Lemonade Showdown!: Homemade v. Powder

Lemonade is a party favorite. Kids enjoy making it and drinking it during summer. It seems like a treat, but it’s easy enough to be an everyday drink.

Because our families like lemonade so much, we decided it would be fun to do a lemonade showdown. We wanted to pit our go-to, family-favorite store-bought lemonade powder against a nice, simple homemade recipe.

Over a summer holiday weekend, we gathered our families and put our lemonades to the test. And what we found surprised us.

Only two testers preferred the lemonade made from a powdered mix. Literally every person but one referred to it as bland. Wow! We definitely expected the homemade lemonade to be better, but we didn’t expect for it to win in such a landslide!

Everyone else preferred the strong lemony flavor of the homemade lemonade, though we all deemed it sweeter than we preferred. So we went back to the drawing board and modified our recipe a bit. Thanks to Joy of Cooking for the base recipe, which we switched up to suit our families’ taste.


What you need:

ingredients for homemade lemonade


  • 1 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1 c. + 1 T. lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • 10-12 c. cold water


  •  microwaveable glass measuring cups
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • large pitcher
  • ice (for serving)

Time: Twenty minutes, plus chilling time.

Freezeable: No.

Serves: 16-32

Multiplying the recipe: Yes, if you have a big enough container!

Homemade Lemonade:

In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, make a simple syrup: Mix the 1 c. water, sugar, and salt. Microwave for 3-5 minutes, until boiling. Stir to dissolve sugar. Cool.

Combine the simple syrup with the lemon juice in the serving pitcher. Add 10-12 c. water (to your taste – start at the low end, and add about 1/4 of water at a time until it’s just right). Stir. Chill before serving over ice.

homemade lemonade

About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
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