ITALIAN LEMON GRANITA (Semi-Frozen Dessert): The Best Recipe


Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings.

Originally from Sicily, it is available throughout Italy in varying forms.

It is related to sorbet and Italian ice; however, in most of Sicily, it has a coarser, more crystalline texture.






  • 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.) 

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.





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