How to Make Water Kefir

How to Make Water Kefir A Healthy Probiotic Beverage!

I love water kefir. Fruity, fizzy and slightly sweet, it adds a bit of variety to my largely water-dominated beverage choices.

If you haven’t tried water kefir before, I encourage you to do so! Making it requires a bit of time every two days but it’s an easy process that becomes complete routine after a little while.

Drinking water kefir is a great way to get more fermented foods into your diet. Like all raw fermented foods, water kefir is full of beneficial bacteria that are so essential to good health.

How to Find Water Kefir Grains

Water kefir is made with water kefir grains, symbiotic colonies of yeast and bacteria that consume sugar while producing good bacteria.

If you’ve never made water kefir before, you’ll first need to acquire some water kefir grains. The easiest, most inexpensive option is to get active grains from someone local. I’d recommend joining your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter and asking whether anyone has any extra water kefir grains to share. Local real food Facebook groups are also good places to look.

If you can’t find any free grains, you can also purchase water kefir grains online. I recommend this brand of water kefir grains. I’ve purchased them a couple of times and have always had good success with them.

 Water Kefir Grains


If you buy grains online, they will likely come dehydrated and you will need to follow the enclosed directions for rehydrating before you can use this recipe to make water kefir.

Equipment You Need to Make Your Own Water Kefir

In the picture above, you’ll notice that I’m using Fido jars with an anaerobic Pickl-it lid. We’ve found that using these jars for water kefir improves the flavor and fizziness. Before switching to the Fido jars, however, I used regular mason jars for several years without any major issues, so you can definitely just use mason jars if you don’t want to spring for Fido jars and a Pickl-it lid.

 Norpro Stainless Steel Wide-Mouth Funnel HIC Nylon Mesh Strainer, 7-Inch


How to Make Water Kefir
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  1. Fill your choice of jar about three-quarters full of filtered water.
  2. Add your sugar and mineral drops. Stir vigorously until sugar completely dissolves.
  3. Add your kefir grains.
  4. Add extra water to your jar, filling until you have a couple of inches of headspace at the top.
  5. If you are using a Fido jar, cover jar with your Pickl-it lid, then fill your airlock with water and insert it into the lid. Close the metal clamp to seal your jar.
  6. If you are using a regular mason jar, cover your jar with a cloth or something similar to keep fruit flies out. Secure the cloth with a rubber band.
  7. Allow the water kefir to culture at room temperature for approximately 48 hours.
  8. At the end of the second day, strain out your water kefir grains by pouring the finished kefir through a strainer set inside a canning funnel and into a second Fido or mason jar. 
  9. Start a new batch of water kefir with your grains and new sugar water. I reuse the same jar several times, but you can always start with clean jars if you’d like.
  10. Your finished water kefir is now ready to be flavored. (You can also drink it right away, without flavoring, if you prefer.) I like to add frozen fruit, typically strawberries, raspberries or boysenberries. I find two larger berries or four smaller berries works well. I also like adding one or two lemon halves to make lemon-flavored kefir.
  11. If you are using Fido jars, store your finished kefir with a regular Fido lid, kept tightly closed. If you are using regular mason jars, store it with a mason jar lid.
  12. Allow the water kefir to ferment with the fruit at room temperature for one to two days. If you leave the fruit in for two days, you can easily remember to remove it when making a new batch of kefir.
  13. After fermenting with the fruit your kefir is ready to drink! Store it on the counter or in the fridge.

Looking for more fermented foods recipes?

Be sure to check out my posts on how to make kefir, how to make Instant Pot yogurt, and how to make kombucha.

If you’re already a kombucha lover, you’ll also enjoy my recipes for strawberry kombucha, raspberry kombucha, and strawberry lemon kombucha!

How to Make Water Kefir: A healthy probiotic drink that's cheap and easy to make at home!


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24 Responses to How to Make Water Kefir

  1. Janis says:
    Thanks - I just started a batch with your directions. I'll let you know how it comes out!
  2. Janis says:
    I had some grains in the fridge - I made sorghum soda 9 a la Full Moon Feast) before Christmas, which I realized (from reading your post) was just sorghum water kefir. I kept those grains, and they're probably pretty sleepy, but we shall see.
  3. AmandaLP says:
    Ive been wanting to try water kefir for a while. I found a commercial brand, and it tasted kinda "bad cheesy.". Is there a way that you could describe the taste of water kefir?
    • Meghan says:
      Wow, I didn't know that you could buy water kefir commercially! Interesting. Hmm, I'm not really sure how to describe it. It definitely tastes fermented, and mine tastes like fruit because that's what I put in to flavor it. I would never describe it as cheesy. I think my husband and I both thought the taste was a little weird in the beginning but now we really love it. It also really depends on what type of flavoring you add. I tried a few other things, all of which tasted gross, before settling on the frozen fruit method I use now. I also don't like how it tastes unflavored.
  4. Janis says:
    Oops - That was "sorghum soda (a la Full Moon Feast)".
  5. Tammy Francis says:
    I have had a milk kefir culture going for over two years. When I split these grains as they grow quite fast, do think I could use then in a water kefir recipe, as long as I rinse them.
    • Meghan says:
      Yes, technically you can convert your milk kefir grains to make water kefir. It usually takes them a few days to switch from using milk to using sugar for food. I have done this a few times in the past, though, and have never been particularly impressed. My kefir has come out very yeasty-tasting. If you have extra milk kefir grains, though, you might as well give it a try and see how it comes out for you. I certainly understand not wanting to invest in water kefir grains without knowing how you'll like water kefir.
  6. Cathy says:
    Ihave had kefir grains in the refrigerator for a long time, months maybe 7 months. Can you tell me are they still good? Cathy
    • Meghan says:
      Seven months sounds like a long time to me. I have only ever left my grains in the fridge for a month. They're probably dead, but if I were you I would try starting a batch of water kefir with them anyway. Maybe you'll get lucky!
  7. Terri says:
    Is water kefir better for you than kefir made with raw milk? Especially if you are doing the GAPS diet? Just wondering why you use water instead of milk. Thanks!
    • Meghan says:
      Terri, I think I've read that milk kefir is more powerful than water kefir. I don't remember where I learned that, though. I think the two cultures are probably quite different, as you use different "grains" (colonies of yeast and bacteria) to make each beverage. I make both milk kefir and water kefir. I try to get in as many probiotic foods as I can and we enjoy drinking both. As for GAPS, some people on GAPS drink water kefir while others don't feel comfortable with it. I think you need to decide what's right for your family. Any more questions? I'm happy to answer.
  8. Hanna says:
    Meghan, do you have a video for this recipe?
  9. Scott says:
    I'm having issues with the Kefir after I put it in the Fridge, even after just Overnight. I prepare the Kefir similar to you. Though I have Grains in 24h, Strain out Grains, Flavor with Juice and or Dried Fruit, Leave towel on New Jar for 24 Hrs. then Seal Jar on counter for another 2 days. So now I like the taste, I filter it and place in a new Jar and I pop it in the Fridge. So What tasted pretty good last night I take it out in the morning and it really seems like some other fermentation happened and tastes and smells more like a hard cider. The Longer it sits in the Fridge the more it seems alcoholic. One batch I’m sure I should not be driving… Although that’s Fun and all when I’m at home. I want to Bring the kefir to work and Drink it there. Not really the place to be getting a buzz. Is there something I’m missing?
    • Meghan says:
      I don't know, Scott. My water kefir has developed an alcoholic smell in the past but I've never noticed it affecting me. (And I don't normally drink, so I'd think I'd be extra sensitive.) Plus it seems weird that that would happen in the fridge, since colder temperatures really slow down fermentation. If you want to experiment, I can tell you that I recently switched to using airtight jars for making my water kefir and I have noticed that the alcoholic smell doesn't seem to be occurring anymore. I don't know it that's a coincidence or if it's something about the jar being airtight. I've also noticed that the alcoholic smell doesn't tend to occur as much when I'm using a non-sweet fruit, like lemon, rather than a sweet fruit like strawberries. You might also try playing around with that. Hope this helps a little! I'd be interested to hear if you make any discoveries.
  10. josh says:
    Being converted to Fructose isn't a good thing. What's actually happening in this "conversion" is they've consumed the glucose and left the Fructose if this is what is going on. Fructose is already present as half the sucrose. Fructose is the problematic substance in sugar. Too much Fructose creates a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver. The body is designed to run on glucose every cell utilizes it but the liver has the sole responsibility for fructose which creates insulin resistance depositing fat in the liver and causing a uric acid build up leading to gout. If you want to poison your liver consuming a lot of fructose is the way to go about it. It is fructose that causes type 2 diabetes. GAPS starts off with bone broth and fermented veges to avoid fructose. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. As fructose becomes active glycerol which converts free form fat into triglycerides for storage. It also is fructose born cholesterol that becomes very low density lipoprotein the form of LDL that is harmful. So this is why liver detox is important for anyone having a lot of fruit.
    • Meghan says:
      From what I've read, about eighty percent of original sugar is consumed by the kefir grains. The last twenty percent is mostly fructose. Personally I'm not worried about the fructose in water kefir, but of course you have to decide what you feel comfortable with for yourself.
  11. linda says:
    I just started kefir water. I also have a non alc. fatty liver. i have dieted, ate better and my liver enzymes are closer to normal. Will kefir water be okay for me? I'm using cane sugar. Thanks
  12. Alexis says:
    have you tried using honey to sweeten your water kefir? Usually sugar is recommended since honey has anti-bacterial qualities but I am curious if you had any success using it?
  13. Lacy says:
    Out of curiosity (and because you practically have to spell things out in crayon for me to get it): When you "ferment with fruit" do you leave the lid off, or do you seal it? Thank you for the instructions!

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