fruit but no dairy (eggs or milk/cream) so it's generally vegan-friendly and suits those with egg or dairy allergies, too," she says. The pureness of the fruit makes it icy and refreshing, and it won't be silky or rich in its texture as some other kinds of ice creams and sherberts may be.

Why put egg white in sorbet? ›

The optional egg white helps to stabilize, emulsify, and preserve the texture of the sorbet if you are going to keep it in your freezer for a few days.

Why is my homemade sorbet icy? ›

Too much sugar will not only make for a sickeningly sweet dessert, it also reduces the freezing point so that firstly, your sorbet will take ages to freeze, and secondly, it will crystallize as it freezes. Too little sugar and you end up with loads of crunchy ice crystals.

Why do you add alcohol to sorbet? ›

Adding a bit of hard alcohol like vodka, tequila, or whiskey—all of which run around forty percent alcohol—to a frozen dessert helps prevent big ice crystals from forming in the mixture, resulting in a softer texture. You can freeze the water around it, but you can't freeze vodka.

Why won't my sorbet set? ›

And, if your sorbet goes wonky in the freezer, either becoming too hard or just never sets, just start over. Let it thaw until it's liquid again. If it doesn't set, you probably have too much sugar so add additional pureed fruit. If it's the texture of an iceberg, add more sugar.

What is the best canned fruit for sorbet? ›

Peaches and apricots are the most common, but you can also use pineapples, cherries, or pears. Freeze the can for 12 hours or longer. Freeze the can for a minimum of 12 hours to ensure it's completely solid.

Is homemade sorbet good for you? ›

1. It's low in calories and easy to eat after a meal. 2. It is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals when you add fresh or frozen fruit.

What's the difference between lemon sorbet and lemon sherbet? ›

It is because of the dairy? For starters, since the basic elemental difference is that sherbet includes dairy and sorbet does not, it is an especially important distinction if you or someone in your sphere is vegan or chooses to eat dairy-free, since then you know you can serve sorbet without worry.

Is there raw egg in sorbet? ›

These days, my friend Peter the chef tells me, most chefs no longer bother with making Italian meringue for sorbets – instead, they often just add some whisked-up raw egg white.

Is sorbet healthier than ice cream? ›

Sorbet has less calories than ice cream and other frozen desserts, and no fat. It's fruit content also makes it rich in vitamin C. Any downsides? That fruit content also means it contains a fair bit of sugar, and if we're comparing it with ice cream and gelato, it has less calcium, vitamin A and iron.

Why add egg white to sorbet? ›

The optional egg white helps to stabilize, emulsify, and preserve the texture of the sorbet if you are going to keep it in your freezer for a few days.

What is sorbet stabilizer made of? ›

Ingredients: Gelatin, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, milk whey protein concentrate & standardized with dextrose.

Why add vodka to sorbet? ›

Since alcohol doesn't freeze, the vodka helps add smoothness to the the crunchy, icy texture of the sorbet. I made mine with Heritage Distilling Company's vodka. Triple distilled with a smooth finish, it's the perfect addition to this refreshing dessert.


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