Refreshing Lemonade Recipe (With Probiotics)

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Probiotic lemonade recipe
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Drink Recipes » Refreshing Lemonade Recipe (With Probiotics)

Lemonade is the classic drink for a hot summer day, but the usual recipes are super sweetened and involve a lot of sugar! I love the flavor and effervescence of other fermented drinks, so why not probiotic lemonade? I looked it up to find it was a thing and decided to give it a try.

The result was wonderful, and thanks to the benefits of fermentation this lemonade contains little sugar and lots of healthy bacteria that is good for gut health.

Real Lemonade… With Probiotics!

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

Luckily, 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!

This probiotic lemonade is very easy to make and is ready in just a couple of days. As I mentioned, you don’t need any special ingredients like kefir grains or kombucha starter to make it (just the liquid from some strained yogurt).

As for the flavor, we all loved it (even the kids) and now keep a batch going through most of the summer months.

Probiotic Lemonade Recipe

What Makes Probiotic Lemonade?

Full disclosure: this recipe does call for whey, which is basically the liquid drained off of yogurt. It’s packed with probiotics and easy to make if you start the night before. The recipe is here.

I get lots of requests for a dairy-free option for this recipe (or a way to make it if you just don’t have whey around). I haven’t tried to make a dairy-free version myself yet (will update when I do), but there are dairy-free yogurts or yogurt starters that may work. I’ve also heard of using kombucha or a ginger bug as a starter. Let me know if you try it!

Probiotic lemonade recipe

Probiotic Lemonade Recipe

A fizzy and tangy fermented lemonade that has a boost of probiotics.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 days 5 minutes
Calories 13kcal
Author Katie Wells


12 cups



  • In a gallon size glass jar, stir together sugar and just enough hot water to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the lemon juice and fill the jar about ¾ full with filtered water.
  • Make sure the liquid is at room temperature and then add the whey.
  • Cover tightly and let sit on the counter for 2-3 days. 
  • After 2-3 days, keep the lemonade in the refrigerator and drink 4-6 ounces per day. The flavor will continue to develop.
  • Since the sugar ferments out, it is rather tart. Add a couple drops of stevia if it is too tart for you!


Nutrition Facts
Probiotic Lemonade Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 13 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g1%
Sodium 10mg0%
Carbohydrates 2.8g1%
Sugar 2.8g3%
Protein 0.2g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


You can add about 1 teaspoon of molasses to the sugar before dissolving to add extra minerals and a bit more sweetness. 
Blending the final product with ice cubes will make a delicious slushie (or margarita if you’re using limes!).

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

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

This simple probiotic lemonade uses natural fermentation to reduce the sugar content and add probiotics to this delicious drink.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


206 responses to “Refreshing Lemonade Recipe (With Probiotics)”

      1. Jamie Campbell Avatar
        Jamie Campbell

        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 🙂

    1. irene Avatar

      What is gingerbug? Sounds like it would be simplar than making whey.

      1. Kay Avatar

        5 stars
        I have never made a ginger bug, but have looked up the information on how to make one. It takes 5 days and seems more onerous than a 24 hour drip of yogurt to make whey. In that 5 days you could be sipping on your flavored probiotic lemonade. You can put ginger or whatever flavors you want in the lemonade during the 2nd fermentation. Of course, if you want to make a ginger bug, it would certainly be something to try. Maybe you’d like that better. At present, I really like Kombucha and Water Kefir flavor with Ginger, Lemon, and Lime. Tart, but oh so good.

  1. Jess Avatar

    I tried this one and after 2 days of fermenting it developed a skim of mould on top.  Thoughts?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It could be a temperature thing or from some other bacteria in the air. Mine did that once, but I just carefully removed the top layer and it was fine.

    2. Melissa Avatar

      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.

  2. Hanna Avatar

    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!

  3. Quad Avatar

    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!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’ve done the same thing before and drank them with no problem…

      1. Quad Avatar

        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?

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar
          Wellness Mama

          I don’t see why it wouldn’t work… let me know if you try it!

          1. Shel Avatar

            I tried it with oranges. No, don’t do it. It doesn’t taste good.

    2. Manda Avatar

      5 stars
      I had this problem with my first batch as well… And I believe it was because I used bottled lemon juice… Aftrer looking at the ingredients, found out it actually had a preservative in it! So it didn’t actually let it ferment the way it should have and molded instead. :/ So be sure to use fresh juiced or a bottled without any preservatives, if there’s such a thing!

  4. Consuegra Avatar

    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!

  5. Sonja Avatar

    Made this-it was wonderful!!! And you’re right..kids love it.

  6. Jallison Avatar

    I made this a couple of days ago, it actually tastes nice, the kids drunk it under duress!

  7. jon Avatar

    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.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Usually about two days, but it depends on the temperature in your kitchen…

  8. Mona Avatar

    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!

  9. Carol Procter Avatar
    Carol Procter

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

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It will be fine. It may ferment a little faster, so just keep an eye on it, but it should still taste great.

      1. Carol Procter Avatar
        Carol Procter

        I am now drinking this each morning and it is lovely, will have to make some more. Its coming up to flu season here, so the vitamin C should ward off the bugs!

  10. Nick Avatar

    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. 

  11. Cecilia Powers Avatar
    Cecilia Powers

    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. 

    1. Melissa Avatar

      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.

  12. Melissa Avatar

    When the recipe calls for whey, are you referring to whey protein powder? I’m not very educated about it.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      If you click on “whey” in the recipe above, it will link to a post that explains how to extract it from plain yogurt 🙂

    1. Cecilia Krueger Avatar
      Cecilia Krueger

      I am sure you can. I usually use 1/2 honey because it is sweeter.

  13. Amy Gault Avatar
    Amy Gault

    This is super good when you add some fresh grated ginger to it, too! 🙂

    1. Lisse Avatar

      Is this lemonade supposed to be fizzy? I followed the recipe and used whey from straining my homemade yogurt. After leaving it for 2 days in an airtight bottle, there is no carbonation at all. I was wondering if fermentation did happen at all. From taste and appearance, it seems to be the same as before.. I wonder if I got it right.

      1. Sheryl Avatar

        The same thing happened to me. I think I’m going to try again using a Fido Jar or a flip top bottle.

  14. Megan Ciampa Avatar
    Megan Ciampa

    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??

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      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.

    2. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      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. Kay Avatar

      5 stars
      I know this question is old already, but to help others, if you don’t want to buy a big juicer, they have small, plastic, by hand citrus squeezers that work really well. That is what I use. 10 lemons equal about 1 cup of juice. I have also frozen the juice and the whey for when I go on vacation and want to have probiotic lemonade. Takes only 2 days to ferment…and very tasty!

  15. Bree Avatar

    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!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Just do it to taste, but a cup to a cup and a half should be about right

    2. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Just do it to taste, but a cup to a cup and a half should be about right

  16. Rachael Avatar

    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?

    1. Kate Avatar

      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.   

      1. Annie Avatar

        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?

          1. Carol Avatar

            What is a ‘bug’? do you mean ‘scoby’?

          2. jim timberlake Avatar
            jim timberlake

            do you use the usual proportion of ginger bug? 1/4C of bug to 1 Qt H2O?

        1. Steve Avatar

          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.

          1. Lori Avatar

            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. Aweeah Avatar

            Hi Lori, Did you ever find out about how to use the kombucha scoby for this drink instead of whey? I also wonder if you can use the whey from store bought probiotic yogurts. Haven’t had time to make my own for a while and wondered if that would work too?

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