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Getting Started With Water Kefir

in Kefir Recipes

Have you ever considered making your own kefir soda?

When I first learned about water kefir, it seemed too good to be true.  I would have that making your own healthy carbonated soda would be a lot of work or involve specially supplies and machinery.  You can actually buy water kefir grains, add them to water along with sugar and ingredients like ginger and lemon and make your own fizzy probiotic soda.

So, I am writing this post to give you an idea of what all is involved when using kefir grains at home to make your own soda, and to let you know it’s actually not very hard, and even a little fun!

How Water Kefir Can Help You Kick the Soda Habit

I’ve always loved Dr. Pepper, which is completely destructive to your teeth, gut, and overall health.  With water kefir I can make a substitute for Dr. Pepper using the Kefir soda recipe below!

With water Kefir grains you can make your own soda that is refreshing, carbonated and actually good for you.  The best way to cut out an unhealthy soda pop habit is to replace your drink of choice with a healthier alternative.  Another benefit of Kefir soda is that it can actually help to reduce your sugar cravings.  Probiotics have been shown to reduce cravings and restore gut health.

 Okay, Let’s Get Started

When you first get your kefir grains in the mail you will need to rehydrate them since they come dehydrated in a foil packet. To rehydrate them you will need to soak them in sugar water.  When you order from Julie at Cultures for Health because the grains come with very clear instructions and a page of recipes.

Okay, here’s what you need:

  • Water Kefir Grains (I got my Kefir grains at Cultures for Health)
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • 1 Mason Jar
  • A plastic strainer (no metal)
  • A coffee filter or paper towel and rubber band to cover the jar

So, first about the water. You need to boil tap water, unless you have well or spring water. When you boil your tap water it removes the chlorine from it which can damage your grains. Don’t use water filtered with a Brita or similar filtration system because they remove the minerals from the water. You want the minerals in there so for most people the best bet is just to boil tap water.

Next, you need some sugar. Sucanat, rapadura, date sugar, or just plain old white granulated sugar will all work fine. Honey is hard on the grains so it’s not recommended. The sugar is not for you and it will be converted.  The little kefir “grains” or blobs of bacteria eat it. They are living organisms that love sugary mineral rich water.
Once your water kefir grains are hydrated you can use them over and over again to make healthy carbonated probiotic drinks.

Fill your jar with water, add sugar and hydrated Kefir grains.  Cover the jar with a coffee filter and rubber band.  The idea is to keep out any fruit flies and dust, but to still let air in.

How to Make Basic Water Kefir

  • Dissolve sugar in enough warm water to mix in the sugar.
  • Add cool water so that the jar is almost full.  Leave just 1-2 inches of space at the top of the jar.
  • Once the water has cooled to room temperature, add the re-hydrated kefir grains.
  • Gently stir the mixture with a wooden spoon (not metal).
  • Cover with a coffee filter or paper towel held in place with a rubber band.
  • Allow the kefir to culture for 24-48 hours.  The longer it cultures the more sugar the kefir grains “eat.”  Go the full 48 hours if you want the least amount of sugar left, but don’t go longer than 72 hours.
  • Once the kefir has finished culturing, strain off the finished liquid
  • cover with a tight lid and refrigerate.  It’s ready to drink once cool.
  • Add the grains to a new batch of sugar water and start again!

Important note: The kefir grains do not need to be rinsed.

Flavoring Your Kefir Soda

Water kefir can be flavored with extracts or juice.  You can just mix water kefir with 1 cup fruit juice (it’s really good with pomegranate juice).  You can also add dried fruit to soak in the finished water kefir for 5-6 days to flavor the kefir soda.

  • For a cream-soda type soda: Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract to 2 quarts of water kefir.
  • For sparkly Lemonade or Limeade: Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to 2 quarts water kefir and 1 tsp. lemon or lime zest.
  • For a refreshing ginger ale: add 2 teaspoons shredded ginger to the finished water kefir and let it soak for 5-6 days.
  • For a drink similar to Dr. Pepper add a couple raisins to the finished water kefir and let them soak for 5-6 days.

A Few of My Favorite Kefir Soda Recipes

I have seen some truly awe-inspiring recipes for kefir soda on other blogs.  Here are two you might want to check out:

Kendahl at Our Nourishing Roots has an awesome recipe for Strawberry Kefir soda.
Shannon at Nourishing Days has a recipe for Grape soda.

I think my favorite so far for the convenience and refreshment is lemonade. This is such a good thing to drink in the morning; absolutely the best way to start your day.

*This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer.

Join Me: I’m a mom of 4 who loves frozen yogurt (who doesn’t?). Changing the way we eat has helped my family with many health problems from asthma to indigestion. We are eating cultured foods daily & making the switch to a healthy real foods diet.     Sign up below to join me:




5 comments… add one

  • Courtney

    Could you please give us a fermentation timeline? You tell us how to assemble, but how long? Do you bottle with fruit or add fruit during the first ferment? These instructions aren’t complete.

    • Thanks Courtney! I just added in more complete instructions. I hope that helps!

  • Kara Wells

    Hi Jenna!
    I recently found out how to make Kefir with milk and have been using it daily in our Smoothies. I was wanting to learn to make Yogurt with my Kefir and remembered your site here. I was so excited to read this post and can’t wait to try this. I’m also anxious to read all your posts on Yogurt making. Do you have any recipes for making Yogurt from Kefir Milk?

    • Kara Wells

      By the way, you look gorgeous. Hope your family is well

      • Sorry, I missed your comment friend! I hope you and your family are doing great and had a wonderful summer. I love milk Kefir for smoothies too, but I never tried making yogurt with it. I know it can be strained to create a thicker Kefir though.

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