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. Parul Avatar

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

  2. kari Avatar

    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!

  3. Emily Avatar

    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?

  4. Lori Avatar

    5 stars
    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!

  5. Virginia Avatar

    Can I use my ginger bug in place of the whey? My hubby has a dairy allergy

  6. Kat Avatar

    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?

  7. Janet Avatar

    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…

      1. Janet Avatar

        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…. 🙂

  8. Kalena Avatar

    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!

  9. Danielle Hudson Avatar
    Danielle Hudson

    I know I’m a little late with the comment but when I ckick on whey nothing happens.

  10. missy Avatar

    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 🙂

  11. Rachel Avatar

    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?

  12. Amanda Colo Avatar
    Amanda Colo

    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.

    1. Chrissy Wood Avatar
      Chrissy Wood

      As good as this sounds please be careful as there is alcohol in it. The longer it sits the more alcohol. I personally would not drink this pregnant or give to my kids. I agree with everything on this site except this and other fermented drinks.

      1. Linda Avatar

        5 stars
        Alcohol begins *after* the 2nd day of fermentation. If consumed from a 2 day ferment, it is safe and beneficial for everyone (pregnant and children included). After day 2 has passed, there will be alcohol present.

  13. Jenine Avatar

    My lemonade is carbonated! I don’t know how that happened. Is it still ok?

  14. Beverly Avatar

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

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      No… it has to be the actual living whey with the bacteria for it to ferment…

    2. Charity Avatar

      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. 🙂

      1. Beverly Avatar

        LOL there’s no link for the ginger ale. sounds good though.

  15. Heidi Tyson Avatar
    Heidi Tyson

    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?

  16. Heather Avatar

    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!

  17. Shaleen Avatar

    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?

  18. Jamie Satterwhite Avatar
    Jamie Satterwhite

    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?

  19. Rebecca Avatar

    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?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It would probably taste good, but wouldn’t ferment the same since it isn’t a living strain

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