Homemade Brown Sugar Lemonade Recipe (Perfect for Summer!)

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Beat the heat on a hot summer day with a refreshing glass of brown sugar lemonade! The rich flavor of brown sugar gives an ordinary glass of lemonade a little something special. Perfect for cocktails, too! 

tall glass of lemonade sweetened with brown sugar syrup.

This homemade lemonade recipe is a fun twist on classic lemonade. Instead of using regular white sugar, you use brown sugar simple syrup.

You can probably tell from the pictures this lemonade looks more like iced tea than regular lemonade! That darker color comes directly from the molasses in the brown sugar, which also adds a rich, caramel-like flavor. It’s so much more interesting than the classic lemonade!

Can you make lemonade with brown sugar?

Yes, and you might prefer it that way! The rich flavor of molasses adds a much more interesting flavor than regular white sugar. It’s especially refreshing on those hot days! We taste-tested this version against a few others, and everyone preferred this recipe the most! Whether you’re out of white sugar or want to try something different, be sure to give this version a try!

Why you’ll love this easy brown sugar lemonade recipe


  • Interesting flavor –  The use of brown sugar in this recipe gives your favorite lemonade a little edge. It’s incredibly tasty and satisfying!
  • Seriously easy to make –  After dissolving the brown sugar in water and squeezing some lemons, this easy recipe will be ready in no time. It’s a quick one!
  • Perfect for entertaining – Lemonade is a classic for Mother’s Day, summer parties, BBQs, and so many other events. One batch makes approximately a quart of lemonade, and it’s completely from scratch!
glass of lemonade with brown sugar.

Equipment

To make your own brown sugar lemonade, you’ll need:

  • small saucepan
  • large pitcher or glass jar

Depending on how strong of a lemon flavor you like, you may need a quart jar or a half-gallon jar. I usually make it in a quart jar (approximately 2 cups of water), which tends to be pretty concentrated. I like it that way, but you can always add a little extra water to each glass for a milder flavor or just make it in a bigger jar!

ingredients to make lemonade with brown sugar.

Ingredients

  • Brown sugar simple syrup – For this, you will need equal parts water and brown sugar. I used my homemade brown sugar, which gave the syrup a really dark color. Either light or brown sugar will work. You can easily make this a few days in advance and let it chill in the fridge until you need it!
  • Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice has the best, brightest flavor, but concentrated lemon juice will also work in a pinch! Feel free to add the lemon zest to the sugar syrup for an extra lemony flavor.
  • Water You will be using this in two parts of the recipe – for the brown sugar syrup and mix the juice and syrup mixture once combined. 
  • Garnishes – These are totally optional, but the lemonade looks great in a pitcher with some sliced lemon wheels or a couple of fresh mint leaves!

How to Make Brown Sugar Lemonade

  1. In a small saucepan, mix the water and brown sugar and heat until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Allow to room to room temperature or chill in the fridge.
  2. Once the syrup has cooled, add it to a large pitcher or quart jar with the lemon juice and water. Shake the jar or stir to combine.
  3. Fill your serving glass with ice and pour the lemonade.
  4. Serve with lemon slices or some mint sprigs, if desired.

Storing

Once prepared, you can store the brown lemonade in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, but it probably won’t last that long! Of course, once you pour it over ice, the ice will begin to melt and dilute the lemonade.

If you made extra or would like to make a batch to freeze, you can freeze fresh lemonade for up to 6 months! Just make sure it is in an airtight container and that you leave a little space to account for expansion when freezing liquids. 

Helpful Tips

  • Change the sweetener. Instead of brown sugar, you can easily use regular white sugar for a milder, more lemon-forward flavor. You can also use demerara syrup or other natural sugars.
  • Feel free to use any of the other simple syrup recipes on the blog! This lemonade is great with vanilla syrup, lavender syrup, blueberry syrup, and more.
  • You can swap out light brown sugar for dark brown sugar; this will leave your drink with a deeper, richer caramel flavor and a darker lemonade. 
  • If you are out of fresh lemons, you can always substitute with lemon juice concentrate (the bottled lemon juice from the store). 
  • All out of brown sugar? Make your own brown sugar from molasses. It’s so simple!
quart jar full of brown sugar lemonade mix.

Variations

There are lots of fun ways to tweak this recipe to make it your own! Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Sparkling lemonade – Instead of regular water, you can use sparkling water for a little bit of carbonation in your sip.
  • Brown sugar limeade – Another fun twist would be swapping out your lemon juice for lime juice!
  • Brown sugar lemonade cocktail – This recipe tastes especially great with bourbon, but it’s also nice with a little vodka.
  • Strawberry brown sugar lemonade –  Muddle some strawberries into each glass before pouring the lemonade. So refreshing! 
  • Make an Arnold Palmer – The extra flavor from the brown sugar will give your mixture of lemonade and iced tea even more flavor.
  • Increase the batch – This recipe is very easy to scale up to larger quantities. Just be sure to adjust the water to taste!

FAQs

What makes brown lemonade?

To make brown lemonade, you need to dissolve brown sugar into water for a homemade brown sugar syrup. It looks more like iced tea, but it has a sweet, puckery flavor with a delicious depth from the molasses. Prefer a pale yellow color like normal, just use white granulated sugar instead!

Do you have to use brown sugar for brown lemonade?

Nope! You can use brown sugar, which many of us have in our pantries, or you can use natural sugar like muscovado or demerara. You can even use coconut sugar for a naturally sweetened alternative!

Related Recipes

overhead view of a glass with brown sugar lemonade and lemon slices.
glass of brown sugar lemonade.

Homemade Brown Sugar Lemonade Recipe

Beat the heat on a hot summer day with a refreshing glass of brown sugar lemonade! The rich flavor of brown sugar gives an ordinary glass of lemonade a little something special. Perfect for cocktails, too! 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 222 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Medium saucepan
  • 1 large glass jar quart-sized or larger; or a pitcher
  • 1 Wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice, or concentrated
  • 2-3 cups water

Instructions
 

Make Brown Sugar Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, mix the water and brown sugar and heat until the sugar crystals are dissolved. Allow to room to room temperature or chill in the fridge.

Combine Ingredients

  • Once the syrup has cooled, add it to a large pitcher or quart jar with the lemon juice and water. Shake the jar or stir to combine.

Serve

  • Fill your serving glass with ice and pour the lemonade.
  • Serve with lemon slices or some mint sprigs, if desired.

Notes

Store the leftover lemonade mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.003gSodium: 25mgPotassium: 136mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 55gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword brown lemonade, brown sugar lemonade
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