Vanilla Lemonade

In this vanilla lemonade, the vanilla rounds out the tartness of the lemon and is an amazing classy twist to regular old lemonade.

Thirsty? Good thing because I made you lemonade.

Vanilla Lemonade l

It’s been real real hot these past few days and nothing quenches my thirst like an ice cold glass of lemonade.

I was emailed this recipe from a SS reader named Kristin. She sent me her recipe for vanilla lemonade last week and I was pumped. It was my first time ever hearing of vanilla lemonade and I was beyond excited to make her recipe.

In her email she said she thought using real vanilla beans could be amazing and would love to see my spin on it… and that’s just what I did.

Out with the vanilla extract… and in with the bean.

This recipe actually is pretty darn easy. Sure you dirty a few dishes… but it will leave your house smelling amazingly like fresh lemon and a cozy vanilla so you won’t even mind the sink-full of dishes. These definitely are two flavors I’ve never thought of pairing together for a beverage… but in my gut I knew it would work and my gut never lies.

Next on my list is to steep a little lavender in there… bada-boom-bada-bing.

Start by splitting your vanilla bean entirely in half and scraping out the seeds with the back of your knife.

Into a small sauce pan add the cup of sugar and the three strips of lemon rind. There is no pith attached to the peel, I just simply used a vegetable peeler to peel off the strips.

Add in a pinch of salt

Next, add in the scraped vanilla beans and the whole pod into the pot with the sugar and lemon peel.

Lastly to make the simple syrup you’ll need to pour in a cup of water.

Bring the everything up to a boil.

Once the sugar has dissolved reduce the heat and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes to bring out as much of that lemony-vanilla-ness as possible. Stir occasionally and remove the simply syrup from the heat…

I then lined a large measuring cup with some cheesecloth secured by a rubber-band and poured the simple syrup through to catch the lemon peel, vanilla pod and the majority of the seeds.

Some will pass through but it’s okay.

Let the syrup cool, I sped up the whole process by sticking the measuring cup in a large bowl and packed ice around it.

In the meantime I juiced about 8 lemons or about a cup to a cup and a half of juice and strained the juice in a mesh strainer to catch the pulp and seeds.

Because I didn’t have a bowl or pitcher large enough to do it all in one big batch. So I split the 8-10 cups of water, the lemon juice and the syrup evenly among two large pitchers and gave them a good stir.

Into a serving pitcher add a few slices of lemon. It might be a good idea to pick out any seeds you find in the slices.

Vanilla Lemonade l

It really smells heavenly!

Vanilla Lemonade l

Finally, pour the vanilla lemonade over ice and serve with a twist of lemon.

Vanilla Lemonade l

The vanilla rounds out the tartness of the lemon which is an amazing classy twist to regular old lemonade. Now all I need is the entire Shades of Grey series. And maybe some bon bons and then my summer is ready to begin. Like ASAP.

Thank you Kristen for sending me you’re recipe! I enjoyed it until the last drop!

Enjoy! And if you give this Vanilla Lemonade recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Vanilla Lemonade l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: about 12 cups

Vanilla Lemonade

Vanilla Lemonade
In this vanilla lemonade, the vanilla rounds out the tartness of the lemon and is an amazing classy twist to regular old lemonade.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 3 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes



  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 slices of lemon peel
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 generous pinch of kosher salt
  • cheesecloth, to strain syrup


  • juice of 6-8 lemons, strained
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • 1 cup of vanilla/lemon syrup
  • Lemon slices to garnish


  1. Slice the vanilla bean in half and with the back of your knife scrape out all the seeds.
  2. Bring sugar, water, vanilla bean and pod, lemon peel and salt to boil on your stove.
  3. After sugar dissolves I gently simmer mine 5-10 minutes to really get the lemon peel flavor in there.
  4. Remove from heat, strain through a few layers of cheesecloth set over a large measuring cup and cool. You can speed up the process by placing the measuring cup in a large bowl surrounded by ice.
  5. Once the syrup has cooled; add it to a large pitcher along with the 8-10 cups of water and strained lemon juice. Garnish with a few lemon slices.
  6. Pour in a tall glass over ice and sip.
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55 Responses to “Vanilla Lemonade”

  1. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — June 11, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Oh wow! I love this idea. Good thing you have such great readers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. #
    Lauren @ Part Time House Wife — June 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Sounds delish. I’ve yet to tackle an actual vanilla bean. There so dang expensive! I’m always affraid I’ll get it, and the completely screw up a recipe and it will all go to waste! lol

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

      Don’t be afraid! Because you’ll never know unless you try! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. #
    Blog is the New Black — June 11, 2012 at 11:46 am

    I’ve never heard of it, either! Delicious!

  4. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — June 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    What a nice spin on lemonade! I bet this would be good with a nice little plate of sugar cookies.

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree!

  5. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — June 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Gorgeous shots, Laurie! And this lemonade looks incredible. I’ve never seen the addition of vanilla to lemonade before, but it sounds so refreshing and light. Perfect for a summer party or to sip by the pool. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

      Thank you Sally! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes I’m most definitely looking forward to sipping on these by the lake!

  6. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — June 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    i’m so intrigued…i wouldn’t think i’d like it except for how beautiful it all looks and the smell of vanilla and lemon together is DIVINE!

  7. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — June 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This is beyond brilliant! I want to try it immediately!

  8. #
    DB-The Foodie Stuntman — June 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I’ve seen something similar before. Elsie of Simply Recipes also uses a simple syrup as a flavor base. I wonder if the flavor of the lemonade would change if you were just to use the zest instead of the whole peel because the pith is bitter.

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

      My vegetable peeler didn’t make it down to the pith when I was peeling the lemon, but if you’d like try zesting!

  9. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — June 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    lemonade is just about the only thing I want to drink when it’s hot outside. Can’t wait to try your recipe – I’ve never made simple syrup before, so this recipe is the perfect place to start. I should just make a huge batch and use it in cocktails, too. YUM!

  10. #
    Mary Ellen @ Pรขte ร  Chew — June 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Looks absolutely beautiful, and I never thought to flavor lemonade with vanilla before. Lovely!

  11. #
    Kelly @ Inspired Edibles — June 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I love the idea of vanilla lemonade and this recipe is full of homemade goodness. Beautiful photos too!

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

      Thank you Kelly! I agree… chocked full of homemade goodness for sure!

  12. #
    Cassie — June 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    This is brilliant. I think there is no better smell in the world than vanilla beans. And I love those pieces of lemon rind. I can almost smell it through the screen!

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

      I think so too Cassie!

  13. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    It looks so fragrant and full of flavor. Great sounding recipe!

  14. #
    Michelle Levine — June 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm
  15. #
    RavieNomNoms — June 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Oh my word! This is just fantastic! I have never seen vanilla lemonade before. What a nice thing that Kristin did for you!

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

      I know! As soon as I saw her email I just had to make it!

  16. #
    Carol — June 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Oh this looks and sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try!

  17. #
    Crystal — June 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Rachael Ray made Vanilla Lemonade on a Food Network special awhile back. I remember because it looked so darn good, but at the time I lived with a vegan who didn’t eat honey, and the recipe included honey. I guess because of that I never tried it. But you better believe I’m going to try this one! It looks so refreshing…and there’s no honey!

  18. #
    Kristen — June 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Ohhh I’m so glad you tried the recipe and enjoyed it…..I can’t wait to make it w/ a vanilla bean instead of extract. Love the post!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — June 11th, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

      YAY! My girls and I really loved this lemonade… a definite keeper! Thank you for the email! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — June 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Adding vanilla bean to lemonade? Absolutely genius!

  20. #
    20 — June 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    this sounds incredible! I have some vanilla beans and lemons. Can’t wait to try it.

  21. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — June 12, 2012 at 1:32 am

    this sounds so refreshing and so different! i love that about drinks, you can totally take them on a different spin ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. #
    Baking Serendipity — June 12, 2012 at 1:39 am

    This is the first time I’ve heard of vanilla lemonade…and I’m totally ready for a glass. Love this!

  23. #
    Anna @ hiddenponies — June 12, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I love vanilla always – what a great idea!

  24. #
    Bex — June 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I just made plain lemonade yesterday, but this sounds so good. Thank you, and I’m sitting here just about to pick up my copy of Book I of Shades of Grey which I am about 300 pages into at the moment, and yes, this lemonade would definitely be a great addition to it! Books II and III are sitting here, as well, so I’ll have to make a really large batch of this!

  25. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — June 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Gorgeous! Sounds absolutely delicious! I will have to try this when I can get my hands on some beans!

  26. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — June 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I’m intrigued with this combination! This looks so refreshing!

  27. #
    Laura Davidson — June 13, 2012 at 1:14 am

    This looks awesome! Never would have thought of adding vanilla, but it sounds wonderful.

    Just discovered your site and love it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. #
    Meki — June 13, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Hwaa~ Looks so good! Pinned it so I can try it!

  29. #
    Baker Street — June 13, 2012 at 4:09 am

    WOW! This is such a brilliant idea! Love the combination of vanilla and lemon! Congratulations on making top 9 today! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. #
    Chanel — June 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I just made this because I am hosting a Tupperware party tomorrow, and when I took my first sip to taste it, I just stopped and started at my glass. This lemonade is absolutely stunning. I have never tasted something so delicious! Thank you SO much for this recipe!

  31. #
    April — June 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    This looks awesome-I love the idea of mixing the two together!!! Congrats on the Top 9!

  32. #
    Sharyn Dimmick — June 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve never thought of putting vanilla in lemonade. Now I’ll have to try it.

  33. #
    Diana — June 14, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Looks good, right now I’m obsessed with lemonade, strawberry lemonade, watermelon lemonade, cantaloupe lemonade, so Vanilla lemonade is definitively going to be on my list! ๐Ÿ˜€

  34. #
    elizabeth — June 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Perfectly delicious. Next time I’m going to try limes!!

  35. #
    Daniel — June 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Just made it and is no doubt the best lemonade i have tried. You have the rich citrus flavor of the lemons and then the slow fade of vanilla just after you taste the lemons, and then the sweet vanilla taste after along with the hint of lemons. this must be what heaven taste like

    • simplyscratch replied: — July 1st, 2012 @ 12:08 am

      You’ve described this perfectly! I just love it so much and glad you did as well! Thanks for commenting!

  36. #
    Kelsey — June 29, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Oh, I MUST try this. Sounds divine!

  37. #
    Julie — July 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Made this last month, only I did not strain through a cheesecloth, just pulled out the bean and the lemon peel. Seeing the vanilla bean caviar floating around the glass was very pretty. My husband loved this drink and drank almost the whole pitcher!

    • simplyscratch replied: — July 15th, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

      Yay! Glad to hear you loved it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. #
    Julie — July 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Sorry, forgot to add, found this recipe of yours on Tasty Kitchen.

  39. #
    Linda — July 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Made this for my grandkids today and added a bit of homemade raspberry syrup – they drank it up. Very good recipe. So much better than store-bought, and I love the vanilla addition.

  40. #
    heather — May 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    this sounds awesome. i wonder if u can use lemon juice?

  41. #
    Amanda R — March 14, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Wow-this stuff is amazing! I could not stop drinking it. I used home grown lemons from my mom’s lemon tree. The lemon and vanilla blend so well. I’m so glad the vanilla flavor actually came through (I cringe at the cost of those beans and hate to have them go to waste in a recipe). Will definitely be making this again!

  42. #
    Amanda R — March 14, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Also, I did not strain it–the seeds need to stay in for flavor and visual appeal ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. #
    Helena Mouta — June 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I’m pregnant and the only thing I’ve been able to drink (apart from plain water) is lemonade. I’ve been making mine with mint, which I also love, and I’ve actually tried it with lavender instead (perfect!), but I’d never thought to use vanilla. Will have to try this immediately, maybe accompanied by the Fifty Shades trilogy. Boy, am I glad I’m not the only one who’s actually read the thing twice! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — July 14th, 2014 @ 9:10 am

      That’s hilarious! I craved lemonade when I was pregnant too, I love the mint idea and the fact you read the series twice! high-five! ๐Ÿ™‚

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