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. HI Adrienne, I make various versions of lemonade but always use fresh lemons as the vitamins deterioriate very quickly if stored.
    Several different versions:

    1. Add spearmint (not peppermint) leaves - YUM!!

    2. Add freshly picked raspberries (or frozen)..soo good

    3. Add fresh pitted cherries - can't get enough! 🙂

    Bon Apetit!

    1. Sounds sooo good!!!! I love cherries too - Are you referring to the lemon juice vitamins deteriorating? I assume so, correct?

  2. 5 stars
    Hello, everyone. I just tried this recipe, and it is WONDERFUL! 6-7 lemons created 1 cup of lemon juice. Also, I used 1 cup of Swerve granulated sugar. This is so refreshing and yummy!

    1. Hey Rachel - thank you SO much for taking the time to leave a comment. You made my night. I'm so glad you enjoyed it--and now I need a glass ;).

  3. 5 stars
    Have just tried your recipe and it is marvellous.
    I am so pleased to find a recipe which is easy to follow does not need a million ingredients and taste so good.

    Thankyou.☺️

    1. Hello Rachel! Wow you made my day. That's exactly what I was hoping for. I was sick for 10 years with special needs kid(s) in my house and trying to navigate special diets while being sick means...no time for fuss. I love making things taste good but .... when you can do it easily that's so great. Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment :)! Take care!

  4. You have no idea how happy you have made me. This may be a simple recipe for you but for someone who is recipe/measurement challenged this is a gift.
    Thank you.

    1. Awwww this means so much to me! Did you try it? I really can't tell you how much this means. You really warmed my heart :).

      1. It is delicious! Even my "mom, not another healthy thing" kids liked it.
        I have already bought more lemons for a second batch.
        Thank you again!

        1. Awwww that's so great!!! I hope you can find other things here that will encourage your kids that healthy can be delicious! 🙂 Victory!

    1. Hi there. It does in the recipe card -- can you not see it? Thanks for reading and so hope you like it! I have been thinking about redoing it a bit but we like it the way it is too!

  5. I have to find somewhere other than Costco to get lemon juice that tastes good. I agree with you 100% about the taste of ReaLemon. I have packets of Stevia with Monk Fruit and a little Erythritol. I got it off Amazon. I like my drinks sweeter than most people. I’ll probably use 3 packets in one glass of lemonade. Sixty-four ounces is too much since I’m the only one who will be drinking it. Your recipe makes it easy enough to convert to 8oz. I don’t believe it contains enough lemon juice to be considered much of a diuretic, which in my case, is a good thing. I have almost no kidney function. I’ll let you know how mine turns out. I may even sweeten it with a very syrupy medication I take. My liver is pretty much shot too.

    1. I so hope you like it!! I hope you can find the lemon juice--do you avoid Costco or just don't have one near?

        1. Yeah, it's not. We typically have more than gotten our fee back with savings. Depends on how you shop. We save on gas, and our staples are the lemon juice, olive oil, eggs (sometimes), frozen green beans, cauliflower rice, organic carrots, lettuce, Himalayan Salt, just to name a few. It's a shame they have no samples anymore right now - it was a big draw for a lot of people.

  6. 5 stars
    Have been using a recipe like this for years. I have a lemon tree in AZ which produces around 200 pounds of lemons a year. I drink a half gallon of this a day helps loosing weight.
    I start picking lemons in Dec and finish up in late April with a lot of lemonade.

    1. Jealous of your lemon tree!!! Wow a half gallon?! Do you think that the lemons are helping you or is it that you are drinking this rather than eating?