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After spending a day working in your yard under the hot sun, nothing hits the spot like a sweet, cool sorbet.  While I have always been a fan of sorbets it wasn’t until I got my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker that I realized how easy they were to make. 

Finding the Right Recipe
If you do a Google search for sorbet you’ll undoubtedly find thousands of variations on the basic sorbet, each incorporating a different kind of fruit.  While Lemon Sorbet is by far the most popular, I’ve been looking for a sound Lime Sorbet recipe without much luck.

I was interested in a straightforward recipe that didn’t use egg whites or alcohol to preserve a soft mouthfeel, but the few Lime Sorbet recipes I was able to find all had a component that turned me off. 

Take for example this recipe from Cuisinart that came with my Ice Cream Maker.  The recipe uses a Lemon Sorbet recipe as a base, but explains how you can use lime juice instead of lemon juice for lime sorbet.  I actually started making this recipe, but after measuring out the 6 CUPS (!) of sugar, I couldn’t go any further.  That’s almost an entire bag of sugar!  This is what it looked like in my saucepan:
Using some other sorbet recipes as a foundation I came up with this simple recipe:

Lime Sorbet Recipe
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
1 Cup Lime Juice (Freshly Squeezed!)
1 Tablespoon Lime Zest

Making the Mix
Like any sorbet, this one starts off by making a simple sugar.  Place the 2 Cups of Water, the 2 Cups of Sugar and I added a few pinches of the zest into a saucepan for color.  Stir on medium high heat until the mix starts to boil. The goal here is to get the sugar completely dissolved into the water.  You’ll be able to tell when you’ve got it right because the color of the liquid will change.  You’ll start looking something like this:
See how it’s cloudy?  You can’t see the bottom there can you? Now once its perfectly dissolved, it should look like this:
See the difference?  You can see the bottom pretty clearly now.  Take this off of the heat and let cool.  You’ll eventually want to put it in the refrigerator to get cold, but wait until its cool to the touch, no need heating up your refrigerator.

While that is cooling you can get to the fun part, smashing the hell out of some limes.  It should take about a dozen a limes to get a cups worth of juice. Now most people have some sort of device for this task which enables them to easily extract the juice from said limes.  I unfortunately did not.

It took a bit to get the juice out but here was my method:

1. Roll the whole lime on the counter putting some pressure on it.
2. Cut the lime in half.
3. Turn the lime inside-out.
4. Turn back rightside-out.
5. Squeeze the hell out of it.
6. Curse myself for biting my nails.

I was able to get a cup out of only nine small limes, so it can be done, but it’s not pretty:
An important step to remember is to strain the juice.  You don’t want all of that pulp or seeds in your sorbet, so run it through a strainer:
Now we just have to put everything together.  Pour your strained lime juice into your simple syrup and stir in the remaining zest.  Put this in the fridge to chill out for about an hour.

Colder than Ice
If you have an electric ice cream maker, you’ll enjoy the next part.  It’s freezin’ time yo! Depending on whether or not you have an electric ice cream maker, choose wisely:

I don’t have an ice cream maker!
Don’t be afraid if you don’t have an electric ice cream maker, you can still make some delicious sorbet.  All you need to do is place your mix in a rectangular cake pan and freeze.  Every half an hour or so you’ll need to scrape the ice with a fork, but eventually you’ll get to the point where you have some nice flaky lime ice.  It won’t be the same as using an ice cream maker, but its pretty close.

Ice Cream Maker Owners
Place your frozen core into the machine, assemble the other parts and turn on the machine.  Slowly, pour the mixture into your ice cream machine.  In about a half an hour you’ll have some soft sorbet.  You’ll find that this melts pretty quickly, so work fast to get it into storage.

Storing the Lime Sorbet
I like to store my sorbet in small plastic containers with lids.  Those disposable plastic containers they sell at the grocery store work great for this. 

Get your sorbet into the freezer as quickly as possible to prevent thawing.  As it sits in the freezer the sorbet will firm up, but you’ll want to eat it within a week or you’ll have freezerburn city on your hands.  I doubt it will last that long though.

Enjoying your creation
While the sorbet is great right out of the ice cream maker, I like to let mine chill for a bit in the freezer to give it some more body.  If you’re sorbet gets too hard in the freezer, leave it out on the counter for 10 minutes and it should be a perfect consistency.

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36 Responses to “Lime Sorbet Recipe”

  1. Debbie W. Says:

    This recipe is excellent. I wanted a sorbet or sherbet that wasn’t too sweet or bitter. This is the first recipe I tried and the one I’ll keep. The sorbet is tangy but not too sour tasting or sugary sweet like the commercial kind. I bought an ice cream maker and it was very easy to make. Be sure to strain the pulp from the juice. Follow the instructions above and you’ll be amazed. This may sound strange but it’s a great way to serve lime sorbet. (I got this idea from a restaurant in Florida years ago.) They served a marinated steak and a small bowl of lime sherbet with it. They said take a bite of the steak and taste of the lime sherbet to enhance the taste of the steak. I thought, “uh-huh” but it was fantastic. London broil or any marinated steak tastes 10 times better with a small serving (one small scoop, not a dessert size scoop) of lime sherbet and this recipe is perfect. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Mark Says:

    @ Debbie

    Straining the pulp is a must, the texture would be a mess without it.

    I do have to try that lime sorbet with the steak bit, sounds very interesting.

  3. FoodieView Blog » Recipe Roundup: No Bake Desserts Says:

    […] for vegans. Or try this blackberry lemon verbena sorbet to use up some in season blackberries. This lime sorbet would be a great palate cleanser. This violet granita is sure to impress anyone lucky enough to eat […]

  4. Crista Says:

    Tried this tonight with Splenda Sugar Mix instead of pure sugar – used 1 cup instead of two and it turned out wonderful with half the calories! I also suggest using a fork when juicing the limes if you don’t have a juicer. Follow all the directions of the author, but before squeezing the hell out of it, stick a fork into a center and work back and forth as you squeeze and rotate the lime. (I also did not turn them inside out.) I was able to get a cup from 7 small limes.

  5. thefoodtrekker Says:

    loved it,, I made this just as you said [which is hard for me not to change a recipe] I did microwave the Limes just for about five to ten seconds and this released more juice. I served this with a Thai coconut custard- it was yummy!!

  6. Me Says:

    I made this this week and love it. I’m really, really happy with this recipe. Thank you so much for creating it and sharing it with us. My summer will be happier because of it. :)

  7. Me Says:

    I accidentally used Key limes for this recipe (I didn’t know enough about limes to know there were different kinds) and did that every get painful in squeezing the juice by hand! But, wow. It’s so good. It tastes exactly like the store-bought Italian icee cups. Try it with Key limes sometime!

  8. Diane Hampton Says:

    I would love to try your recipe, but I’m clueless about the lime zest. What is it?

  9. Stuart Says:

    Diane, I noticed your comment and though i’m not the blog author, i can help you out :)

    Zest is the rind of the fruit… so for lime zest, you want to grate the outside of the limes. The white part of the zest/rind/skin (under the green) is bitter, so be careful to grate it lightly and shallow-ly. Zests of citrus fruits are great for a flavor burst and are often used in syrups and batters for cakes as well.

  10. Donald Hogue Says:

    We had a special delight this year with a bumper crop of red raspberries. With nothing more than simple syrup, a touch of lime juice, and we had a winner. I’m not sure it gets better than that.

    Work in progress: I have a bag of limes and a Kitchen Aid Ice Cream attachment and am setting forth to execute your recipe. I am just beginning to appreciate the power of fresh limes in many ordinarily boring recipes.

    I’ll report back romorrow after mission accomplished.


  11. Kristin Says:

    Another tip is to place a serving of lime sorbet with an ice scoop in a coctail glass. Put it in the freezer so that the glass is well and truly frosty. Pour Champagne over it and voila. It’s really nice between courses as a palet cleanser, or a light dessert !!

  12. Mandy Says:

    I learned this trick from a lemon sorbet recipe, when not using an ice cream mixer, put the liquid in a 9X13 pan then put it in your freezer. Let it firm up for about 3-4 hours then fluff with a fork. Put it back in the freezer and let it freeze through, another 3-4 hours. Pulse the frozen sorbet in a food processor for an ultra-smooth texture. Re-freeze until ready to eat…YUM!!

  13. Glenn Singer • Interviews from the Inside « The Checkerboard Guy’s Blog Says:

    […] what it’s going to be in my system: a bowl of elmers glue. I do like my friend Al’s homemade lime sorbet made in an ice cream maker with fresh limes, sugar and a little buttermilk. I might be an old […]

  14. Krisjan Olsen Says:

    Saw it, made it, love it. Just wish I had discovered this recipe at the beginning of summer. Hard to believe something so incredibly easy to make could be so incredibly delicious…YUM!

  15. Arline Says:

    Suggestion: What is the qty. that this makes? 1 Qt.? 1.5 Qts. Thanks …

  16. jean_genie Says:

    The recipe above mixes 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, and 1 cup lime juice with lime zest. 2:1 ratio of sugar to juice, probably makes a pint and a half of sorbet.

    The recipe for Cuisinart mixes 6 cups sugar, 2 cups water and 2 1/4 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice, also with lime zest. 3:1 ratio of sugar to juice, but the syrup (which you make in the same way, right before) is much thicker, and takes some serious boiling to fully dissolve. Makes a quart and a half – the Cuisinart bowl is full to the brim.

    I’m not so very worried about all the sugar, but I would be interested in learning if the texture is different. The extra sugar in the Cuisinart recipe might make the sorbet slushier, I think.

  17. Alex in Canada Says:

    my kids and I just tried this recipe, to use up a bunch of limes we had and it is perfect. thank you for posting this recipe.
    I created a post on our blog about it, and linked back to you.

  18. CP in Florida Says:

    Added some grated ginger to the boil, and it was a nice touch.

  19. Carol Barnshaw Says:

    Another good way to use this sorbet is to put a spoonful into a small bowl and pour a shot of vodka on – the perfect desert at the end of a heavy meal. In Paris they pour Calvados over apple sorbet

  20. Chef Susan Says:

    Your adventurous tales of ice cream and sorbet making remind me of making ice cream while living in a small trailer at a campground. A neighbor camper brought me a bushel of fresh rapidly-softening peaches. I made a batch of peach jam, and “cat head” biscuits (named for their size), and then decided to make ice cream to cool down the trailer, which was overheated (along with myself) after simmering the jam. I made one batch, as yours with cream and sugar, 1.5 quarts, and still had peaches left. Another neighbor, a diabetic, suggested using sugar-free soda, rather than cream, along with some of the remaining fresh peaches. I chilled the container a little without blade rotation, iced the pop in my cooler, and peeled and chilled the peaches for a total of one hour. Since I could not find any S.F. peach pop, made by Faygo, I used non-S.F., and stirred the cut up peaches and soda together in a bowl. In half an hour, the sorbet was done, and was it good! Not very natural, I admit, but try it, you’ll like it. You could probably use something like diet Sprite, if your fruit is sufficiently flavorful. My camping neighbor likes to make it with plain S.F. orange soda, as well. She learned the recipe while working as a school lunch cook in southern Alabama, where the kids loved it.

  21. Zoe, Jane & Dan Says:

    This recipe is awesome…and good fun, especially the bit about smashing the hell out of the limes.
    J, Z, D

  22. Don Says:

    I tried this only using a vita mix mixer, and did not have to strain the pulp, as it was liquefied by the smoothie blender.

    Very Good and refreshing, thanks


  23. Marion I. Says:

    hi ! I made this sorbet last week and post a link in my blog.
    Thanks for the recipe, I was goooood !

  24. Kaylin Says:

    Just made this – delicious, but still a little sweet for my taste. I’ll probably cut the sugar a little next time, or add more lime juice. Although, I did use turbinado sugar which may have made a difference. Also, I mashed up about a dozen raspberries and threw those in there (I don’t mind the chunks!)

  25. Alysha Says:

    So I am wicked excited about this recipe. I just finished it not too long ago and the mixture is in the fridge chillin now.

    I actually played a little Soccer with my limes to get the maximum juice possible. It was obviously fun and I was able to get 1 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice out of about 6 limes. I laso had the help of one of those hand-held juicers.

    This recipe even insipred me to make a mojito (not like it takes much inspiration to make a mojito though lol) Mojitos are my favorite drink, hands down, and I figured hell I already have lime juice and simple syrup. I had mint and St. John’s Rum on hand. Perfect opportunity for an amazing drink! I even threw some red currants in to make it more fun.

    Thanks for posting this! The pictures were great too! They brought some life to the page. Take care!

  26. GreenJello Says:

    Mmmmmm…. so good! I omitted the lime zest, but put the lime juice in unfiltered. This recipe is a definite keeper!

  27. Tyler Says:

    Get one of those hand held juicers bartenders use… they work wonders and leave the limes out on the counter for a while or stick em in the microwave for a few seconds to warm em up you get more juice….you can get like a cup of lime juice from less than 9 limes …sry if its been mentioned just didnt want to read all the comments lol

  28. Linda M Says:

    Great recipe and photo tutorial! I’ve used your recipe (with a couple of tweaks — increased sugar by 1/4cup and added a shot of triple sec) since this spring and really enjoy ot.

  29. Owen Says:

    I’ve heard (but haven’t tested) that substituting some of the regular sugar in ice-cream with glucose syrup stops it from going hard once frozen. Sucrose (regular sugar) is suppose to start crystallising once frozen, but glucose doesn’t crystallise.

    I have some glucose and hundreds of limes on our tree to test this theory – too bad it’s winter and far from sorbet weather.

  30. ....=) Says:

    the recipe must’ve been good. but i put 1 cup of suger and 1 cup of water instead by accident! and it tasted horrible!!! so i just melted it and added the rest of the sugar and water and it tasted great!! thanks!=)

  31. Megan Says:

    Fantastic recipe, I will make this one over and over again (and maybe incorporate it into a fabulous margarita recipe). Thanks for sharing and providing step by step directions for dummies like me!

  32. Sam Says:

    Good recipe but I recommend to lower the sugar or increase the water because it’s way to sweet I had to add extra water after it was finished.

  33. Travis Says:

    Zest is the top green layer of the lime. It carries essential oils that supercharge the flavor of the sorbet. Use a micro-plane zesting tool or the finest setting on your box grater and just take off the colored layer, don’t grate into the white pith. Pith is bitter and will not be good in your sorbet!

  34. Laura Says:

    Thank for the great recipe! I just made it and realized that I might want to invest in some kind of juicing devise before I make it again. Just adding some tequila to the sorbet makes an EXCELLENT margarita too.

  35. Marky Says:

    Testimony that the Cuisinart recipe for Lime Sorbet doesn’t work. I followed it and thought the ratio of sugar to water was way too high but, what do I know? I just got the machine and can’t wait to have some delicious sorbet to eat. I’ve been trying to freeze that stuff for the last two days. It won’t freeze! I finally just put the syrup in a pan in the freezer and it still won’t freeze! It defies freezing! What a lot of work and frustration. Still no sorbet!
    Thanks for your recipe.

  36. Allison Says:

    Thanks for this great recipe! It was delicious and refreshing. Also, thanks for the images. As a novice cook, I appreciate having the pictures to make help keep me on track!

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