How to Make Key Limeade (3 Ingredient Recipe)


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There is nothing better than a refreshing glass of Key Limeade on a hot day. This 3-ingredient limeade recipe is easy and simple and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Served over ice and garnished with a slice of lime, homemade key limeade is the perfect thirst quencher for hot summer days.

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How to make limeade recipe. Two glasses and a pitcher with limeade on a a table.

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Ingredients for this Easy Key Limeade Recipe

Homemade key limeade is a refreshing and tangy citrus beverage that brings a taste of the tropics to your glass. You only need three ingredients to make this limeade recipe.

  • Limes – I prefer Key limes but Persian limes work just as well.
  • Sugar – granulated sugar.
  • Water – equal parts with the sugar.

When I make this homemade limeade recipe, I typically use Key limes for a couple of reasons. The first being I have a Key lime tree in my yard.

The second reason I love using Key limes is they are smaller, a bit tarter, have a higher acidity, and have a stronger aroma than Persian limes. Many will render a lot more juice than you think they will.

Because Key limes are so small compared to Persians, you will have to do a bit more work when juicing them.

How do you make Limeade?

Slice your lime in half and use a hand-held citrus squeezer to juice the lime. While you could use an electric juicer, Key limes are a bit tiny. Definitely use the electric juicer for larger citrus.

You’ll need a saucepan to make the simple syrup. While making simple syrup, watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. If you boil the sugar water too long you’ll have hard candy.

Once the simple syrup has cooled you can make the limeade according to the recipe directions in the card below.

Pro Tip: If the limeade is too tart, adjust the amount of sugar. Add a little at a time, tasting as you go.

Two glasses with Key limeade garnished with a lime wheel on a white tablecloth.

Can I use Persian limes instead of Key limes?

Yes, you can. It would just be limeade. You may need fewer limes since Persian limes are larger.

Can I use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar?

While I’ve never tried making Key limeade with artificial sweeteners, I would think it is possible. Use a brand that you can substitute one cup of sugar with one cup of artificial sweetener. Taste before adding more sweetener.

How do you serve limeade?

There are a couple of ways I serve my Key limeade. The first is just over ice, garnished with a lime wheel, just like in the photo above.

If you have crushed ice, you can also fill a glass to the top with crushed ice and pour the limeade over it.

Can I add alcohol to the limeade?

Absolutely! If you want to make this non-alcoholic Key limeade an adult beverage feel free to add a shot to each glass or even the equivalent of about 1/4 cup to the pitcher.

Close up of a glass with key limeade and a lime wheel garnish.

What kind of alcohol can I add to limeade?

The best liquor choices to add to Key Limeade would be rum, vodka, or tequila. If you’re a gin fan, you could try gin and a bit of soda water and turn it into a classic lime rickey.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • There are only 3 ingredients.
  • It’s cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.
  • It’s great for kids and adults to enjoy.
  • Make it ahead for a backyard party.
  • Easily transport it to a potluck party.

More Refreshing Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and a 5-star review on the recipe card below. If you love this recipe, please share it on social media using the #thebestdrinkrecipes.

Key Limeade

A refreshing non-alcoholic limeade perfect for hot summer days.
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Chilling Time3 hours
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4


  • 1 Hand Held Citrus Juicer
  • 1 Pitcher
  • 2-4 Glasses
  • 1 Saucepan


Make the Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

Make the Key Limeade

  • ¾ cup fresh Key lime juice Use Persian limes if Key limes are not available.
  • 4 cups water


Make the Simple Syrup

  • In a saucepan combine the water and sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a gentle boil stirring constantly until sugar melts. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
    1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup water

Make the Limeade

  • Combine the cooled simple syrup with the water and fresh squeezed lime juice in a pitcher.
    ¾ cup fresh Key lime juice, 4 cups water
  • Chill for a minimum of 3 hours before serving over ice. Garnish glasses with a lime wedge or wheel.

Meet Ellen

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  1. 5 stars
    This was great! Just sweet enough, and the sugar didn’t get in the way of the key lime flavor at all. I added a touch of tart cherry juice because: cherry limeade! I’ll probably try it with sparkling water next time.

  2. 5 stars
    This is so refreshing. Limeade is the perfect summer drink, and I don’t know why lemonade is so much more popular. I’m jealous you have a key lime tree in your yard!

  3. 5 stars
    A big bag of key limes and a sore hand later… but omg this limeade was so worth it! The sweet-tart blend is on point! Just wish there was a better way to get the juice out of those little buggers lol

  4. 5 stars
    Luckily, my grocery store always has key limes so we were excited to try this limeade recipe! It was a hit – my sister added a shot of tequila to hers.

  5. 5 stars
    This easy Key lime limeade is so delicious. We added a shot of vodka to enjoy on the back deck at sunset, and it was the perfect end to a wonderful summer day.

  6. 5 stars
    What a wonderful idea! Even though key limes are my favorite, I haven’t thought about making a key lime limeade before. Genius! Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. 5 stars
    This was fabulous! I made a batch and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of juice from the smaller key limes. I also added a splash of vodka and it was a delightful drink on a hot day!

  8. 5 stars
    I love key lime and have been wanting to grow a key lime plant! Now this gives a even more reason to grow one. I love the flavor and it is definitely much more refreshing than the plain lemonade.

  9. 5 stars
    I loved the refreshing taste of lime in this limeade. Super easy recipe. My family really enjoyed this drink.

5 from 15 votes

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