The Best Healthy Sugar-Free Lemonade--So Easy and Nourishing

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.

sugar-free lemonade with text overlay

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.

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.

sugar-free lemonade in glass with lemon slice garnish

Ingredients 

Here's a short list of ingredients you'll need. For the full list and amounts, please see the recipe card below.

water

bottled or fresh lemon juice

sweetener of choice (I prefer pure stevia extract)

salt 

Directions

Here's 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.

No thanks.

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 this 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."

sugar-free lemonade in glass with lemon slice garnish and straws with lemons

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 keep in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

Recipe Notes, Tips, and Substitutions

Lemon Juice

Use more or less lemon juice as you'd like, but these proportions are great in my book.

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.

Sweeteners

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 is a fantastic choice and maple syrup is a fun option too.

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 theyre 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!

FAQs

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 any given sugar substitute used in processed sugar-free lemonade and what your definition of sugar-free is. 

I'm 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 doesn't belong in "real lemonade."

Can you use Meyer lemons for making this lemonade?

Yes, those cute little lemons are sweeter and less acidic than traditional lemons, so your lemonade will be less sour, and you might need less sweetener, but it will be great.

More Healthy Processed Food Alternatives

You might like these processed food alternatives too.

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's how to do that.

1 cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar equivalent sweetener

glass of lemonade with straw and garnished with lemon

Homemade Sugar-Free Lemonade

This Easy Healthy Sugar-free Lemonade is the perfect refreshing drink for hot summer days--or any day at all!
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverage
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S, Vegan
Keyword: Sugar-free Lemonade
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 3kcal

Ingredients

  • 64 ounces water (8 cups)
  • 1 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract (or other sweetener equivalent to 1 cup of sugar--See Recipe Notes for details)
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

The salt is optional but I recommend not skipping it. It adds that perfect extra "thing", plus it also adds beneficial minerals. 

Nutrition

Calories: 3kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 7mg

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?

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143 Comments

  1. I have never used Stevia so I looked up the two recommended in your post and they had such bad reviews. Like they changed and taste bitter now?? So I'm unsure what to buy. I usually ignore the one or two bad reviews on things but these were a lot of people. Any other recommendations?

  2. Hi, I was trying to decide on a brand of stevia to start using ,and I saw your recipe for lemonade.
    The original post was some time ago and I can't tell which brand you prefer now. I've been getting your emails for some time and I really have learned a lot. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi there and thanks for writing and for the kind words! I really need to revisit this. I'm using several right now. I like the NuNaturals Reb99 a lot but am thinking I should do some kind of a taste test but really only want to use those that are extracted using water only and of course an organic one would be best--what are you using / what have you liked?

  3. I love Stevia lemonade! That being said, your aunt’s quote is backwards. ? Pretends that lemonade in the mugs.

      1. My comment has errors too. ? that’s funny. I just figured you’d like to know. I find lemonade with stevia suppresses my appetite and improves my mood. I think it’s the lemon taste and smell. It’s so fresh and reminds me of warm, sunny weather. Happy spring!

        1. I did for sure want to know. I multi-task often and sometimes go too fast and other times belabor things too much. Thank you again and we do love stevia in all forms but the lemonade is great. Hope to see you around again!

  4. Christ man. Just put the recipe at the top. If I want the ****expletive deleted by blow owner**** after I will, but **** expletive deleted by blog owner**** just don’t ***another expletive deleted by blog owner****

    1. Hello Jessica. First of all, thanks for reading.

      Second, I have a handy dandy "jump to recipe" button right at the top of my posts for your convenience. For those who would like to read the background of the recipe and additional information, they are welcome to do so. I often get questions from people about the recipe when the information was there all along.

      Hope you find that helpful.

      Third, I am a blog writer--not a recipe curator. If you prefer not to use the handy Jump to Recipe button you can just use all recipes, etc. Blogs are different.

      Fourth, I would appreciate you not using profanity or Christ's name in vain on my blog. Thank you!

      1. After reading this I applaud you for not stooping to her level. Very politely and maturely handled.

        I will be one of your followers for life! And for the record, I would have been a follower before reading the ugly post. I’m just sorry it has taken this long to find your blog.

        1. Awwww- thank you so much. That means so much. I'm having a tough week detoxing from mold toxicity issues so your comment was that much more appreciated. Hugs and I look forward to seeing you around! I have some more posts coming out soon hopefully!

    2. There’s a scroll feature you may want to look into. It’s all the rage since the mid 1980’s when home computers became popular.

  5. I put an apple and a lemon (or half lemon - adjust to taste) through my juice extractor. No added sweetener and best lemonade I've ever had!

  6. Hi everybody,
    So, what is correct granular stevia? Above recipe says 1/4 TEASPOON! I seem to be the only one seeing this. I used 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and added 5 & 1/2 cups water before reading not lemony enough as written. Thats all the lemons i have. Ugh! Anyway i'm using granular erythritol.

    1. Hi there - it's pure stevia extract--not granulated. Please let me know what your concern is - thanks! You can make it as lemony as you like but I will likely adjust the recipe soon!

  7. Lakewood Organic Pure Juice Fresh Pressed Lemon -- 32 fl oz also is a good option for no sugar added lemonade. They use a pear juice base, but it tastes like lemonade to us. I might try homemade lemonade with a pear juice base.

  8. What “scoop” are you using to measure sweetner? A coffee “scoop” is about a scant 1/4 cup. Please let me know as soon as you are able. I can’t have tea anymore, and love lemonade. I called a fast food restaurant that has great diet lemonade, to see if they sell it in larger quantity. A gallon is $9.50!

    1. The stevia scoop measurement details were just moved to above the recipe. They used to be in the recipe. Hope that helps!

  9. I just made this using ? tsp powdered Whole Foods 365 brand stevia, ½ c lemon juice with pulp & 4 c water. It is quite good. The only problem is that I miss the "mouth feel" of sugar dissolved in water which creates a slightly viscous syrup & thickens the final product somewhat. I will definitely drink it, but I do wish there were some way to achieve that greater body.

    1. Hello Cindy - thanks for commenting and for trying this out. I think you might like the xylitol perhaps? Might be a little better? Sorry for the delay in responding. I got behind in comments and then we lost access to them for awhile but just got them back.

  10. 4 stars
    Delicious but too watered down the recipe needs double the lemon. Bet it would be delish with soda water or vodka too ?. I used 4 Stevia packets but mixed them in a bit of hot water first to dissolve them fully so there was no grainy texture.

    1. Hi Ness. I just updated the post - thanks for reminding me and great tip. I have been meaning to recommend using more lemon juice b/c I like it that way myself now! I never really use stevia packets but that is a great idea for any granulated sweetener.

      1. Hi again - I just realized that I did have that tip about dissolving the sweetener in there already :)!

  11. RESPONSE TO CYNDI... Making sure children have nutritious food is stealing their childhood??? parents "controlling" their children is wrong???? not controlling children & letting them do whatever they want is what should be done???? that is why their are so many out of control kids, that turn into out of control adults!!!! for the 1st time ever, children have a shorter life expectancy then their parents!! you don't see something wrong with that??? you are what is wrong with the world today!!!!!

    The whole attitude of it's wrong giving children nutritious food .. that they should be given things that have no nutritional value AND in fact have been shown to be detrimental to health is what is IDIOTIC!!!! so they should just have alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, cocaine & whatever other idiotic thing you think they should have is ok???? those things ALL used to be promoted as being healthy for young & old alike... not letting children have them would in your eyes be depriving them of childhood???????????? After all, not letting them have those things in just "controlling them" to use your words!!! you are such an IDIOT for not giving kids the nutrition they NEED & REQUIRE to grow & flourish!!!! & instead support detrimental to their health things!!!

  12. Wow - so much sweetness! 8-O/
    I squeeze half a lemon (from our tree) into a 1.25 litre bottle of Soda-stream water and we love it. Lemons have more natural sugar than oranges, so our kids are used to the tangy taste. They are allowed to have Sprite (etc) when they go out with friends, but actually don't like the "sticky" feeling of all that sugar. Unsweetened lemonade for the win!

    1. We love our soda stream! I'm a little confused though - oranges in fact have much more sugar than lemons. I so wish I had a lemon tree - jealous :).

  13. I was under the impression that if Stevie is white it is not real stevia . So can you give me some input in that ? I put leaf stevia in water bottled water and put it in the refrigerator for a few days . I had to use much more than 1/4 of a teaspoon . But it was okay ,

  14. At first I followed the recipe as written. Using 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice made a lemonade that barely had a lemony flavor (too watered down). I like a bit of tanginess in my lemonade. In the end I used 1 cup juice and additional sweetener (both erythritol and stevia) and then it was just right.
    Adding grapefruit juice gave it a nice twist too! Next time I will try using seltzer water for a soda like effect.

  15. This looks to be a fantastic recipe, but do NOT use xylitol as it is extremely poisonous to dogs. It can cause complete liver failure within 12-24 hours and your dog would die, especially a small dog. I know as my dog swallowed a piece of gum and within 8 hours, she was lethargic, unable to walk, etc. Therefore, she was at the vet on IV for four days and it took her another six weeks to get well. Xylitol is a sweetener which humans can process, but not dogs. So be careful

    1. HI Susan. Yes, that is true. Of course there are other things that are toxic to dogs and cats as well - like raisins and grapes. Thanks for reading and sharing :).

  16. You are right to TEACH your children and HELP them make the right choices I am figuring this out at 53 So many of the things we put into our body has horrible reprocussions on our health I went on a low carb diet years ago and got used to using artificial sweeteners and I have always been confused to know what to buy and the other ones are cheaper that is the problem in most cases is the price of good things but in the long run it is more cost effective to spent the extra money and buy what is healthiest choice. Your health is worth so much more than the money you save. I also want to add that sugar is poison to us. If a mouse knew it was eating poison and was going to kill him with a miserable death "do you really think he would eat it?"

  17. 5 stars
    Thank you for this delicious lemon aide recipe the family loves it. I can't wait try some your other recipes. .

  18. Hi, i know this is most likely a stupid question, but i have a 4oz. bottle of NuNaturals NuStevia white stevia powder i bought at a health food store. Im a newbee....So no where on the bottle does it say extract, so have i messed up and bought the wrong thing ? And after doing all this reading i looked on the back and the first thing i saw was Maltodextrin~~~~oops here next to the Maltodextrin it says, stevia extract but as i read on it says the Maltodextrin is to help with the measuring ... I am a bit slow and sort of have a little more of a hard time understanding things, would you please try and help me with this before i go buy more ? I am so trying to undo a lot of damage done to me by my mom filling me with junk foods day in and day out as a child causing me to be extreme obese when i was small.... (and still battle every day of my life) So could you post a picture or something showing just exactly what you buy ? I just cant Thank You enough . I am so glad i have found you, God Bless and keep up the awesome work you do <3

    ....

      1. Unfortunately, NuNaturals Nustevia Pure White Stevia Extract now has "Natural Flavors" listed under "Other Ingredients". :/ Kal has added maltodextrin to their "pure" stevia. Have you found any brands that are pure?

        1. I have talked w/ them about their natural flavors and they told me that they are all food ingredients. I would have to look up the specifics . I typically use their Reb99 product. There are others that I use. I hope to do a post on them as well.

    1. Maltodextrin is commonly used as a filler, but is a BAD addition to any food & should be avoided. It can cause GI upset, bloating &/or diarrhea in many people. The source for maltodextrin varies... it can be corn, wheat, potato, or rice. Gluten intolerant beware!!

      1. Thanks for this! I should add, however, that there is some maltodextrin from cassava that I think is fine. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  19. you are a freaking nut let your kids be kids, and the "mercury" in high fructose is so minimal that it barely registers. for got to mention that point in your highlights didn't ya. stevia??really??? I really detest people that do this to their children .steal their child=hood because they found something they can control

    1. Hi Cyndi. There are a lot of other issues w/ HCFS besides the mercury. This post at Huffington Post tells more details. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers_b_861913.html Maybe you would like to address your accusations to that author as well. I think my concerns are well founded.

      What do you think is wrong with stevia, may I ask? I don't feel that caring for my kids' health is "stealing" my kids childhood. In fact, I think I may be securing it and giving them a much healthier future. Have you noticed the incredible increases in diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and more? Much of this is due to the toxins in our food and environment. Perhaps you haven't been touched by it personally yet, but for those of us who have, we know the benefits of changing to a more whole food diet.

      I'd love to hear your thoughts on my response. Thank you.

      1. Shesh, no kidding. I *wish* I had not acquired a taste for junk food and sugary sodas when I was young. I'd be in much better health today! If your kids grow up without it, they won't even miss it as adults, I don't think.

    2. 5 stars
      I was raised on sweet tea, which gave me a sweet tooth to this day that is hard to control. Later I tried to switch to soda pop which had High Fructose Corn syrup sweeteners. Now I am severely insulin resistant & pre-diabetic but while keeping my A1C down between 5.8 and 6.2, I still have advancing symptoms of Diabetes, which I have been unable to stop and reverse. I am extremely ill, but still functioning. I have studied health to try to reverse it for 11 years and the only thing left to me are extremes - long fasts and liver flushes to try to help my health which I am about to try to do soon. I sure wish my parents would have made healthier choices for themselves and us kids - my parents died horrible deaths and my brother who still uses sugar is so sick that he will probably die soon, within the year, and his death will be horrible too, because he is going through really bad things now. Gastroparesis (paralyzing muscles in the stomach which doesn't allow digestion and seems to go all the way down through to his bladder too - loss of bladder function) along with many other things. I don't want to go through those horrible things! I am trying to figure it all out and I am unable to drink anything except juiced vegetables, water and water with lemon squeezed in it - any sweetener causes me trouble. And generally, I am often dehydrated because of it. Please don't bad-mouth a mom who is trying to help keep her child healthy! It may save their life when they are older.

        1. 5 stars
          Stevia is the only thing I could use but my taste buds don't like it very much, I've tried several brands, and it really makes me hungry from the sweet taste. I use it from time to time but it is better for me to stay away from any sweetener, so I go without a sweetener except when I just have to have something. My taste buds are doing a lot better because of it.

    3. Wow Cyndi!

      I wish I'd had healthier options as a child. Not blaming my parents, we just didn't know. HFCs is horrible for us, there is a reason other countries don't allow it. I am now having to go to functional specialist to get my body back in sync. Gmo, HFCs should be banned in our foods.

    4. 5 stars
      I was looking for a Keto lemonade recipe and came across this post. I can’t believe Cyndi, I feel she needs to be educated in food and the ultimate price our children pay if they don’t learn how to eat healthy. With the food chain so heavily polluted and degenerative diseases not to mention Cancer is now prevailant in our societies. My daughter is 9 healthy, mentally physically, spiritually and certainly is enjoying every aspect of her childhood.
      Perhaps we should have a praying session to help Cyndi have a healthy home and family?
      Anyhoos many thanks for the recipe great blog ??
      Ignore the haters ?

      1. Thanks for the kind words and hope you like the Lemonade! It's a fave here! We are paying a HUGE price for our kids not eating healthy. I'm convinced it's the main reason for all of the mental illness and disease that is rampant now. That and toxins everywhere. Take care and hope to see you around again!