Lemon Sorbet

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Fresh lemon sorbet is a light and refreshing treat that is a terrific addition to any meal.

At first glance, a scoop of sorbet is unlikely to grab your attention and impress. However, at first taste, you’re certain to be won over immediately.

gold ice cream scoop with container of lemon sorbet

Lemon Sorbet

My sister and I often talk about that “unforgettable bite.” A special meal or fancy dinner out that you remember fondly often contains a certain food or combination of flavors that simply wows you.

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It never fails to impress me when a small number of ingredients are combined to create something truly amazing. I tasted a lemon sorbet for the first time while on a cruise with my sister Jenny and we found ourselves talking about it repeatedly over the next few days.

I got back home from our trip on a Saturday night and on Sunday I was in the kitchen mixing this sorbet together. I simply had to recreate it for my family.

Sorbet Palate Cleanser

While I typically choose a rich ice cream, a fruit cobbler, or a chewy fudge brownie for dessert, believe it or not, there are times when I crave something lighter.

Whether you’re serving this sorbet as a palate cleanser, a light dessert, or a fancy after-dinner treat, I’m willing to bet that you’re going to love it every bit as much as we do.

gold ice cream scoop with container of lemon sorbet

Lemon Sorbet Recipe

The most popular question I get is whether it’s possible to make ice cream without a machine. The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this sorbet:

  • sugar
  • water
  • fresh lemon juice
  • premium vodka

While the vodka in this recipe is technically optional, the alcohol helps add smoothness to the sometimes crunchy and icy texture of sorbet. It’s a very small amount that isn’t noticeable in the final results.

gold spoon in clear dish of lemon sorbet

How to Make Lemon Sorbet

I highly recommend serving this as it was served to us – topped with a splash of vodka. There’s a tiny bit of vodka in the sorbet recipe itself, the alcohol helps add smoothness to the sometimes crunchy and icy texture of sorbet. 

However, that small pour of vodka over the top of the sorbet provides a lovely contrast of flavors without a great deal of actual alcohol involved. I suggest using a premium alcohol for this recipe. I typically choose Titos or Grey Goose vodka.

Side note, while I am not concerned with the amount of vodka IN the sorbet, I really shouldn’t even need to mention that the vodka served OVER the sorbet is not designed to be served to children.

scoop of lemon sorbet in clear dish with sprig of mint

With over 70 ice cream recipes here to choose from, there’s sure to be an ice cream for everyone! If you’re new to making ice cream, the best and easiest vanilla ice cream is a great place to start.

These are my favorite inexpensive containers for storing ice cream. They’re perfect for gifting (who doesn’t love homemade ice cream?) storage, re-using, etc. I write the flavors on the lids with a sharpie and it washes off with dish soap.

I have more ice cream scoops than I can keep track of at this point and I definitely play favorites. This ice cream scoop does the best job ever of cutting through firm ice cream and still delivers a pretty scoop. It gets bonus points for being one of the least expensive scoops I own as well.

Don’t miss our Ice Cream Maker Review for all the information you need to find the BEST Ice Cream Maker for your needs. Spoiler alert – our top-rated machine under $50 just might surprise you. It sure surprised me!

spoonful of lemon sorbet

If you are lucky enough to have some extra lemons in the house, you’ll want to try these recipes too. Sweet, tart, smooth, and creamy, microwave lemon curd can be made in just minutes.

Creamy Lemon Dip served with fresh berries, graham crackers, or shortbread cookies is a light dessert that is perfect for sharing with friends.

Lemon Ice Cream. I’ve had the idea for this sweetly tart ice cream scribbled in my recipe notebook for over a year now and I can’t believe it took me so long to finally try it. I’ve made this quite a few times now and each time I’ve loved it more.

Creamy vanilla ice cream swirled with tart lemon curd is a treat worth making year-round. Brighten up your next dessert with this refreshing lemon curd ice cream.

With little more than a handful of eggs, cream, sugar, and a lemon, you have what it takes to make this unforgettable Lemon Angel Pie.

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gold ice cream scoop with container of lemon sorbet

Lemon Sorbet

5 from 2 votes
Fresh lemon sorbet is a light and refreshing treat that is a terrific addition to any meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons premium vodka plus more for serving, if desired


  • In a large jar, shake together the sugar and the water until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon juice and vodka. Stir to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process until slushy and almost scoop-able. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer until ready to serve.
  • To serve: Place one scoop in a small glass or bowl and pour 1 ounce of vodka over the sorbet. Garnish with mint.


To make this without an ice cream maker: Pour the mixture into a shallow pan and freeze until almost firm. Remove from the freezer and fluff with a fork. Return to the freezer until firm. Scoop the frozen mixture into a blender or food processor and process just until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.
I suggest using a premium vodka for this recipe. I typically use Titos or Grey Goose to make this sorbet.


Calories: 206kcal · Carbohydrates: 54g · Protein: 0.2g · Fat: 0.3g · Saturated Fat: 0.03g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g · Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g · Sodium: 4mg · Potassium: 64mg · Fiber: 0.2g · Sugar: 51g · Vitamin A: 4IU · Vitamin C: 24mg · Calcium: 6mg · Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 11/22/17 – recipe notes and photos updated 1/12/24}

gold ice cream scoop with container of lemon sorbet

When planning a Princess cruise, I can not speak highly enough of the Chef’s Table experience. Six years ago, my sister Jenny and I were guests of Princess Cruises for our trip through the Western Caribbean.

Our Chef’s Table experience was memorable from start to finish, but the lemon sorbet topped with vodka (served simply as a palate cleanser) was unforgettable.

We celebrated Jenny’s birthday on the night of our Chef’s Table dinner, and as it turns out, a Princess Cruise is one heck of an amazing way to celebrate a special occasion.

This has officially gone down in history as the best birthday dinner ever.

The Chef's Table - an extraordinary Princess Cruises experience

The Chef’s Table has a very limited seating, typically only 10-12 people per night are able to be accommodated, and you’ll want to sign up the very moment you board the ship and then cross your fingers that you will be invited to the event.

If this is important to you (and if you’re anything like me, it will be!) I’d recommend that you try to be one of the very first people to board the ship.

The cost for the Chef’s Table is a fraction of what a similar experience would cost on land at a high-end restaurant. I don’t use the word experience lightly. This dinner is truly an extraordinary experience. The meal had so many courses, I lost count. I cannot recommend the Chef’s Table highly enough.

If you’re fortunate enough to get your name on the list and then be invited to join the Chef’s Table, the most important thing to remember is to come hungry! (and pace yourself, seriously, do try to pace yourself)

Every bite is fantastic and you’ll be full before you actually sit down at the table if you even eat all of the appetizer bites you’re given.

The Chef's Dinner Experience with Princess Cruises

For a peek into the rest of our Caribbean cruise, check out The Best Small Gifts For Travelers and What To Do In Cozumel, Mexico

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Princess Cruises to share my travels with you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information about Princess Cruises and/or to book a cruise visit their website at www.princess.com.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Eliza says

    Why wouldn’t you make a simple sugar to eliminate the graininess of the sugar it would be much smoother. All you have to do is boil the sugar and water for 10 minutes to dissolve the sugar. More water can be added to replace after condensation.

    • Mary says

      Hi Eliza, I’ve actually tried both methods and found that there was no graininess whatsoever when the recipe was made as written here. As a result, I’ve eliminated that step when I make this sorbet. Both results were delicious!

  2. Sheila says

    My moment of trying lemon sorbet came on a soccer trip in France with a group of 16 year old boys. It was hot! The bus was not air conditioned, but the sorbet man was outside a cathedral we were visiting. I knew I was dreaming. It was so lovely and refreshing. As is this. I have yet to try one of your recipes that I have not loved so I will not second guess you on any recipe. I’ll just try and smile. Thank you.5 stars

  3. Anita says


    I read your ice cream maker review and bought the Cusinart ICE 100. I made the black cherry ice cream and it was wonderful!! I’d like to make sorbet now but was wondering what paddle would to use?

    Anita5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I use the same paddle for everything, Anita. I know there are other options, but I rarely mess with changing them out. It might be fun to play with it though and see how it changes the results. I don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of the options.