Beat the heat with this tart and spicy sorbet, a twist on a traditional lemon sorbet. A simple trick gets it oh-so-smooth without the beaten egg white often called for in lemon sorbets. Bring out the ginger and cardamom in the syrup with an overnight rest in the fridge. Use any leftover syrup as a mixer! You’ll be making Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet on repeat this summer!

Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet: beat the heat

This sorbet, my friends. Tart with lemons and lime and tons of zest. Spicy with ginger and cardamom. Softened with a bit of vanilla.  On a hot day, you are going to be so happy to have Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet in your freezer. That the syrup doubles as a tasty mixer only makes it that much more likely that you’ll be making this on repeat.

An experimental riff

I love a classic lemon sorbet, and I’ve been meaning to make one since I got my ice cream maker, but I get distracted with things like riffing on Finnish blueberry soup. When we had hot weather in the forecast, I thought Aha! I shall finally make that lemon sorbet.

But then I had had some ginger on hand, and some limes, and I started to get ideas. It took a couple of takes before I got the syrup right. The first time, I added a bit too much vanilla and didn’t grate the ginger, for fear that it would not strain out. The result was delicious, but more vanilla than ginger, and not enough citrus. A good mixer for bourbon or dark rum, but not right for a refreshing sorbet. The second one was closer, but I didn’t get enough of the zest.

Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet

Third try did the trick for Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet

Third time was the charm, but I had my doubts. I was concerned about finely grated lime zest and grated ginger not straining out, and I worried that I had not removed enough of the pith from my lemon strips. And, finally, close to a cup of citrus juice seemed like a lot, even for someone who likes tart as much as I do. It was just the right amount.

Do remember to chill that syrup overnight, because that’s what brings out all the flavor (this goes for any sorbet or ice cream—it’s a really important step).

Spiced Citrus Sorbet: Blend
Blending the syrup with water (2:1 ratio) just before freezing makes for a perfect texture

Do I really have to add egg whites?

Generally, I make sorbets by making a simple syrup, blending some fruit with a bit of water, and then adding the syrup and straining. Citrus based sorbets are a bit different in that, generally, you haven’t blended your fruit into a simple syrup. Sorbets already run a risk of having an icy texture, and this one definitely seemed like it could go that way.

I saw a lot of lemon sorbet recipes that called for beaten egg whites. I did not feel like futzing with folding, especially when it’s hot. I mean, if that was the only way to get it to work, fine, but I wanted to see if there was another way.

Enter the blender

Then I found this recipe that used a blender to whip air into the mixture just before freezing in the ice cream maker. I decided to go with that, plus adding a little less water than I normally would. I also give this recipe credit for getting a little bolder with the amount of citrus in the syrup.

Perfection—Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet

Perfection. This sorbet came out of the machine with such a smooth texture, and it froze beautifully. I might try using the blender for my other sorbet recipes.

The flavor, too. My goodness. Yum. You’ll find yourself going back for more Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet, and it’s fine, because it’s most light!

Recipe and video below. Let me know if you make it and what you think in the comments!

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Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet

Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet

Tart and spicy, Spiced Lemon-Lime Sorbet beats the heat. The smooth texture, obtained with a simple trick, makes this perfect on its own, but don't let that stop you from adding it to prosecco (use any leftover syrup as a delightful mixer).
The secret to getting all the flavor, like with other sorbets, is to let the syrup chill in the fridge at least overnight. It's tempting to just make it right away, but your patience will be rewarded.
TIP: While your sorbet churns, put all of your containers utensils in the freezer so that everything stays cool while you work.
See note for how to make sorbet if you do not have an ice cream maker.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Churning 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 quart


  • 1 Ice cream maker
  • 1 Fine mesh strainer


For the Spiced Lemon-Lime Syrup

  • 180 g granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 large lemons, zest peeled into strips and juiced be careful to not get pith. You should have a little over a half cup a juice. If not, juice another lemon
  • 1 lime, zest finely grated and juiced you should have a total of at least ¾ juice between the lime and the lemon
  • 1 tsp grated ginger to taste, I used a little more
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • water, as needed to get 1 cup of liquid

To Make the Sorbet

  • 2 cups Spiced Citrus Syrup
  • 1 cup ice water


Make the Spiced Lemon-Lime Syrup

  • Add the sugar and zest to a sauce pan. With your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. This helps to extract the oils from the zest incorporated
    Spiced Citrus Sorbet
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the sauce pan and heat over low heat just until the sugar is melted. Leave to cool completely and steep on the stove
    Spiced Citrus Sorbet: Adding the Lemon and Lime Juice
  • When cool, using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a clean glass container. You shouldn't have ginger or zest in the mixture, but if you do, you could strain again before making your sorbet
    Spiced Citrus Sorbet Syrup
  • Chill for at least four hours, but preferably overnight to allow the flavors to develop.
    Spiced Citrus Sorbet Syrup

To Make the Sorbet

  • In a blender, add 2 cups of syrup and 1 cup of water (it's OK if these are off just a bit, but the proportions should be 2:1). Note that in the illustrations, I'm making enough for approximately a pint. Blend on the whip/puree for about 3 minutes. This gets air into the sorbet and helps it to get the right texture without using an egg white
    Spiced Citrus Sorbet: Blend
  • Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Working very quickly, transfer the sorbet into containers and freeze for at least a few hours before serving
    Spiced Citrus Sorbet



Note that the churn time is approximate, as each ice cream maker is different. My ice cream maker makes a pint or so at a time. If yours does too, only blend what you're going to churn at a time. Regardless of your ice cream maker, you will need to freeze this for at least a few hours before serving, as with all sorbets.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, you freeze this over the period of hours, pulling it out every hour or so and blending with an immersion blender.
Do note that homemade sorbets can melt quickly (really fun for getting photos!), so chill your dishes and serving utensils to keep things cold for as long as possible.
Keyword cardamom, lemon, lime, sorbet, spiced citrus sorbet, spiced lemon-lime sorbet
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

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