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Easy Lemon Sherbet

Easy Lemon Sherbet
12 votes, 3.67 avg. rating (73% score)
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Lemon Sherbet
Photo/Art by Amy Traverso
Lemon Sherbet


What is sherbet and how was it different from sorbet? I never quite knew until this delicious recipe inspired a little research. Turns out sherbet is like a cross between ice cream and sorbet. It has fruit juice, sugar and some dairy, but not enough to qualify as ice cream. The name comes from the Persian sharbat, which is an iced fruit drink.

What’s so great about sherbet? It’s more decadent than sorbet, but infinitely easier to make than custard-based ice cream. You simply stir the fruit juice with some sugar, then add the dairy and freeze. This homemade lemon version is creamy, sweet, tart, and light on the tongue. Forget the neon orange sherbet that may have turned you off the whole category. This is a truly delicious dessert.

This recipe was submitted by Yankee reader Irmarie Jones, who received it from her mother-in-law in the 1950s. Given the amount of cream in the recipe, it probably falls closer to the ice cream category than most sherbets, but I can’t argue with anything about it. It’s too good.


Easy Lemon Sherbet

Total time: 35 minutes (plus additional freezing time as needed)

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Yield: About 1 quart


Note: You can make this recipe by simply freezing the mixture in a glass or plastic container, but you’ll get the smoothest, most even texture if you prepare it in an ice cream maker.


  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (1%, 2%, or whole)
  • 1 cup heavy cream


In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the milk and whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. You’ll think the milk will curdle in the presence of the lemon juice, but it won’t. It’ll actually look like this:

Lemon juice, sugar, milk
Photo/Art by Amy Traverso
Lemon juice, sugar, milk


In a separate bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the lemon mixture and transfer to an ice-cream maker (see Note). Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. For firmer sherbet, transfer to your freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.


Amy Traverso


Amy Traverso


Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !
Updated Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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