lemon sorbet

When I was fifteen, I went on a summer family cruise to Turkey, Greece, and Italy. One stop in Sorrento and my love affair with lemons (and subsequently lemon sorbet) began. Sorbetto di limone, or lemon sorbet, as we call it, is a lemon dessert in its finest form. It is tart and sweet, icy and refreshing, and it is the perfect finish to a summer meal.

To make this sweet-tart, refreshing summer dessert, I called on my friends at Williams-Sonoma, who graciously lent me their Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Compressor. This thing is a total beast and made the production of 128 ounces of this lemon sorbet (in bulk for Fizzi Fest) an absolute breeze.

What makes this ice cream maker different from its competition is that it’s completely hands-off. No rock salt, churning, or even really babysitting. It has a soft to hard setting that you can adjust (depending on if you’re making gelato, sorbet, or ice cream), and it’ll even alert you that it’s time to add the cookie dough (because what other mix-ins could there possibly be?). The cutest touch is that when it’s done, it plays the traditional ice cream truck song.

Growing up in Brooklyn, I have fond childhood memories of Italian ice, a kind of sorbet you most often eat on a street corner in a wrinkled paper cup. Sorbet is essentially a frozen, flavored simple syrup. If you have the necessary equipment, it’s essentially hands-off after the simple syrup stage. You can even make the syrup ahead of time, combine the ingredients together and process. Bellissimo!

lemon sorbet
5 from 1 vote

Lemon Sorbet (Sorbetti di Limone)

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword lemon sorbet, sorbetti di limone
Prep Time 20 minutes
Processing time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Author Amanda


  • 1 and ¼ cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 and ¼ cup lemon juice


  1. Combine the 1 and ¼ cups water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 minute until all sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add zest to syrup, pour into a glass measuring cup or bowl and let cool in the freezer.
  4. When cool, add lemon juice and 1 cup ice-cold water (stir until ice meltto syrup, stir, and pour into bowl of ice cream maker.
  5. Process in ice cream maker according to directions.
  6. Transfer to a freezable container and keep in freezer up to one week.

Recipe Notes

You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe.

You’ll also need a lot of lemon juice to make 128 ounces of this sorbet.

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23 thoughts on “Homemade Lemon Sorbet (Sorbetto di Limone)”

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  4. Ha! That’s right– I forgot about the quenelle challenge! I am making cantaloupe sorbet today. Thinking that’ll be my medium! 🙂

  5. Well the Instant Pot is not the Vita Mix! It didn’t give me the same beautiful results for Gazpacho that the Vita Mix does. BUT we were amazed that it did grind ice to a snowball consistency–almost what the Sno-Wizard (what is mostly used in NO) does. I’d still rather have the Vita Mix–but if you can’t have the one you love…
    Looking forward to your post on ice cream quenelles you make.!!!!

  6. Toni,
    I absolutely love my Cuisinart compressor. I made frose at Williams Sonoma in the Breville (amazing) and I’m making it again right now in my compressor. Posting the recipe soon. A few weeks ago I made a simple vanilla custard-based ice cream and tossed Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough chunks in it–TDF!

  7. While not an ice cream maker (and PLEASE post your results and review on the item) we just got the Instant Pot blender. I’ve borrowed my neighbors Vita-mix; will post the outcome of gazpacho next time I make it. Can’t wait to see what you make w it–even Froze! You can have a frozen cocktail or wine in minutes!

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed that read! I ordered the Cuisinart from Williams Sonoma in-store, as they price matched to Amazon, which made it almost half the price of the Breville. I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of ease of use for smoother ice cream at half the price! 🙂

  9. I do recall some of the reviews mentioning that. I do like making frozen desserts/ice-cream but not that much to justify the cost differential. I did David Lebovitz’s frozen dessert–Ginger white chocolate, cranberry, orange sorbet with my neighbors older machine and it was sufficient. However, if money weren’t an issue…

  10. The biggest difference I can tell is in the settings. The Breville has over 10 hardness settings ranging from sorbet to ice cream and automatically senses when it reaches that hardness, then switches to keep cool. The Cuisinart has gelato and ice cream settings.

  11. Please let me know how it performs –maybe WS will let you take it for dry run for Lemon Baby? I’d really like to what, if any differences are. You just missed some big sales for Memorial Day! Check out Overstock as well–with their almost daily coupons they’ll probably be competitive in costs. Sur La Table as well–although I think WS SLT are the two most expensive stores for appliances.

  12. I think I’m sold on the Cuisinart ICE 100. Going to suss it out in-store. Williams Sonoma does price matching, too.

  13. The container does lift out of the Breville. I’d have to try the Cuisinart with the compressor, honestly, to be able to see. I had zero issues using the Breville and loved how easy it was!

  14. I borrow a lovely neighbor’s older compressor model –a 10 year old (ish) Delonghi –the reviews I’ve read actually suggest the Cuisinart 100 as the model of choice–and considering Wayfair and others put it on sale off-season for UNDER $200–I lean towards that. The Breville is almost double in cost, with pros and cons for each. If you make a LOT of ice-cream frequently I guess the Breville is the way to go. But the Cuisinart is lighter, less noisy (supposedly) and easier to clean. I think the drawback was the cheap paddle. The container lifts out on the Cuisinart but doesn’t (if memory serves me correctly) for the Breville. That’s a big plus. But I’d trust someone like you–to better provide a reliable answer than some on-line review!

  15. Toni, I haven’t used any other model, ever, except for a hand crank one that used rock salt! I’m currently shopping for one, let me tell you! What do you have?

  16. Sounds lovely! Have you used the Cuisinart ICE-100? I would really like to hear from someone who has actually used both to determine the better model.
    I was hooked on Sorrento after watching a Giada and other Food Network on the Lemons of Sorrento. We planned our vacation around them and other local foods.

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