Simple Provisions

Food does not need to be fancy to be celebrated

Traditional Lemon Cordial | Simple Provisions

It’s the time of year when lemons arrive on the doorstep. Those lucky people with lemon trees in their yard find themselves with a glut and suddenly get generous, offering their crop to anyone who’s willing to relieve them of their bounty. It’s a tradition that I wholeheartedly support, having never had a tree, I rely on others’ citrus abundance to kick off the start of my spring. And what better way to celebrate finer weather, and use up a bunch of lemons, than with a refreshing glass of cordial.

Traditional Lemon Cordial | Simple Provisions

This lemon cordial recipe is a traditional English one, unearthed by MoVida chef and co-owner Frank Camorra. It has two ingredients: sugar and lemons. Lemons can sometimes be frugal with their juice. This recipe heats them in a pot of boiling water, which coaxes as much juice out of them as possible, and leaves you with lemon-infused water to further bump up the flavour of the cordial.

Traditional Lemon Cordial | Simple Provisions

Another way to add flavour, and to make your drinks pretty, is flavoured ice cubes. Cut up a lemon into tiny wedges and place a piece in each cube of an ice cube tray. Add a mint leaf and fill with water. Freeze and you’ll have minty lemon flavour bombs to add to cold drinks or, more deliciously, cocktails.

Serve the cordial with soda water (1 part cordial to 4 parts water) and ice, a sprig of mint and a round of lemon on the side. Add some vodka for special occasions. Or just splash some cordial in a glass of water when you’re in desperate need of sunshine.

Traditional Lemon Cordial | Simple Provisions

Traditional Lemon Cordial

Makes 2-3 500ml bottles

Recipe from Good Food


  • 7-10 unwaxed lemons
  • 650g granulated sugar


Prepare your bottles or jars by running them through a short dishwasher cycle or placing them in a simmering pot of water for 5 minutes, in order to sterilise them. Drain on a clean tea towel while you prepare your cordial.

Put a pot of water on to boil and scrub your lemons while you wait. Zest four of the lemons, saving he zest for later.

When the water comes to the boil place all the lemons in the pot and leave for one minute. Remove the lemons, reserving the lemon-infused water. Juice the lemons.

Put sugar, reserved lemon zest and 500ml of the lemon-infused water into a saucepan. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil.

Add 500ml lemon juice and bring just to boiling point. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a jug.

Pour immediately into hot, sterilised bottles or jars and seal immediately. Leave to cool and store in a cool dry place, or in the fridge. It will last up to 4 months.

19 thoughts on “Traditional Lemon Cordial

  1. So simple, yet so refreshing… perfect for a hot day! :)

  2. I like a lemon very much, it can manufacture beverage or cooking and increase flavor of food material .
    Have a nice day!

  3. laluceblog says:

    Yum! I love the look of the ice cubes with lemon and mint.

  4. Catherine Wood says:

    So simple . A must do for this summer. Thamks

  5. Maura says:

    This sounds like such a refreshing way to mix up drinks!

  6. Lemon cordial seems to make an annual appearance in my kitchen garden cooking classes with kids as we tend to be the place everyone brings their excess lemons…and the kids love it! They’ve also learnt why they should have it just sometimes, not always, seeing the amount of sugar that goes in. I will have to make some of your minty ice cubes next time, they’re gorgeous :)

  7. stateeats says:

    Love your pics! My mouth is watering at the thought! – Kat

  8. aimacarmela says:

    I wonder if this would work with other types of citrus fruits?

    1. Amelia says:

      I think it would definitely work with limes, and it would be delicious!

  9. ellx13 says:

    Making these for little christmas presents

  10. Oh wow. This sounds absolutely amazing. Lemon when coupled with something sweet is the best thing ever, isn’t it? I’ve never heard the term “cordial” though, guessing it’s an Aussie word for lemonade?

    1. Amelia says:

      Yes, it’s an Aussie (or probably English) word for the sweetened fruit concentrate used to make sweet drinks. It’s not quite the same as American lemonade, which I also love.

  11. This is super cute and your photos are amazing :)

  12. Claire'scomfycorner says:

    I’m definitely feeling inspired :) Thanks!

  13. Violet thomas says:

    It sounds so simple the other recipes I have looked at had tartaric and citric acid in

  14. Rowena says:

    I’ve made this recipe & it is already a family favourite, delicious! I’m wondering if I can use the same recipe for lime cordial?

    1. Amelia says:

      Yes Rowena! Glad you like it.

  15. Louise says:

    This is very similar to a word-of-mouth recipe I use. Mine is pretty simple – 1 part water to 1 part sugar to 1 part lemon juice, prepared the way you’ve described. I usually put 1/2 to 3/4 of the sugar in because otherwise it’s too sweet for me. I boil some lemons in the water, but have never zested them. I’m going to do that next time I make lemon cordial! And I love the ice cubes!

    I’ve tried it with grapefruit too, but it wasn’t very successful, I think the grapefruit were too sweet already.

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