How to Make Lemon Granita: A Refreshing and Easy Recipe


When the summer heat becomes unbearable, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing and icy treat to cool you down. One such treat is lemon granita, a traditional Italian dessert that is both delicious and easy to make. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making homemade lemon granita, providing valuable insights and tips along the way.

The Origins of Lemon Granita

Lemon granita, also known as granita di limone in Italian, originates from the island of Sicily in Italy. Sicily is famous for its citrus fruits, particularly lemons, which are abundant in the region. The combination of the hot Sicilian summers and the availability of lemons led to the creation of this refreshing dessert.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make lemon granita:

  • 4-5 large lemons
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Mint leaves (optional, for garnish)

The Step-by-Step Process

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, let’s get started with the step-by-step process of making lemon granita:

Step 1: Prepare the Lemon Juice

Begin by juicing the lemons to obtain fresh lemon juice. You will need approximately 1 cup of lemon juice for this recipe. Make sure to strain the juice to remove any seeds or pulp.

Step 2: Create the Simple Syrup

In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar has completely dissolved, creating a simple syrup. This syrup will serve as the sweetener for your granita.

Step 3: Mix the Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup

Once the simple syrup has cooled, combine it with the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir the mixture well to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed.

Step 4: Pour the Mixture into a Pan

Transfer the lemon and syrup mixture into a shallow pan or dish. The pan should be large enough to allow for easy freezing and scraping of the granita.

Step 5: Freeze and Scrape

Place the pan in the freezer and let it freeze for about 1 hour. After an hour, use a fork to scrape the mixture, breaking up any ice crystals that have formed. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for the next 2-3 hours, or until the granita has a slushy consistency.

Step 6: Serve and Garnish

Once the granita has reached the desired consistency, it is ready to be served. Scoop the granita into serving glasses or bowls and garnish with fresh mint leaves for an extra burst of flavor and visual appeal.

Tips and Variations

Now that you know how to make a basic lemon granita, here are some tips and variations to enhance your experience:

  • For a tangier flavor, you can add a small amount of lemon zest to the mixture before freezing.
  • If you prefer a sweeter granita, you can increase the amount of sugar in the simple syrup.
  • Experiment with different citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruits to create unique variations of granita.
  • For an adult twist, you can add a splash of limoncello or vodka to the mixture before freezing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons?

A: While it is possible to use bottled lemon juice, fresh lemons will provide a much better flavor and aroma to your granita. The natural acidity and brightness of fresh lemons cannot be replicated by bottled juice.

Q: How long can I store the lemon granita?

A: Lemon granita is best enjoyed fresh, but it can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a week. However, note that the texture may change slightly after a few days.

Q: Can I use an ice cream maker to make lemon granita?

A: While it is possible to use an ice cream maker to make granita, the traditional method involves freezing and scraping the mixture by hand. This manual process creates the characteristic texture of granita.

Q: Can I substitute the sugar with a sugar alternative?

A: Yes, you can use a sugar alternative such as stevia or honey to sweeten your granita. However, keep in mind that the taste and texture may vary slightly.

Q: Is lemon granita a healthy dessert option?

A: Lemon granita is a relatively healthy dessert option compared to many other frozen treats. It is low in calories and fat, and the use of fresh lemons provides a good source of vitamin C.


Lemon granita is a refreshing and easy-to-make dessert that is perfect for beating the summer heat. With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of patience, you can create a delicious and tangy treat that will impress your family and friends. Remember to use fresh lemons for the best flavor, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and garnishes. So go ahead, give this traditional Italian dessert a try, and enjoy the cool and invigorating taste of homemade lemon granita!



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