A so-called six-beam method is proposed to measure atmospheric turbulence using a ground-based wind lidar. This method requires measurement of the radial velocity variances at five equally spaced azimuth angles on the base of a scanning cone and one measurement at the center of the scanning circle, i.e.using a vertical beam at the same height. The scanning configuration is optimized to minimize the sum of the random errors in the measurement of the second-order moments of the components (u,v,w) of the wind field. We present this method as an alternative to the so-called velocity azimuth display (VAD) method that is routinely used in commercial wind lidars, and which usually results in significant averaging effects of measured turbulence. In the VAD method, the high frequency radial velocity measurements are used instead of their variances. The measurements are performed using a pulsed lidar (WindScanner), and the derived turbulence statistics (using both methods) such as the u and v variances are compared with those obtained from a reference cup anemometer and a wind vane at 89m height under different atmospheric stabilities. The measurements show that in comparison to the reference cup anemometer, depending on the atmospheric stability and the wind field component, the six-beam method measures between 85–101% of the reference turbulence, whereas the VAD method measures between 66–87% of the reference turbulence.