Is lemonade keto? Most lemonade recipes are high in white sugar (and carbs), but this recipe for keto lemonade is sugar-free! We’re using a sugar substitute to make a low-calorie lemonade that is perfect if you have a weight loss goal. Flavoring the lemonade with both lemon zest and fresh lemon juice really kicks up the lemon flavor. This sugar-free lemonade may not be your grandmother’s lemonade, but it’s still DELICIOUS!
As a child, I’d set up shop on warm summer afternoons selling cups of icy lemonade from a lemonade stand. I always used powdered Country Time lemonade, sometimes selling both the pink lemonade and the regular kind. And I always added extra powdered mix to the drinks, making it extra sweet and appealing.
This keto lemonade with Swerve brings me back to those carefree days, but this drink is better than my childhood version. It’s great for those using a very low carb or keto diet for fat loss or blood sugar control in diabetes. Unlike most powdered lemonade mixes, we’re making (nearly) zero calorie drinks without artificial sweeteners.
A combination of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest makes this the best keto lemonade around. Using fresh ingredients means you have a ton of options to make a ketogenic lemonade drink that fits your preferences.
For example, make keto strawberry lemonade by adding pureed strawberries. You could also use smashed blueberries or raspberries for other variations on low carb berry lemonade without sweeteners.
Or how about you make keto limeade by using fresh lime juice instead? Garnish with fresh basil or fresh mint for tangy low calorie beverages (without artificial sweeteners) that everyone will love.
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of sugar-free lemonade has 5 calories, 1.6 grams net carbs, and 0.1 grams protein. Please note that the nutrition information for this recipe lists net carbs only.
Swerve has carbohydrates listed on the label, but these do not count towards your total carb intake if you are on a keto diet for weight loss. In other words, Swerve has zero net carbs.
The net carbs listed in the keto lemonade nutrition information below is for the small amount of lemon juice in each serving only. For keto newbies, net carbs are calculated as follows:
Total carbohydrates – Fiber = Net carbohydrates
In most of my recipes, I list total carbohydrates and fiber so you can calculate the net carbs yourself. Here, I did it for you.
The erythritol used in Swerve is also subtracted from the total carbs when calculating net carbs. However, erythritol is generally not part of the nutrition label. This makes Swerve look like it is high in net carbs when it is not.
I prefer Meyer lemons to make lemonade. They’re naturally sweeter than regular lemons, but only minimally higher in carbs. (Using Meyer lemons adds only about 0.3g additional net carbs per serving.)
What are the benefits of this keto lemonade? Low carb lemonade offers a few advantages, such as:
- Hydrating: A cool cup of lemonade certainly counts towards your fluid intake for the day. When poured over ice, lemonade is one of the most refreshing drinks I can think of on a hot day.
- Electrolytes: The amount of lemon juice in this drink provides little in terms of electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium). However, nothing is stopping you from adding a pinch of sea salt or an electrolyte powder if that is what you’re looking for.
- Vitamin C: Aside from providing fluids, fresh lemonade is also a great source of vitamin C. This antioxidant is the main essential nutrient you’re getting from this low carb lemonade recipe.
- 3 ingredients: All you need are lemons, water, and low carb sweetener to make keto lemonade. Easy!
- No added colors, artificial flavors, preservatives: Unlike most lemonade mixes, fresh, homemade lemonade has none of the artificial stuff you may wish to avoid.
- Sugar free: Choosing sugar free lemonade means you save about 100 calories per glass of lemonade. (Or more, if you tend to add extra sugary lemon powder to your serving!) Additionally, you’ve cut back on your added sugar intake.
- Self-care: Sometimes a small act of self-care can make a world of difference to your overall spirit. I hope you get a chance to mix up a batch of this lemonade, pour yourself an icy glass, and relax.
- Sweet and delicious: This lemonade without sugar is just as sweet and delicious as it’s sugary counterparts. I think you’re going to love it!
Here's what you need to make lemonade with no sugar:
- Fresh lemons
- Granular Swerve (or your favorite 1-to-1 sugar substitute)
So, what’s the best keto sweetener for lemonade? You have a lot of choices, and “best” depends on what you prefer. You are welcome to try your favorite zero carb sugar substitute in this recipe.
White table sugar is not appropriate for very low carbohydrate diets, such as ketogenic diets. I’m sweetening this keto lemonade with Swerve, a sugar substitute that can be used 1:1 in place of sugar. Lakanto monkfruit sweetener is another popular low carb sweetener that can be used in this keto lemonade.
Powdered allulose sweeteners and stevia drops or stevia extract are some other options. If you use stevia in your homemade zero calorie drinks, just stir it in (drop by drop) until it’s sweetened to your liking.
Many lemonade recipes on the web use more sweetener than I used here. Sometimes, the recipe used twice as much sugar (or 1:1 sugar substitute) as I used.
On the other hand, a recipe for lemonade in one of my older cookbooks uses about the same amount of sweetener as I do. Feel free to adjust the sweetener in this recipe if you’d like.
Whatever you do, don’t use bottled lemon juice! It often contains preservatives and doesn’t provide the fresh taste you want in good lemonade. It’s going to be worth the effort to squeeze fresh lemons, I promise.
We’re going to use both the lemon rind and lemon juice in this recipe. Though the lemon rinds do ultimately end up in the trash, I think it’s nice we put (almost) the whole lemon to use first.
🍋 How many lemons for lemonade?
The size of lemons can vary greatly. I’m providing the volume of lemon juice you need so the recipe results are consistent. Squeeze however many lemons you need (likely 3-4) to get to the right amount of juice!
You’ll want to have the following pieces of kitchen equipment on hand for this recipe:
- Hand lemon squeezer (or electric juicer)
- Small saucepan
You don’t need a fancy electric juicer to make lemonade. I used a hand citrus squeezer that I picked up at IKEA for under $10. You could also hand squeeze the lemons without a kitchen gadget, but your juice yield may be lower that way.
🔪 How to Make Keto Lemonade
How to make sugar free lemonade? Start by peeling long strips of zest from two of the lemons. It’s the lemon zest where most of the flavor of the lemon is, not the juice. You can use the zest in your lemonade to give it a more pronounced lemon flavor.
My family tested this recipe both with and without the lemon zest, and we all liked it best with the zest. Without the zest, the lemonade simply tasted, well, less lemony. It was sweet and tart but lacked that extra something that the zest provides.
Now cut your lemons in half and juice them. Juice however many lemons it takes to get ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Set the juice aside.
Now it’s time to make the sugar syrup (or sugar-free syrup, in this case). Put the Swerve and water in a small saucepan. Heat it over medium heat and allow the Swerve to completely dissolve, stirring occasionally.
I gave it about 15-20 minutes. It remained cloudy, but the Swerve dissolved. Then remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon zest peelings, and let sit 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes have passed, remove the lemon rinds from the Swerve solution. Stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate your keto lemonade until it is chilled.
Serve your keto lemonade in a tall glass over ice. We garnished ours with fresh mint, but that is optional.
💡 Sugar Free Lemonade Tip
It can be tempting to use a heavy hand when adding non-nutritive sugar substitutes in recipes. After all, if the substitute has zero net carbs and zero calories, what’s the harm?
I understand why some may want to add a lot more low-carb sweetener. Nevertheless, I’m going to encourage you to start with the amount of Swerve I’ve used here. You’ll save money when you conserve the Swerve!
You can always add more Swerve later to this lemonade recipe if you feel it is needed. However, it’s harder to take the Swerve out (though you could always dilute your batch).
️🌡️ How to Store
How long does keto lemonade last? Your batch of fresh keto lemonade should keep well in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
It will not last as long as regular lemonade, since it has no preservatives. Also, you may need to give your low carb lemon drink a good stir before serving.
For easy prep, try zesting and juicing lemons and freezing this citrusy goodness for the future. You can freeze freshly squeezed lemonade concentrate in ice cube or cocktail cube trays. Pop out what you need and let it thaw whenever you want to mix up a batch of sugar-free lemonade.
🥗 Keto Summer Recipes
What goes with keto lemonade? Serve your low carb lemonade with some of these low carb summertime recipes, and make it a meal!
- Keto Zucchini Boats Stuffed with Chorizo
- Lasagne Con Zucchine (Lasagna with Zucchini)
- Keto Big Mac Salad Bowl
- Air Fryer Burgers Stuffed with Cheese
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Milk and the occasional whole fruit smoothie aside, limiting calorie-containing drinks is a smart move for weight loss. If you crave sweet drinks, using sugar substitutes may help keep you on track with your health goals.
One item that I think many should remove from the diet is sugar-sweetened beverages. I’m talking about things like soda pop, sweet tea, drinks made from powdered (mostly sugar) mixes, and so on. It also means beverages with a health halo, such as the sweetened vitamin drinks from the health food store.
White sugar provides 45 calories per tablespoon, while honey provides 60 calories per tablespoon. Let’s be honest, though, most of us use more than one tablespoon of sugar per serving of lemonade. Switching to a sugar substitute could easily save you 100 calories per glass of lemonade or more.
Unfortunately, some individuals report that using low carb sweetened beverages worsens their cravings for sweet foods. If this sounds like you, this recipe may not be a good fit.
For others, this low-calorie, low-carb sweet drink may make it less likely they'll reach for a soda. You're in the best position to determine whether this low-carb beverage has a place in your diet.
Like caloric sweeteners, you should limit zero-calorie sugar substitutes. Sugar-free drinks may be low in calories, but they shouldn’t displace the nutrient-dense foods you need to be healthy. Additionally, some people report uncomfortable digestive experiences when they overdo it with sugar-free drinks like this one.
Infused water is a (nearly) zero calorie drink and is my favorite hydration option. Simply throw slices of lemon, lime, or orange in a large pitcher of water. Keep the pitcher in the fridge so you can have a cold drink whenever you want it!
Outside of offering more vitamin C, most lemonade drinks are similar to soda. Typical lemonade is a high calorie, sugar-laden beverage that I wouldn’t consider to be the best choice nutritionally. (That said, it is possible to occasionally include lemonade in an overall healthy diet.)
Most diet lemonade and light lemonade is sugar free, and can be used on the keto diet. For example, ChickFilA diet lemonade uses Splenda (sucralose) as a sweetener. (FYI- Starbucks does not currently offer sugar free lemonade.)
True Lemon lemonade is a low sugar lemonade option, with 1 gram of added sugar per packet. It is sweetened with a mix of cane sugar and stevia leaf extract. You could fit True Lemon into very low carb diets, or choose another product with no added sugar at all.
Typical lemonade drinks contain a small amount of carbs from lemon juice, and a large amount from added sugar. For example, one serving of Country Time lemonade contains 26g of carbs, with 24g from added sugar.
If you want keto flu lemonade, what you’re looking for is a sugar free electrolyte drink. One solution is to add your favorite electrolyte powder to this sugar-free lemonade recipe.
Yes, you have several options for keto store bought lemonade powder. True Lemon lemonade, Wyler’s Light Lemonade, 4C Light Lemonade, Great Value, Zero Sugar Country Time Lemonade, and Crystal Light are some brands to look at. Something to be aware of is most of these products use artificial sweeteners.
👩🏻🍳 Other Sugar Free Drinks Recipes
Looking for more recipes for sugar free beverages? Quench your thirst with these no sugar drinks next:
- Dalgona Coffee (No Added Sugar)
- Keto Blueberry Smoothie
- Keto Berry Smoothie
Note that some of these are keto drinks and others are not because they contain a lot of natural sugar. By “no sugar” I am referring to no added sugar.
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All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Keto Lemonade (Sugar-Free, Low Carb Recipe)
- 3-4 medium fresh lemons (Meyer lemons, if available)
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup Swerve, granular
- ice cubes, for serving
- Use the peeler to remove thin slices of the yellow rind from 2 of the lemons.
- Cut lemons in half. Juice enough lemons to yield ½-cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Put the water and Swerve in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture (medium heat) until the Swerve completely dissolves. Stir it occasionally, leaving it on the heat for 15-20 minutes. (Don't let much water evaporate.) The solution will not turn fully clear.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the lemon zest peelings. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minutes have passed, remove the lemon rinds from the Swerve solution with a strainer. Stir in the lemon juice. Refrigerate your keto lemonade until it is chilled.
- Serve your keto lemonade in a tall glass over ice with fun straws (if desired). We garnished ours with fresh mint, but that is optional.
This is a recipe revamp that features new photos, a new recipe video, and more nutrition information. Enjoy!
I made this according to the recipe and added some chopped unsweetened dark cherries and it was absolutely delicious. I didn't have enough patience to wait for it to chill. Yummy!
Summer Yule says
Hi Cynthia, the cherries sound like an absolutely FABULOUS addition, I love it! I'm going to have to make it for myself sometime soon. Thank you so much for the review and rating! Summer
My nutritionist Keith Kleine told me that Swerve and other sugar alcohol based sweeteners are not appropriate as part of a weight loss diet, though they may be fine for diabetics not looking to loose weight. Do you have a version of this recipe that uses monk fruit extract or stevia extract (not Truvia, because that is mostly erythritol, basically the same thing as Swerve)?
Summer Yule says
Hi, Stephen! That's a great question. My preference is not to set blanket rules regarding sugar substitutes and weight loss since only some individuals find them helpful. I am one of the ones who used sugar substitutes (including those with sugar alcohols) and found them very helpful during my 70-lb. weight loss. I understand that others may find that sugar substitutes just lead them to crave more sweets.
As you likely know. Swerve is a 1:1 substitute for sugar. If you are using something like monk fruit drops or stevia extract instead, I would just add it drop by drop (or scoop by scoop) until you get the desired amount of sweetness. It should not take very much at all. Thank you for dropping in!
Terrified Amateur says
I love how you use not just the juice, Summer, but the zest as well. That's quite a feat, too, making lemonade (of all things) without sugar. Yes, Teacher, show us the way!
By the way, I suspect Meyer lemons would be good in your recipe too. Hope so, because I favor them.
Summer Yule says
OMG Meyer lemons would be PERFECT. I need to get those on the grocery list. I absolutely love that idea!
Terrified Amateur says
I know, right?
Like most citrus, Meyers find their peak amidst the snows, but they're becoming available year-round now. While summer Meyers aren't quite as good as they'll become in a few months, they're still a fair sight better than are "regular" lemons. In fact, I've switched over to Meyers for a couple years now, and couldn't imagine culinary life without them!