How many lemons should I add to a gallon of water?

Quick Answer

The recommended amount of lemon juice to add to a gallon of water is the juice from 2-3 lemons. This will provide a light lemon flavor without overpowering the water. The exact amount can vary based on personal taste and the size/juiciness of the lemons. Somewhere in the range of 2-4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice per gallon is a good starting point.

How Much Lemon Juice in One Lemon?

The amount of juice you can get from a single lemon depends on a few factors:

  • Size of the lemon – Larger lemons tend to produce more juice than smaller ones.
  • Juiciness – Some lemons are juicier than others.
  • How you juice it – Hand squeezing vs using a citrus juicer.

On average, one medium-sized lemon yields around 2-3 tablespoons (30-45ml) of juice. Here are some more specific estimates:

Lemon Size Juice Yield
Small 1-2 tbsp
Medium 2-3 tbsp
Large 3-4 tbsp

So if you’re using medium-sized lemons, you can expect approximately 2-3 tablespoons of juice per lemon. But the actual amount can vary based on the factors mentioned. Juiciness and method of juicing have a big impact.

How Much Lemon Juice Per Gallon of Water?

Now that we know how much juice is in a lemon, we can determine how much to use per gallon of water:

  • 2 lemons = 4-6 tbsp juice
  • 3 lemons = 6-9 tbsp juice
  • 4 lemons = 8-12 tbsp juice

The standard recommendation is to use the juice from 2-3 lemons per gallon of water. This equals about:

  • 4-6 tablespoons (2-3 oz) juice per gallon
  • 60-90 ml juice per 3.8 liters

Adding the juice from 2 medium lemons per gallon will give you a light lemon flavor. 3 lemons per gallon provides a stronger lemon taste. Adjust to your preference and tartness of the lemons.

Aim for somewhere in the range of 2-4 tablespoons (1-2 oz) of juice per gallon as a starting point. Add more or less to suit your tastes.

Tips for Making Lemon Water

Here are some tips for making refreshing lemon water with the perfect flavor:

  • Roll lemons on the counter before juicing to maximize the juice yield.
  • Juice lemons by hand or use a citrus juicer.
  • Remove any seeds, as they can give the water a bitter taste.
  • Use fresh, organic lemons when possible.
  • Add ice to serve lemon water cold.
  • Try adding other fruit like limes, oranges, or mint.
  • Start with less juice and add more to taste.
  • Refrigerate leftover lemon water for up to 2-3 days.

The basic ratio is 2-3 lemons squeezed per gallon of chilled water. But feel free to adjust the quantities to your taste preferences.

Benefits of Lemon Water

Drinking lemon water has many potential health benefits, including:

  • Vitamin C – Lemons are high in vitamin C, an essential antioxidant.
  • Hydration – The water helps keep you hydrated.
  • Alkalizing effect – Lemons help alkalize the body and balance pH.
  • Weight loss – Some studies show lemon water may support weight loss.
  • Digestion – It helps stimulate digestive juices and bowel movements.
  • Immune system – The vitamin C in lemons may help boost immunity.
  • Kidney stones – Citric acid may help prevent calcium kidney stones.
  • Skin quality – Antioxidants in lemon water may improve skin appearance.

So drinking lemon water every day may promote overall health and wellbeing. Just be sure not to overdo the lemon juice, as excess citric acid can harm tooth enamel.

How Does Lemon Water Taste?

The taste of lemon water can vary based on how much juice you use. With only a small amount of juice, it will have a light citrusy taste. The lemon flavor will get stronger the more juice you add.

Here’s an overview of the taste with different amounts of lemon juice:

  • 2 tbsp per gallon – Subtle lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp per gallon – Light tartness
  • 4 tbsp per gallon – Tangy lemonade flavor
  • 6 tbsp per gallon – Strong puckering taste

Most people enjoy the flavor with 2-4 tablespoons of juice per gallon. Beyond 4 tbsp can start to get too sour for some. But you can adjust the quantities to suit your preferences.

Adding mint, lime, or other fruits can complement the lemon and improve the taste. Just be careful not to overpower the water with too many additions.

Can You Add Too Much Lemon Juice?

Yes, it is possible to add an excessive amount of lemon juice to water. Here are some potential issues with too much lemon:

  • Unpleasant sour taste – Excessive tartness from too much citric acid.
  • Tooth enamel erosion – High acidity can wear down tooth enamel over time.
  • Heartburn – Large amounts of citric acid can cause heartburn in some people.
  • Medication interactions – The high vitamin C may affect some drugs.
  • Gastrointestinal distress – Abdominal pain or diarrhea from too much acid.

To avoid these problems, stick to about 2-4 tablespoons (1-2 ounces) of lemon juice per gallon of water. You can gradually add more if desired, while staying below 6 tablespoons per gallon.

Drink lemon water in moderation, and avoid gulping it down. Sip it slowly over time to enjoy the benefits without adverse effects.

Should Lemon Water be Refrigerated?

Yes, it’s best to refrigerate leftover lemon water. The low temperature helps preserve the flavor and prevents microbial growth.

Refrigerating lemon water also allows the ingredients to infuse, developing a richer, more balanced taste. And serving cold lemon water can be quite refreshing.

Lemon juice is acidic, which helps prevent bacteria growth to some degree. But over time, harmful microbes could grow at room temperature.

Here are some refrigeration tips for lemon water:

  • Let lemon water cool to room temp before refrigerating.
  • Store in a sealed container up to 2-3 days.
  • If adding produce like cucumber or mint, refrigerate only 1-2 days.
  • For maximum freshness, make a new batch every couple days.

Properly stored in the fridge, lemon water can retain its safety, nutrition, and taste for up to a few days. Just be sure to discard any batches that smell or taste funky.

What Kind of Water is Best?

You can use most types of water to make lemon water, but filtered water is ideal for the best flavor.

Here is how the taste compares with different water sources:

  • Filtered water – Allows lemon flavor to shine through. No distracting tastes.
  • Spring water – Also lets lemon notes come through. Mineral taste complements citrus.
  • Tap water – Chlorine and chemicals can clash with lemon. Hurts fresh taste.
  • Distilled water – Lacks minerals, so taste is flatter. Lemons acidity is more pronounced.
  • Well water – Hard well water affects flavor profile. Sulfur smells don’t mix well.

For the cleanest, purest taste, filtered water is best. But any plain non-carbonated water allows the lemon to be the star.

Avoid using tap water high in chlorine or other chemicals that can overwhelm the lemon notes. And steer clear of sparkling waters that provide carbonation you don’t want.

Can You Make a Large Batch?

Yes, you can make lemon water in large batches. Here are some tips:

  • Use a large jug or divide between multiple containers.
  • Aim for a ratio of 2-3 lemons per gallon.
  • Squeeze lemons with a citrus press for efficient juicing.
  • Chill properly before serving.
  • Consider adding sliced fruit for visual appeal.
  • Store sealed in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days.
  • Shake or stir well before pouring each glass.

Making a large amount can save time and let you have cold lemon water readily available. Just be sure to use good refrigeration and drink within a few days for best quality.

The standard lemon juice to water ratio remains 2-3 tablespoons (1-2 oz) per gallon, regardless of batch size. Adjust the quantities of lemons accordingly.

Common Mistakes

It’s simple to make lemon water, but people commonly make some mistakes:

  • Using too little lemon juice – Won’t provide much flavor or health benefits.
  • Using too much lemon juice – Can be overpowering and damage tooth enamel.
  • Not chilling – Warm lemon water isn’t as refreshing or thirst-quenching.
  • Leaving at room temperature – Can allow microbial growth in stored batches.
  • Using old lemons – Older fruits won’t provide as much juice or flavor.
  • Waiting too long to drink – Quality declines after a couple days.
  • Using sparkling water – The carbonation doesn’t complement the lemon well.
  • Squeezing lemons imperfectly – A citrus press ensures you get all the juice out.

Be sure to use fresh lemons, filtered water, and the proper juice ratios. Chill thoroughly and drink within a couple days. Proper technique and storage prevents issues.


Why is my lemon water bitter?

The bitterness likely comes from getting some of the lemon peel or seeds in the juice, or using older lemons. Make sure to juice only the pulp, avoiding the white pith and seeds. Also use fresh lemons for maximum flavor and sweetness.

How long does lemon water last?

Properly stored in the fridge, lemon water will stay good for 2-3 days. After that, discard any unfinished batches, as the flavor and nutrition will decline.

Can lemon water help you lose weight?

Some evidence shows the pectin fiber and citric acid from lemon water can temporarily increase satiety after meals, helping reduce calorie intake. But results are mixed, and more research is needed.

Is warm lemon water as effective?

Warm lemon water can still provide benefits, but it may be harder to drink as much. Most people prefer chilled lemon water. And refrigeration helps the lemon juice infuse for better flavor.

Does lemon water affect kidney stones?

The citric acid may help prevent calcium stones, but could increase risk of oxalate stones. If you have kidney stones, talk to your doctor before regularly drinking lemon juice.

The Bottom Line

The recommended amount is the juice from 2-3 lemons per gallon of water. This provides a light, refreshing citrus flavor. Adjust the quantity to your taste preferences and the tartness of the lemons. Just don’t overdo it, as too much lemon juice can cause problems. Aim for 2-4 tablespoons (1-2 oz) per gallon as a starting point.


Lemon water is a healthy, flavorful beverage that’s easy to make. To get the perfect balance of sweet and sour, add the juice from 2-3 fresh lemons to a gallon of chilled filtered water. Starting with this ratio allows the bright citrus flavor to shine through, without excess tartness. Drink your lemon water soon after making it and store any leftovers in the fridge to retain the taste and nutrition. Customize your own favorite variation by adjusting lemon quantities and adding complementary fruits. Sip lemon water often to enjoy its many hydrating and healthy benefits.

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