This Brazilian Limeade Recipe (sometimes called Brazilian Lemonade, I’ll tell you why) is incredibly tasty! A refreshing drink made with whole limes blended up with ice water and sweetened condensed milk. It is frothy, tart, and sweet all at once! The perfect drink for a hot day.
Well, we went camping, and the good news is that we still have all 4 children here on earth in a living state. As opposed to the unliving state that could have possibly occurred. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if it would have been from natural causes or not.
I realized on this trip that camping is literally just setting yourself up for a weekend of constant emergencies and near-death-experiences. Your salsa exploded in the ice chest? Cool cool, good thing we have running water to clean that all up. Your baby refuses all food and wants to eat dirt instead? It’s got iron, relax. Your kid cut his hand with a pocket knife? We’ve got soap and bandaids in here somewhere…but first let me search through 1,000 bins of supplies.
Your kids moan in despair every time you ask them to do anything? My fingers are flexing in the strangle-hold just remembering it. (See, near death experiences, I told you.)
At one point after wrestling extremely sharp marshmallow sticks from my 1-year-old, I remember screaming, “WE are SUPPOSED to be having FUN! WHY ISN’T ANYONE HAVING FUN??”
Okay okay, I’m exaggerating, we actually did have tons of fun. Especially the kids. There is just something otherworldly about setting children loose in a forest. Their imaginations go on hyper speed and they turn into actual fairies I think. Dirt smudged, smelly fairies, but it’s magical nonetheless.
Brazilian food for the win
We have a tradition in our family of making a themed meal on Christmas Eve from a different country. We’ve done Italy, Germany, the Philippines, France, and more (check out these Thai Chicken Satay Skewers we made for our Thailand theme last year!)
Our son Edison was born just a few days before Christmas. We stayed home that year, and I thought we would skip our themed dinner tradition, because obviously I was no help. But Eric decided to do it ALL on his own. He chose Brazil and cooked us the most incredible meal ever.
He made Brazilian Lemonade, and my life has never been the same since. I was tempted to drink ALL of the giant pitcher he made. I have a soft spot in my heart for lime!
What is Brazilian Lemonade (Limeade)
Brazilian Lemonade is a totally amazing and refreshing non-alcoholic drink made from limes, not lemons. We’re just trying to confuse you here.
This is a classic Brazilian drink made all over the country. Lemons are not super common in Brazil, but limes are everywhere! “Lemon” translates to “limão” in Portuguese though, so I think that’s where the confusion started.
Another fun fact: In Brazil, they call this “limonada suiça” which translates to Swiss lemonade. No one really knows why it’s called this! Some say it’s because there is a Dutch woman on the label of the sweetened condensed milk sold in Brazil (La Lechera brand, also available in the US on the Latin foods aisle and, pro tip, usually cheaper than the US brands).
Others say it’s called limonada suiça because there was a Swiss guy living in Brazil who made up the drink. Who knows! Call it what you want, it’s crazy delicious.
Ingredients for Brazilian Lemonade
Brazilian Lemonade is a little different than the lemonade or limeade that you’re used to! Instead of juicing the limes, Brazilian Lemonade is made by tossing whole limes, peel and all, into a blender with ice water and sweetened condensed milk. Strain out the rinds and sip away! You don’t get this level of tartness from plain lime juice!
Here are the ingredients:
- 5 limes chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 2 T sweetened condensed milk (10 T or scant 2/3 cup)
- 2 cups ice water
- more ice, for serving
How to make Brazilian Limeade
It’s so easy and fast. Normally to make homemade lemonade you have to boil a simple syrup, wait for it to cool, juice a thousand lemons, etc etc.
With Brazilian Limeade, there is no bothersome zesting or boiling or juicing. You toss chopped up limes, rind and all, into the blender with some ice water.
Then you blend it up, but not too long! Only about 15 seconds of pulsing. If you blend too long, you will break up too much of the pith of the lime (the white part in between the flesh of the lime and the dark green rind) and that will make your drink bitter.
Do you see how it’s not anywhere near liquified? Don’t blend more than this. Pour the blended mixture through a strainer.
And then press, press, press to get all that liquid gold out of the limes. At this point, you could strain the limeade right into a pitcher, add the sweetened condensed milk, stir and serve. I mean. If you want subpar Brazilian limeade.
But what you REALLY should do is pour that lime juice right back into the blender, add the sweetened condensed milk, and blend until is is blissfully frothy. It’s the best part! I love the foamy texture. It’s what makes Brazilian lemonade so special!
Tips for making Brazilian Limeade
Brazilian limeade is super quick and easy to make, but there are a few ground rules you need to follow to make sure it’s done right. It IS possible to screw up this drink so listen up:
- Choose limes with thin, smooth rinds. These limes have less of the white pith, meaning they are less bitter. They are often juicier too.
Can you tell the difference? I snapped this picture on my phone at the grocery store yesterday. The top lime is nice and smooth, very easy to squeeze; the bottom two limes are rough and harder to squeeze. Choose smooth limes like the top one. (This goes for all recipes, by the way, not just today’s lemonade. Smooth, squeeze-able limes means more juice!
- Don’t blend the limes too long. This is really important! You only want to blend for about 10-15 seconds max. More than this and your pith (the white part) will have been blended too much. Your limeade will be bitter. See photos above for what it should look like!
- Adjust to taste. Every lime has a different level of juice and tartness to it, so be sure to taste your final limeade before serving. It may need a few tablespoons more water or a bit of sweetened condensed milk.
- Don’t drink after 30 minutes. Brazilian lemonade is super quick and easy. You don’t have to zest and juice a hundred limes. But the one downfall is that you have to drink it right away. Blending up the whole lime means that parts of the bitter pith end up in your drink. It’s delicious served right away, but after 20-30 minutes your drink will start to taste bitter.
- Use my Make Ahead Brazilian Limeade Recipe (found in the notes of the recipe card) if you are not serving this immediately. It has all the same ratios, you just have to zest and juice your limes first. It will last up to 24 hours in the fridge. Make it ahead, froth it in the blender just before serving, and voila!
And that’s it! Everything you need to know to enjoy this amazing Brazilian drink. Do you love Brazilian cuisine? Try these other recipes:
More Brazilian recipes to love!
- Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) << this bread requires one special ingredient but it’s SO easy to make. We made this on our Brazil dinner night and it was seriously amazing!
- Chimichurri Sauce << this goes on grilled meat like this Flank Steak
- Strawberry Lemon Caipirinha from A Dish of Daily Life
- Brazilian Flan Recipe from Brazilian Kitchen Abroad
- Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew) from Olivia’s Cuisine
More non-alcoholic drinks to try!
- Virgin Pina Coladas << these are incredibly refreshing
- Blue Cotton Candy Lemonade << this may sound weird, but I’m OBSESSED.
- Vanilla Bean Horchata << Forever and always my favorite Mexican drink!
- Easy Cucumber Lime Punch << this is so refreshing, the cucumber is delicious!
- Basil Lemonade << love herbs in my lemonade!
- Check out all my Drinks Recipes!
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Brazilian Limeade Recipe (Brazilian Lemonade)
- 5 limes, with thin, smooth rinds
- 2 cups ice water
- scant 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, about 10 tablespoons
- extra sliced limes, to garnish
- more ice, for serving
- Choose limes that have a thin skin. They should be smooth and easier to squeeze than limes with a thick rind. You will be that weirdo squeezing all the limes at the grocery store. Embrace it.
- Chop all 5 limes into small 1 inch chunks, see photos.
- Add 2 cups ice water to a blender. You can leave in a few ice cubes if you want, 5-8 is fine. Not too many, you want to make sure you have enough liquid.
- Add the chopped limes to the blender. Blend in pulses for no more than a total of 15 seconds. Do not over blend; your limeade will get bitter from the lime piths!
- Set a strainer over a large glass measuring cup, or over a bowl with a spout.* Pour the mixture through the strainer. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to press the blended limes as much as possible to get out as much liquid as you can.
- Pour the strained liquid back into the blender. Add a scant 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk to the blender. (This is 10 tablespoons, or you could measure it at 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons.)
- Blend again until it is nice and frothy.
- Serve immediately over a glass that is FULL of ice. It's very important to serve Brazilian Lemonade cold!
- IMPORTANT! You must serve this drink IMMEDIATELY! Even waiting 20-30 minutes will not do. The longer it sits, the more bitter it will become. This is because there is lime pith (the white stuff in between the flesh of the lime and the rind) in the drink, and the bitterness of the pith takes over the sweetness the longer it sits. It's super tasty served right away; not overly bitter at all. See notes for a Make Ahead Brazilian limeade recipe.
- This recipe makes about 3 cups. Don't save leftovers. Don't freeze leftovers. Live in the moment! CHUG CHUG CHUG!!!!
- 5 limes, zested and juiced
- 2 cups ice water
- scant 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
Would love to serve this at a wedding reception. But would like to make it ahead of time but it sounds like that wouldn’t work. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Hi Laurie! How fun! Guests will love it. Follow the make ahead instructions as listed in the notes. You are going to have to zest a lot of limes to avoid including the pith, which is what gives the bitter after taste for drinks that have sat out a while. Definitely do a few test runs! Enjoy!
Way too late in finding this recipe and comments but for future reference – you could skip the zesting/blending whole limes altogether and purchase a bottle of pure lime oil used for baking. I use a nice brand of citrus oil that I purchase on Amazon. It is the oils in the skin that make citrus zest so lovely. The bottles of oil are 100% citrus oil.
This was EXTREMELY GOOD!!!!!!!!
Thanks for sharing this!