Sicilian lemon granita recipe (granita al limone)

This lemon granita is absolutely delicious, super fresh, and very easy to make. We could also prepare it with other fruit juices, the most common flavors are oranges, tangerines, or grapefruits although one of my favorites is Meyer lemons which are a mix between lemon and mandarin.

Granita is born in Italy, more specifically in Sicily,  where the lemon granita is traditional and called “granita al limone”. Sicilian lemons are characterized by not being so sour. We can find this Italian ice all over Italy, for example in Messina it`s usually made of coffee granita, or in Catania of almonds.

What is a granita?

It´s defined as a refreshing drink made exclusively with sugar, water, and something to give it flavor (citrus juice, coffee, or even jasmine), it´s like a sort of Italian ice cream that´s NOT made with special equipment (churn or ice cream maker) because it´s a more “primitive” version, like a frozen lemonade. You simply have to freeze it while shaking it from time to time and then scrape it with a fork to get crystals. Dairy products will never be added, the main idea of this refreshing dessert is to be fresh and VERY light, perfect to finish some too-greasy food, like an osso buco or lasagna.

What´s the difference between granita, sorbet, slush, and ice cream?

In granitas, the size of the crystals varies according to taste, but they are more “noticeable” than in a sorbet and less than in a slush (which is made from crushed ice to which a flavoring is added, so it has larger ice crystals) Ice cream is a broader category that includes all of the above and also all versions with dairy (which the others do not usually include)

Tips for this easy lemon granita:

Although this simple lemon granita recipe has very few simple steps, there are details that we must pay attention to:

1. When grating we must be careful not to reach the flesh of the lemon (the white part) since it would give us a slightly bitter taste.

2. When our Sicilian lemon granita is frozen, it is very important to stir it occasionally, so we will prevent all the lemon zest from remaining in one layer and it will have a smooth texture.

Substitutions and variants:

So as you can see, this recipe is a base for you to prepare to your taste, for example, a granita made of fresh lemon juice and fresh mint leaves, or coffee with touches of cinnamon or orange peel.

You can make it with alcohol, like limoncello, prosecco, gin, or vodka, simply adding it before freezing, I recommend not adding more than one-third of the volume of liquor to the volume of the granita. But if you really want a cocktail, look at this summer cocktail recipes.

How would you like to prepare yours?
5 from 8 votes

Lemon granita

This Sicilian granita is the lemon version of granitas. it´s absolutely delicious, super fresh, and very easy to make, perfect on a hot summer day! We could also prepare it with oranges, tangerines or grapefruits.

Course Dessert, icecream
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy lemon ice cream, lemon granita, lemon ice, lemon ice cream, lemon icecream, lemon icecream without icecream maker, lemon snow
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Frozen 3 hours
Servings 2 cups
Calories 240 kcal


  • 6 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice without seeds or pulp
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. In a small pot make a simple syrup: combine water and sugar, heat over medium heat, and cook until it begins to boil, stirring occasionally for the sugar melts.
  2. Turn off the heat and let it cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until the syrup is completely cold.
  3. Mix the cold sugar syrup well, with the juice and lemon zest.
  4. Put the lemon juice mixture into a bowl (I prefer it to be glass) and take it to the freezer.
  5. In regular intervals stir the lemon mixture until it is completely frozen to obtain a consistent texture (it should take between 2 and 3 hours)
  6. With a fork, scrape the granita so it has a similar consistency of soft snow.

  7. Put in serving glasses with a large spoon or small bowls and enjoy this sicilian dessert!

Nutrition Facts
Lemon granita
Amount Per Serving
Calories 240
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

7 thoughts on “Sicilian lemon granita recipe (granita al limone)”

  1. What delicious lemon granita recipe. Is absolutely delicious, super fresh and very easy to make this summer. My daughters are in love with this recipe. Thanks for sharing.5 stars


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