Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than watermelon lemonade! It seriously packs a punch and quenches your thirst. I added some basil for a little extra freshness. Check out my tips to bring together these ingredients for the punchiest lemonade on the block! Originally posted August 28, 2013.

Overhead shot of watermelon lemonade with lemon slices in pitcher on wooden table.

Don’t you love giving all of your imminent responsibilities the finger and taking a weekend getaway? Oh wait. Except that I’m a stay-at-home-mom and my primary responsibility is taking care of my kids…here’s where that analogy falls apart.

What we should have done this weekend: Put 2nd and 3rd coats of white paint on the 70s wood paneling in our living room. Taped the rest of the room. Bought gray paint. Painted. Found recruits for moving the next weekend. Found a moving truck. Tried not to strangle each other.

What we did: Dropped our kids off at my parent’s. Drove to the coast. Went to a concert that we had free tickets for. Ate greasy delicious overpriced food. Went kayaking in the ocean. Went antique shopping. Ate halibut and cheesecake.

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Two glasses full of watermelon lemonade with basil leafs artfully placed at the top next to a bowl of watermelon cubes.

In retrospect, I have no regrets. I mean, who wants to be painting when you could be kayaking?

I still am pretty committed to getting our main living room painted before we actually move in. Now I only have 3 days left to finish. Still worth it.

Half full pitcher of bright red watermelon lemonade on a wooden outdoor table.

How to make Watermelon Lemonade

As I’m stress packing I wanted to share my own watermelon lemonade recipe with you guys. It’s seriously one of the most refreshing drinks! I mean, water is great, for sure. The stuff of life. Everybody these days is carting around their organically-sourced metal or glass 64 oz water flasks being all healthy. But I just can’t do it, guys! I need to drink more water but I’m just not trendy enough and I get bored trying to hydrate the old fashioned way.

Enter this watermelon lemonade! What means summer more than watermelon? I’ve got several little children in the house that turn their noses up at so many foods, but never watermelon! It’s sweet, crisp, and so juicy. When making this drink, you blend the watermelon to make a puree and also include cubed watermelon in the drink. Mix that with the tartness of lemonade and you’ve got a pairing that will have you delightfully floating on those blisteringly hot days.

Watermelon Basil Lemonade

There’s one more ingredient that takes it to the next level: BASIL. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t jumped on the basil-is-yummy-in-sweet-things-bandwagon. It just sounded weird to me. Basil is for pesto and pizza, not dessert. But then I went to a restaurant a few weeks ago and tried their Watermelon Basil Lemonade…I’m a convert. This recipe is not light on the basil flavor, so if you are dubious you might want to decrease it a little. But try to overcome your dubiousness. I promise, it is delicious!

overhead shot of watermelon lemonade in clear glass with ice and basil leaf.

Is this not the perfect summer drink? Please stand up and give a round of applause to watermelon and basil, folks!

Watermelon Lemonade FAQs

What flavors go well with watermelon Lemonade?

I love adding an interesting herb to my lemonades and this one obviously includes basil, which is easy to grow or find at the store. Fresh mint is even more popular for lemonades and could replace the basil in this recipe.
For a spicy lemonade, try steeping jalapeño slices in the lemonade while in the refrigerator or adding slices to the blender with the watermelon puree. Or you could sprinkle tajín powder in individual drinks for a nice bite of spicy flavor.

Should I use seeded or seedless watermelon?

Here’s the thing: seeded watermelons just have a richer, fuller taste than the seedless variety. But the taste comes at a price: those little black seeds! When making lemonade it’s your choice on how to handle it.
For the blended watermelon puree, you can just leave the seeds in there. The blender should chop them up. As for the watermelon cubes, you can take the step to carve them out or just leave them in and deal with the consequences. It’s all about what is more convenient and how quickly you want your lemonade!

More delicious summer drinks to try!

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Watermelon Lemonade

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Nothing is more refreshing on a hot day than watermelon lemonade! It seriously packs a punch and quenches your thirst. I added some basil for a little extra freshness. Check out my tips to bring together these ingredients for the punchiest lemonade on the block!


  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, fresh, packed
  • 1 cup lemon juice, juice from 4 fresh lemons, rinds reserved
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups watermelon
  • fresh basil leaves, to garnish
  • watermelon wedges, to garnish


  • In a 4-quart bowl or heat-proof pitcher, use the back of a wooden spoon to bruise 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves. Beat em up pretty good if you really like basil (see note). Add the fresh lemon juice and the sugar and stir well. Pour the boiling water over juice mixture, and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Put the 3 cups of watermelon in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into the lemon mixture, then add in the reserved lemon rinds.
  • Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard rinds. Strain through a colander (or a mesh sieve if you want it really smooth) into a pitcher. Add watermelon wedges and fresh basil leaves. Stir before serving.


You can reduce the basil if you’re worried about it being too strong, but give it a try! Mint would be another great option to use in the same proportions.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 488IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Calories: 193
Keyword: Basil, lemonade, Watermelon
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. Mmm! I love watermelon and basil! Actually my favorite drink at one of my local restaurants is the strawberry basil gimlet…to die for! Can’t wait to try this drink out, thanks Karen!

    1. The first time I tried any drink with basil in it was a watermelon basil lemonade at a local restaurant and it totally changed how I think about basil. So good! Let me know if you try it Beeta!

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