How to Make Kefir Water

Lime flavored kefir water, garnished with fresh mint. 

When a dear friend offered me a glass of homemade kefir water, all sorts of alarms sounded in my mind.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting. It sure wasn’t a drink that tasted like an amazing sparkling limeade.

What exactly is kefir water? It’s a slightly sweet carbonated drink that’s simply bursting with probiotics. You make it by letting kefir “grains” (a gel-like combination of yeast and bacteria) sit in sugar water and minerals for a couple of days and ferment into a drink that’s refreshing and incredibly good for you.

We eat homemade yogurt regularly, but I’d been wanting to add more probiotics to our diet. After that first drink, kefir water was an obvious choice!

My friend gave me a kefir starter (thanks so much!) and I’m having a hard time keeping up with demand even with doing a gallon at a time. My 22-month-old’s name for kefir water is simply “nummy!”

We don’t even have pet fish, just pet bacteria. Thankfully, they’re about as low-maintenance as fish, plus you get a yummy drink out of them!

Kefir water recipe

(Makes one gallon—so far the gallon hasn’t lasted more than a few days! You can also half the batch.)

Ingredients

  • Heaping 1/2 cup kefir grains*
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup raw natural sugar, depending on how sweet you want it. 
  • Small handful of organic raisins or other dried fruit 
  • 1 eggshell or trace minerals, optional 
  • 1 gallon water [Spring, well or filtered tap water are the best options. Distilled water has lost so many minerals you’d want to add trace minerals back to the water.] 
  • Flavorings, optional

Instructions

  1. In a glass gallon jar, dissolve the sugar in a little water.
  2. Add the raisins, kefir grains, eggshell/minerals (if using), and finish filling with water.
  3. Cover with cheesecloth or a tea towel and rubberband securely.
  4. Let sit on the counter for 2-4 days. If it tastes good after two days, proceed. If you want more of the sugar “eaten”, let sit for another day. Don’t let it go too long though, especially in the summer, otherwise once the grains run out of sugar to eat, they beging to starve.
  5. Removed the raisins and eggshell and toss. Strain out the grains to start a new batch.
  6. Start a new batch immediately or store the kefir grains. 
  7. You can drink the kefir at this point, but it tastes much yummier if you let it carbonate for a day on the counter. To carbonate, pour into sturdy glass jars, leaving plenty of headspace for the kefir water to expand. I leave a good 2+ inches, to be on the safe side. Add fruit, juice, food-grade essential oils, or vanilla (if desired) for flavoring. Seal tightly and leave on the counter for a day. 
  8. Refrigerate or drink immediately over ice.

Tips and tricks: 

  • If you don’t have a local friend who can give you a starter, you can order dehydrated water kefir grains online from Amazon or a kit (including minerals and a strainer) from Cultures for Health
  • To store the kefir grains, mix 1/4 cup of sugar with filtered water. Add the grains and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 
  • Kefir grains love the added minerals from eggshells, but the thought of tossing in a raw eggshell groses me out. Instead, save the eggshells when you make hardboiled eggs and store them in the freezer. Just pop one out when it’s time to make another batch of kefir.
  • Different natural sugars contain different minerals. My friend recommends using 3/4 natural cane sugar and 1/4 sucanat. I haven’t bought any sucanat yet, and the kefir is surviving fine on just the natural cane sugar, but I’m sure it would make them even happier to add sucanat.
  • You can get organic raisins in bulk from Country Life Natural Foods for only a few cents more per pound than Aldi’s raisins. Grapes are on the dirty dozen list, so as you can expect, conventionally grown raisins tend to have quite a bit of pesticide residue! 
Have you made kefir water? If so, what’s your favorite flavoring? 
[Full disclosure: links to some products in this post are my referral links.]
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Comments

  1. Amber says

    I’d love to try kefir water, but I don’t know where to get the grains up here in Canada. 🙁 I guess I need to do some research. 🙂

    • anna says

      I’m pretty sure you can get them on Ebay or other online stores. They come dehydrated so they store and ship pretty easily. 🙂

  2. says

    Sounds like it might be good, only I’ve never liked carbonated anything. 😛 So I guess the rest of you can drink it for me. 😉

    • michelle says

      bekah, I do not care for carbonated drinks either. but I love the little bit of fizz from my kombucha, and I have yet to try the water kefir but I am told it is much like a fizzy kombucha. just enough to let you know it’s there, but not enough to tickle don’t knock it before you try it! there are many health benefits, and you do not HAVE to make it fizzy at all. you can do the flavoring time with the lid slightly ajar or just use cloth. 🙂

  3. says

    Thanks for posting this! I need more probiotics in my life and this sounds very easy 🙂 I found you through the Frugally Sustainable link up!

  4. says

    We recently started making this as well and it is fabulous! I don’t add raisins, though. I’m using all sucanat now, but it is so expensive that I think I’ll need to cut it with some cane sugar soon. I do add washed eggshells, and then usually lemon juice from real lemons for the second ferment. We love it! It’s like healthy homemade pop!

    • anna says

      I haven’t been using any sucanat at all (I didn’t have any) and the kefir grains seem to be thriving. I do plan to get some and just use a little bit each time. My friend Melissa who got us started uses 1/4 sucanat and the rest organice cane sugar—that seems like a good balance to me. 🙂

  5. says

    I was making kefir water before we moved in February but I forgot all about it once we got here. I had never heard of adding egg shells or storing it in the fridge. My instructions had me leaving it covered on the counter. I’m going to grab some new starter and try it your way. Thanks, Anna!

    • anna says

      I only put in it in the fridge once it’s fermented the second time for about 24 hours. It’s nice having it cold when we pull it out! 🙂

  6. says

    Thanks for linking up at A Mama’s Story. Your post is among the top 3 most visited and will be featured on Monday. It’ll be pinned to pinterest and shared on FB and Twitter later next week. Help yourself to a featured button.:)

    • anna says

      I’m not a kefir expert, lol, but I think they look really tiny, not “plump”. They also tend to make more sour-tasting kefir water. If you think yours are starved, I’d try adding extra sugar and minerals to try to revive them.

  7. Kimberly says

    One more thing… I think I got a bit of Jun scoby spread into my water kefir… does this matter in the grand scheme of things? I had gotten the containers mixed up… long story 😉 Thanks! btw, this is a great post for me because I like the recipe with larger volumes. Thanks!

  8. Cat says

    I have kefir grains in milk that are ready to split. Can I just rinse some of these well and start using them to make water kefir?

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