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. John R Avatar

    I’m from Ky and I substituted corn for the lemons. This made a very good fermented drink. We call it moonshine. What “proof” is your drink. Mine starts off at 120.

    1. Kay Avatar

      I think you may be missing the point. This is a healthy probiotic lemonade. Not an alcoholic drink.

  2. Penny B Avatar

    5 stars
    I just made half a recipe this week but used bottled juice which has preservatives. I’ve read this may cause the fermentation process not to develop correctly. I also added molasses for the extra nutrients. I drank my first glass last night and was surprised that it wasn’t tart although I’m hoping that’s due to the molasses. Will I still get any probiotic benefit from this batch or am I just drinking mild lemonade? I’ve also read in the comments about substituting orange juice for the lemon. If I substitute a juice, does it have to be citrus or will any fresh-squeezed juice work?

  3. Chris D Avatar

    This might be a dumb question but can I use lactose free yogurt( i think Silk makes some know)? My daughter is lactose intolerant but she loves lemonade. This would be great for her to try.

  4. Sunshine Avatar

    I’m wondering about the amount of sugar . I just got your cookbook and it says 1/4 cup in the recipe and here it’s 3/4 cup? That’s very different. Did it change or is this a mistake somewhere. I do love this recipe!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Either amount works for fermentation. I’ve reduced the sugar over time (including in the edits for the cookbook). You’ll need at least 1/4 cu and more to taste if desired.

  5. Beth McGoldrick Avatar
    Beth McGoldrick

    5 stars
    I’m not sure I’m doing it right. Is it supposed to ferment, as in build up gasses? I’ve made two batches, they taste great, but they don’t seem to ferment, or what I would expect from a ferment. Do you think I’m doing it correctly?

  6. Stephanie Avatar

    I made a batch and it wasn’t fizzy. Did I do something wrong or that’s how it is suppose to turn out.

  7. Jo Avatar

    Hi Katy

    I used coconut sugar and added molasses. My lemonade is brown. Do you know why? It’s in the fridge now this is the fourth day.

    Thanks jo

  8. Heather Avatar

    Do you know if I can use the whey I strain from homemade cottage cheese? (I like my yogurt more fluid, so I don’t like straining it.)

  9. Kay Avatar

    I’ve made mine with a tight fitting cover, like a juice bottle cap…which are the bottles I use for the lemonade. It is very tasty…my favorite lemonade. I don’t think the bubbles are necessary. Shake the bottle a little, and see if it bubbles then. Mine is always a little sweet, too, but with tartness…like lemonade without the added sugar.

  10. Claire Holliday Avatar
    Claire Holliday

    I followed the instructions but now have white mould growing on the top. Should I throw it away?

    1. Kay Avatar

      5 stars
      I would think having white mold is not a good thing. I would throw it out and try again.

  11. Angela Avatar

    5 stars
    I am excited about this recipe. It was on the counter for 48 hours this afternoon, I tasted it and it was delicious. However there are no bubbles and it is sweet. Wanting to be reassured that it is possible to have the probiotic qualities if it’s not fizzy or bitter tasting.
    Also I’ve read through all the comments, they lead me to believe that I was supposed to cover with a coffee filter while left out then cover tightly in the fridge. Looking over the recipe again it states to cover tightly after mixing. Is this correct or should it be covered with something like a coffee filter while being left out then covered with a tight lid when put in the refrigerator?

  12. Rachel Avatar

    Hi Katie, when you say cover tightly for this drink do you mean with a lid? I covered it w/unbleached coffee filter and rubber band like I do with my Bouch, didn’t fizz though. I’m in California and it’s hot here right now so what did I do wrong. Thank you (:

  13. Rachel Z Avatar
    Rachel Z

    Mine is on the counter and I can’t wait to try it! I used the leftover lemon pulp to make muffins with your Apple Cinnamon Muffin recipe as a guide. Replaced Apple sauce with lemon pulp. Then, spread the cream cheese left from making whey on the muffins. Yum! Saving lemon rinds to put in and flavor a roast chicken.

  14. Kay Avatar

    5 stars
    I don’t think the Probiotic Lemonade bubbles. In my experience, if done right, it will taste just like “regular” lemonade without the extra sugar that most people put in their lemonade. I don’t know if you can add more of anything in mid process. How would you know which ingredient is lacking? It doesn’t sound like anything is wrong with it. Just enjoy it and next time you make it make sure you put in the correct recipe. Just my opinion.

  15. Becky Avatar

    today is the second day that I’ve had this on my counter. I used a juicer for the lemons and there was a layer of thicker pulp-ish stuff from the juice that rose to the top of the ferment right away. I don’t detect any bubbles or signs of ferment, but I don’t see any signs of mold or Kahm yeast, either. I just stirred it, and when I tasted it I thought it tasted watered down which makes me wonder if I accidentally added too much water… I guess my question is whether this sounds normal, and if not I can adjust mid stream? If it’s watery, can I add more lemon, sugar and whey, or should I just give it extra time, or should I scratch it and start again?

  16. Veronica Avatar

    I’ve tried this twice and failed each time 🙁 it doesn’t get fizzy and then by day 4 white stuff is floating on top. I made it with sucunat maybe I should have used white sugar.

    1. Kay Avatar

      5 stars
      It should be left out only 48 hours, then refrigerated. There should be no difference using sucanat, white sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar. Just a slight change in taste. I don’t think it fizzes that much, it is more like a healthy lemonade. The stuff that really fizzes is Water Kefir with lemon and other fruit added after the first fermentation; which makes the fruit or fruit juice with the second fermentation making the Kefir fizzy. Both are yummy!

  17. Lori Avatar

    Sarah Mae, I would not use water kefir grains, I’d just make some lemon water kefir, it would be about the same. Egel, from what I understand you can use any fresh fruit juice.

  18. egel Avatar

    5 stars
    I can use citrus limetta or Indian food berry(amala) for this recipe instead of lemons?thnx

  19. Elaine Thiessen Avatar
    Elaine Thiessen

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now. So yummy, so happy, so sharing it with my friends who are now making it. I went away last week and no one put it in the fridge (or drank it, which I expected) and it turned alcoholic. QUESTION: Does that mean the probiotics are gone?

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