This healthy sugar-free lemonade recipe is super simple to make, uses just a few simple ingredients, and is the perfect balance of sweet and sour. It’s the perfect special treat for warm summer days–or any day at all.
Lemonade is known by many as the perfect summertime drink, but for me, it’s my all year round favorite drink.
This healthy lemonade is of course great to have on a hot summer day, but it’s also a great low calorie way to stay hydrated and also to stave off sweet cravings without all the added sugar. It’s also loaded with nutrition from vitamin C to minerals to phytonutrients.
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Why This Is the Best Healthy Lemonade–Period
In my opinion, I think this is the best healthy lemonade out there, and possibly the best lemonade period. Here’s why.
One, it’s the easiest.
Second, it’s super flexible (as a most of my recipes) to help you choose whatever ingredients you would like to use for your diet.
Third, it uses basic ingredients that many people will already have in their pantry. No need to shop for exotic sweeteners.
Fourth, it’s frugal. While you can choose to use more expensive sweeteners, there’s no need.
Fifth, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Sixth, it has healthy whole food ingredients–no white sugar and no icky additives.
Finally, that added extra something–a dash of salt. Believe me, it makes a difference.
Here’s a short list of ingredients you’ll need. For the full list and amounts, please see the recipe card below.
- bottled or fresh lemon juice
- sweetener of choice (I prefer pure stevia extract)
Here are the basic directions. For the full directions, please scroll down to the recipe card below.
1. Squeeze the lemon juice from your lemons (if using fresh lemons).
2. Add the lemon juice to the pitcher. Add water.
3. Add sweetener. Stir to combine.
4. Add ice to the pitcher, if desired.
5. Garnish, if desired.
Why Make Your Own Sugar-free Lemonade
1. Clean Ingredients
What I don’t love about regular lemonade is how much sugar it has in it. And that’s not to mention the not-so-savory ingredients in packaged lemonade drinks and powders like the ever-popular Country Time Lemonade. Get a load of this list:
high fructose corn syrup, modified cornstarch, glycerol ester of rosin, sodium benzoate, potassium sobate, calcium disodium EDTA, and yellow #5.
There’s been mercury detected in high-fructose corn syrup due to the means of processing, and sugar is now being linked to all sorts of health issues.
Make this instead and be in total control of the ingredients.
2. Save Money
Take a look at your grocery bill and see how much you are spending on drinks: sodas, sweet drinks, and “healthy waters”?
This way you can treat your whole family to a wonderful summery drink without breaking the bank.
3. Save Calories
I focus on nutrition rather than calories, but let’s face it–sodas and juices are pretty much full of empty, sugar-laden calories that have been implicated as part of the cause of our obesity epidemic. Some brands of lemonade in the grocery store have 29 grams of sugar per serving–that’s a lot of sugar!
If you’re hoping to control your weight, it’s a good idea to restrict these sugar-laden drinks.
Besides, I’d rather splurge on a healthy dessert than drink a soda. To quote my aunt, “I would rather eat my calories than drink them.”
How to Store
If you’d like to have this stevia lemonade in the fridge at the ready, just mix the ingredients together, adding the ice when ready to serve. It should be kept in the fridge for about 3-5 days.
Recipe Notes, Tips, and Substitutions
Use more or less lemon juice as you’d like.
Note that 1/8 cup lemon juice is the equivalent of the juice from 1 lemon so use that approximation if you’d prefer to use fresh lemons.
There are so many sweeteners you can use to make lemonade without sugar. Traditional lemonade is usually made with regular sugar, but I love using pure stevia extract because it’s so easy, inexpensive, dissolves easily, and is readily available. But you can use your sweetener of choice.
A liquid sweetener (like this sugar-free simple syrup) is the next best option since it dissolves easily.
If you’re not trying to eat low-carb or keto, honey and maple syrup are great options.
For honey or maple syrup, you’ll need to use less–read this post on baking with honey for more information.
Other low-carb sweeteners can be used to make a keto lemonade, but if they’re granulated, powdering the sweeteners first is the best so they’ll dissolve well and you don’t end up with a big glob of sweetener at the bottom of the glass!
How many tablespoons of lemon juice is in one lemon?
A typical lemon has 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You can either use that approximation when making this recipe (or measuring lemon juice for any recipe that uses it) or I recommend squeezing the lemon juice into a bowl, and then using a measuring spoon from there.
Is sugar-free lemonade good for you?
That depends on what you think of any given sugar substitute used in processed sugar-free lemonade and what your definition of sugar-free is.
I don’t like the artificial sweeteners used in most store-bought sugar-free lemonades–like Nutrasweet (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose with additives), and acesulfame potassium. However, I like and use a monk fruit sweetener (Lakanto), xylitol sometimes, and stevia extract all the time.
Don’t like stevia? This post on How to Like Stevia is sure to help.
Can you use Real Lemon for making sugar-free lemonade?
You can, but I don’t recommend it. That so-called “lemon juice” that is made under the name “ReaLemon®” and similar knockoffs are loaded with stuff including preservatives that I think don’t belong in “real lemonade.”
Can you use Meyer lemons to make this lemonade?
Yes, those cute little lemons are sweeter and less acidic than traditional lemons, so your lemonade will be less sour, you might need less sweetener, but it will be great.
More Healthy Processed Food Alternatives
You might like these processed food alternatives too.
- Homemade Protein Bars – a great easy healthy breakfast or on-the-go treat
- Easy Coconut Milk – save tons of money by making this yourself
- Homemade Taco Seasoning – better than the packets
- Pumpkin Spice Creamer – a great healthy alternative to grocery store creamers
- Healthy Easy Strawberry Lemonade – the perfect easy strawberry lemonade mix substitute
- Whole Lemon Lemonade – another lemonade option, this one includes an extra nutritious boost from the peel and all.
How to Make a Single-Serving Glass
Below are the full instructions for making a pitcher of this low-carb lemonade. For those times when you just want one glass, here are the ingredients for that:
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar equivalent sweetener
Homemade Sugar-Free Lemonade
- Pour water into pitcher.
- Add lemon juice and stevia or other sweetener.
- If using a granulated sweetener, mix ½ cup water and the sweetener in a pot and heat until the sweetener is dissolved. Then, once dissolved, add sweetener and water mix to remaining water.
- Stir, add ice cubes, if desired, and enjoy.
- Garnish with fresh mint, fresh strawberries, fresh pineapple, fresh lemon slices, lemon zest, or even frozen cucumbers.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
What’s your favorite healthy drink?