Coconut Milk Kefir Recipe

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How to make coconut milk kefir
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Drink Recipes » Coconut Milk Kefir Recipe

I love the taste of regular dairy milk, but unfortunately, my skin does not and I often break out after eating or drinking too much dairy. Fortunately, I love coconut even more and have recently begun experimenting with ways to make delicious and probiotic rich kefir out of coconut milk instead of dairy milk.

After some trial and error (lots of error actually), I finally have a recipe I like, though I do rest the kefir grains in regular dairy milk every few batches to keep them strong.

I also figured out a faster (almost cheating) way to make it using pre-made water kefir (see below the recipe for the variation).

What is Milk Kefir?

Milk kefir is a fermented beverage that is teeming with probiotics and beneficial enzymes. It uses kefir grains (not an actual grain) to ferment milk, making it a liquid yogurt type beverage.

Typically, it is quite tangy, since the fermentation process removes most of the lactose (milk sugar).

Coconut Milk Kefir

Like regular milk kefir, coconut milk kefir is made by using milk kefir grains to ferment the coconut milk, but of course it is dairy free. Coconut milk kefir also has a much milder and less-tangy taste than traditional milk kefir, which makes it a good choice, even for those who aren’t dairy free.

Since coconut milk does not contain lactose like regular milk does, there are a few modifications that should be made to keep the kefir grains strong. I asked my friend Hannah of Kombucha Kamp to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about making coconut milk kefir. Check those out below the recipe!

How to make coconut milk kefir

Coconut Milk Kefir Recipe

A delicious fermented coconut milk drink made by fermenting coconut milk in milk kefir grains for a short time. Rich in probiotics and enzymes.
Calories 70kcal
Author Katie Wells




  • Place the milk kefir grains and the coconut milk in a half gallon glass mason jar.
  • Cover lightly and leave at room temperature (70-75°F) for at least 12 hours.
  • After 12 hours, start tasting the kefir until it reaches desired level of fermentation.
  • Strain out the milk kefir grains and add new coconut milk to repeat the process.
  • Store the fermented coconut milk kefir in the refrigerator until you drink it.


Nutrition Facts
Coconut Milk Kefir Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 70 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Sodium 5mg0%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Milk kefir grains may take a few batches to adjust to the coconut milk and may not make the desired consistency or taste until then. Please check out the FAQs below for some tips.

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Kefir FAQs with Hannah

Is it possible to make kefir with coconut milk instead of dairy milk?

Milk kefir is the original kefir! A closely guarded secret for generations, it was handed down from family to family as part of the woman’s dowry. “Kef” means to “feel good” in Turkish and like all things that make you feel good, it is hard to keep them a secret forever. That is good news for us bacteriosapiens because kefir is one of the easiest to prepare and most microbially diverse drinks that not only tastes great but keeps everything in good working order.

Many avoid dairy these days unless it is fermented due to issues with lactose intolerance. Without the presence of the bacteria in either raw milk or fermented dairy products, many people experience physical discomfort with symptoms that range from gas and flatulence to diarrhea – yuck! Fermented milk products are easier to digest and offer increased bioavailability of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

So while dairy milks (cow, goat, sheep) are going to provide the best substrate for proliferating kefir grains, for those who avoid dairy, we can also use them to ferment nut milks! Almond and cashew are the most popular nut-milks and are readily available from health and ethnic food stores (come on, it’s the 21st century, you can find anything on the internet!).

Traditionally nuts, seeds, and legumes were sprouted – that is soaked in water to activate germination – in order to deactivate anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid) that protect the seed yet have a negative impact on the human body when consumed in quantity. Many ancient food preparation traditions have been proven through modern scientific study to demonstrate that these techniques evolved not only to improve the flavor but also to facilitate the digestive system in processing and assimilating nutrients. Now add in the beneficial bacteria in the kefir grain to the nut milk and blammo! you’ve got a powerhouse of nutrition right on your kitchen counter.

Another popular type of “milk” to ferment with kefir grains is coconut milk. Technically a drupe (like cherries and peaches), coconuts do not contain phytic acid and do not need to be processed to assist with digestion as the meat is traditionally eaten raw. However, that meat can be processed into a delicious “milk” that is flavorful and full of healthy fats, minerals, and acids like caprylic acid (good for candida sufferers).

Coconut milk has a rich, luscious texture due to its high fat content that yields a tangy and richly satisfying kefir depending on how long it is permitted to ferment. In our experiments, we found that after 3 days, 2 cups of coconut milk with 1 Tablespoon of kefir grains had a refreshing, lightly tangy aroma. Allowing it to ferment a little longer (4-8 days) results in a creamier texture, but also has a pronounced pungency which will enthrall some and repulse others – trust YOUR gut!

Are there any adjustments when making coconut milk kefir?

Kefir grains have evolved with dairy milks. While their fermentation technology can be applied to other non-dairy substrates, the grains will atrophy and die over time. This is because they require lactose, milk sugar, in order to thrive. The grains will continue to work and ferment for many batches, but they will change shape, losing the crispness of their cauliflower shape, turning mushy and grainy over time. The grains may also break off into smaller pieces which may then be lost in the sieve. Nut milks do not demonstrate proliferation over time, though slight plumping may be observed after the first batch or two.

To help maintain the integrity of the kefir grains over time, rest them in dairy milk for at least 24 hours every other batch or two. They may not proliferate at this rate but at least they will have structural integrity. For those who are particularly sensitive to dairy milk, rinse the grains in non-dairy milk or water prior to using again in coconut or other nut milks to remove any traces of lactose or casein.

We found that it took around 7 weeks of regular fermentation in dairy milk to fully recover milk kefir grains so that they would reproduce after having been used to ferment coconut milk for 2 weeks. We recommend using extra grains to ferment coconut milk while maintaining a set exclusively in dairy milk for the purpose of propagation.

Can homemade coconut milk work for kefir?

So which coconut milk yields the best kefir? Our recommendation to yield a product that is delicious yet affordable is to use organic, canned coconut milk. Homemade coconut milk may also be used, but since it is cost and labor intensive, you may simply wish to consume that fresh. As always, the better quality ingredients used, the better tasting the end product; so if you have homemade coconut milk that you would like to use, then by all means do so!

How to care for kefir grains if you go out of town or want to take a break?

In our fast paced 21st century lifestyle, it can be onerous to keep up with ferments that require attention on a daily (or every other day) basis. Its easy to rest the grains for a period of time in the fridge but the longer they are left in the fridge, the longer the rehabilitation time.

1-7 days : Place the grains in a glass and just cover with milk. Store in the refrigerator.
7-14 days: Place the grains in a glass. Leave them dry (no liquid). Store in the refrigerator.
14+ days: Lay kefir grains out on a cookie sheet or dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate at 98-105F until dry. Store dehydrated grains in freezer safe bag in the freezer.

The longer the grains starve or sleep, the longer it may take to revive them. The revived grains will also not have the same bacteria diversity but it will regain diversity as they are woken up and used again.

How to Revive Milk Kefir Grains:

To revive them, place the grains in a small dish and just cover with milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Replace the milk every 48-72 hours until the milk begins to separate into whey (clear liquid on the bottom). Once signs of fermentation return, then start a batch using 1 tablespoon of grains for every 2 cups of milk. It may take several weeks before the milk kefir grains regain their full strength and reproduce again.

How to Make Milk Kefir with Pre-made Water Kefir

When someone left a comment on my water kefir post asking if it was possible to use the same grains to make milk kefir, I figured I’d give it a try. My attempts failed and eventually killed my water kefir grains. But one day while making regular coconut milk kefir, I accidentally dumped my water kefir grains (instead of the milk kefir grains) and about ¼ cup of pre-made water kefir into the wrong container.

I strained out and rinsed the grains and they were fine, but since I’d already dumped the finished water kefir into the coconut milk, I decided to let it ferment and see what happened. I let it sit for 12 hours and it appeared to be fermenting, so I left it for 24 hours. The finished product was very similar to making coconut milk kefir with milk kefir grains and I’ve occasionally re-tested this method on purpose with the same results.

What is fermenting in your kitchen right now? Ever made kefir?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


92 responses to “Coconut Milk Kefir Recipe”

  1. Nicole Avatar

    Hi Katie! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, and for including Hannah’s in-depth FAQ. I hate to ask since you have already provided a great deal of guidance, but I’ll give this a shot anyway: a co-worker who makes her own dairy milk kefir gave me a jar with healthy grains so I can let them proliferate and do some fermenting of my own, however, I am very dairy intolerant and will only be using the kefir grains in non-dairy applications. I will likely keep my main batch of kefir grains in milk so they can continue to grow and remain healthy and just rinse small amounts off and add to non-dairy milk as needed, but if I’m not straining out the dairy kefir to consume, how do I care for it? I don’t really understand how often I should be refreshing the milk my kefir grains are in. If you have any ideas I’d appreciate it a lot.

  2. Anna Avatar

    Bit unnerving that while we are reading about the wonders of coconut kefir, there is an add to the side and bottom of the screen for Breyer’s cookies and cream delight which is the exact opposite of healthy.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of control over what ads display. Many of them are based upon past search and browsing history, along with location, so everyone typically sees different ads…

  3. Cassiana Lopes Avatar
    Cassiana Lopes

    5 stars
    Thank you for this information! I live in Brazil and here unfortunately the kefir does not even exist in supermarkets. And all crop information and benefits of all the probiotics I grow, I research in English. I am grateful for this information. I will try to ferment coconut yogurt in the fermented water of Kefir. Greetings!

  4. Angela Avatar

    hi! do milk Kefir grains have dairy in them? if so can I use water kefir grains to make coconut kefir?

  5. Maca C Avatar

    5 stars
    Hello, firs of all thanks for the information. Now my cuestion, since lactose is what milk kefir eats and lactosa is basically dairy sugar, would it be a good idea to add regular sugar to milk kefir when using it with coconuts milk? Has anyone tryed that?

  6. Nita Avatar



    I’ve been spending hours reading on the internet and youtube trying to learn if I can
    do a second fermantation with coconut kefir!! Can you please tell me if it’s good to



  7. Fiona Avatar

    I think you’re using the wrong coconut milk. You need to use coconut milk from a tetra pack or homemade. Sounds like you’re using a tinned one.

    1. Sheridan Avatar

      Hmm I am. This recipe does suggest organic canned coconut milk. Unfortunately tetrapaks contain heavy metals which I can’t chelate. I’ll try another brand or making it at home – thanks for your help ?

  8. Sheridan Avatar

    I made this last night and when i opened the can it had separated into hard coconut fat and thin whey. I thought if I shook it up and warmed it slightly to emulsify it would be OK. When it was wrist temperature I mixed it with Kefir powder and as soon as it went back to room temperature it did the same thing. A third of the jar is hard, waxy, coconut oil. I”ve tried stirring it back in after gently warming it by having it next to the stove but I can see already this is not going to stay mixed in. 🙁

    Did I do something wrong? Or just the wrong milk? Also it’s been out now for over 12 hours and I cannot see a change / signs of fermentation. Is it just too cold here – approximate 9 or 10 degrees celsius overnight I’d guess.

  9. Miriam Avatar


    I know this isn’t rocket science but this is proving harder for me than I thought. I have done a lot of research and found out that you could make it with almond milk but after 27 hours I just threw it away it did nothing.. I read additional (new) information and no one really recommended almond milk. I’m willing to give it another shot because I bought a big box of freeze dried kefir starter. Will that work? And should I try it again with almond milk or should I try coconut milk or regular milk? I don’t drink Dairy anymore but I would be willing to give it a shot if it’ll work the best. I’m doing a 3 week cleanse so I need to get this right. Thanks, Miriam

    1. Emily Boronkay Avatar
      Emily Boronkay

      Hi Miriam question,
      I am only able to keifer almond milk that I make myself out of raw unpasteurized almonds. Sprouting the almonds first, and then making the almond milk with coconut water instead of water has been my most successful effort. I almost killed my keeper and then making the almond milk with coconut water instead of water has been my most successful effort. I almost killed my keifer by using silk almond milk but I saved it by adding a bunch of coconut water to give it lots of sugar to feed on.
      I hope that helps.

      1. Emily Boronkay Avatar
        Emily Boronkay

        My phone autocorrected into insanity. Sorry. Use raw almonds that have not been pasteurized. Google them online as mall farmers will ship them to you. Sprout the almonds and use coconut water for best results to make Kiefer.

  10. Emily Avatar

    5 stars
    I have the most amazing batch of kefir in the fridge at the moment.
    In May I bought a quart of organic unsweetened cow’s milk kefir. I made almond milk from soaked organic unpasteurized almonds and kept filling my kefir bottle to the top with it every time I drank a glass. I did that with 2 batches of almond milk. The next batch of almond milk, I sprouted the almonds before I made the milk. So cool, almost no almond pulp at the end and it had a sweetness I had never noticed from just soaking the almonds. It kefired up beautifully.
    This batch I bought some sprouted organic almonds which had been dried, salted, w olive oil (I’m dog sitting for a friend away from home and my almond milk kefir was running out.) I soaked and rinsed them 4 times in 24 hours and then made the almond milk using coconut water instead of water. It was REALLY sweet. When I poured the cup or cup and a half of kefir into it, it was crazy! The fermentation started immediately. It went from sweet to sour in less than a day.
    I love making kefir. It’s good for my body and I have such good luck with it.

  11. Casey Hoffman Avatar
    Casey Hoffman

    Hi Katie I just tried this for the first time and using canned coconut milk. It keeps separating, as it was in the can. Does this make a difference? The grains are sitting in the foamy fat at the top. I tried blitzing it in the blender before I put it in the jar, but it separated again. It’s fresh and organic. Thanks!

  12. lisa knowles Avatar
    lisa knowles

    I have been making coconut milk kefir for a couple of weeks now and I am wondering if someone can help with this – the coconut milk I am using is organic with no nasties, I re-invigorate my grains in cows milk every couple of days, so I put the grains in a glass jar and then add a can of coconut milk. After about 24 to 36 hours I strain the mixture. When I strain the mixture there is a huge amount of grains and thick coconut milk mixed together so it is very difficult to separate the grains and the thick milk. How do I separate the mixture so I can retrieve the grains.


  13. Edith Avatar

    I have said this many times before: if you use any other milk than dairy your grains are starving and will die!!!

    1. Fiona Avatar

      That’s why you ‘refresh’ them with animal milk regularly. Nobody cares how many times you’ve said it or even that you’ve said it at all.

  14. Lakeesha Avatar

    I don’t get it. What is the kefir fermenting, if not lactose? I thought this would only work for milk and how do you know your coconut milk kefir has any probiotic activity in that case? Does it feed off of fat?

  15. Andrea Avatar

    What kind of coconut milk is best to use if you don’t want to use canned? Thanks!

    1. Edith Avatar

      If you want to keep your grains alive you MUST use REAL milk. The grains feed on mammal milk. It can be Cow, Goat, or Cheep. Raw or pasteurized. If you use anything else your grains will certainly die after a few days. They will starve to death. Anybody telling you different doesn’t know what she is talking about. I have been culturing with dairy milk for about 20 years and never had to replace my grains. I have shared with hundreds of people.

  16. Edith Avatar

    Katelyn, if you are allergic to dairy don’t even think about making Kefir. I have read women saying they use nut milk but it can’t be so. Milk Kefir grains NEED dairy milk to survive. With nut milk the grains are staving and will die in a few days. No buts about it. One could use almond or coconut milk one day and dairy milk the next day but that isn’t going to work for you unless you have people in your house drinking the dairy cultured kefir.
    Why not make yourself another healthy drink ,e.g.: Into a blender or smoothie maker: 1 cup Almond milk, if you like it cold 2 cups ice, 1 tsp vanilla extr., 4 scoops or 1 pack Stevia, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice an 1 tsp. Matcha powder.. Cheers.

  17. Katelynn Avatar

    I’m allergic to dairy but would love to use coconut milk to help with my extreme leaky gut. I’m a little confused on how to make it dairy free? What would you recommend?

    1. Carol Avatar

      I’ve been making coconut milk kefir using a can of coconut milk and 1/4 cup water kefir so no dairy at all. It works beautifully.

      1. Casey Avatar

        Hi – does it separate? Every time I do it from canned coconut milk it is separated in a few hours. It ends up fermenting fine, but doesn’t look like the YouTube videos for sure 🙂

  18. Andrea Avatar

    4 stars
    Could I use a boxed coconut milk? I have severe GERD and tend to react to the fat content in canned coconut milk. Thanks!

  19. Mary Avatar

    5 stars
    Is it not necessary to heat the coconut milk before adding it to the grains? I really want to try this but need to get all the info before I start. So you just add the grains to the coconut milk, cover, and wait 12 hours? That’s it? That would be wonderful if it really is so easy! Thanks!

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