Probiotic Lemonade

Probiotic Lemonade Recipe Probiotic Lemonade

I’m a big fan of Water Kefir and Kombucha for their probiotics and beneficial enzymes. They do require specific cultures though (I use these water kefir grains and this kombucha scoby) so if you don’t happen to have a SCOBY sitting around your kitchen, you are pretty much out of luck.

Luckily, as there is an easy lacto-fermented drink that you can make with basic ingredients from your grocery store, and your kids will probably even drink it!

I made probiotic lemonade recently and it was wonderful! It is very easy to make and is ready in just a couple of days. If you don’t have the water kefir grains or kombucha starter to try those drinks… make a batch of this to try today!

5.0 from 8 reviews
Probiotic Lemonade
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A fizzy and tangy fermented lemonade that has a boost of probiotics.
Author:
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 8+
Ingredients
  • Juice of 10 lemons or limes
  • ¾ cup sugar or sucanat
  • 1 cup of whey (here's how to make it)
  • 2.5 to 3 quarts of filtered water
  • gallon size jar
Instructions
  1. Pour the sugar into the gallon size glass jar and add just enough hot water to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add lemon juice and fill the jar about ¾ full with filtered water.
  3. Make sure the liquid is at room temp and add the whey.
  4. Cover tightly and let sit on the counter for 2-3 days. The longer it sits, the less sugar in the final product.
  5. After 2-3 days, keep in fridge and drink 4-6 ounces per day. The flavor will continue to develop in the fridge.
  6. Since the sugar ferments out, it is rather tart. Add a couple drops of stevia if it is too tart for you!

Some notes:

  • Lemons or limes can be used, or a mixture
  • You can add about 1 tsp of molasses to the sugar before dissolving to add extra minerals and make a slightly sweeter taste
  • Blending this with ice cubes make a delicious smoothie (or margarita if using limes!)

Feeling adventurous? Will you try this healthy drink? Tell me below!

Reader Comments

  1. says

    This sounds delicious, and my kids love lemonade – I’m guessing with a little stevia they’ll drink it up. 

    Do you (or anyone?) have any thoughts on coconut palm sugar – is it just like any other?  Is the taste different?

    • Kate says

      I love coconut palm sugar.  It has fewer carbs and more fiber than white or brown sugar.  In my opinion, the taste is pleasantly sweet, with notes of butterscotch and caramel.  I get mine from Whole Foods – the brand is “Thai Taste”, and you can find a little white tub of it in the asian food aisle.  This product is called “jaggery”, and the texture is a paste. 

      I’ve heard that you should avoid the hard nuggets of “palm sugar” that you find in some asian markets, because it is usually not from the coconut palm and is often adulterated with regular white cane sugar.   

      • Annie says

        I am lactose intolerant. Was wondering if the whey would bother me. If so; do you have any suggestions of any thing else that I can add to help the fermentation process along?

        • Steve says

          Komucha or Water Kefir will work great too. These are cultured bugs so if you don’t make your own or know where to get it (live Komucha can be found in bottles at health food stores and some grocers, use the whole bottle as the bug is likely weak.) If you do any fermenting at all you can use the starter or brine from those (or from Bubbies pickles at the grocers.) Use it in your first batch to get started, after that transfer a couple of cups of your fermented lemonade to the next batch to keep it going all summer and adjust your portions based on how fast you drink it.

          • Lori says

            If I use kombucha, (I have a continuous brew going, also a scoby hotel) how much should I use, and which should I use would like to make some of this ASAP, and it will be awhile before I can make the whey, I want to try both.

  2. says

    I’ve always wanted to make lemonade but I do not have a juicer. Is there an easy way to juice at home, or should I aks my friend who has had a juicer for 5 years and never uses it if I can use hers??

    • says

      juicers do make it faster, but you can juice by hand too. Just make sure the lemons are at room temp and roll them firmly on the counter with your hand before cutting open. I also use a spoon to help
      squeeze out all the juice.

    • says

      juicers do make it faster, but you can juice by hand too. Just make sure the lemons are at room temp and roll them firmly on the counter with your hand before cutting open. I also use a spoon to help
      squeeze out all the juice.

  3. Bree says

    Can you give a rough estimate for how much the juice of 10 lemons comes to?  I juice lemons when they’re ripe here in the winter and keep it in the freezer, so I have juice, I just don’t know how much to use!

  4. says

    typically you do not want to use honey with fermented drinks, as the sugar is the food for the fermentation. 
    also, melissa, the whey is different from whey protein powder. WM linked to an easy way to do whey, with just some plain organic yogurt and the liquid drippings from it becomes the whey. check out her link in the recipe. 

    • Melissa says

      Actually honey is perfectly fine for fermenting. The first fermented lemonade recipe I ever made called for honey, and was delicious. Honey is, after all, just another kind of sugar. The little bugs who do the fermenting will eat it just the same.

  5. Nick says

    I made this a few days ago and am drinking my yummy lemonade as we speak.  It really is delicious and my kids love it. 

  6. Carol Procter says

    I have just made half quantities of this but forgot to measure the whey and tipped it in, will it be ok?

  7. Mona says

    I have a jar on my counter and I’m excited to give it a try tomorrow. Question, though… should I strain it before drinking? My juice had a lot of pulp and there’s a film on the top. Don’t want to remove anything I should be keeping in… Thanks!

  8. jon says

    How do you know when it is ready?  I made some and it ended up with a bunch of black stuff in it.  So I figured that I left it out too long.

  9. Consuegra says

    So good! I am enjoying this lemonade thanks so much!! Even been using it to mix with my daily dose of apple cider vineger for added punch of tartness! Thanks again for your inspired and well informed outlook!

  10. Quad says

    Made my second batch this week (the first batch was a hit when mixed with stevia sweetened iced tea for “Arnold Palmers”).  Question…I did not get it in the fridge last night (day 3), and when I came out this morning, there were three little pieces of mold floating on top.  I scooped them out, and stuck it in the fridge, but not sure if its safe.  Do you know?  Certainly don’t want to put any of us in danger, but hate to waste a gallon of it if it’s OK to drink.  Your thoughts?  Thanks!

      • Quad says

        Thanks for your reply.  After I left my question, I searched around on other blogs a bit, and others said the same thing, so we drank it…no problem!  Thanks again.  Another question…I’m all out of lemons, but have some whey left that I would like to use up.  I do have oranges, is there any reason that I can’t make probiotic orange juice?

  11. Hanna says

    I LOVE that I’m giving my children healthy, good for them lemonade, instead of yucky stuff!  I have shared this recipe with several people since finding it!

    • Melissa says

      If it’s a thin white film it is most likely Kahm yeast. Completely harmless, but do skim or it will change the flavor of your ferment.

      • Jamie Campbell says

        I tried it — I don’t have a basis of comparison since as a vegan I can’t do the whey recipe, but, it seemed to turn out much as I’d expect fermented lemonade to turn out. Probably not to everyone’s taste (as the notes in the recipe say, it is indeed quite tart) but, I like it :)

  12. brock says

    Can you use whey powder or will that not work? I happen to have some and no yogurt. It has no additives or added sugar, and it say it is “non-denatured, microfiltered pure whey.” What do you think?

  13. Jamie Satterwhite says

    This sounds absolutely delicious am lactose intolerant. Was wondering if the whey would bother me. If
    so; do you have any suggestions of any thing else that I can add to help
    the fermentation process along?

  14. Shaleen says

    We made it for the first time this weekend. It doesn’t seem to taste tart at all and makes me wonder if it worked. You said to make sure the liquid is room temp before adding the whey. My home is usually at about 64 to 68 degrees during this time of year so my room tempature water is kind of cold. Can that affect the process?

  15. Heather says

    Didn’t read through all of the comments section, but wondered if you’ve had anyone talk about using plain water kefir in place of the whey? Would that work to culture/ferment veggies and/or make this lemonade? Thanks for your time!

  16. says

    I tried this………but I don’t know if it worked or not. My house is pretty cool- about 66 degrees, with this cold winter. I let this lemonade sit out for the 2 days, then tasted it and it is pretty sweet- doesn’t taste “fermented” in anyway. So then I started questioning if it needed more time out on the counter……I let it sit for about 5 days. No black stuff has grown on it. I took a sip and it is still tasting on the sweet side. Is that normal? Did the whey not work? Is it safe to consume after being out 5 days?

  17. Beverly says

    Could I use the liquid off of coconut milk….the “whey” type stuff for this. I can’t do dairy at all. Thanks.

    • Charity says

      Actually – I’ve seen at Whole Foods a liquid coconut whey that is living and that would work.
      Another thing that works, & would also make it a bit fizzy, is bakers yeast as well as brewers yeast.
      I’ve been making homemade ginger ale and lemonade with the “live active baker’s yeast” for years!

      This is the link for making the ginger ale. To make the lemonade version, simply omit the ginger and use 1cup of lemon juice for the 2liters. :)

  18. Amanda Colo says

    Is this safe to drink during pregnancy? I saw another blog with a similar recipe that said it turns to alcohol so not safe for pregnancy but I was skeptical because its just lemons and whey essentially.

  19. Rachel says

    I made the lemonade two days ago and tried it today. While it tastes great I’m not certain it’s fermented. I’m inexperienced with fermented foods especially drinks and even more so with making my own. It’s tart but also sweet. I added the molasses for the extra nutrients. How do I know I made it right? And that it has the probiotics?

  20. missy says

    Hi, I have candida (yeast overgrowth) and am looking for some probiotic recipes. but i should keep sugar out of my diet completely, do you think it would be alright to make this? you say the longer it ferments the less sugar it contains, what is the sugar transformed into? thanks :)

  21. Kalena says

    Hi Katie,
    I would like to give this a try but am uncertain about the whey and there is no link provided in the recipe like you had stated in a previous response.
    Could you provide that information? Thank you!

  22. Janet says

    I’m making a 1/2-batch (it’s on my countertop now). Can’t wait to try it! Have one question… It’s been 36 hours and I see there is a cloudy layer on top and some sediment in the bottom. Is that normal? And do I stir it all up before serving or strain it in some way? I’ve just never made anything like this before…

      • Janet says

        Thank you for answering! I’m hoping it turns out. I left it out yet today and will skim it and put it in the fridge when I get home which will almost be 3 days. I’m excited to see if it’s fizzy and how it tastes after it chills. I’m loving the fact that I can get some use out of my yogurt whey and make myself healthier to boot. I’ll let everyone know what I think after I’ve drank my first glass…. :-)

  23. Kat says

    Thanks for the recipe! I haven’t made the jump into keeping kombucha brewing, so it’s nice to have another option.
    I’m on day 3 and my mixture is very cloudy on the bottom 1/2 inch of the jar. I’m thinking this might be from the whey (my whey usually has some cloudiness no matter how I try). Should I be careful to just drink the lemony clear top or is the cloudiness just the fermented goodness to be shaken in and enjoyed?

  24. Lori says

    I make this but add the half teaspoon of nutmeg for hindu lemonade. I second ferment in Grolsch bottles with a quarter teaspoon of sucanat for 2 to 3 days then transfer to the fridge. It will get explosively carbonated! I’m talking the equivalent of opening champagne. It makes it both fun, yummy and a bit dangerous!

  25. Emily says

    After a day and a half on the counter, there are cloudy substances at the bottom of the jar. Since it’s not at the top, I can’t skim it. Have you had this happen? Should I try to strain it tomorrow?

  26. kari says

    hi, i started this 2 days ago. not really thinking i guess, because i put it to sit in my pantry. my pantry is super cold, and it didn’t ferment. now that it has been sitting chilled for 2 days, is it too late to now sit at room temp? will it still ferment properly? or should i just drink it as regular lemondae with whey in it so i don’t waste it all? thanks! excited to try it!

  27. Parul says

    Hi, I’m curious what happens to the sugar after fermentation please? Does the final version give a spike to you blood sugar level?

  28. Laura says

    Could I do this with my homemade milk kefir? I see that sometimes it separates if I leave it too long. I usually just stir it back together, but it would be great if I could just strain it and get cream cheese and whey from it!

  29. ella says

    Wait you list whey as an ingredient yet in the directions I dont see any whey. Also got would you do it with Kombucha and water kefir drinks without whey? Thank you!

  30. Svetlana says

    Hi Katie thanks for an amazing recipe!! My kids and I loved it. I am new to fermenting. This is the first fermented beverage I made. I come from a Russian background and my family always made a fermented beverage called Kvass. It was mostly for adults. Or so I thought. Is this safe for kids? Also you recommend 4-6 ounces twice a day. Would it be of any harm to drink more? Is there a limit on how many fermented beverages or foods you can consume? Thank you for your time.

  31. Phyllis says

    I don’t have a juicer, can you use Lemon/Lime juice concentrate from the grocery store? I noticed it has added ingredients , sulfates, lemon/lime oil so fermentation may not take place.

  32. Ashley says

    Hi! I made this recipe and about a few hours after I noticed a thick layer (about 2 inches) of milky residue at the bottom. Did I make it incorrectly or is this how it is suppose to look?

  33. Midge says

    It takes sugar to create this probiotics and beneficial enzymes for drinks. Is there any way to create this without the carbs that sugar adds? I heard someone say, the carb count is gone after it has done it’s thing. Is that true. I know nothing about cultures, soby, creating your own probiotics, fermenting …. I know nothing. But, I really am interested and would like to do it. I I am on a low carb lifestyle and am not sure how this fits in. thanks for your help. :)

  34. Anna says

    I am excited to try this recipe, just have one question… Cover tightly, does that mean airtight or just with a cloth like water kefir?

  35. Jennifer says

    I just had my first glass of the lemonade and it tastes great! After 2 1/2 days at about 77 degrees it is still sweet. I did add the molasses however. I was wondering if there was a way to know if it actually fermented. I am unfamiliar with what it should look or taste like as this is my first attempt at fermenting.

    • Jamie says

      Same question here – it tastes really good but I’m not sure how to know if it’s fermented. It’s still slightly sweet and not bubbly or anything. Should it be? It certainly tastes good at least! (I used limes.)

  36. Rachel says

    I hope I am not duplicating a question, I did skim! Can you use bottled concentrated organic lemon juice instead of fresh lemons? I’d like to make it but am definitely on a budget! We have a milk cow so I can certainly get fresh whey! :)

  37. Kayti says

    What kind of sugar do you use? What do you recommend? I’m really trying to stay away from all white sugar.

    • Pamelotta says

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but from my understanding, it’s the same as with Kombucha. The white sugar is just a food for the bacteria. If you make it right, and it truly ferments, the white sugar is used up. That’s why it loses its sweetness. After that, you add the sweetener of your choice to actually sweeten it to taste.

  38. Natalie says

    It tastes great. How long do you think it will last in the fridge? I have a jar that is going on three weeks old…

  39. Anette says

    Hey, my kefir grows and I dont know what to do with them.
    Can I eat the little grains? Are there any probiotics in them?

  40. Catelyn says

    This is a great recipe! My husband, almost three year old son, and I all LOVE it! We used limes to make a limeade. It almost tastes like a lime cream saver because of the whey. Delicious! Thanks Katie!

  41. Lori says

    can I use scoby instead of the whey? I really want to try this and right now I have no whey or anything to make it out of all my yogurt is flavored, and not all natural, I just can’t afford that. I want to try to get more probiotics into my grandkids and they don’t like kombucha.

  42. Sharon says

    I have tried this recipe in the past with success, however this last time it developed green fuzzy mold on day 3. I tasted it on day 2 & it tasted fine, but still a bit sweet so I thought I’d give it one more day to ferment. Maybe it is the temperature (summer in Florida 77 deg. inside)? Do you have any recommendations?

  43. Linda says

    I am brewing my first batch now with whey. Can I use a little of the brewed batch as a starter for my next batch, as you would for kombucha? Or do I need to make fresh whey?

  44. Shari says

    To make the second batch, do you need to start with new whey? Or can you start with a cup of the previous batch?

  45. Nickolas says

    I have made this recipe once already and it worked fine, but this time it doesn’t seem to be fermenting, even though I am sure I have done the same thing. What could be stopping it fermenting? Too much water? Too much sugar? It’s frothy on top but that’s it. Or am I just being impatient?

  46. Jessica says

    How should this look after it ferments? Mine looks kind of chunky, like maybe I didn’t get the whey mixed in enough.

  47. John MacDowall says

    I’ve been making lots of kombucha and have started looking at herbal sodas. But most of the recipes call for 1-2 cups of sugar per gallon!!! Yipe! That’s 20g – 40g per 12 oz serving. Hire’s and Coke have 30g – 35g, respectively. Can I use Stevia for sweetener and then a little sugar for bottling with the yeast? I remember a brewer friend that used to put a teaspoon of white sugar in every bottle before he capped them. Would that work for a lacto-fermented soda?

  48. Angela says

    How long does it last in the fridge? I made some about a month ago and was wondering if it’s still good.

  49. Lori says

    I was finally able to make some, (I needed something to make it in), I got 3 gallon sun tea jars on sale for half price this weekend when I went shopping, there were a little less that 4 bucks a piece, I’m thinking will test tomorrow, I added turbinado sugar as it has minerals left in it, it seems like less refined succulent, as I have both now as I finally found the succulent, they both look and taste alike except the turbinado sugar is like crystals and the succulent has much finer grains, does anyone know about the differences besides these.

  50. Jane says

    Thanks for the recipe, it tastes absolutely delicious! However, it did not get fizzy at all. I left it out for 2 days in 80f plus heat. What affects the level of fizziness in the end product? If it is not fizzy does that mean it did not ferment?

  51. Kaiya says

    Hi i’ve read all the comments and it looks like a lot of people would like to know how to do this with kombucha as you suggested, I would like to know too, please let us know, thanks!

  52. Nickolas says

    I’m currently on the Candida diet, so no dairy or sugar (at least trying no dairy or sugar), so my questions are whether the probiotic nature of this drink out”wheys” the dairy and sugar content?

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