Homemade Electrolyte Drink – 4 Fast & Easy Recipes

Got a cold or the flu? Need to rehydrate? Or play a lot of sports and looking for a healthy alternative? Try this Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipe, it’s easy and full of flavor and natural ingredients! Plus, I’ve options to make 4 different flavors that are hydrating and delicious.

A photo of an orange homemade electrolyte drink in a glass jar on a wooden surface

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I love my homemade electrolyte drink. It’s refreshing and rehydrating. And there’s NO artificial junk in it. Why did I decide to make my own electrolyte recipe? My 8-year-old son was sick, and I wanted a homemade Pedialyte alternative.

We had the routine down: BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and gluten-free toast) diet and an electrolyte drink, usually Pedialyte. But when I began really looking at the label, I was horrified to find so many harmful ingredients – such as artificial colors and flavors. 

Disclaimer: While I love sharing my tips and recipes and have done a ton of research, I am not a doctor or health care professional. This is not medical advice, rather it’s my recipe for helping with rehydration that worked so well with my kids. Please consult with your doctor before getting started. 

More About Electrolytes

Learn why electrolytes are needed for muscle function and the overall nervous system, and how to spot an electrolyte imbalance. 

What Are Electrolytes? 

According to the National Institutes of Health, electrolytes are essential minerals like sodium (salt), calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorous that are vital for basic life functioning. Electrolytes control nervous system function and regulate muscle contractions. Electrolytes help to keep you hydrated and balance your pH levels too.

Electrolytes are key when the body is dehydrated, as water alone may not be enough to rehydrate. 

How Do You Get Electrolytes?

Electrolytes come from food (like bananas, yogurt, spinach, and watermelon) and drinks like coconut water and lemon juice. While these foods and drinks can help with proper hydration, when you or your child is feeling under the weather or overworked from heavy exercise, they may not be best options. 

When I’ve had a sick kid who couldn’t even muster up the strength to drink a glass of water, I sure couldn’t feel them a banana or yogurt. 

How Do You Lose Electrolytes? 

Electrolytes are lost through urine and sweat. And it’s not always a hard workout that can make you sweat. Hot days, humid areas, or prolonged workouts can cause excessive sweat where electrolytes likely need to be replenished. They can also be lost due to vomiting and diarrhea.

What Are the Signs You Need Electrolytes? 

According to Cedars-Sinai, the signs of low electrolyte levels include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low energy
  • Simply not feeling well

A tale-tell sign you’re losing a lot of salt during a workout is if you see a white chalk substance on your clothing. After strenuous exercise (workouts longer than an hour or a long run) or you’re outside in hot weather, you would likely benefit from an electrolyte drink to replenish those essential electrolytes.

If you experience muscle cramps, you might have been told you need a banana to replenish your potassium. But in many cases, it’s actually magnesium. A magnesium supplement can help along with an electrolyte drink that has trace minerals to replenish those natural electrolytes.

A side shot of a homemade electrolyte drink in a glass bottle on a white surface with citrus fruits

What’s in Commercial Electrolyte Drinks?

Common store-bought electrolyte drinks are Pedialyte and Gatorade. Let’s do a quick breakdown of nutrition content in each one: 

Strawberry-Flavored Pedialyte
Ingredients: Water, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Zinc Gluconate, Red 40 and Blue 1

Nutrition: 45 calories for a 12 oz serving, 370 mg sodium, 9 g sugar, 280 mg potassium, 2.8 mg zinc, 440 mg chloride

Orange Thirst Gatorade
Ingredients: Water, Sugar, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Monopotassium Phosphate, Gum Arabic, Natural Flavor, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Glycerol Ester of Rosin, Yellow 6

Nutrition: 140 calories for a 20 oz bottle, 270 mg sodium, 34 g sugar, 80 mg potassium

We’ve tried the unflavored Pedialyte, but my son wouldn’t even drink it. He didn’t like the taste of it. Plus, I was bothered that it still contained chemicals that I didn’t want my son to ingest. And commercial sports drinks like Gatorade contain other harmful ingredients such as brominated vegetable oils along with a lot of sugar and artificial colors.

Why Opt for a Natural Electrolyte Drink?

Here’s why I opted for a homemade electrolyte drink and why you may want to consider it too:

1. Better Ingredients

Rather than the store-bought electrolyte drinks, this homemade version contains natural ingredients and no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no preservatives.

2. Easier to Make

It’s actually really easy to make your own electrolyte drink. Rather than drive to the store to stock up on Gatorade and Pedialtye, you could make your own with simple ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

This is based on a homemade oral rehydration solution (ORS) recipe from the World Health Organization (WHO). In a nutshell, it’s sugar, salt, and water. I adapted this simple recipe to add citrus juice (which have natural electrolytes) and add flavor and make it more palatable.

3. Cheaper to Make

It’s actually more economical to make your own electrolyte drink than to buy them from the store.

For example, a 1 liter bottle (about 4 cups) of Pedialyte Strawberry Hydration is about $6. Compare that to this recipe that makes about 3 cups of my homemade electrolyte drink that’s just water, sugar (or honey), salt, and lemon and orange juice.

A 12 pack of 12 oz bottles of Gatorade Lemon Lime Thirst Quencher is about $8. That’s about 2 servings per bottle = 24 servings in that 12 pack. It would still likely be cheaper to make your own or pretty dang close, but you’ve also got cleaner ingredients with the homemade version.

Closeup of honey poured into a blender to make a homemade electrolyte drink

How to Make Your Own Homemade Electrolyte Drink

This DIY electrolyte drink is great as a natural sports drink or to get rehydrated due to fluid loss from a cold or flu. 

About the Ingredients

  • Salt – opt for Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt rather than table salt
  • Sugar – opt for a natural sugar like raw honey (avoid for babies under 12 months of age), maple syrup, organic sugar or even molasses (which also has potassium) 
  • Water – use filtered water
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – lemons are naturally high in electrolytes like potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamin C to help with support the immune system. It also gives this drink a citrus flavor that makes it delicious to drink 
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice – oranges contain electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, and are high in vitamin C to support the immune system. It also makes this drink tastes really good – as orange juice is naturally sweeter in taste compared to lemon juice

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Don’t have a blender? You can add all ingredients to a large pitcher and stir well until the honey and salt has dissipated into the water. 
  • Store in Mason jars or reusable glass cap bottles.

Watch the Video Tutorial

Check out this video tutorial to learn how to make a Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drink – aka homemade Gatorade. This recipe is perfect to rehydrate after sports or replenish fluids from the cold or flu.

More Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipes

You can customize the flavor of this homemade electrolyte drink with just a few recipe modifications. I love the original recipe as my go-to but sometimes we like to change it up too. I’ve included a recipe with essential oils as I get asked a lot if essential oils can be incorporate.

Grapefruit Twist

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 cups water (filtered or raw coconut water)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds. Serve and drink immediately.

Strawberry Lemonade

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water (filtered or raw coconut water)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until strawberries are pureed. Serve and drink immediately.

Lemon Limeade

Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds. Serve and drink immediately.

Watch the Video Tutorial

Check out this video tutorial to learn how to make a Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drink – aka homemade Gatorade. This recipe is perfect to rehydrate after sports or replenish fluids from the cold or flu.

Best Time to Drink 

For rehydration after a good workout, strenuous activity, or hot summer days, use this like a homemade Gatorade. Drink as often as needed to replenish fluid and electrolyte loss. Drink water as well to help keep the body hydrated. 

For fluid loss due to vomiting or diarrhea, the WHO recommends: 

  • Child under the age of 2: Drink 1/4 to 1/2 large cup (about 2 to 4 oz) at a time
  • Child 2 years and older: Drink 1/2 to 1 large cup (about 4 to 8 oz) at a time
  • Adults and large children: Drink about 12 cups (about 3 quarts) a day
  • Start with small sips or even spoon feed as needed
  • If vomiting occurs, wait 10 minutes and then start again. Even with vomiting, the body retains some fluids
  • Be sure to contact your doctor or pediatrician if you have any questions or think your child might be dehydrated or cannot drink at all

For my own kids who have had a fever, flu, or stomach flu, I offered this drink every 30-60 minutes to help keep them hydrated as well as regular water. 

Storage Tips

You can make a large batch and put it in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. Beyond that, it’s best to make a fresh batch each time. The natural electrolytes in the lemon and orange juice are best when they are freshly squeezed. Store in glass jars or pitchers. 

A side shot of a homemade electrolyte drink in a glass bottle on a white surface with citrus fruits

FAQs

When’s the best time to have an electrolyte drink?

A natural homemade electrolyte drink is a great way to rehydrate your body, so it’s great if you have a fever or stomach bug. It’s also great if you are working out or playing sports, so that you don’t get dehydrated. If you are using this as a sports drink, you can drink it before you exercise to prevent dehydration and muscle cramping. 

Can I freeze this electrolyte drink? 

You can freeze this drink into popsicle molds, or even make these Homemade Electrolyte Popsicles. It’s an easy way to stay hydrated on a hot sunny day or when drinking a full cup might be too hard (like the first sign of feeling under the weather). 

​Can I use bottled lemon juice? 

Ideally, it’s better to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice has been sitting on the shelf in the store for a long time, and usually has other additives to replace the electrolytes lost and preservatives to prolong its shelf life. Freshly squeezed lemon juice also tastes better. 

Closeup of lemon getting juiced to make a homemade electrolyte drink

Can I use bottled or boxed orange juice? 

It’s better to use freshly squeezed orange juice, as bottled or boxed orange juice may have additives and preservatives in it. 

Can I use another fruit juice? 

Yes, lime juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and even watermelon juice are all higher in natural electrolytes compared to other fruit juices, and taste well in this recipe. 

Is coconut water good for electrolyte imbalance? 

Yes, coconut water contains natural electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and manganese and can help with fluid balance. You could drink it alone as a natural electrolyte drink, or you could add it to this recipe. Just substitute the filtered water in this recipe for coconut water to get an extra dose of electrolytes. 

You may want to reduce the sugar (or raw honey) in the recipe to balance the sweetness if you substitute coconut water for filtered water. Too much sugar or too much salt in this recipe can make symptoms worse. 

Top Tips to Make This Homemade Electrolyte Drink Recipe

  • Use fresh lemon and orange juice, not store bought boxed juices.
  • Add ice to the blender if you prefer a cold drink.
  • Make a large batch and store the drink in the fridge in mason jars.

I also have recipes for Homemade Electrolyte PopsiclesCold-Busting Gummy Snacks (made with black cherry and elderberries) and a Natural Homemade Sports Drink made with essential oils (for an extra immunity boost), as well as tips on how to use essential oils for colds and flu.

More Home Remedies You Might Like

Did you try this homemade electrolyte drink? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and comment below to let me know how it went. You can also FOLLOW ME on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

A homemade electrolyte drink in a glass jar on a wooden table

Homemade Citrus Electrolyte Drink

Don’t Mess With Mama
Got a cold or the flu? Need to rehydrate? Or play a lot of sports and looking for a healthy alternative? Try this Homemade Electrolyte Drink.
4.81 from 170 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 2 servings
Calories 98 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

Notes

Here’s my favorite blender to use for this recipe. I also serve this natural sports drink in these Mason Jars.
And here are more recipe ideas: 
Grapefruit Twist
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 cups water (filtered or raw coconut water)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds. Serve and drink immediately.
Strawberry Lemonade
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water (filtered or raw coconut water)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until strawberries are pureed. Serve and drink immediately.
Lemon Limeade

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 25gSodium: 159mgPotassium: 155mgSugar: 23gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 42.8mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword homemade energy drink, homemade sports drink
Tried this recipe?Mention @dontmesswithmama on Instagram
Gluten-Free Real Food Recipes for Kids

Want More Recipes?

Check out my new book, Gluten-Free, Real Food Recipes for Kids. I wrote this book with YOU in mind. Parents who want to provide kids with wholesome meals without artificial colors, preservatives and other additives. All the recipes are gluten-free – with many options for grain free or Paleo, dairy free, egg free and vegetarian.

What’s Included In This Book

It’s filled with 130+ pages of content and recipes, including:

  • Real food nutrition 101
  • Detailed information on how to properly soak and sprout nuts, beans, grains and seeds
  • A guide on how to spot chemical additives and what to avoid
  • Kitchen essentials and cooking tools
  • Tips on how to get kids to become better eaters and help in the kitchen
  • 70+ gluten-free recipes – such as snacks and appetizers, beverages, condiments and dressings, main meals, desserts and more

Sources:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123
2. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/electrolytes.html
3. https://rehydrate.org/solutions/homemade.htm

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185 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just used homemade grape juice concentrate to make this.
    1quart grape juice concentrate
    8 cups water
    1/2 t salt
    2-8 T sweetener of choice (honey/maple syrup)
    Makes 1 gallon of beverage
    .
    Thank you for the recipe!!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this. This came in handy today when I needed an electrolyte for my hubby, recovering from a stomach bug. We didn’t have Gatorade and I’m big on clean ingredients for things. This tastes great and I’m so glad I could use what I had on hand. I didn’t have oranges so I used clementines. Thanks a million for coming through for me.