Easy Lemon Sorbet

Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli
Italian Cuisine Expert and Food Blogger
Guido Pedrelli
Guido Pedrelli, the mastermind behind Nonna Box, has honed his culinary expertise for decades, inspired by family feasts in Emilia-Romagna. Mentored by his restaurateur nonna, he mastered Italian classics and furthered his skills with professional culinary studies in desserts and gelato making from Mec3. Today, he shares this rich legacy and authentic recipes through Nonna Box.
Expertise: Italian cuisine, Pasta, Pizza, Pastry, Dessert

With its vibrant and zesty lemony flavor, this homemade Lemon Sorbet recipe is the perfect balance of tanginess to sweetness. Made with just four simple ingredients, this authentic Italian recipe is incredibly easy to prepare – I have tried this recipe many times, and it’s really easy. So whether you’re entertaining guests or simply craving a cool and refreshing treat, this easy dessert is the answer to your citrusy dreams.

lemon sorbet

Italian Lemon Sorbet Recipe

Also known as, “Sorbetto al Limone”, lemon sorbet is a timeless Italian dessert that embodies the essence of pure, sun-kissed lemons. It stands as a testament to the beauty of simplicity that characterizes Italian cuisine. With every spoonful, it’s tart, refreshing, and utterly delightful, making lemon sorbet a favorite not only for dessert but also as a palate cleanser between courses.

Now, what is lemon sorbet made of? Typically, it consists of fresh lemon juice, water, sugar, and a whipped egg white. Unlike ice cream or sherbert, sorbet contains no dairy, making it an excellent choice for those with lactose intolerance or anyone seeking a dairy-free dessert.

So, as you can see, making homemade lemon sorbet doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. But you might be wondering, how is sorbet traditionally made? It’s pretty easy and you don’t need an ice cream maker! The process begins by creating a sugar syrup and then adding lemon juice. After that, a whipped egg white is gently folded in, and the mixture is placed in the freezer to chill.

Whether you’re a devoted lemon lover or simply seeking a light dessert, grab yourself a handful of lemons and get ready to scoop up a taste of zesty sunshine with this lemon sorbet recipe!


  • Medium Saucepan: Needed to make the simple syrup. 
  • Bowls: You will need one bowl for whipping the egg white and another one for making the sorbet. 
  • Citrus Juicer: Helps you to extract the most juice with the least amount of effort. 
  • Fine Mesh Sieve: To strain the pulp from the lemon juice.
  • Electric Hand Mixer: Used to whip the egg white until it forms stiff peaks. You can also use an electric whisk or stand mixer.
  • Rubber Spatula: Perfect for gently folding the whipped egg white into the lemon mixture. 
  • Metal Pan: You will need a metal baking or loaf pan to freeze the lemon sorbet.
  • Whisk: Used to stir the frozen lemon sorbet to prevent ice crystals from forming. You can use a hand whisk or an electric whisk.


lemon sorbet ingredients
  • 6 Lemons: Use organic lemons with vibrant yellow skin to achieve the most intense and natural lemon flavor. Feel free to add the lemon zest too.
  • 200 grams Granulated Sugar: Serves as a sweetening agent that balances the tartness of the lemon sorbet.
  • 2 cups Water: What is the base for sorbet? Fruit juice and water! The zesty lemons may flavor the sorbet but water is just as important.
  • 1 Egg White: Used to add structure and create a frothy consistency. It’s essential to have it at room temperature for optimal results. I also recommend that you use a pasteurized egg and an organic one if that’s not possible.

How to make lemon sorbet step by step

Make the simple syrup

Begin by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil together with the sugar and one whole lemon peel (photo 1). Now, let the mixture simmer over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then pour it into a large mixing bowl and let it cool completely down to room temperature. 

Extract the lemon juice

While your syrup is cooling, juice the lemons (photo 2). Then strain the pulp and stir the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the simple syrup. 

Whip the egg white

Now, in a separate bowl, use an electric hand mixer or an electric whisk to whip the room-temperature egg white for about 5 to 7 minutes or until it forms stiff peaks (photo 3). This step is crucial for creating that foamy texture, so be patient and wait for those firm peaks to develop.

Fold the mixtures together

Once you’ve whipped the egg white, gently fold it into the sweet lemon mixture (photo 4). The goal is a foamy consistency so be careful not to deflate the egg white. Then pour the sorbet mixture into your metal pan and put it in the freezer. 

Freeze and mix

After an hour in the freezer, remove your lemon sorbet and stir it with either a hand whisk or an electric whisk. This ensures a fine-textured sorbet without any ice crystals. Then return it to the freezer and repeat this process 2 to 3 more times every hour.

Serve and enjoy

When it’s ready, you can scoop and serve your lemon sorbet right away or store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month. 

Expert Tips

  • Choose fresh, organic lemons free from waxy coatings and chemicals for the best lemon zest and juice flavor.
  • Strain the lemon juice to remove any pulp or seeds.
  • If possible, use a pasteurized egg white for added safety. A fresh organic egg is the next best option. 
  • Make sure your egg white is at room temperature before whipping. This helps in achieving those stiff peaks for the sorbet’s foamy texture.
  • Using a metal pan to freeze the lemon sorbet helps it to chill faster and more evenly. 
  • Don’t rush the freezing and blending process. Stirring the lemon sorbet every hour with a whisk is what gives the finished sorbet its signature texture without an ice cream maker.
  • For an eye-catching presentation, serve your lemon sorbet in hollowed-out lemon shells.

Other iced desserts you can try:


Now that we’ve answered, how is sorbet made!? It’s time to dive into the various ways that you can customize this yummy lemon sorbet recipe!

  1. Minty: Add a handful of freshly chopped mint leaves to the lemon sorbet before freezing for a refreshing lemon-mint sorbet.
  2. Berry Bliss: Add a burst of berry goodness by folding in fresh or frozen berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. You can also top the sorbet with berries right before serving. 
  3. Lavender: Add a hint of floral flavor by infusing the sugar and water mixture with dried culinary lavender buds. 
  4. Vodka Twist: For an adult-friendly version, add a splash of vodka before freezing.
  5. Limoncello: Make it more lemony and a little boozy by adding some sweet and tart Limoncello liqueur! 
  6. Other Citrus: Swap out the lemons for limes, oranges, grapefruit, or even Meyer lemons to make a new flavor of sorbet.


How to store lemon sorbet?

Place it in an airtight freezer container and consume it within one month.

What is the best stabilizer for sorbet?

Natural gums like guar gum or xanthan gum are often the best stabilizers for sorbet. These additives help prevent the formation of ice crystals and keep the sorbet smooth and creamy. Other options include corn syrup or glucose syrup.

What’s the difference between lemon ice and lemon sorbet?

Lemon ice is a frozen dessert made by freezing sweetened lemon juice, often resembling a lemon slush texture. Lemon sorbet, on the other hand, is a smoother and more refined frozen treat usually made from a mixture of lemon juice, water, sugar, and whipped egg white.

What’s the difference between sorbet and sherbet?

Sorbet is a dairy-free frozen dessert made primarily from fruit puree or juice, sugar, and water. Whereas, sherbet contains all those same ingredients but also a small amount of milk.

Lemon Sorbet

A delicious and refreshing lemon sorbet recipe that is super easy to prepare. Steal the recipe!
4.50 from 2 votes
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Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 131kcal


  • 6 (6) organic lemons
  • 200 grams (1 cups) of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (2 cups) water
  • 1 (1) egg white room temperature


  • In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil together with the sugar and one whole lemon peel until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then transfer the mixture into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Juice the 6 lemons and strain the pulp. Then add the juice to the sugar syrup.
  • In another mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer or electric whisk to whip the egg white for 5 to 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the whipped egg white into the lemon mixture with a rubber spatula. It should be foamy. Then pour the mixture into a metal baking pan or loaf pan and place it in the freezer.
  • After 1 hour, mix the mixture with a hand whisk or an electric whisk to create a fine texture with no ice crystals. Then put the sorbet back in the freezer and repeat this process 2 to 3 more times every hour.
  • When the lemon sorbet is ready, it should have a solid but creamy, frothy consistency that doesn’t have any chunks of ice.
  • Serve the sorbet immediately or store it in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.002g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.03g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 0.2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.03mg
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