Lemonade is a must for summer! Here’s a quick, easy, and fun recipe to make lemonade just like the ones from the state and county fair!

Quick and Easy Authentic State Fair Lemonade This isn’t exactly a dessert post, but with record breaking heat here in Sacramento, there’s only one thing I want. Freshly Squeezed Lemonade!

Refreshing, sweet yet tart, and always perfect for summer, especially when it just takes half a lemon, a spoonful of sugar, and literally seconds to make a fresh glass. I just made one for myself a minute ago and it’s totally hitting the spot!

Before this recipe/technique, I always made lemonade using powdered mixes or frozen concentrate. I never really had success making lemonade using fresh squeezed lemons so I gave up trying.

I also would rather not make a pitcher of lemonade because it feels like it sits forever in the fridge and starts to separate. The little munchkins prefer water (which is great! I should really learn something from them..), and Mr. Chef usually likes juice, soda, or beer. So that usually just leaves me with cold coffee or water with a little lemon squeezed into it (I don’t like drinking plain water)

Quick and Easy Authentic State Fair Lemonade

Roll the lemon on the cutting board to help release juices before cutting.

But no longer! I can now have freshly squeezed lemonade whenever I feel like it, one glass at a time using this really easy method and you can too!!

At the county fair we went to a few weeks ago, I saw them using this method at the booth that had the best lemonade (we spent a small fortune on lemonade that day – countless $5 lemonades consisting mostly of ice!). With the state fair just a few weeks – I’m definitely packing this in a cooler to save money.

Quick and Easy Authentic State Fair Lemonade

All you need is a shaker! Like a cocktail shaker… you know you have one somewhere…either dust it off (if you’re like me and haven’t made a cocktail in, like, forever) or take it out of the dishwasher (if this is you, I’m jealous. Can we hang out?!). 

If you don’t have a shaker, that’s okay too.. just cover the glass with your hand and start jumping around your kitchen to shake the ingredients…. Just kidding! You can stir the ingredients really well in a glass to make sure the sugar dissolves. Oh yeah, fresh lemons and some sugar or other sweetener too would be good.


Quick and Easy Authentic State Fair Lemonade

Roll a lemon on the cutting board before cutting to begin releasing the juice from the pulp to make it easier to squeeze the juice out. Then cut it in half and squeeze one half of the lemon into the shaker, then toss the squeezed half, peel and all into the shaker as well.

I take the glass I’ll be drinking from and fill it with some ice and water (roughly 1/4 ice, then to the top with water – about 10-12 oz) and pour it into the shaker as well. (At this point if you want to make it an adult lemonade, feel free to add a splash or two of your liquor of choice!)

Add one heaping tablespoon of sugar or the equivalent sweetness of whatever sweetener you prefer.

Quick and Easy State Fair Lemonade

Cover and shake for a few seconds. At this point I like to channel Tom Cruise in Cocktail – no one’s looking, you can too!.

Put some more ice in your glass, pour the contents of the shaker out (mine has a little strainer on top so I don’t have to worry about seeds).

Then take a sip and enjoy the easiest, most refreshing lemonade ever!

Note: If you don’t have a shaker, try to get out all the seeds out of the lemon half before squeezing it into your drinking glass or use a lemon juicer that strains out the seeds. Cut the juiced/squeezed lemon half in half again and throw them in the glass as well. Add the sugar and instead of shaking, stir vigorously to dissolve sugar.

Check out additional notes, including ideas for a lemonade bar, after the recipe!

Quick ad Easy Authentic State Fair Lemonade

Quick and Easy State Fair Lemonade
Prep time
Total time
Quick and Easy State fair lemonade that takes seconds to make
Recipe type: Beverage
  • ½ large lemon per serving
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sugar per serving (or other sweetener equivalent)
  • water
  • ice

    Special equipment
  • Cocktail Shaker
  1. Roll lemon on it's side to help release juice before cutting. Cut lemon in half
  2. Squeeze lemon half into shaker as best you can. Throw squeezed half into shaker as well.
  3. Fill drinking glass ¼ with ice cubes then to the top with cold water. Pour into shaker.
  4. Add sugar or other sweetener.
  5. Cover shaker and shake for a few seconds.
  6. Pour over ice in drinking glass.

Additional Notes:

  • Figure 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon sugar per serving. (I just keep the unused half in a ziplock bag in the fridge).
  • My shaker can hold 2 servings worth so I’ve doubled the recipe and made 2 servings at once, but since it just takes seconds, I also have no problem making lemonade one glass at a time.
  • Add fork smashed strawberries for strawberry lemonade!
  • At summer barbecues or parties, you can set up a make your own lemonade station.
    On a table, set out:
    – one or two shakers
    – a container full of halved lemons
    – sweeteners (sugar, honey, sugar substitute)
    – an ice bucket – water (in a dispenser or bottles)
    – cups
    – and a frame or chalkboard with directions
    You can also have additional items like containers holding limes (for limeade), additional flavorings like raspberries, strawberries, mint, and small bottles of grenadine/cherry syrup, and for adult parties, sparkling water and/or liquor if you want.

Enjoy! As always, I like to hear what you think of the blog, the recipe, the party set up ideas, or have any questions. – Aileen

3 Thoughts on “Quick and Easy State Fair Lemonade

  1. Pingback: Let’s Go to the Fair: State Fair Food Recipes

  2. Pingback: Minnesota State Fair + 10 State Fair Recipes

  3. Pingback: 15 Fair Foods You Can Make At Home | Sarahs Bake Studio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

Post Navigation