Ultra-Flavorful Fresh Limeade Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Maceration allows the rinds to express their natural oil, creating a more aromatic drink.
  • This no-cook technique dissolves sugar without any need for firing up the stove.
  • Weight measurements ensure the perfect ratio of sugar to lime, despite natural variations in fruit size.
  • From the bowl and strainer to the pitcher, nonreactive equipment prevents the flavor of the lime from turning harsh.

With only two ingredients (three if you count water), this fresh limeade couldn't be any simpler. It's based on the technique for my no-cook Fresh Lemon Syrup, harnessing the power of citric acid to dissolve sugar without heat, while capturing the intense flavor of the limes' essential oils. The result is a limeade with tons more lime flavor than one made with just juice and sugar.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 4 hrs
Serves: 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 3 pounds (1.3kg) limes (12 to 16 medium limes)

  • 14 ounces sugar (2 cups; 400g)

  • 24 ounces cold water (3 cups; 700ml)


  1. Bring limes to room temperature, then roll firmly against the counter to soften their rinds. Halve and juice; set juice aside. Cut rinds into 1-inch chunks. Toss with sugar in a large nonreactive mixing bowl, cover tightly with plastic, and let stand at room temperature, stirring once every 45 minutes or so, until sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 hours. (You can let the mixture stand up to 12 hours, if desired.)

  2. Add water and 6 ounces (3/4 cup; 180ml) of reserved lime juice. Stir well, then strain through a nonreactive fine-mesh strainer or piece of cheesecloth into a glass or ceramic container. At this point, the concentrated limeade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

  3. When ready to serve, pour limeade over ice and adjust to taste with additional water or lime juice, depending on personal preference; bear in mind, though, that the limeade will be diluted as the ice melts. (You will likely have some fresh lime juice left over, which can be reserved for another use, though exactly how much you have will depend on how much you added to adjust the limeade.)

Special Equipment

Cheesecloth or nonreactive fine-mesh strainer, two-quart pitcher


If you like, some or all of the limes can be zested beforehand and reserved for another baking project. A lime twist on Lemon Meltaways, perhaps? Leftover juice can be used to make a lime variation on Lemon Bars as well.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
0g Fat
69g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 67g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 35mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)