Nimbu Pani | Shikanji

Refreshing Nimbu Pani is Indian style lemonade made with fresh lemon juice, sugar with a touch of spices. It is so refreshing on a hot summer day!
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This Nimbu Pani aka Indian style lemonade makes the perfect cooling summer drink. I grew up drinking nimbu pani during brutal summers in Delhi. It is easy to make with few ingredients and is seriously refreshing.

glass of lemonade topped with mint leaves and lemon

Summers in India (most parts of India) get brutal. I grew up in north India where temperatures constantly stayed above 100 F through summer. We made a lot of homemade drinks to get through those days (like lassi) and nimbu pani was always a top favorite.

It translates to lemon water where nimbu=lemon and pani=water. We would have roadside stalls selling nimbu pani outside our school and everywhere in the market during summers. It’s also known as shikanji.

Nimbu pani makes the perfect summer cooler, the lemon juice, sugar and spices help in replenishing the body fluids and provide instant relief. My mom would ask us to gulp down glasses of nimbu pani after we would come back from playing in the sun.

This was also an easy and quick drink which I remember making myself so often during summer months when we had guests at home. A lot of people would not want to have chai when it was that hot (though not everyone, trust me most people in India would still drink hot chai in 110 F weather!) and mom would always ask me to make nimbu pani for them.

Ingredients for Nimbu Pani

Lemon or lime: you can use either lemon or lime for this recipe. I have used lemon but lime is equally good here.

Spices: black salt is the most important ingredient here and it should not be skipped. Adding chaat masala is optional but recommended. You can also add some roasted cumin powder if you like.

Sugar: I like my nimbu pani to have a nice balance of tanginess and sweetness but everyone has a different taste, so you can adjust the amount of sugar to taste.

ingredients for nimbu paani arranged on a board

Step by Step Instructions

1- Take a large pitcher or bowl and squeeze fresh lemon juice into it. I like using a lemon squeezer to get the maximum juice out of the lemons. Use juice of 2 lemons here, if they are super big then you can use 1 or 1 & 1/2 as well.

2- Add in 2-3 tablespoon sugar (to taste), 1/4 teaspoon black salt (kala namak), 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and chaat masala.

3- Add in 500 ml chilled water.

4- Using a wire whisk, stir for few minutes until the sugar dissolves and everything is well combined. Serve with fresh mint leaves and lemon wedge. You can also add ice cubes though I usually don’t since that dilutes the flavor of the drink which I do not prefer.

step by step picture collage of making nimbu paani

Can we use sparkling water?

For sure! Sparking water will go well here.

What’s the difference between Nimbu Pani and Shikanji?

They are both essentially the same. Shikanji usually uses a little more spices like cumin powder etc. and also around Delhi, shiknaji was usually made with soda whereas nimbu pani was with plain water. But other than that they are like the different names of the same drink.

pitcher pouring lemonade into a glass

Tips & Notes

  • You can use any sweetener of choice here or you can even skip the sugar. However, nimbu pani is supposed to have a little bit of both salt and sugar.
  • You can make this in advance and keep it refrigerated.
  • As mentioned above, you can add sparkling water/soda in place of plain water.
  • Lemon or lime both work really well, just make sure to use fresh juice. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t taste as good as fresh.

More Summer Drinks

  • This Mango Lassi is creamy, sweet and so good with Indian meals.
  • Looking for a simple drink to cool off? Nothing better than cold coffee!
  • My husband adores badam milk which is made with ground almonds and spices and can be enjoyed chilled.

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Nimbu Pani

glass of lemonade topped with mint leaves and lemon
Manali
Refreshing Nimbu Pani is Indian style lemonade made with fresh lemon juice, sugar with a touch of spices. It is so refreshing on a hot summer day!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drink
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2
Calories 78 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons juice of, or 1 lemon if it's very big
  • 1/4 teaspoon kala namak
  • 1/8 teaspoon chaat masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar as needed
  • 500 ml water use cold water
  • mint leaves to garnish

Instructions
 

  • Take a large pitcher or bowl and squeeze fresh lemon juice into it. I like using a lemon squeezer to get the maximum juice out of the lemons. Use juice of 2 lemons here, if they are super big then you can use 1 or 1 & 1/2 as well.
  • Add in 2-3 tablespoon sugar (to taste), 1/4 teaspoon black salt (kala namak), 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and chaat masala. Add in 500 ml chilled water.
  • Using a wire whisk, stir for few minutes until the sugar dissolves and everything is well combined.
  • Serve nimbu pani with fresh mint leaves and lemon wedge. You can also add ice cubes though I usually don't since that dilutes the flavor of the drink which I do not prefer.

Notes

  • You can use any sweetener of choice here or you can even skip the sugar. However, nimbu pani is supposed to have a little bit of both salt and sugar.
  • You can also add roasted cumin powder here.
  • You can make this in advance and keep it refrigerated.
  • As mentioned above, you can add sparkling water/soda in place of plain water.
  • Lemon or lime both work really well, just make sure to use fresh juice. Bottled lemon juice doesn’t taste as good as fresh.

Nutrition

Calories: 78kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 451mgPotassium: 149mgFiber: 3gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 24IUVitamin C: 57mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

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