Water Kefir Recipe – How To Make Water Kefir

Today I’d like to share with you a water kefir recipe. It’s a delicious lacto-fermented drink that I discovered just two months ago and have been making ever since. If you follow this blog you may know that our family loves kombucha and we’ve been brewing it for several years. Well, it’s hard to believe but I think we now like water kefir even more! It’s even easier and faster to make, has a milder taste, can be flavored any way you like, wonderfully quenches thirst on hot summer days and it really tastes like delicious soda. But it’s way healthier of course because of all the probiotic goodness.

how to flavor water kefir

What do you need to make water kefir?


  • half gallon mason jar
  • piece of fabric or coffee filter and rubber band to cover the jar
  • small plastic strainer
  • glass flip top bottles (from a brewing supplies store or old fashioned lemonade)


  • 4-6 table spoons of water kefir grains – I got mine from a friend and if you live nearby I can share mine with you. If you are far you can do a search online and there are some places where you can buy them. They are not real grains at all, they look more like jelly crystals or soft rock candy.
  • 1/2 cup sugar (raw, cane or white)
  • about quart and a half of filtered or spring water -if you don’t have filtered water you may boil regular tap water as it helps to reduce chlorine. Remember to cool it down before adding to water kefir grains. If you have reverse osmosis you may add a piece of clean egg shell to the jar to add back minerals to your water.
  • optional: a few drops of molasses (for minerals), a quarter of lemon, dry fig, raisins, fruit juice concentrate, fruit syrup, mint sprigs, ginger

02-water-kefir-grains how to make water kefir


How to make water kefir? Just follow this easy water kefir recipe and feel free to experiment with different flavoring options.

  • Put kefir grains into a half-gallon mason jar.
  • Warm up a cup of water, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Combine sweet warm water with the rest of cold water and pour over the kefir grains. Don’t fill the jar completely, leave an inch or so of air.
  • If you like you may add a wedge of lemon, raisins, a dried fig or a few drops of molasses to the jar. I switch from batch to batch, sometimes I don’t add anything at this stage.
  • Cover with a cloth and leave on the counter for 1-2 days. Not longer than that because the drink may taste too yeasty afterwards. I always put some masking tape on the jar and make a note of the date. That way it’s one less thing to remember 🙂


water kefir in jars



  • After two days strain the grains through a plastic strainer (I’ve read that metal ones may harm the grains). Put your strained grains back into the jar and add sweet water and cover it with a cloth for a second batch. Pour the strained liquid into bottles, cap them well and leave for another day or two on the counter.


strained water kefir grains

After the first fermentation the drink will still taste a little sweet. You could drink it now, however when you bottle it first it will go through the second fermentation and produce natural carbonation. And that’s the best part of water kefir soda. Sometimes the bubbles can get really wild (especially when it’s hot outside) so be careful when you open your bottles as the drink may explode and your kitchen will be sprayed with kefir. It did happen to us twice. To avoid it you may release the pressure from time to time by gently opening the tops during fermentation. I also always open bottles in the sink with a glass ready nearby.

When you pour water kefir into bottles (after the first fermentation in a jar) you may also flavor it at the same time. There are many ways to flavor water kefir. I like adding some lemon juice and a sprig of fresh mint. A slice of ginger tastes well. A little bit of fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate works great (cherry, grape, raspberry). I also use fruit syrup or a few pieces of frozen fruit like blueberries or raspberries. These bottles below where flavored with blueberries, black currant syrup, mint and lemon juice.

flavoring water kefir 06-how-to-make-water-kefir

After one or two days in the bottles the kefir is good to drink. If you don’t want to drink it immediately you should put it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation. It also tastes better when it’s cold. If you keep it on the counter the bottles may crack and explode. We drink at least one bottle a day in the summer so we haven’t had that experience yet, but I read online that it happens. If you tried kombucha before and were not a fan of it I encourage you to give water kefir a try. It’s milder and  a little sweeter and it’s very likely that you’ll like it a lot. 🙂 If you feel brave and want to try something completely different (but still lacto-fermented) check out my beet kvass recipe. Have fun experimenting!

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11 Responses to “Water Kefir Recipe – How To Make Water Kefir”
  1. Heidi says:

    Thanks, Ania! But what part of this is “lacto”? I was thinking you needed a dairy product like whey for something to be lacto-fermented. My first kefir batch is now done and I’m looking forward to adding raspberries and elderberries to it! Any tips on where to find clear bottles locally? I won’t be able to get to Madison for a while yet. I have some Grolsch green bottles for my kombucha, but this is so beautiful I definitely want clear for the kefir 🙂

  2. Ania says:

    Heidi, the “lacto” in “lacto-fermentation”, comes from “lactobacillus” (beneficial bacteria) NOT “lactose” (which is sugar present in milk :))

  3. Benedikte says:

    Hi Ania, I love these water kefir pics! 🙂 Is it possible to get a copy of them?

  4. Ania says:

    I’m glad you like the photos, Benedikte. You’re welcome to save them on your computer 🙂

  5. Benedikte says:

    I’d love to use them for an online magazine where I am editor, focusing on nourishing and nutrient dense foods and a healthy lifestyle. The site is Norway bases and in norwegian. I was wondering if I can use the photos and link to your blog? The site is not up and running just yet, but we’re hoping to launch the site at the beginning of next year.

  6. Ania says:

    Yes, you’re welcome to use the images and it would be great if you linked them to my blog 🙂 Let me know if you need them in different format/size.

  7. Benedikte says:

    Great thanks! will let you know! 🙂

  8. Benedikte says:

    Hi again! Do you have the photos in high resolution? Could you e-mail them to me?

  9. Melissa says:

    Ania – I was wondering if a wine bottle with a cork top could work? I currently only have one of the glass flip top bottles. Do you know where you can buy those bottles around Sauk? Thanks!

  10. Ania says:

    I never used wine bottles but I’m pretty sure that they would explode. Kefir can get very fizzy and I don’t thin the cork would be able to keep all those bubbles in. I got my bottles over the years from different sources. In the summer Whole Foods used to sell lemonade in perfect bottles, but they don’t have them anymore. Grolsch beer also sometimes comes in ceramic flip top bottles. There is a beer supply store on Monroe St in Madison where you can buy them. I think Willy Street Coop also sells empty ones. Or you could also try online. Hope that helps 🙂

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  1. […] may try my other lacto-fermented recipes for kombucha, beet kvass, lacto-fermented vegetables or water kefir. […]

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