Lime Sorbet

Lime Sorbet
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lime sorbet
Cool! Refreshing!

It seemed as though we’d never get around to making lime sorbet. If you remember, last Christmas we got an ice cream maker attachment for our Kitchenaid mixer, after having some of the best lime sorbet ever down at Cafe Roka in Bisbee. We had waffled about getting an ice cream maker for years, literally years, but, immediately after having that dinner with the lime sorbet as the third course, we decided to buy one.

And we’ve never regretted it, either. We’ve made vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and various sorbets, but, until now, we hadn’t made the lime sorbet that tipped us over the edge.

While we essentially made up this recipe on our own, we did follow (somewhat) the instructions for making sorbet that comes in the booklet along with the ice cream churn. But, really, those are very basic: juice your chosen fruit, mix with simple syrup, chill, and churn. And, really, this isn’t much different, we just include lime zest when we make the simple syrup.

Lime Sorbet

Yield: 2 cups

Lime Sorbet


  • 8 to 10 limes
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150g) water

Abbreviated Instructions

Working with one lime at a time, zest, then juice, transferring the zest to a small saucepan, and the juice to a measuring cup. Continue until you have 1 1/2 cups of lime juice.

Add sugar and water to zest, place over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar completely. Continue simmering 5-7 minutes.

Strain juice into a large bowl. Discard pulp.

Strain lime syrup into juice, discarding zest. Stir to mix.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Churn according to your ice cream maker manufacturer's directions.

Ingredient discussion:

We’d use organic limes if we could find them. Instead, we wash the dickens out of them. Hot water, dish soap, a good rinsing and drying. After all, we’ll be using the zest, and we have no idea what’s been sprayed on them. And, it should go without saying, only fresh limes will do. We can’t tell you how many limes in advance, but somewhere around 10 limes should produce enough juice.

Procedure in detail:

zested lime
Even with a microplane, zesting and juicing 10 limes takes a little while.

Zest and juice. There’s no easy way, except to break out your zester (we use a microplane), and zest a lime at a time. Then, slice the lime in half and juice it. Put the zest into a small saucepan, and the juice in a measuring cup (you can strain it now or later, but please strain the juice). Continue zesting and juicing until you have a cup and a half of lime juice.

simmering zest
Simmering the zest will extract a lot of lime flavor, making your sorbet the limiest possible.

Make syrup. Add the sugar and water to the lime zest and place over medium-low heat. Let the syrup come to a simmer while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved and simmering, let the zest simmer for 5 to 7 minutes to extract the lime oil and flavor from the zest.

straining lime juice
You’ve taken all that time juicing limes, so take the time to strain out the pulp.

Strain juice. If you didn’t do so already, strain the juice into a medium-sized bowl. We use a large (4- cup) measuring cup that has a spout so we can pour the sorbet mix later. Discard the lime pulp.

straing out zest
We don’t think you’d want to have zest in your sorbet, so strain it out.

Strain lime syrup. Strain the lime syrup right into the juice and give it a quick stir to mix. We didn’t want any pulp or zest in our sorbet, as it would be weird to have the sorbet melt on your tongue, but leave a little zest or pulp behind.

Chill. Cover the sorbet mix and chill it in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling will help it freeze faster when you churn it.

churing sorbet
It may take longer for sorbet to freeze than it does for ice cream, so be patient.

Churn. Set up your ice cream maker and churn the sorbet according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Serve. This is a very intense lime sorbet, so a tablespoonful is about the right amount per serving.

It’s been so long since we’ve been to Cafe Roka, we can’t be sure if our version of lime sorbet is better, worse, or just different. We can tell you that it is super limey. Super-duper limey. And, truly, a tablespoon of the sorbet is just perfect to have after dinner (or if you plan a multi-course dinner, perhaps a serving right before the entrée). We will say that zesting and juicing 10 limes takes a while — we spent about 40 minutes, or 4 minutes per lime — but it was worth it. This sorbet is worth five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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