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An ice cream maker bowl filled with lemon sorbet and a scoop with freshly scooped lemon sorbet in it.

SORBETS – THE RIGHT WAY

Super Lemony Sorbet

Super Lemony Sorbet

With fresh lemons, water, sugar, and tapioca starch.

This is not your usual lemon sorbet. It is called Super Lemony Sorbet for a reason. If you are looking for an easy lemon sorbet recipe, this recipe will not do. But if you are looking for an Out-Of-This-World Super Lemony Sorbet flavour with extraordinary smooth texture and mouthfeel, stick with us, for this is the Best Lemon Sorbet Ever coming out of your ice cream maker.

We use tapioca starch to thicken the sorbet mixture, which may sound odd, but it makes for a crazy silky texture. Tapioca starch gives body to the sorbet and churns it to a fluffy cloudy sorbet. It also stays perfectly soft and smooth in the freezer.

And the lemon flavour? Oh, it is Super Lemony. We intensify the lemon flavours by massaging the lemon peels with sugar. We also smash the lemon chunks into the water with an immersion blender (that’s right, no juicing is needed) to take the most out of their juices and pulp.

This recipe is original and comes after twenty years of experience in sorbet making. You will not find anything like this around. So make sure you bookmark this page. And do ask us questions in the comments; we love questions!

or see:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

Showng the ingredients of the Lemon sorbet recipe from left to right: a container with sugar, a small container with tapioca starch and a glass bowl full of fresh lemons.

Lemons: the taste of this lemon sorbet will be as good as the lemons you use. You can judge a lemon by scratching a small piece of the lemon and smelling it. If it feels good, it is perfect for this ice cream. They should also feel firm when pressed.

Whenever possible, use local, seasonal lemons. Imported lemons are coated with wax, which makes them look shiny, but it should be removed before using their peel. To remove this wax rinse the lemon under warm water while rubbing their surface with your hands.

• Tapioca starch (or corn starch): tapioca starch fis our go-to starch to thicken a sorbet mixture, for the velvety texture it creates. If you do not have tapioca starch, you can use corn starch instead, which is not the same, but it still works. 

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar). Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Water, drinkable (not shown in the picture).

Showng the ingredients of the Lemon sorbet recipe from left to right: a container with sugar, a small container with tapioca starch and a glass bowl full of fresh lemons.

Lemons: the taste of this lemon sorbet will be as good as the lemons you use. You can judge a lemon by scratching a small piece of the lemon and smelling it. If it feels good, it is perfect for this ice cream. They should also feel firm when pressed.

Whenever possible, use local, seasonal lemons. Imported lemons are coated with wax, which makes them look shiny, but it should be removed before using their peel. To remove this wax rinse the lemon under warm water while rubbing their surface with your hands.

• Tapioca starch (or corn starch): tapioca starch fis our go-to starch to thicken a sorbet mixture, for the velvety texture it creates. If you do not have tapioca starch, you can use corn starch instead, which is not the same, but it still works. 

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar). 

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Water, drinkable (not shown in the picture).

Watch us making it
The recipe

Super Lemony Sorbet

Super Lemony Sorbet

Ingredients:
Notes:

When making ice cream, prefer to weigh all the ingredients, even the liquid ones. 

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:

• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

Note that the quantities in each measuring system (grams, ounces, and cups) in our recipes may not always be accurate conversions; any deviations in conversions you may notice do not affect the outcome.

The secret to this perfectly smooth sorbet is the quantity of the sugar. Although we prefer our sorbets on the less sweet side, the sugar in this sorbet contributes to its perfectly smooth texture and prevents the formation of ice crystals.
Using that much sugar also means that the sorbet melts fast during serving. So if you are making it when the weather is hot, you may want to reduce the sugar by 30 g; 1 oz.
Another way to make the sorbet taste less sweet is to replace part of the sugar with glucose syrup (you can replace up to 50g of sugar with 50 g of glucose syrup; equal quantities in weight) and still have this perfect texture. Just make sure to add the glucose syrup in step 3 after you strain the lemon water and before you boil it, stirring to dissolve it.

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, we strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one. 

Instructions
Plan ahead:

The sorbet mixture should be completely cold before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 10 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the lemon sugar

Remove the peel from the lemons in wide strips using a vegetable peeler and place them into a large heatproof bowl.

Add the sugar (300 g; 10.6 oz) and massage thoroughly with a clean, dry hand for 2 minutes, rubbing the sugar against the lemon peels. Do not estimate the massaging time; set a timer. The sugar should be like wet sand after massaging. After massaging, there is sugar stuck on your hand; using the rubber spatula, scrape the sugar off your hand and into the bowl.

Leave to sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to one day. Keep a rubber spatula in the bowl and occasionally stir, scraping down any sugar stuck on the sides of the bowl.

While the sugar infuses, proceed with step 2.

Step 2: Make the water lemon infusion

Prepare the lemons: using a sharp knife, remove the white pith from the peeled lemons and roughly cut them into chunks, placing them into a 4-litre nonreactive saucepan.

Pour 500 g of water (17.6 oz;  2 cups) over the lemons.

Break down the the lemons into the water; with an immersion blender, smash the lemons by pressing the immersion blender against the lemon chunks and onto the saucepan to break them down. Blend, aiming to create a somewhat smooth pulp.

Cover and leave at room temperature for up to 3 hours; and in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Step 3: Prepare the sorbet mixture

Bring the lemon infusion to a boil: place the saucepan with the lemon infusion over high heat and bring to a boil (this is when bubbles vigorously start to pop over the surface).

Pour over the lemon sugar: pour the boiling lemon infusion into the bowl with the lemon sugar (& peels) and stir with a rubber spatula to dissolve the sugar.

Strain: place a fine-mesh sieve over the saucepan and pour everything over it. Warning: the bowl and its contents are HOT; make sure you use oven mitts or a dry kitchen towel to lift the bowl and handle with caution.

Extract lemon flavour: with the fine-mesh sieve still on the saucepan, gently press the lemon pulp and peels in the sieve to extract as much lemon liquid as possible. Scrape any pulp attached beneath the bottom of the sieve with the spatula and add it to the strained lemon water.

Discard the lemon pulp left in the sieve.

Add enough water to reach 1200 g. Rinse the heatproof bowl and place the bowl on the kitchen scale, with a trivet below it, to protect the kitchen scale from the heat. Turn the scale to zero (tare). Pour the lemon water from the saucepan into the bowl. The lemon water might be approx. 900 g; add enough water so that it reaches 1200 g.

Pour the lemon water back into the saucepan and bring over high heat.

Make the tapioca slurry: rinse the heatproof bowl with cold water to cool it down. Put the tapioca starch (30 g; 1 oz) into the bowl and pour 30 g; 1 oz of water over it. Whisk to create a smooth tapioca slurry.

Bring the lemon water to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a full boil (large bubbles, which vigorously pop, appear on the surface / at about 95° C / 200° F; do not overboil), remove from the heat and immediately pour it into the bowl with the tapioca slurry in one single motion.

Whisk for one minute. Notice that it will start to thicken as you whisk.

Step 4: Chill until completely cold

Cool down the sorbet mixture. Let it cool down until it is no longer hot to the touch. This takes about 3-4 hours at room temperature or 45 minutes over an ice bath. Occasionally stirring speeds up the process.

Put in the refrigerator until completely cold, about 8 hours, and up to 1 day.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the sorbet mixture must be fridge-cold (feels fridge-cold to the touch / if you have a thermometer below 12ºC / 54ºF ).

If the sorbet mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy sorbet.

Step 5: Churn the sorbet

Check if the sorbet mixture is cold before churning it: (it feels fridge-cold to the touch / below 12ºC / 54ºF).

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: with a rubber spatula give the sorbet mixture a nice, thorough stir.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the sorbet mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and steady; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 40-70 minutes.

This sorbet will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it is fluffy. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 40-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought sorbet; for now, it will be softer. It will firm up only after it sets in the freezer. So, stop the ice cream maker when the sorbet is steady and fluffy, as described above.

Note that some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the sorbet may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the sorbet, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 6: Put the sorbet in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the sorbet or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any sorbet attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· place it in the freezer, uncovered for at least 12 hours. It will scoopable for up to one day; after this it may harden, so you should transfer to a contained for longer storage (see notes below).

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

The setting time for the sorbet largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 12 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 6 hour for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

When the sorbet is ready, it feels firm as you insert a knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom. Else:

  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the sorbet stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the sorbet is easy to scoop you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the sorbet has a soft consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of a store-bought one.

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for three months, covered well.

Scooping: this sorbet stays soft for a day or two. Like all artisanal sorbets, it freezes hard in the long term. You can make it scoopable by putting it in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes until soft.

Instructions

The sorbet mixture should be completely cold before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Remove the peel from the lemons in wide strips using a vegetable peeler and place them into a large heatproof bowl.

Add the sugar (300 g; 10.6 oz) and massage thoroughly with a clean, dry hand for 2 minutes, rubbing the sugar against the peel. Do not estimate the massagin time; set a timer. The sugar should be like wet sand after massaging. After massaging, there is sugar stuck on your hand; using the rubber spatula, scrape the sugar off your hand and into the bowl.

Leave to sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours and up to one day. Keep a rubber spatula in the bowl and occasionally stir, scraping down any sugar stuck on the sides of the bowl.

While the sugar infuses, proceed to step 2.

Prepare the lemons: using a sharp knife, remove the white pith from the peeled lemons and roughly cut them into chunks, placing them into a 4-litre nonreactive saucepan.

Pour 500 g of water (17.6 oz;  2 cups) over the lemons.

Break down the the lemons into the water;  with an immersion blender, smash the lemons by pressing the immersion blender against the lemon chunks and onto the saucepan to break them down. Blend, aiming to create a somewhat smooth pulp. Cover and leave at room temperature for up to 3 hours; and in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Bring the lemon infusion to a boil: place the saucepan with the lemon infusion over high heat and bring to a boil (this is when bubbles vigorously start to pop over the surface).

Pour over the lemon sugar: pour the boiling lemon infusion into the bowl with the lemon sugar (& peels) and stir with a rubber spatula to dissolve the sugar.

Strain: place a fine-mesh sieve over the saucepan and pour everything over it. Warning: the bowl and its contents are HOT; make sure you use oven mitts or a dry kitchen towel to lift the bowl and handle with caution.

Extract all lemon flavour:  with the fine-mesh sieve still on the saucepan, gently press the lemon pulp and peels in the sieve to extract as much lemon liquid as possible. Scrape any pulp attached beneath the bottom of the sieve with the spatula and add it to the strained lemon water.

Discard the lemon pulp left in the sieve.

Add enough water to reach 1200 g. Rinse the heatproof bowl and place the bowl on the kitchen scale, with a trivet below it, to protect the kitchen scale from the heat. Turn the scale to zero (tare). Pour the lemon water from the saucepan into the bowl. The lemon water might be approx. 900 g; add enough water so that it reaches 1200 g.

Pour the lemon water back into the saucepan and bring over high heat.

Make the tapioca slurry: rinse the heatproof bowl with cold water to cool it down. Put the tapioca starch (30 g; 1 oz) into the bowl and pour 30 g; 1 oz of water over it. Whisk to create a smooth tapioca slurry.

Bring the lemon water to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a full boil (large bubbles, which vigorously pop, appear on the surface / at about 95° C / 200° F; do not overboil), remove from the heat and immediately pour it into the bowl with the tapioca slurry in one single motion. Whisk for one minute. Notice that it will start to thicken as you whisk.

Cool down the sorbet mixture. Let it cool down until it is no longer hot to the touch. This takes about 3-4 hours at room temperature or 45 minutes over an ice bath. Occasionally stirring speeds up the process.

Put in the refrigerator until completely cold, about 8 hours, and up to 1 day.

Check if the sorbet mixture is cold before churning it: (it feels fridge-cold to the touch / below 12ºC / 54ºF).

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: with a rubber spatula give the sorbet mixture a nice, thorough stir.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the sorbet mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and steady; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 40-70 minutes.

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the sorbet or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any sorbet attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· place it in the freezer, uncovered for at least 12 hours. It will scoopable for up to one day; after this it may harden, so you should transfer to a contained for longer storing (see notes below).

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

Storing: in the freezer for three months, covered well.

Scooping: this sorbet stays soft for a day or two. Like all artisanal sorbets, it freezes hard in the long term. You can make it scoopable by putting it in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes until soft.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the sorbet mixture must be fridge-cold (feels fridge-cold to the touch / if you have a thermometer below 12ºC / 54ºF ).

If the sorbet mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy sorbet.

This sorbet will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it is fluffy. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought sorbet; for now, it will be softer. It will firm up only after it sets in the freezer. So, stop the ice cream maker when the sorbet is steady and fluffy, as described above.

Note that some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the sorbet may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the sorbet, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the sorbet largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 12 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 6 hour for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

When the sorbet is ready, it feels firm as you insert a knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom. Else:

  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the sorbet stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the sorbet is easy to scoop you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

If the sorbet stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the sorbet is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -10°C / 14°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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