· Food & Recipes · Recipes · Make Your Own Homemade “Gatorade”

Make Your Own Homemade “Gatorade”

Now that the weather has warmed up, my boys are CONSTANTLY outside playing basketball, or at the rec center playing basketball, or at a friends playing basketball….you get the idea.  They are ALWAYS SWEATY and ALWAYS THIRSTY! I try to steer them away from the sugary drinks, but without a good alternative they are like homing pigeons…always zeroing in on the SWEET drinks.

Of course H2O is always a good alternative in MY mind…but for some reason they aren’t quite as enthusiastic about it. Occasionally I will stock up on “sports drinks” because I know they will drink them and at least they contain a LOT less sugar than soda or kool-aid. But holy cow! Those things are expensive! At least a dollar a bottle. If you can find a really good sale, sometimes you can get them for 50 or 60 cents. It didn’t take me TOO long to realize I could probably do better than that. ;-)

So, this weekend I have been in the kitchen laboratory mixing up different homemade sports drinks recipes I found online. This post turned out to be a LOT more time-consuming than I ever imagined! But I persevered because I care! ;-)

The first two concoctions were FAILS as far as No. 2 son and myself were concerned. The first one was TOO salty! The second one tasted like nothing. VERY blah/bland/unappealing.

Luckily the third time was the charm though! After reading about several different recipes all very similar to the one posted below, I figured I was on to something. The thing I really like about this one is that you can whip up a single 32 oz bottle super quick…OR…make a bigger batch to keep in the fridge.

But even though the method appealed to me…it was all about the taste for No. 2 son. And on THAT, it got a big thumbs up. As a matter of fact, after I asked him to “taste test” it for me…he proceeded to chug the whole bottle down. :-)  I guess we nailed it!

So before you stop by the store for a Gatorade on the way to the game (like I’ve done a trillion times!), try making your own! It’s easy, fast, and a lot healthier.

Homemade Sports Drink

adapted from FIVEheartHOME


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • coconut water

This recipe makes ONE QUART of sports drink (most Gatorade bottles are one quart, so they are perfect to refill with this.  Since my bottles are roughly 16 ounces each…this recipe filled two of them.)

This is the method I used:

Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt) to 1/2 cup HOT water. Stir until completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to the sugar/salt water.

Add a few ice cubes to each bottle, pour half of juice mixture into each bottle, then fill the rest of the way with cold water. Give the bottles a shake to allow the ice cubes to cool down the warm water.

 And here’s No. 2 son reaching for another bottle out of the fridge.  Now THAT’S what I like to see!! :-)

Two homemade green and blue bottles next to each other.

Make Your Own Homemade “Gatorade”

Jill Nystul
adapted from Daily Garnish
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 252 kcal


  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • water


  • Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt) to 1/2 cup HOT water.
  • Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Add 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to the sugar/salt water.
  • Add a few ice cubes to each bottle, pour half of juice mixture into each bottle, then fill the rest of the way with cold water.
  • Give the bottles a shake to allow the ice cubes to cool down the warm water.


Calories: 252kcalCarbohydrates: 63gSodium: 583mgPotassium: 248mgSugar: 60gVitamin A: 250IUVitamin C: 67.8mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.3mg



Food & Recipes

  • Pineapple juice, pineapple orange, orange mango, fruit punch, but other fruit juices would also be really good.

    I have a great tip for cutting down sugar in stuff like Kool Aid, sweet tea , Arnold Palmers (half sweet tea/half lemonade and pretty much the best drink ever), etc.

    I’ve lived in the Midwest for several years and got used to not drinking sweet tea that’s thick as maple syrup. It’s not that hydrating either. So I started cutting the sugar back in the drinks I make at home. For fast food drinks like Wendy’s strawberry or peach lemonade or sweet tea, I get them without ice and pour some into a glass of ice water. 1/4-1/3 sweet drink, and the rest ice water.

    Slowly reduce the amount you sugar in your drinks if you or your kids are having a hard time getting used to lessons sweet drinks. Glucose is the main building block for brain development which is why kids crave sugar so much. The body quickly digests sugar, and the brain releases feel good chemicals as a thank you. Kids don’t need the ridiculous amounts of sugar in most commercial drinks though.

    For Kool-aid type drinks I halve the sugar then cut down more, and I’ve also made them with sugar free sweeteners, but those sweeteners give me migraines and joint pain.

    For soft drinks like Coca-Cola you could water them down with sparkling water. I also make lemonade syrup and add it to water or sparkling water. I also love fruit syrups or concentrates like sour cherry or Rèal brand fruit syrups meant for alcoholics drinks. Their strawberry, cherry, and peach are excellent and very concentrated.

    I also make Arnold Palmer concentrate by mixing very strong tea (I use PG Tips) and lemonade syrup. There’s a ton of lemon and lemonade syrup on Pinterest as well as iced tea concentrates. I’m still developing my recipe, but for the tea part I use 15 bags (1/3 cup) steeped in 1 1/2 cups water right off the boil.

  • Do you have any recipes for a gaterade drink for those people allergic to citric acid and fruits, my kids and husband are extremely allergic.

  • Use oranges,insed of consentraided.Its better for you.Put them in the blender to brake them down.It doesn’t take long,and the palp is good for you.Use Stevea instead of sugar.It comes in granulaided or liquid form,It’s better for you then sugar.And a lot better then,sugar subsitute.

  • We LOVE Gatorade in our house and drink it all the time – but man is that stuff pricey! Thanks for sharing this unique recipe. I am definitely going to try it out!

  • Ok here’s a thought:
    Take this part:
    Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt) to 1/2 cup HOT water. Stir until completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to the sugar/salt water.
    pour into ice cube trays & freeze. Put those in a baggie for one dose and take it out throw into container, add your water shake & go. That way we can use up all the ingredients.

  • As a accountant, not sure you are saving much with the homemade vs. store bought with that much sugar and “real” OJ the price just shot up. On the other hand, not having all the junk in the mass produced store bought stuff may just offset the cost. Thankful for the removal of the BVO, but still concerned about all the dyes and other imperium able items in these drinks.

  • Jillee, you are my favorite! I’ve been scouring the internet for homemade options for a sports drink. I’ve found lots of recipes, but no actual reviews. I should’ve known to start here first. Thanks for all your kitchen experimentations.

  • Thank you so much for this recipe! I just made a batch and took some with me on a bike trip. Perfect for the hot & humid days here in the Washington DC area. It was very refreshing and easy to make. Tx again for sharing.

  • hello,
    i was running late to my volleyball clinic, and found that we had no gatorade for my teammates… so, i looked this up, multiplied the ingredients, and made 15 gallons in 10 minutes. this rocks.
    loved it. thank you so very much!

  • Not sure why you’re using sugar, it’s highly addictive, no wonder your kids keep going for more, especially since it already has OJ in it. Try making it with Lemon/Lime juice and using Agave, Maple syrup, honey or Stevia :)

  • […] One Good Thing by Jillee:  https://onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/04/make-your-own-homemade-gatorade.html […]

  • Jillee –

    I’ve got smoke coming out of my ears tonight!
    I was searching for a homemade recipe for Gatorade-type drinks after watching Dr. Oz today and discovered your site. Hearing there is Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) in Gatorade as well as in other colored sodas and sports drinks angered me. The rest of the world has banned this substance from food products but our FDA has decided it’s OK. BVO was patented as a flame retardant! Can you believe they allow it in the food and drink we and our children consume? It’s outrageous. After a petition started circulating against BVO, Pepsi agreed to remove it from Gatorade, but it remains (as of now, I believe) in other drinks like Mountain Dew, Fresca, Powerade, Fanta, & Squirt. Please everyone, spread the word to avoid BVO. Who knows what effect this could have on our children years from now.

  • […] #2 (OneGoodThing) 1/2 cup of orange juice 1/4 cup of granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt 1/2 cup of hot […]

  • Thank you so much for posting this. I made it for my teenagers today. They play sports year round and go through a lot of Gatorade. I used half the sugar and to my surprise my kids both thought it was too sweet, but loved it otherwise. I also used red Hawaiian sea salt for the maximum amount of minerals. I will definitely keep a jug of this in the refrigerator for them.

  • Thank you for the recipe. It has been very helpful. I’m a 64 yo guy who tries to do a lot of cycling and running, but Social Security doesn’t permit buying a lot of Gatorade. By the way, I’ve tried it with honey but prefer using granulated sugar. And while I understand the general concerns expressed about salt and sugar, those are exactly what my body needs if I’ve just cycled 30 miles or run six.

  • I enjoy a drastically simplified version when I do my workouts on a hot afternoon. I just fill an old water bottle with cold water from the fridge, a dash of lemon or lime juice and a dash or two of salt from the shaker. I may be missing out some some magical sea-salty mineral goodness, but the plain, iodized table salt does the trick for me. I may try adding a bit of sugar, but goodness knows I get enough of that elsewhere as it is. I do usually eat a bit of dark chocolate before training too, so maybe that helps.

  • Hi Jillee!! I just made this today for hubby dear who is out mowing the lawn in the sweltering So. Texas heat and humidity. He gave it a hearty two thumbs up. He says it’s good enough to make a cocktail out of later – LOL. Thanks for the great tip and helping me save $$$$.

    Happy Day to ya!

  • Hi :)
    Your recipe says to add lemon juice. My husband who is a Gatorade-addict can’t have lemon or lime juice. Is there something that can be used as a substitute? Appreciate the info :)

  • […] One Good Thing, for the recipe! Be Sociable, Share! TweetShare […]

  • Tried this today and loved it. It’s a nice treat after a hot afternoon. Less expensive and much healthier than the brand name stuff. Thanks!

  • I love this idea. My boyfriend is an avid hockey player, and we go through a lot of Gatorade in our household. It gets expensive after awhile and I have always wondered if there was a similar alternative! I think this is it! I’m going to be trying this next week and see if it gets the stamp of approval! Thanks for the idea -Kate

  • My sister is a nutritional therapist and an allergy elimination therapist and she says xylitol is the safest sugar substitute. It is made from plants and won’t harm the body like aspartame or Splenda. Stevia is also good but I’m not a fan of the aftertaste.

    • Just make sure that it is from beech tree syrup. If not it is from GMO corn syrup. The corn syrup version actually does the opposite of what you want for your health. Also (if you haven’t tried it this way) get stevia that is only stevia. I find that the packets because they have more than just stevia in them, do leave an aftertaste. The small bottle I get at the vitamin stop has a small spoon that is just right for 16 oz. drinks. the bottle lasts me 3 months. And I drink lots of iced tea. I don’t care for it in hot tea I prefer honey, and using it with lemonade or other homemade drinks haven’t turned out well for me. I probably did something wrong. The brand Sweet Leaf has some awsome flavors for adding to your water.

  • Hi Jillee,

    Update from my previous comment: I did make this without sugar and used raw honey from my local farmers market, and it tasted awesome!! It was so refreshing and cool to drink, even hubby and all kids loved it! Thanks for doing all the experimenting and providing a wonderful recipe!

      • Hi Amanda,

        I used the same amount listed 1/4 cup of honey instead of 1/4 cup sugar. As honey is so wonderful in all aspects, I always try and substitute sugar with honey wherever I can.

  • I assume we can use whatever juice we want? My husband loves cranberry juice, so I’m hoping I can use that because we already have a ton…

  • When most people eat like 6 times or more the amount of salt our body requires a day why do we have to replace the salt lost in sweat? It would seem that it would be a good thing not to replace it as it would just even out. Another thing a lot of products have artificial sweeteners in them including your children”s vitamins.

    • This is a homemade sports drink, and we need to replace the sodium we loose when exercising. Make it without salt if you are just giving it to kids as a beverage alternative to soda or koolaid, but the salt is necessary for the sports drink.

    • Just wanted to share my experiences surrounding sodium and our bodies.

      I was always of the mindset that your body would regulate your sodium levels as long as you used it in moderation. But that’s not the case. Your body is in need of sodium in order to function properly. In fact, if your sodium level drops too low it can kill you, just as a too high of a level can. While it is more common to hear about those who have to watch their high salt intake, there are others who have to watch it as well, but from the other side of the spectrum.

      At the age of 36, I was informed by my neurologist that my body does not store salt. I was quite taken aback by this and I truly thought she was just grasping at straws, looking for answers to my migraines. But I started to look into what it actually meant to have low sodium and it’s pretty scary. It really explained alot of what I have suffered throughout my life. Horrific dizziness, loss of conciousness, salt-less tears, severe muscle cramps and so on. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it’s scary true. Interestingly enough, my birthmother was just found last year to be suffering from the inability to store salt as well. While it isn’t necessarily a genetic issue that was a quite interesting side note for both me and my neurologist.

      I have never been a huge salt eater and I never cooked with it, but I have had to alter my cooking and eating habits to accommodate this medical issue. I’ve seen positive changes, but it is a constant battle. One thing I consume when I’m struggling to get my sodium levels back up (as my body is kind enough to tell me…sometimes in a harsh manner….that my salt is low) is Gatorade/Powerade. They are expensive if you are drinking at least a couple a day to get leveled back off. In recent months I have drank very little of this replacement beverage since I can’t work right now due to my health. After a very bad scare this week and my parents having to buy a lot of it, I thought I would look at the possibility of a homemade gatorade or electrolyte replacement beverage.

      Would I rather not even consume salt? Heck yeah! I’m not a fan of salty food. I like my pretzels plain and will eat homeade over canned any day, becaused canned always tastes like I’m licking a salt block. ;) But a no-salt diet isn’t an option. So if I can find a safe, yet fast alternative to replace salt I will do so. But in the meantime I enhale lots of salty foods (potato chips being the easiest go to food group) and consume more gatorade than I ever did as a kid (back then it was usually just water after games). When my salt is low I try to steer clear of consuming a high amount of H2O and soda. To be honest, though, my favorite rescue combo is Lays Potato Chips and Coca-Cola Classic (oh how I miss just Coca-Cola lol), but my wasteline isn’t very fond of it, nor does it work when my sodium level is dangerously low.

      I’m going to try this recipe tomorrow after I can hopefully get to the store to purchase orange juice. May I just say that the juice addition is quite baffeling to me? lol

      • We have this in my family as well. My dad will eat straight salt if he has been sweating a lot at work. (He drives a propane delivery truck and spends 9 months of the year chaining tires.) he forgot once and a stubbed toe led to a week stay in the ICU until they figured out the salt problem. His rule of thumb is if straight salt tastes bad, you have enough in your body. (We don’t use a lot of salt in cooking since it makes mom’s ankles swell.)

  • How about just making crystal light of any flavor and having them eat a banana or two a day? This seems like a whole lot of extra work (and extra stuff) when the solution could be a lot easier.

  • You can buy electrolytes online and probly in health food stores, you should add that instead of salt. It’s in gatorade and that’s why it’s salty.

  • Coconut water is a great replacement too. Agave is #2 on the worst sweeteners list after aspartame and splenda is 3rd I think. Celtic sea salt is the best you can’t get to much of it.

    • I looked up the article I’m assuming this comes from. It says agave is bad because it is made with fructose. The stuff I have is pure organic agave nectar so I’m guessing it just depends on what you buy.

  • Hi. This recipe is pretty close to the one my family has been drinking for years. It is perfect or diabetics because it helps to keep the blood sugar level from spiking. Within the first year of drinking this recipemy husband lost 60 lbs. His cholesterol and blood pressure improved and he no longer needed is diabetic medications. You can mix a glass or a jug. Here is the recipe we use:
    2 cups orange juice (use the Not from concentrate good stuff)
    Any flavor Mio (we prefer the strawberry watermelon flavor. You can use one of the Energy flavors if you want caffine)
    2 tsp salt
    Put oj in jug, add salt, fill with water. Close jug and shake to mix. Add Mio to taste.

    Recipe is really about ratios. One part oj to 8 parts water (1:8). For us it is an easy an cheap alternative to sofas and sports drinks.

      • Brenda, MIO is just a liquid water enhancer. It comes in a little container. I believe in can be found in the aisle next to the other powdered drink mixes (i.e. Crystal Light); someone correct me if I’m wrong. And Michelle, I am definitely going to try that recipe. I can’t do the sugar, and as previous comments indicated, I don’t really care for the “fake sugar” stuff either

      • Mio contains Sucralose and acesulfame potassium sweeteners, both are ‘fake sugar’.

      • Try Sweet Leaf Brand. They have 20 some different flavors. You may have to look them up online, or look in health food stores.

  • I love the bottles! Where did you find them? I have 2 little ones that love to raid the fridge, and if I keep bottles in there with their names they might stick with them instead of my water bottle.

    • Hi Julie: We picked these basic Rubbermaid bottles at Kroger (Dillon’s and Ralph’s are the same stores in different areas of the US). I’ve seen them everywhere – WalMart and Meijer, for example – so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. And they are VERY handy!

      • I had searched for the perfect water bottle forever until I found these a few months ago at target. They fit in a cup holder, have a wide mouth to add ice cubes, and a flip open top that allows a ‘gulp’ instead of a ‘sip’ but is still easy to clean!

  • Gatorade is replacing the electrolytes in the body and a very basic formula is a sugar (not a chemical substitute), salt and baking soda. Any type of sugar is good, honey (for anyone over 2 years old), raw or brown sugars or agave. Everything else is to make it taste better. Some potassium and magnesium would give an additional boost.
    Splenda is a poison, please don’t use any of those ARTIFICIAL sweeteners ever, they cause havoc in our bodies and they aren’t natural to our body chemistry.
    Stevia is excellent, great for diabetics, but as an electrolyte replacement it is useless.
    Please check thing out before you use them.
    Here is one of the great sources http://www.westonaprice.org
    Please check it out!

    • Glad you spoke up on this, Laura. I agree, anything man-made/chemical derivative is deadly. Use a natural sweetener if you need to, but don’t burden your body more with something it doesn’t recognize or can process. I would also change out the kosher salt for a naturally collected SEA salt. It will provide the minerals needed when dehydration is an issue. Helping to balance out your system easily and quickly when needed. Education is the KEY to healthy living, be sure to research an additive before you dump it into you body to deal with it. Check several sources, not what mainstream media is spouting, nor the manufacturer. It’s been proven time and again that they WILL LIE in order to make a profit.

      • And others will also lie to make people fear anything processed or man-made, right Debs?

      • Honey, as long as it is RAW, has some very beneficial components. A natural antibiotic and has helped my 5 year old with chronic stomach pain. I googled it and read it cures food poisoning. And go with the natural sea salt for the minerals taken out of table salt

  • I think I am going to do this only use frozen juice no water added just scoop some out then I can use any mixture apple cranberry cranberry grape etc. I want and that is soooo much sugar so I am going to try some other lower calorie sweetener. I will report back tomorrow. Love your blog Jillee it has helped me out tremendously with saving money I use your shout your laundry detergent your new shampoo from yesterday I am trying I have really curly coarse long hair and my daughter has baby fine thin straight hair so we are both trying it out. Thank you soo much

  • OK this sounds great, Love the idea of using honey instead of sugar, but how about a different juice. what about grapefruit or apple juice (thats the type of juices we drink in this household) or what about homemade juice what that work ( I am able to sneak in pineable and carrots in the homemade juice)


  • I think this could turn into an energy drink pretty quickly. I bought a small bottle of vitamin B12 (as we all know is the vitamin that increases energy) and could see putting a dropper full in this concoction. What do you think Jillee?

    Also I think that you could probably take the sugar out and add any type of sugar alternative in. It would just depend on your preference.

    • You gals are all over this! :-) I’m going to add this to the post.
      Most definitely, feel free to use your sweetener of choice. Next time I make it I’m going to try Stevia…which is my sweetener of choice and is what is in my smoothie I am drinking right this very minute. :-)
      Honey, agave, etc….I say go for it! And be sure to report back. :-) Cheers!

      • Sugar provides carbohydrates so replacing with a sugar substitute won’t do much good.

  • Sumi, I was actually wondering the same thing about the sugar. OJ is packed with it already, and my fiance is diabetic, so probably not a good idea to be adding extra sugar. I’ve found that Splenda is a great substitute for sugar. It tastes a tad different, but you definitely get used to it. Maybe you could give that a try instead of using the sugar; I know I will when I try this.

  • Hi Jillee, I follow lots of your recipes and tips/tricks and love all of them! This is the first time I’m commenting though, :)
    I love the idea of homemade gatorade. My kids would really love this, can’t wait to try it tomorrow!
    I wanted to know if I want to drink it while on treadmill, or after/during a workout can I substitute granulated sugar with any other sweetener, like maybe honey? As I’m limiting my white sugar intake. I would appreciate your answer. Thanks.

  • >