Water Kefir

water kefir copyWater Kefir

Water kefir grains, or we call them kefir crystals, are unlike milk kefir grains as they thrive on sugars and not lactose. They are dairy free and gluten free despite being called “grains.” They look slightly different from milk kefir grains and are translucent while milk kefir grains are white.

Different websites and books will tell you to use different methods to make water kefir. This is my personal favorite method. I believe it has a lower alcohol content than other methods and tastes just as great! Water kefir is different from the Kefir Soda recipes on my site. Kefir soda is made with a powdered packet of a kefir starter or kefir whey which is from milk kefir and is not dairy free.

Water kefir does not have much flavor on its own. With this method, I recommend doing a second ferment with juices and flavorings to give your water kefir extra flavor. It will give you a fizzier and more consistent brew each time. We have lots of recipes to second ferment your water kefir.

water kefir grainsThese grains grow rapidly and  it’s important to give them minerals from time to time. A small drop of molasses can add minerals and help your water kefir crystals stay healthy

I recommend water kefir be consumed within a week. It will ferment rapidly even in the fridge – much faster than kombucha – and can end up with too much pressure and not as pleasant of a taste. Water kefir may also become more alcoholic if fruit juices are used and fermented for longer periods of times. This is another reason to drink it more quickly.

Some recommend not using filtered water as water kefir grains thrive on minerals (as do most cultures), although I do not recommend using distilled or reverse osmosis or alkaline waters that remove ALL minerals from the water. Regular filtered water or spring water is fine, and I’ve never had any problems with it. I hope you enjoy this probiotic drink as an add-on to your already happy diet!

Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle

water kefir flavors


Check out the second-fermented water kefir recipes for a fruity flavored version.

Basic Water Kefir Recipe
Water kefir is a different fermentation than milk kefir. We also have recipes for kefir soda made with kefir powder packages, and it is quite easy to make. It is very similar to this drink; kefir soda is just made with powder packages and faster and easier to make. Check out my Kefir Soda Sunday blog post.~Donna
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  1. To a glass jar, add 4 cups of room temperature filtered, or spring water.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of cane sugar, stirring to dissolve. You can use brown sugar, white sugar, sucanat or raw sugar. (See note for different types of sugar you can use) If you use sucanat or raw you need to heat the water to dissolve the sugar and then allow it to cool before placing your grains in your jar. Certain types of sugars don’t dissolve in water very well and will stay stuck on your grains.
  3. Add your water kefir grains.
    Add your water kefir grains.
  4. Let sit on your counter for 2 days with a cloth napkin secured by a rubber band cover. (It might take 3 days the first time you brew with your grains.) Mixture will be come slightly cloudy and slightly bubbly with a mildly sweet taste but not as sweet as the sugar water.
  5. Strain your water kefir crystals with a strainer, and place your water kefir grains in a new sugar water mixture.
  6. You can drink the water kefir right away with a squeeze of lemon or you can 2nd ferment for more flavor and fizz!
  7. Repeat the recipe above for your next batch.
Recipe Notes

Note: You can use Molasses, maple syrup, or sucanat as well. I do not recommend using honey as it is antibacterial and can kill your grains over time. Coconut sugar can be used in some cases but can cause problems as well. If you'd like to use coconut sugar, wait until you have extra water kefir grains and you can experiment with a different batch.

Note: You can store your water kefir in fresh sugar water in the fridge for up to 1 month until ready to use again. When ready to resume brewing, strain the old water and add new water and sugar.

Tip: Every few batches, add a drop of molasses for extra minerals, which keeps you grains healthy.


Water Kefir Recipes

Bloody Mary Water Kefir Mocktail
We dipped the rim of the glass in smoky artisan sea salt for an extra kick. Stick a few spears of fermented celery in this drink to give it even more probiotics! Remember to use strong bottles made for brewing.
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Blueberry Basil Water Kefir
This is the perfect drink for the summertime. Fresh basil and yummy blueberries taste fabulous together! Make sure you use good bottles made for brewing.
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Candy Cane Water Kefir
This is one of the easiest water kefir recipes and boy does it taste like Christmas!!
Carrot Water Kefir
This has a mild carrot flavor that is so delightful I can't really describe it. Trust me you will love it!
Coconut Water Kefir
This recipe is made using water kefir grains, which are different than milk kefir grains. You can use them again and again to make a lot of water kefir.
Coconut Water Kefir - Easy Kefir Style
You can culture your first batch and then use a portion of this to make it many times over. This coconut water kefir gets very cloudy and this is normal.
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Coconut Water Kefir Saffron Lemonade
Saffron is actually the dried stigma (tiny threadlike strands) of the crocus flower (Crocus sativus). They are hand picked, and you only need a tiny bit, as saffron is very strong and has many benefits. Saffron is known to help with depression, asthma, arteriosclerosis, cancer, and known to offer menstrual relief. Many people do not know the many health benefits that can be gained from using a small amount of saffron.
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Coffee Water Kefir
This is an extract that you make and add to the water kefir to produce a coffee flavor. Pretty crazy delicious! Make sure to use good bottles made for brewing.
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Cranberry Chai Water Kefir
Cranberry juice has many health benefits, including relief from urinary tract infections, respiratory disorders, and kidney stones. It can also help in the prevention of gum diseases caused by dental plaque. Remember: Always use good bottles made for brewing.
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Cucumber Melon Water Kefir
Cucumber juice is diuretic, encouraging waste removal through urination. This also helps in the dissolution of kidney stones. Combine this with Kombucha, which helps your live detox, and you have a powerful combo and refreshing drink! Make sure you use good bottles made for brewing.
Cultured Veggie Cosmo Mocktail!
Get your dose of two types of probiotics in this delicious cocktail! Veggie probiotics and water kefir, too!
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Elderberry Water Kefir
Elderberry syrup has been used for many years for the prevention of colds and flu. Combined with water kefir you get an extra boost and a crazy delicious drink that you will love, love! Remember: always use good bottles made for brewing.
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Fizzy Blender "Juiced" Apple Water Kefir
For a more fruity flavoring use 4 ounces of juice. If your concerned about sugar content use 2 ounces of juice. Make sure you use good bottles made for brewing.
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Ginger Lemon Water Kefir
Ginger Lemon Water Kefir is light and refreshing and oh so good for you. Ginger and lemon have tons of health benefits that can't be beat! Make sure you use good bottles made for brewing.
Gingerbread Water Kefir
The flavor of gingerbread comes from blackstrap molasses, ginger and spices. This water kefir doesn't disappoint. Always use blackstrap molasses as opposed to regular molasses as it supplies minerals. Cultures and your body love love minerals.
Kombucha Mai Tai Mocktail!
This is an alcohol-free cocktail that is based on rum extract, kombucha, coconut kefir, and fruit juices. It's refreshing and a great summer drink!
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Pomegranate Kefir Soda
Having pomegranate juice can maintain a good flow of the blood in the body. Pomegranates have the ability to make blood thinner. Because of this property, it subsequently decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Having lots of healthy microbes will enhance all of the benefits from pomegranate juice. It's a win win making pomegranate kombucha. Your body will thank you!
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Pomegranate Water Kefir
You can make this recipe with pomegranate juice or pomegranate seeds or both! The seeds give the water kefir a delightfully crunchy surprise. If this isn't to your liking, replace with 2 ounces of juice. ~Maci
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Pomelo Water Kefir
A pomelo is closely related to a grapefruit. Pomelo's health benefits are many and include the ability to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce cramping, reduce signs of premature aging, protect heart health, aid in weight loss, and boost oral and dental health. If you can't find pomelos, you can substitute grapefruit instead.
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Pumpkin Juice Water Kefir
My daughter Maci says this is the most bubbly kombucha she has ever made. It's crazy good, too!
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Raspberry Mint Water Kefir
Fresh raspberries give this a colorful and tangy twist. The raspberries do fade as it ferments but the benefits remain. Remember: Always use good bottles made for brewing.
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Root Beer Kefir Soda
You make this yummy soda by first making a root beer extract
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Root Beer Water Kefir
You make this yummy drink by first making a root beer extract. Make sure you use good bottles made for brewing.
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Rosehip Water Kefir
Rosehips are beloved for there sweet fruity flavor and are loaded with Vitamin C ,vitamin A, calcium and iron. In addition, Rose hips are rich sources of bio flavonoids, pectin, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, and B complex vitamins. Rosehips have been used for healing in medicinal form for years. It has said Rosehips have been widely acclaimed to help rheumatoid arthritis. They also help regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol among other healing properties.
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Strawberry Bliss Water Kefir
For a more fruity flavoring, use 4 ounces of juice. If you're concerned about sugar content, use 2 ounces of juice. Make sure you use good bottles made for brewing.
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Strawberry Sage Water Kefir
If you like strawberries, you will love this water kefir. Strawberries and sage have a unique flavor. I have always loved strawberries and basil, but strawberries and sage might be my new favorite!
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Sunshine Water Kefir
I love the flavors in this Water Kefir, but the turmeric is the real hero. Turmeric is a huge anti-inflammatory agent and omega-3 booster. In addition, they are studying its possible role as an aid for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. You can buy whole pieces of turmeric root in most grocery stores. Ask your grocery clerk - you've probably never noticed it.
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Water Kefir Margaritas and Strawberry Too! Mocktails!
Two different Margaritas for your water kefir. Use good salt, like Celtic Sea Salt, for added minerals. Make sure to use good bottles made for brewing.
Water Kefir Mimosa Mocktail!
This mimosa mocktail is simple, full of probiotics, and full of vitamin C!
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White Grape Water Kefir
The prebiotic fibres found in grapes were shown in a study to help grow Lactobacillus rhamnosus. This good bacteria helps to control E coli and increase the diversity and amount of healthy bacteria in the gut. Watch out, grapes make for super bubbly water kefir.