How Much Lemon Juice You Need For A Pitcher Of Lemonade

Taking on the tedious task of creating a pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade is a noble pursuit that many home chefs try throughout the summer. A common frustration in doing this is the disappointing discovery that your lemons really don't hold that much juice. You might think you have enough lemons, then be dismayed to find they barely cover half the amount of juice you need. So exactly how many lemons and how much juice do you need to make a pitcher of lemonade?

Tasting Table's classic lemonade recipe calls for the juice of eight whole lemons, which should come out to about a cup and a half of pure lemon juice. You only get around 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice from a single lemon depending on its size. This is why it's important to make sure you are well stocked on lemons — so you can get the best-tasting product possible. It's a safe bet to have a few extra lemons on hand as well, just in case your juice yield is lower than expected. 

Having extra lemons also allows you to customize the flavor of your lemonade if you decide you want it to be more tart. Tasting Table's recipe calls for 6 cups of water to be added to the lemon juice and simple syrup mixture. More water will result in a more diluted juice; if you want a stronger flavor try only using 5 cups of water or adding more lemon juice to the ratio. You can also modify the amount of sweetness by increasing or decreasing the amount of sugar you add.

How to get the most juice from your lemons

When using a whole fruit for extracting the juice, you want to get your money's worth from each and every one. The best tool for maximum juice output is a simple handheld juice squeezer. This tool basically crushes the fruit to extract the juice and gets into every nook and cranny. Before juicing any kind of citrus, you should roll it back and forth on your counter, applying light pressure with your hand as you roll to start loosening up the juice inside.

Another hack you can try is heating your lemons in the microwave before juicing. Your lemons only need 20 seconds in the microwave and you'll get more juice. This is because when the lemon heats up, it expands the cell walls of the fruit and makes it softer and looser, which makes it easier to get the juice. When selecting lemons at the store, look for softer ones as they'll be easier to juice. If you can, use Meyer lemons, as they are the juiciest type of lemons.