Credit: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist:Christine Keely Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe Summary

5 hrs 15 mins
30 mins

Ditch the ice cream and the popsicles: This summer, we'll be cooling off with easy, low-maintenance granitas. This frozen dessert hails from Sicily, where granita was originally made with snow from Mt. Etna topped with flavored syrup. Lemon is one of the most common flavors; other popular flavors include coffee and almond. In Sicily, granita is commonly eaten for breakfast with a brioche, but this Lemon Granita can be enjoyed at any time of day.

The texture of this granita is light like a snow cone, melting while you eat it to gain a texture similar to frozen lemonade. Only 3 ingredients are required to toss together this refreshing dessert—one of them being water. Meyer lemons really shine in this frozen dessert, with sweetness on the front and a slightly tart aftertaste. Stirring and scraping the granita while it freezes prevents the development of large ice crystals. Using a glass dish helps with even freezing—if you use a metal pan, the edges will freeze much faster than the center.

This Lemon Granita is perfect to help you cool down on a hot summer day. Serve with brioche for a Sicilian-style breakfast or mid-morning snack; or, of course, enjoy it on its own for dessert.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook water, sugar, and lemon peel strips in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup starts to simmer, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding peel. Let syrup cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Whisk lemon juice into cooled syrup.

  • Pour mixture into a 2½-quart glass baking dish. Freeze just until edges start to set, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from freezer. Using a wire whisk or fork, scrape up and stir frozen parts, breaking up large ice crystals. Return mixture to freezer, and repeat scraping and stirring process every 20 minutes, until consistency of mixture is in between that of a frozen carbonated beverage and that of sorbet, about 4 hours.

  • To serve, fluff with a fork, and spoon 1 cup granita into each individual serving glass. (For a smoother texture, remove from freezer 5 minutes before serving, and pulse with an immersion blender until it reaches the consistency of soft snow.) Garnish with a thin lemon wedge and fresh mint.