Sustainability made simple

Lemon Ice Recipe: How to Make Italian Ice Step-by-Step

how to make italian ice
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Lifeforge

Find out how to make Italian ice as easily and sustainably as possible. Follow these simple steps and enjoy this sweet, cold, and refreshing treat!

The story goes that Italian lemon ice came to the US in 1915 when a Sicilian woman in New Jersey wanted to recreate the sweet taste of her childhood. Italian ice is an easy and family-friendly dessert. It is also a more eco-friendly option compared to regular ice cream, as it’s completely plant-based. In addition, you can make Italian ice without a blender. Lastly, your Italian ice practically never expires. Although the taste stays best within the first weeks, it can be frozen for up to two years! Start by preparing the ingredients below, follow the steps and learn how to make Italian ice.

How To Make Italian Lemon Ice

Fresh lemon juice is the base for Italian lemon ice.
Fresh lemon juice is the base for Italian lemon ice. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / pics_kartub)

Here is how to make Italian ice with just a handful of ingredients. Remember to use local, organic, and fair trade foods whenever possible.

Yield: 8 servings


  • Measuring cups
  • Medium-sized pot
  • Baking pan or container
  • Ice cream scoop or large spoon
  • Grater (for lemon zest)
  • Citrus press


  • 4 lemons
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


  1. Use citrus press to make fresh lemon juice. Four lemons make approximately 3/4 cup of juice.
  2. Grate lemon peel until you have about one tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest.
  3. Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Let water cool down. Now add lemon juice and zest and mix well.
  5. Pour mixture into a baking pan and place in freezer. Freeze for around three hours in total, but remember to stir every half hour.
  6. The texture of your lemon ice should be smooth and crystallized, but not frozen solid. Scoop into small cups and serve to your liking!

How To Serve and Variations

Now you know how to make Italian ice! Here is some inspiration for serving and variations of Italian lemon ice:

  1. Mint: You can garnish your homemade Italian ice with some mint leaves, or even incorporate some into the mixture. How about growing mint in your garden or kitchen?
  2. Lemon shell: Instead of tossing the rest of the rind, add more lemon zest to decorate, or scoop out the flesh and serve the ice directly in the lemon shell. There are several other reasons why you shouldn’t throw out the rind.
  3. Drink: Want to turn this recipe into a cocktail? Simply add some Italian limoncello.
  4. Fruit: This lemon ice recipe works for other citrus fruits too! Try sticking with seasonal fruit, depending on what area you live in.

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