How to Second Ferment Kefir

Many years ago I discovered a way to make kefir not only taste better, but to increase the nutrients in it. It is the only way that I make my kefir now because it is so delicious.  The process is called second fermenting. I have to admit that the reason I second fermented my kefir, is because it tasted so much better.

Nutrients and the vitamins will sky rocket!

Second fermented kefir will have more nutrients and the vitamins will sky rocket! This is due to the added prebiotics in the fruit or vegetables. When you add a new fuel source for the new microbes in kefir, they begin to grow and multiply, which increases all the vitamins and especially the folic acid, but it is the taste that makes me do it again and again. It takes away the super sharp sourness and mellows out the flavors. Everybody I have taught to second ferment has continued to do so because it tastes so superior to regular kefir. If you second ferment with a lemon or orange peel or a million other things it will flavor the kefir and make it taste unique and delicious. It also increases B vitamins, like folic acid, and makes the calcium and magnesium more bioavailable which means that your body can take it in and use it immediately. Basically, it is predigested and loaded with enzymes.

Second Fermenting

  1. Make your kefir using the basic technique, removing the grains afterwards.
  2. Place the kefir in a jar with a lid.
  3. Take the prebiotic item you want to ferment with, (choose from items below or experiment) and place in your jar with your kefir. Remember less is more. Too much fruit can cause your kefir to separate and taste bitter. One small peel of lemon or one slice of fruit is plenty for your jar. You can serve and eat it with extra fruit once it’s done second fermenting.
  4. Leave the jar on your counter for 1 to 4 hours or (up to a 1/2 day), then place the kefir in refrigerator and eat and enjoy. If the kefir separates into whey a little this is fine, and you can then place it in the fridge. If you want less separation than only ferment for an hour or two and then place it in the fridge and let it slowly ferment longer.
  5. I leave the fruit in the jar and just keep adding kefir to it until it starts to get soft and begins to fall apart, then I will add fresh fruit and 2nd ferment again.

This kefir, flavored with lemon or orange, is so yummy.  It is lighter and creamier than kefir made with the basic recipe and has a little more carbonation.  The taste is worth the extra fermenting and the nutrients sky rocket.

A lot of people I know will ferment kefir for long periods, leaving their grains in the kefir for days. Although this is not a bad thing, it makes for super sour kefir and can diminish the probiotics. As the microbes run out of food they can die, so longer is not always better unless you’re giving them another food source, as second fermenting accomplishes.

There are lots of ways to second ferment your kefir.


Just adding one or two strawberry to a quart of kefir will make your kefir taste so good!

Oranges or Clementines

One 6” strip of orange peel or one small circular slice of a fresh orange is plenty to flavor a quart of kefir. Don’t add more as it can make your kefir separate into whey and curds.

Chai tea bag

Adding one chai tea bag to a pint or quart of kefir will give you lots of different spices that flavor your kefir giving it a flavor you will love!

Dates and Vanilla

1-2 dates for a quart of kefir and a teaspoon of vanilla will make your kefir have a comforting flavor similar to vanilla bean yogurt.

Lemon peel

One 6” strip of lemon peel or one small circular slice of a fresh lemon is plenty to flavor a quart of kefir. Don’t add more as it can make your kefir separate into whey and curds. Lemon is one of the flavors I use the most.

Garlic cloves

2 peeled garlic cloves to a quart of kefir will give your kefir a savory taste. I love to use this in dips and salad dressings. Check out my recipe page for recipes.