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Meyer Lemon-Basil Sorbet


Sorbet is one of the easiest frozen dessert treats to make. I enjoy a scoop of sorbet, year-round. Sorbets are refreshing and a lovely palate cleanser after a heavy meal. An ice cream maker makes this easier to do, but if you don't own one, you can just freeze the mixture of any fruit juice (or puree) and then scrape it out with a fork. This recipe uses a basil-infused simple syrup. I was surprised how much I love the combination of basil and sorbet! Typically, I add a little vodka to my sorbets, which prevents crystallization (you really can't taste the vodka). This time, I added limoncello, which was perfect. You can leave out the alcohol, if you prefer.

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Rate this recipe 4.4/5 (19 Votes)


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cup white sugar (see note in directions)
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1 cup fresh Meyer** lemon juice (depending on size, 8 to 12 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon limoncello
  • Eureka lemons will work fine, too.


Preparation time 150mins
Cooking time 175mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Use only fresh basil, as dried is not going to work with this recipe. I used one cup of fresh basil leaves, washed. Set aside.

Simple syrup:

Bring water and sugar to a boil, then bring to a simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved, whisking often. NOTE: My suggestion is to add only 1-1/2 cups sugar if you prefer a bit more of a tart sorbet. The full 2-cups can be more on the sweet side.

Remove the simple syrup from the heat, and add the basil leaves. Allow to steep for at least an hour. However, after making a few batches of this, I think that at least 2 hours is ideal. The longer you steep the basil in the simple syrup, the more the basil flavor will shine through.

Strain the basil-simple syrup, cover and refrigerate until cold. (Can be done a day before).

Zest the lemons until you have about 2 tablespoons. Juice the lemons until you have one cup. Note: I made a batch with only 3/4 cup of juice and was happy with it.

If using an ice cream maker, pour the lemon juice into a spouted pitcher. Add the simple syrup and taste the mixture. This is where you can add more lemon juice, if you wish.

Add the limoncello; turn on the ice cream maker and pour the mixture. Churn until frozen (approximately 20 minute), pour into an air-tight container and freeze. To serve, allow to soften at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Tip: I like to cut off the bottom of each lemon, so that they stand upright. Scoop out the pulp, after squeezing the lemon juice, and freeze in a Zip-loc bag. These make cute serving containers.


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