Fizzy, delicious, and full of probiotics, water kefir is a wonderful way to nourish your gut and build your immune system. Learn how to make basic water kefir, plus delicious paleo ways to use it!
The first time I heard of kefir, I was living in Far East Russia with a German missionary for a roommate. She drank it every morning with her breakfast… even though she thought it was nasty. “The Russians say kefir makes you healthy,” she said.
It was a yogurty drink with a tangy taste and weird texture. I wasn’t a fan either. But years later when living in the United States I just happened to be Facebook when the leader of the WAPF chapter in my city posted that she had some extra water kefir grains to give away. While I wasn’t sure what the difference was between those and what we’d had in Russia, I was up for trying! So I jumped at the opportunity, and two days later my first batch was fermenting.
In case you’re freaking out about me using grain to make a drink, chill yo. Kefir grains aren’t actually from any grain, but are rather bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. They are only called grains because of the way they look.
While water kefir contains fewer strains of bacteria and yeasts than milk kefir, it does have far more than other cultured products, like yogurt or buttermilk. Dairy-free-ers rejoice!
Basic water kefir.
Now, let it be known, I am not a huge fan of milk kefir (it being make from milk and all), but I am SO glad I gave its watery counterpart a try. While milk kefir is more like a drinkable yogurt, water kefir is more like a champagne. But like each other, they can both be flavored however you want.
After the initial ferment you can add fruit, or just drink it straight. My hubby likes it mixed with lemon juice for a fizzy lemonade.
I love that water kefir not only tastes great, but it’s also filled with TONS of beneficial bacterias. And let me not forget to mention it’s soooo easy to make. Just set the grains in a jar of sugary water on your counter for a couple days, strain and bottle and you have a delicious, healthy drink in your hand!
Water kefir is one of the best dietary sources of probiotics available, making it a great drink for gut health and perfect for those looking to boost their immune system. While I have had people who suffer with candida overgrowth be concerned about drinking it, there’s no need to worry. Water kefir is actually beneficial for people on an anti-candida diet, as the probiotics it produces fight the yeast overgrowth.
As for the sugar used in making the drink, the grains eat it up, so there isn’t any left in the final product. If you’re worried about any traces, there are pH strips you can buy online (I don’t have a link for those, sorry) that will test it for you.
Though my family enjoys water kefir plain, there are a ton of delicious ways you can dress it up after the first ferment. If you’re not into drinking carbonated beverages, but you still want the health benefits, you can even use it in delicious things like fruit snacks and gummies!
- Elderberry Water Kefir
- Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir
- Cranberry Kefir Fruit Snacks
- Strawberry Water Kefir
- Homemade Mango Soda
- Grapefruit Gummies
- Water Kefir Ice Cream Float
- Fizzy Ginger Lemonade
- Probiotic Blackberry Gummies
Note: if you’re wondering how to pronounce this funny looking word, it’s pronounced “keh-fear,” with the emphasis on “fear.” And no, this isn’t just the way *I* pronounce it. It is originally a Russian drink and this is how Russians pronounce it.
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!
How to Make Basic Water Kefir
Free from grain, gluten, eggs, and dairy.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons hydrated water kefir grains
- 2 tablespoons organic cane juice, rapadura (do NOT use honey)
- 1 pint filtered water
- a few organic raisins (optional)
- pint or quart sized glass jars (for first ferment)
- flip-top bottles (for second ferment)
- plastic mesh strainer (metal can mess with the grains)
In a glass jar, combine sugar and water.
Add in the grains and raisins.
Cover with a cloth (cheesecloth or old t-shirt) and set on the counter in a warm spot for 1-3 days. (Depending on the temperature of your house it will ferment faster or slower. I add raisins to help me gauge when it’s ready. Just add a couple to the first ferment and when they float the water kefir is ready for the second ferment!)
Strain out the grains and pour the water kefir into the flip top bottles.
Add flavoring, if desired, and ferment for another day or two on the counter before refrigerating.
Repeat the process with new water and sugar and the same grains.
After the initial fermentation and straining you can add fruit and ferment again for a day or so for a “natural soda” type beverage.
You can also double, triple, whatever the batch if you have more than 1 1/2 tablespoons of grains. The ratio is about 2 tablespoons of grains to two tablespoons of sugar to 2 cups water.
If you’re having trouble with your water kefir, or need to purchase grains, here are some links that may help you…