This recipe for lemon granita is an easy, icy lemon treat. It’s great when you have a lot of lemons and want a cooling dessert!
My name is Josh and I’m addicted to Costco. I love the variety, the quality of their products, their no-questions-asked return policy, and of course the prices (don’t worry, I won’t try to convert you). The downside of Costco is having to buy most things in bulk…but I still can’t help myself! Do I neeeeeed 300 lemons? No. But when they’re the same price as 3 lemons at my local grocery how can I refuse?
So I buy the ginormous bag of lemons and I give some to my neighbors. And when they get tired of free lemons, I make something out of the ones I have left. In this instance, I really did need all of those lemons because I was making homemade limoncello (more on that later) which demands a boatload of lemon rinds.
Now I’m standing here like an idiot with a bunch of naked lemons that will shortly go bad unless I do something with them. Lemon granita to the rescue!
The lemon granita is a frozen fruit juice dessert, very similar to a fresh, flavorful snowcone. This recipe doesn’t require any stovetop work or an ice cream maker, or even a cone. You’ll just need a hand juicer, ice cube trays and a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to punish those granita cubes into submission. (If making it boozy, the vodka makes the cubes softer and easier to smush). Once you’re done, you have an easy lemon granita that is sure to cool you off on those hot summer days.
Oh, and that limoncello recipe? We’ll have that for you later this week. Ciao!
The ingredients you’ll need for the lemon granita:
- Lemons – You will need lemons to get the fresh lemon juice. So these can be lemons that have the zest removed.
- Water – We like to use filtered water
- Sugar – Granulated white sugar is easiest here for how it dissolves in the water and lemon juice.
- Vodka (optional) – Vodka is definitely optional in this recipe! But it’s nice to have the option to make it a little more boozy, and the alcohol content prevents the ice cubes from freezing as hard, so they are a little easier to smush.
- Lime + coconut rum – Substitute out the lemons for limes and the vodka for some coconut rum for a truly tropical granita.
- Grapefruit – Grapefruit can be great and refreshing in a granita! If making a grapefruit granita, you may want to add an extra 1/4 cup sugar to the mixture, since grapefruit can be so bitter. And if you want to make it Paloma-esque, switch out the vodka for tequila!
How to make the lemon granita:
First, take your lemons and juice them until you get one cup of lemon juice.
Then, you add all your ingredients — lemon juice, sugar, water, and vodka to a non-reactive bowl. What does this mean? It means you want a bowl that is ceramic, glass, pyrex, or stainless steel. Reactive bowls like cast iron and aluminum can react to the acidity in lemon, so you don’t want to use those in this recipe. We love to use a four cup measuring cup because it makes it easy to pour!
Stir, stir, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour into ice cube trays and pop into the freezer.
Once the cubes are frozen, you can pop them out and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When ready to serve, you’ll take a few cubes out and smush them with the handle of a wooden spoon or a cocktail muddler.
Smush, smush, smush until broken up and delicious.
Garnish with something pretty like a mint leaf if you want. Otherwise, just dive into the icy goodness!
Easy Lemon Granita
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp vodka optional
- Stir all ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl - a 4 cup liquid measuring cup is best - then pour into your ice cube trays and freeze.
- Make as much as you can and store the cubes in a Ziploc bag until ready to serve.
- To serve, place 4-5 cubes in a small bowl and carefully smush with a muddler - careful, they can be a bit slippery.
- Eat with a spoon, or if you’re on a diet, with chopsticks.