Return to Content

Lemon Sherbet

Lemon Sherbet
13 votes, 4.08 avg. rating (81% score)

Total Time: 15

Yield: about 1 quart, or 8 servings

The word sherbet comes from the Arabic sharab or sharbat, a cold, sweetened drink usually made with fruit juice. Over time, the cold fruit juices were frozen into fruit desserts. Sherbets probably reached their peak of popularity in this country from the 1950s to the 1970s when Howard Johnson's orange sherbet was its signature dessert. Today, sorbets, made with only fruit and sugar, are more popular, whereas sherbets, which contain a small amount of milk or cream, have declined.

But this recipe for lemon sherbet--submitted by reader Irmarie Jones, who received it from her mother-in-law in the 1950s--will hopefully change that. It manages to be simultaneously rich, creamy, zingy, and light, all while taking less than 15 minutes to prepare. Given the amount of cream in the recipe, it probably qualifies as more of an ice cream than a sherbet, but its texture isn't quite the same. Really, it's in a class of its own.

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


  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream


In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the milk and whisk until sugar is fully dissolved. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks. Gently fold the cream into the lemon mixture and transfer to an ice cream maker or an airtight freezer-safe container (see Note). Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. For firmer sherbet, transfer to your freezer for at least 2 hours.
Updated Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Yankee Magazine Advertising

$10 Introductory Offer
plus, get the Tablet Edition FREE!

In this issue: Thoreau's Maine

  • Best Chowder: We Found It!
  • 5 Best Historic Home Tours
  • Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay
Subscribe Today and Save 72%

Browse Similar Recipes

2 Responses to Lemon Sherbet

  1. Anonymous July 27, 2003 at 11:17 pm #

    The sweet cream is excellent. However, the canned evaporated milk was just as good. I put the sherbert in a 9×13 baking dish in a gramcracker crust, added some lemon zest and some crushed pineapple (drained) and Wow!!! It was great!!!

  2. Anonymous September 12, 2004 at 11:34 pm #

    I am 52 years old. Granny made this when I was a child and spent the summer on her farm. She also favored hers with a package of unsweetened Kool-Aid. My favorite was grape. Thank you for a taste of my childhood.

Leave a Reply

We reserve the right to remove or edit comments that are offensive or disrespectful to our readers and/or writers, cannot be verified, lack clarity, or contain profanity. Your comments may be republished by Yankee Magazine across multiple platforms.

Register Sign In

©2013, Yankee Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Yankee Publishing Inc., | P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444 | (603) 563-8111