Make this delicious dragon fruit lemonade using fresh lemons and a whole dragon fruit! It is so easy to make (no need to make a simple syrup), healthy and the best refreshing summer drink to enjoy on a hot day.
I didn't eat dragon fruit until a few years ago and barely knew it existed before, even the foodie that I am.
My ignorance ended that day I went grocery shopping with our kids and I asked my son to choose a fun new fruit from the store. He pointed at a pink oval funky looking fruit asking what it is. Well, let me just say that the word "dragon" does not go unnoticed by my 4 y/o Zachary. So, dragon fruit it is.
(Just as a side note, if you have young kids like me and trying to get them to eat more fruits, then dragon fruit is the answer! It definitively has a mysterious fun look that kids enjoy, but also a very mild taste. And it's really fun to eat.)
So, since we now always need-dragon-fruits-so-we-can-turn-into-dragons (ok sure, Zach), I have been looking at other ways to enjoy them. We usually just cut them in half and eat the flesh using a spoon digging straight into the fruit. But, including them in fruit salads, lettuces, bowls and... lemonades makes the recipes so much more interesting!
And can we just say how beautiful the drink looks? Ok, I might have something for pink drinks, but really, imagine yourself super thirsty on a very h-o-t day with a burning sun, how would a pink dragon fruit lemonade make you feel?
And I have to say that the inspiration for this healthy summer drink not only comes from my mini dragon, but also from the mango dragon fruit refresher at Starbucks. This cold drink is pretty good, but instead of having to ask what is in the drink exactly and can-you-make-it-with-less-sugar-please (I can be quite annoying at Starbucks), I thought I would try making something up myself that's a little healthier. They actually use freeze-dried dragon fruit at Starbucks, but I thought using the whole fruit would be more fun!
What is a dragon fruit
Also named pitaya or strawberry pear, dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that originates from Mexico and South America, but now grows in many other places in the world.
There are different kinds of dragon fruit. The most common one has a white flesh with small black seeds, along with a pink-green skin (scaly looking-hence the dragon name). You might also find a bright pink flesh dragon fruit (harder to find) and a yellow skinned version.
The flavor of the dragon fruit is very mild and only slightly sweet. It tastes something in between the pear and kiwi with a texture similar to a watermelon. You can usually substitute kiwi for dragon fruit in most recipes!
Dragon fruit lemonade ingredients
- Fresh medium size dragon fruit. White or pink flesh work great (don't worry, I'll show you how to turn your drink pink even with the most common white flesh version)
- Fresh lemons. You will need something in between 4-6 lemons to get 1 cup of juice you need for this recipe.
- Agave nectar. I like using this sweetener as it mostly has no flavor other than being sweet. Maple syrup works too, although it will give your drink a maple-ish mild flavor. If you are used to making sweet drinks and usually use a simple syrup, then use this instead!
- And water.
How to make this dragon fruit lemonade
Making a lemonade from scratch is actually super simple, there is absolutely no good reason to get the pre-made mix! You will have to squeeze the juice out of a few lemons, sure, but that's the only "hard" work for this recipe. And a little work will make you feel like you really deserve the lemonade.
1- Peel the dragon fruit
- You could simply cut the fruit in half and scoop the flesh out using a spoon. BUT, if you want your lemonade to turn slightly pink, then manually cut the thick peel out using a knife, while doing your best to keep some of the softer pink layer. (Check out the video)
2- Make the dragon fruit purée
- Transfer the fruit (about 1 ½ cup) to a blender along with 1 cup of water. Then, depending of what you want, you can do a full blast blend and completely crush the fruit to a super smooth purée. I prefer keeping some texture to the drink, so I like to do a gentle blend until mostly crushed, but still with some small chunks.
3- Juice the lemons
- There are different ways to juice lemons, but I like to use a simple hand glass juicer. If you are planning on making lemonades often, then it might be worth it to get an electric juicer, but again, manually juicing takes 5 minutes (and is kind of more satisfying, anyway).
4- Combine in a pitcher and adjust
Simply pour the dragon fruit purée, lemon juice, agave nectar (or other sweetener) and water in a large pitcher. Stir very well until the sweetener is all dissolved. Taste and adjust.
We like a more tart lemonade around here, but if you do prefer sweeter drinks or if you make it for kids, then add more sweetener (and water), if desired. It's all about getting to the right ratio of lemon juice, sugar and water that's right for you, so tweak the recipe as you need.
Watch how to make it
Can I make this lemonade using bottled lemon juice instead?
I suppose you can, it would provide more of a strong tangy/sour taste typically used to make a lemonade. But, it won't be the same as a freshly squeezed lemonade. Of course. So, choose at your own risk.
Add plenty of ice cubes in a glass and pour the lemonade over. Drink immediately, as the ice cubes will melt eventually and dilute your drink.
If you are serving this lemonade when people are coming over and you know you will drink the whole batch, then you can also add some ice cubes to the pitcher itself with some extra slices of lemon for better look.
How to store this dragon fruit drink
This summer drink is obviously better when chilled, so keep the lemonade in the fridge for storage. If making this lemonade with some texture as I do, then make sure to stir well before serving, as the chunks of fruits will quickly sink to the bottom.
Other refreshing summer drinks you might like
I hope you enjoy this fruity lemonade recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Dragon Fruit Lemonade
- 1 large dragon fruit (about 1 ½ cups) - pink or white flesh, peel removed
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup agave nectar or maple syrup - or to taste, can also use simple syrup
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)
- Blend together the dragon fruit with 1 cup of water until desired texture (I like to gently blend to keep some small chunks of fruit for added texture).
- Transfer the dragon fruit mixture to a lemonade pitcher and add the remaining 4 cups of water, lemon juice and sweetener. Stir, taste and adjust the sweetener and/or water, if necessary.
- Can be served immediately over a glass filled with iced cubes. Store in the fridge to chill and stir well before serving. Enjoy!
- If you have a white flesh dragon fruit and want a pink lemonade, then you can peel the fruit removing the outer layer using a knife while keeping some of the softer bright pink layer (see video).