How to Make Homemade Pedialyte: DIY Recipes and Instructions

Minnesota mom blogger

homemade pedialyteHomemade Pedialyte

Homemade Pedialyte sure is a popular topic! If you’re looking for more variations of these DIY Pedialyte recipes I wrote a follow-up post with even more details on how to make Pedialyte. It also has d Pedialyte recipes!

Ugh. My kids are two and three, and both of them were up all night last night with a terrible stomach bug.

Why does it seem like every time a child has gastroenteritis it’s absolutely the sickest he or she has ever been? The vomiting, and the resulting exhaustion and fussiness, makes for a very unhappy home! At least I can make homemade Pedialyte at home to save money and save a trip to the drugstore!

This wasn’t our first run-in with a bad stomach bug, but I still wish I wasn’t able to say that I’m an experienced mom in this category!

There are different recommendations according to various doctors and sources, but If there’s one rule for stomach bugs I always try to remember, it’s this:

Don’t even think having little ones drink anything until they haven’t vomited for 2 hours. After that, we move on to ice chips or tiny sips of water. If they keep that down for 20 minutes, then they’re likely ready to start drinking more water electrolyte replacement drinks like Pedialyte or homemade Pedialyte.

Why is homemade Pedialyte (or any Pedialyte) important? It restores electrolytes from sodium chloride (salt) and other minerals that are lost during vomiting or diarrhea. Electrolytes help our cells absorb and retain fluid, so drinking a beverage that helps replace those electrolytes will rehydrate the body faster than drinking water alone.

I have two problems with real Pedialyte and the generic equivalents: It’s expensive and my kids just don’t like it!

I’ve bought several different forms and flavors of both generic and name-brand Pedialyte. Every time, my kids have had one sip and refused to drink any more. That’s why I was so happy to learn that I could make homemade Pedialyte!

I made a 1/2 batch of the first homemade Pedialyte recipe this morning and my kids drank it right down. I then made a second batch that they drank throughout the day.

I haven’t tried the other recipes below, but I wanted to include the alternatives so you can try variations to find one that your little ones will drink.

How to make Homemade Pedialyte:

Homemade Pedialyte Recipe #1: 

  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Jello gelatin powder/mix, any flavor (I used cherry)

Instructions for homemade Pedialyte: Mix salt, sugar and Jello with hot water until dissolved. Stir into 3 1/2 cups of water and serve. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

Homemade Pedialyte Recipe #2

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey (remember that babies can’t have honey until they’re at least 1 year old)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional: 1/2 packet unsweetened Kool-Aid

Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and serve. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

Homemade Pedialyte Recipe #3

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup  orange juice

Instructions: Mix all ingredients together and serve. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

Your turn: Have you made homemade Pedialyte before? Share your recipe below!

Update: Be sure to check out my other post with an all-new list of homemade Pedialyte recipes and details on how to make Pedialyte!

baby dealsLooking for more health tips? See how honey and cinnamon have been known to “cure” the common cold!


  1. Im sooo going to save this. I got thru that stuff like water, my kids love it. Thanks.

  2. Half glass orange juice with half glass water and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt. Mix and drink.

  3. Check with your Peditrician on the age safe for your baby to have honey.

  4. We don’t call it Pedialyte in the UK, but rehydration salts/drink.
    What I use is a pint of fruit squash (diluted to taste), quarter of a teaspoon of salt, quarter of a teaspoon of bicarb, little extra sugar and a soluble vitamin c and zinc tablet. Cures all ills!

  5. I am sooooooo making this. My 1 yr old has been pukey the past couple days & I don’t like feeding them things like store bought pedialyte. I like to prepare everything him & my 2.5yr old eat & drink too.

  6. My mom used to give me the jello version all the time when I was kid. I remember eating a lot of unhealthy food back then–white bread, sugar cereal, etc. As an adult, I wrote that remedy off as just another junk food item I wouldn’t give my own kids when I had them. Great to see it actually does help. I’ll consider it next time my daughter is sick. Thanks for posting!

  7. Kathryn B says:

    I’m going to save this! Thanks for the great recipes.

    My doctor also let me know that water down Gatorade also works like Pedialyte. We always have powder Gatorade at our house so I make a batch of Gatorade and then in their cup I do half of their cup water and the other half Gatorade.

    • Gatorade has too much sugar for kids and should not be given. It’s not even useful to athletes really! Money grab by big corporations and your Dr. should not be recommending it.

      • Julie, the sugar is there for a reason. It is an osmolyte, which allows the body to move the electrolytes (potassium, sodium and chloride) across the cell membrane. What’s more, is that Gatorade uses dextrose (pure glucose) for part of the sugar, meaning that it is absorbed immediately, high in the GI tract, so it doesn’t wind up drawing water into the bowel as sucrose can.

        Please educate yourself about basic physiology before telling others what to do.

  8. Love this. Plus I find it can be hard to find pedialyte without the food dyes in it which we try to avoid.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Honey is unsafe till at least 2…. so just be careful but I love all the other ideas! My son is currently sick so this might be a today idea.

  10. clothespin says:

    The reason that the real stuff has artificial sweetener in it is because sugars draw liquids into the GI tract – not what you want at this point in time. I’ll probably stick to the packaged stuff cause the last thing I need is to fuss with something else when my little one is this sick!

    A couple of ideas though, good for homemade or store bought. Fluids are CRITICAL to keeping a child alive. Obvious but… my 3 year old nearly went to the hospital because I thought she was getting enough liquids… but she wasn’t. If your child hasn’t peed in 12 hours, you need to pump the fluids into her.

    if you kid won’t drink it (and it is pretty vile)… get a large syringe and use that to force feed the kid. I had to put a rag under her chin and pumped it into her. Maybe 1/4 cup every 1/2 hour or so… up to the recommended dose on the bottle. It’s more than you think! Yes, she cried but soon she peed (after a couple of hours) and we avoided the huge trauma and bill of the ER. (The doc was going to make us go otherwise…) After a few rounds of the syringe, she learned that the “medicine juice” makes her feel better… and now will happily drink it out of the juice boxes that they sell. Because of our near miss, I now give this to her whenever she has a fever or any sort of GI troubles… it might be expensive store bought, but is is MUCH cheaper than the hospital!

  11. This is nothing compared to Pedialyte. Where are the vitamins? Where are the electrolytes? This is just sugar/salt water with flavoring!

  12. Electrolyte drinks are supposed to be watered down salt drinks! Salt dissolved in water is the whole point! That’s what electrolytes are. They typically have potassium, as well. My daughter is 19 and has a condition where her blood pools in her arms and legs and her heart stops beating causing her to pass out. Gravity sends the blood back to her heart to restart it. These supposedly simple drinks are life savers for her!

  13. Our pediatrician said not to waste time or money on any electrlyte drinks, just give them water. Artificial sweeteners cause the drawing of water into the GI track, I’m not sure why pedialyte is claiming otherwise on their website. Buy maybe the amount they have is minimal. My children started having diarhea really bad when I was letting them have crystal light fairly regular. Doc said to give them water and sugar drinks & they were better in 24hrs. Also, though, if you have the stomach bug, Doc said to avoid sugars. The bacteria that causes the stomach virus feeds on sugar.

  14. I’ve been making #3 for years, except I add some color-free unsweetened kool-aid. My kids don’t like the flavor of watered down orange juice, but they will drink it if it has the kool-aid in it.

  15. use SEA SALT not just table salt per a Dr.recommendation

  16. Why would anyone give their sick kid MORE sugar? That’s ridiculous. Dehyrated kids don’t need koolaid and jello…they need electrolytes. Try coconut water. It is NATURE’S pedialite. It has tons of naturally occurring electrolytes. And it’s all natural…unlike koolaid, refined sugar and jello.

  17. I used recipe #3 a couple days ago, only with unflavored Kool-Aid. It worked well….but the next day she had diarrhea and a really bad diaper rash.

    • Andi, I’ve never heard of unflavored Kool-Aid. I think diarrhea, and the rash that ensues) is pretty common after a bout of stomach sickness, and pedialyte, (homemade or otherwise) won’t prevent it.

  18. I was wondering if the crystal light pakets for water bottle would work, instead of using the jello?

  19. I think these recipes are probably right on. They need a little sugar especially if they have been loosing a lot of fluid and not eating. There also is probably a lot less sugar in this than in Gatorade and the sugar helps with rehydration too. I do wonder if there is a way to get them a little potasium in there too? I this way Gatorade may be superior. Some people were misinformed. The stomach bug is going to feed off of any food a child eats, you can’t starve them, that’s just ridiculous. Also, if I can avoid buying Pedialyte or the no-name equivalent I will. it is expensive and I have an attitude of providing what I can homemade to my children, as long as they still get what they need. In the past I have bought gatorade on sale and given them that with extra water when they are sick. It’s a good thing to have on hand, like other medicines. Thanks for the recipes, definitely a good thing to keep in mind!

  20. Just thought you might like to know that you also need to add some potassium to the mixture. Start with 1/8 tsp. or less. The easiest way is “No-Salt” salt substitute. You actually need considerably more of it than you do salt. We Americans actually have the salt/sodium and potassium numbers flipped. We get as much potassium as we need of salt, and as much salt as we need of potassium. (Potassium is very important for brain, muscle and intestinal functions)

    I remember drinking lots of liquid jello when I had tonsilitis as a youngster. It’s still something I crave when I’m sick.

  21. I tht the pedialyte had alot more vitamins then tht….wow…my mom use to give us coke and gatorade….when we were sick w the bug…when we could hold down the coke which it helped w the acid in ur stomach then she wld giv us gatorade….it helped…

  22. Our pediatrician advised us to always have a small bottle of the cheapest RED cordial we could find on hand for tummy bugs.
    Not for general use, just for tummy bugs.
    Something to do with the red colouring to kill the nasty bugs.
    I goes against everything we believe (Artificial everything and white sugar Uurghhh) But it does work.

  23. People. This is not a debate. All the lady is trying to do here is offer suggestions. No need to badger her with points on why you disagree. Just read it and use it or throw the idea in the trash. You don’t have to be all nah nah nah nagging because thats what most of you sound like. Just saying! Also if you have too much potassium it can kill you!! If your electrolytes get too off balance it will kill you!! Adding a little sugar is good because kids like sugar which means they’ll actually drink it! And if your sugar gets too low you open a whole new door of issues! I’m not just speaking from online info I work in a blood laboratory and these tests are ones I do everyday. So either use it or lose it but keep the arguing opinions to yourself. It helps no one but yourself.

  24. macy Brock says:

    What about using xylitol to sweeten? It won’t affect their blood sugar and their liver like sugar and (processed) honey will, plus, it is good for growing children’s teeth!

  25. My daughter is now nine years old, I wish I would’ve had these recipes when she was 18 months old and we had to rush her to a small-town emergency room while on vacation at my family’s cottage. The ingredients listed in the recipe are in regular stock at the cottage! Hours and hours spent in emerg that night with a lethargic and unresponsive toddler was terrifying; turns out, she was just extremely dehydrated due to illness and the nurse yelled at us for not force-feeding her fluids. After being force-fed a syringe (of what I believe was Pedialyte) my daughter perked up and then proceeded to eat two Pedialyte freezies (after refusing the juice-form).

    Ever since that episode, I have given my daughter diluted, clear Gatorade or orange Lucozade, since she hates the taste of liquid Pedialyte. I am aware of the sugar content, but it works and is usually the only fluid she will take while ill with fever and/or stomach bug. We don’t purchase sugar-filled juice in our home, she is allowed one litre of 100% Oasis juice per week, otherwise she drinks water or herbal tea – that’s it.

    Thank you for posting these recipes, I am putting them on an index card and adding them to my family’s first aid folder 🙂

  26. My husband and I are missionaries in Russia. I am also an RN. I use the following recipe and have been very thankful for it on several occasions. It has literally been a lifesaver for my children on the mission field.

    Homemade Electrolyte drink
    8 tsp. Sugar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 liter water
    1 cup of juice (for flavor)

    Mix well until salt and sugar dissolve. Drink within 24 hours.

  27. Thank you for sharing these! I havn’t made homemade recipes for my kids, but I have used gatorade and pedialyte as popcicles. I pour it into little dixie cups, put in a popcicle stick, and then pop them in the freezer. They can be thawed out when need to be used, or eaten frozen. My kids like them frozen, as it numbs the tounge a bit before they take any other medicine.

  28. so how much does this recipe make? is it for a single serving at a time or more?

  29. tinagleisner says:

    What a great idea, and while I’m creating some blog posts on emergency kits for storms like this week’s hurricane, I might also start a home first aid post with links to things like this recipe as I used it lots & just gave my son, a new Dad, some cans to keep in the house.

  30. Thank you so much for these recipes. #3 worked like a charm. I actually blogged about it and linked to you. It was my first time on your site. Glad I found it. Thanks again

  31. I’d suggest using half table salt and half salt substitute in any of these recipes. Most salt substitutes are potassium chloride; replacing lost potassium is also very important for rehydration.

    • I agree. My VET said to use 1/2 teaspoon of salt substitute (like no salt) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt pr one gallon of water. He said I could also substitute the salt for baking soda.

      I noticed there is also ZINC in the store drinks and noticed another comment that someone put in a zinc tablet. I think that is a good idea.

      This should be used if your doctor/vet recommends that you use it. usually in cases to avoid dehydration from diarrhea and/or vomiting. It will save you a lot of $ as Pedialite is $5.00 for a 1 liter bottle.

  32. I really don’t see how these are great alternatives.
    Sugar ,jello,Kool Aid all these things are horrible for you.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, but illness trumps plenty of my usual parenting concerns 🙂

      Personally, my worries about sugar intake fall to the wayside when my little ones are sick and in need of hydration.

  33. What about prayer to Jesus mixed with hydration (however, you can get it in their mouths). That works for us! I have even used vitawater (kiwi strawberry flavor). It has electrolytes and vitamins.

  34. Marilyn Simpson says:

    In reading all the comments I notice that they are all about care of children. As a note to all you folks who are now or soon will be caring for elders, they, too, need this magic potion when they are ill and for the same reason. The visiting nurses and later the hospice nurse all had me giving my dad Pedialyte. He liked it about as well as your children did….but he could be reasoned with. I even gave him some when he was on a stomach tube…followed by a plain water flush (no complaints about taste then)! I sure wish I’d known about a homemade version then.

  35. Just for the record…table salt DOES have potassium in it. I made some for my 2 1/2 year old and so far she’s been able to keep it down and she’s getting extra fluids to help her feel better. If you don’t want to make it for your child…then don’t. If you find yourself in a pinch, like I am, with a sick toddler and no car sometimes you do what you have to do.

  36. HardestyMom01 says:

    Thank you for posting these recipes. I used the first one months ago for two of my daughters when they had a stomach virus. It worked! i had tried everything and nothing seemed to work, but before I made the call to the Md I remembered seeing recipe #1 and tried it. In less than a few hours they were up and playing. I made them take the homemade pedialyte two more times that day and they never threw up again after that.

  37. Okay, for those asking about the potassium: there is some potassium in the third recipe that uses diluted orange juice. OJ is a pretty good potassium source. An 8 ounce glass of OJ has 13% of one’s daily potassium allowance (for an adult, anyway). Orange juice is acidic and has a lot of sugar so this is why it’s diluted. If a child or adult isn’t eating because of the GI upset, it’s necessary to get carbs in somehow, and the sugar in the juice provides a little bit of the needed carbohydrate for energy. It’s not like the patient is on this routine for life– but just long enough to get over the acute stage until it’s time to transition back to regular meals.

    Please do not freak out about the sugars in these hydration drinks, because they’re necessary if someone isn’t getting other nutrition. I use this (or a similar recipe) as “bicycle fuel”. I’m an avid cyclist and I often carry a bottle of “bike fuel” along with my plain water to replace the ‘lytes that I lose through sweating, especially in the hot summer. I started doing this after a very long ride in 108 degree heat. I drank lots of water, but in the process I diluted out my potassium and sodium through sweat and only replacing the water. Not good! After my ride, I felt very weak and soon passed out! I also had horrible leg cramps. Turned out that I was very low in potassium. Fortunately I recovered very fast as soon as I ate and drank some high-potassium food like potato and Low-Sodium V8 (has potassium chloride instead of table salt). Within minutes, I began to feel LOADS better! From that point on, I started to carry some “bike fuel” on every ride over 35 miles if the temps are over 80 degrees. Of course, I wasn’t vomiting or having diarrhea… but a dilute mix like this offered frequently will help a sick kid or adult to get better (or feel better) much sooner than plain water alone, and it may go to work more quickly than solid food which must be digested first. When I’m running low, I can actually feel this stuff going to work as I perk up and any leg cramps fade away.

  38. Christine B says:

    Thank you. I won’t purchase pedialyte anymore since they now include an artificial sweetener. That is the last thing we need to be giving to our babies or kids ever! Manufacturers put it in everything, sooo frustrating, constantly reading labels.

  39. I didn’t have time to read every single comment, so I’m not sure if someone mentioned this already, but orange juice can have a laxative effect. If your child has diarrhea, I wouldn’t recommend this.

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