Lemon Granita Recipe from Sicily

Since good lemon granita can be found just about everywhere in Sicily(see my post with tips on finding good granita), Fresh lemon granitait would be rare for anyone in Sicily to make lemon granita at home.  However, the rest of the world is not so fortunate, so when you crave lemon granita, try this recipe.  It does not require any special equipment other than a blender or food processor.

While the texture may not be exactly like a Sicilian lemon granita, it will be close, and the taste sublime. This makes a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day, or have it for breakfast, like a true Sicilian.

Lemon Granita Recipe


1 qt (1 liter) water
¾ cup (150 gr) sugar

2/3 cup (150ml) lemon juice (4 lemons)
Zest of 4 organic lemons


Peel the zest from the lemons and set aside.  Squeeze the lemons to make 2/3 cup (150 ml) lemon juice.

In a large non-reactive pot, heat the water with the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes, stirring to make sure the sugar is dissolved.  Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.  Cover and let steep for 30 minutes. 

Strain the mixture into one or two non-reactive containers that will fit into your freezer.  Let cool to room temperature, cover and freeze until partially frozen, which should take several hours. (If mixture become totally frozen, don’t worry- I realize you have a life and may not be hanging around checking the granita on an hourly basis.) 

glass of lemon granita

Take the partially or completely frozen granita out of the freezer and leave it at room temperature until you can break it up into hunks with a large spoon.  Grind these hunks in a food processor or blender until it is the consistency of soft snow.  Return to freezer until ready to serve.  If it freezes too hard, let the granita sit at room temperature for a few minutes, then work the mixture with the back of a large metal spoon until soft. 

Serve in glasses or small bowls garnished with lemon verbena or mint.  Serves 4-6.

Another Sicilian summer refreshment:

Homemade Sour Cherry Soda

Other posts about Sicily:

Looted Silver Returns to Sicily

Bartering for Caciocavallo Cheese

18 thoughts on “Lemon Granita Recipe from Sicily

  1. Thank you for this fabulous recipe. I stumbled across your blog while doing a google search for lemon granita. I currently live at the foot of Mt. Etna and of course granita is so plentiful that I do not have to make it at home. But I wanted to know how and to try my hand at it nonetheless 🙂

    1. Thanks. As you said, there are no shortage of places to get lemon granita where you live. Do you have a favorite place near you or in Catania that you can recommend to our readers?

  2. I want to eat, drink and swim Italy with you! Everything looks divine! Thank you for sharing the beautiful food and beautiful country!

  3. My background is Sicilian but I was born in Australia. I made this recipe last night and had it with brioche for breakfast this morning – delicious! Thank you 🙂

    1. Ciao Danielle – I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed a Sicilian-style breakfast in Australia and that my lemon granita recipe turned out well. Saluti, Anita

  4. Hi Anita, I’ve just spent 2wks in Pozzallo, Sicily. Nino’s serves the very best of lemon granitas with their brioche. We just caught the last of their mulberry granitas – just yum! Will try out the lemon granita recipe when I get back to Australia.

  5. Hi Krystyna – Will check out Nino’s next time I’m in the neighborhood. I love mulberry granita too! Let me know how you lemon granita turns out. Ciao, Anita

  6. Hello Anita ,
    I am Sicilian too born but live in Melbourne.
    Thank you for your recipe for Granita, my family loved it. Now I know what to do with all my organic lemons I get each year. Will try lemon chello if I can get a hold of the spirit… Thanks again x

    1. Maria – Glad to hear the granita was a hit in Melbourne. When I have a lot of ripe lemons, I sometimes squeeze and freeze the juice to use in grantia in the warm weather.

  7. I’m another Siculo-australiano. I made this with
    as I happen to have I lime tree which is
    out of control. It’s very nice. I sometimes
    top it with a little vodka or frangelico before I
    mangia. Yummy.

  8. My husband is Italian Canadian, family is from the very north. We make Granitas out all many fruits, serve them like a sorbet between courses. Lemon is one of our favourites, but really like strawberry balsamic too. BTW we also make our own limoncello.

  9. Got a recipe for limoncello from the the good food book was left with lots of lemons googled and yours came up am trying today in a damp miserable Scotland looking forward to returning to Sicily my fathers law was Sicilian from his mother was from Vita and his father was from Siracusa
    I live in the wrong country (beautiful as it is) heart somewhere else Ciao grazie Margaret

  10. I’ve recently returned home to australia from a trip to Lipari and there magnificent Granita i miss them so much so i have been searching for a traditional lemon granita recipe, thankyou i will try this.

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