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What is lemonade concentrate made of?

Lemonade concentrate is a highly concentrated, sweetened lemon juice product used to make lemonade. It allows you to create fresh, homemade lemonade quickly and easily. But what exactly goes into this popular summertime drink mix? Here, we’ll explore the ingredients that make up lemonade concentrate.


The base of any lemonade concentrate is water. Water makes up the majority of the liquid content in concentrates. Plain water is combined with lemon juice, sweeteners, preservatives, and other ingredients to create the concentrated product.

Lemon Juice

Real lemon juice is the essential ingredient that gives lemonade concentrate its signature tangy lemon flavor. Freshly squeezed lemon juice contains natural citric acid, vitamin C, antioxidants, and lemon oils that provide the tart taste.

Most commercial concentrates use reconstituted lemon juice made from concentrate rather than fresh squeezed. The concentrated lemon juice is diluted with water and blended into the final concentrate product.


To balance out the intense sourness of lemon juice, sweeteners are added to lemonade concentrate. The most commonly used sweeteners are:

  • Sugar – Traditional white granulated cane sugar provides sweetness along with a subtle background flavor.
  • Corn syrup – Made from cornstarch, corn syrup is a viscous liquid sweetener.
  • High fructose corn syrup – Sweeter and more soluble than regular corn syrup, HFCS is commonly used in processed foods and beverages.
  • Artificial sweeteners – Low-calorie sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, or saccharin may be used in “diet” versions.

The type and amount of sweetener varies by brand. Sweeteners make up around 20-40% of the total concentrate formula.


For extended shelf life, most commercially made lemonade concentrates contain preservative ingredients such as:

  • Potassium sorbate – Prevents growth of mold and yeast.
  • Sodium bisulfite – Prevents oxidation and browning.
  • EDTA – Stabilizes flavor and color.
  • Benzoate preservatives – Inhibits microbial growth.

Using preservatives allows lemonade concentrate to be stored unrefrigerated for 9-12 months before opening.

Natural and Artificial Flavors

In addition to lemon juice, companies may use natural lemon flavorings like lemon oils or artificial flavorings to intensify the lemon taste. Artificial flavors attempt to mimic natural flavors using synthesized chemicals.

Citric Acid

Extra citric acid is often added to further enhance the tart, sour lemon flavor. Citric acid naturally occurs in lemon juice but additional dry citric acid provides more acidic bite.


Bright, vibrant yellow is associated with lemonade, so coloring agents are added to some concentrates. Artificial FD&C yellow 5 or 6 provides bold lemony color. Natural coloring like turmeric or saffron may also be used.

Vitamin C

Some brands enrich their concentrate with vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Vitamin C occurs naturally in lemon juice and provides antioxidant benefits.


Thickening agents like gums, starches or pectins help give finished lemonade a thicker, more viscous texture. They help suspend pulp and provide a smooth, full mouthfeel.


Pulp or particles are added to certain lemonade concentrates to give the resulting lemonade a cloudy, turbid appearance resembling fresh squeezed juice. Cellulose fiber, cornstarch, lemon peel or freeze-dried lemon powder can add cloudiness.

How Lemonade Concentrate is Made

There are two main methods of manufacturing lemonade concentrate:

  1. Single-strength method – Fresh lemon juice and other ingredients are combined in their regular proportions then concentrated down to reach desired brix level.
  2. Syrup method – Water, sweeteners and preservatives are made into a concentrated syrup base first, then lemon juice and flavors are added.

The concentrate is pasteurized and packaged into bottles, cans or pouches. The finished product contains around 65-75% water with 25-35% natural juices, sweeteners, preservatives, thickening agents, artificial flavors and colors.

Nutrition Facts of Lemonade Concentrate

The nutrition facts for lemonade concentrate made from approximately 3-4 lemons (6 fl oz concentrate) are:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 190
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 10mg
Potassium 120mg
Total Carbohydrates 48g
Sugars 44g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 80mg

As you can see, a 6 oz serving provides 190 calories, all from carbohydrates. There are 48g total carbs with 44g coming from natural sugars. Vitamin C content is 80mg or 89% DV. Sodium is low at just 10mg.

Types of Lemonade Concentrates

There are a few different forms of lemonade concentrate available:

Liquid Concentrate

The most common type, liquid concentrate comes bottled in a syrupy juice form. Popular brands like Minute Maid and Simply Lemonade make liquid concentrates.

Frozen Concentrate

Frozen concentrate has a slushy, icy texture similar to sorbet. To use, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Minute Maid and Welch’s sell frozen lemonade concentrates.

Powdered Concentrate

Powdered concentrates like Country Time or Wyler’s are dried into a powder form. They require only water to reconstitute and are more shelf-stable.

How to Make Lemonade from Concentrate

Making fresh squeezed lemonade with concentrate is easy and takes just a few minutes. Simply follow the instructions on the container which are generally:

  1. Take concentrate from the packaging and pour into a pitcher.
  2. Add clean water, usually in a 1:3 to 1:5 concentrate to water ratio.
  3. If using frozen concentrate, thaw first before adding water.
  4. For powdered mix, add to water and stir to dissolve.
  5. Mix well to combine.
  6. Add sugar or sweetener if desired.
  7. Serve over ice for refreshing lemonade!

Most concentrates make around 2-3 quarts (64-96 oz) of lemonade per container. You can also adjust the water amount to make stronger or milder lemonade as desired.

Benefits of Lemonade Made with Concentrate

Drinking lemonade made from concentrate offers these benefits:

  • Provides vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants
  • Contains real lemon juice with flavor and health benefits
  • More affordable than fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Long shelf life in concentrated form
  • Easy to make and customize sweetness
  • Enjoyable, refreshing beverage for warm weather

Downsides of Concentrate Lemonade

Possible downsides include:

  • Not as natural as fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Contains preservatives
  • Added colors and artificial flavors
  • High in sugar if not buying sugar-free version
  • May use artificial sweeteners

Cost of Lemonade Concentrate

Lemonade concentrate is an affordable way to enjoy fresh lemonade at home. Here are typical prices for various concentrate options:

  • Liquid concentrate – $1.50 to $3 per 12-16oz bottle
  • Frozen concentrate – $2 to $4 per 12oz can
  • Powdered mix – $1 to $2 per packet or tub

One container makes 8 to 12 servings, so the per-serving cost ranges from about 10 to 50 cents. This is much cheaper than buying fresh lemons and sugar to make homemade lemonade. Consumers also save money by avoiding added restaurant markups when buying lemonade out.

Where to Buy Lemonade Concentrate

Lemonade concentrate is widely available at most grocery stores and major retailers. Purchase locations include:

  • Grocery store juice aisle
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Convenience stores
  • Gas stations
  • Dollar stores
  • Online retailers like Amazon

Popular brands to look for include Minute Maid, Simply Lemonade, Wyler’s, Welch’s, Country Time, and generic store brands. Both regular and diet/zero calorie concentrates can be found.

How to Store Leftover Concentrate

To store unused lemonade concentrate:

  • Keep refrigerated and use within 2-3 weeks for best quality.
  • Tightly seal opened bottles, zip pouches, or rewrap opened can.
  • Look for any mold/yeast growth, an off smell, or change in color/texture which are signs it may be spoiled.
  • For frozen concentrate, re-freeze unused product.
  • Always follow package instructions for storage once opened.


Lemonade concentrate allows you to create fresh, homemade lemonade conveniently. The main ingredients are water, reconstituted lemon juice, sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup, preservatives, natural and artificial flavorings, coloring agents, and optional ingredients like pulp, thickening agents, or vitamin C. Concentrates come in liquid, frozen, and powdered forms. They provide an affordable way to enjoy tangy, refreshing lemonade any time.