Water Kefir Variations and Recipe

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Water Kefir Probiotic Drink and Variations
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I’ve written before about water kefir, and it is definitely my husband’s favorite way to get probiotics naturally. It doesn’t have the strong taste of kombucha and is faster to make.

Where to Get Water Kefir Grains?

If you’ve never made water kefir, it is really simple to make. I get live water kefir culture (called grains) from here and use them to make endless batches of water kefir. One small batch of water kefir grains can make hundreds of batches of water kefir and multiply itself if properly cared for.

From a previous post, here are the instructions:

Water Kefir Probiotic Drink and Variations

Water Kefir Recipe

Follow the instructions through step 6 for basic water kefir. Follow the rest of the steps to restart the water kefir making cycle and to flavor and carbonate your water kefir. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Fermenting Time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 5 minutes
Author Katie Wells


8 cups



  • In a half gallon size glass jar, dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water. If you plan on making the full half gallon you will need ½ cup of sugar. If you are only filling the jar halfway then you only need ¼ cup of sugar. 
  • When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm. It must be at room temperature!
  • Add the hydrated water kefir grains.
  • Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out insects or small children.
  • Leave on the counter (preferably at 70-75°F) for 24-48 hours. 
  • After 48 hours, strain the water kefir grains through a bamboo or non-metal mesh strainer pouring the liquid into another container. I use a half gallon jar for the first process then strain into two quart size jars.
  • Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water, and adding the same water kefir grains.
  • To make the water kefir carbonated, pour a couple ounces of fruit juice such as grape, pomegranate, apple, or cherry into the water kefir you just strained. I don’t recommend citrus for this part, as it makes stringy yeast-like things that are not tasty!
  • Once you’ve added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an airtight lid and leave on the counter an additional 1-3 days before drinking or refrigerating.
  • Repeat the process!


Nutrition Facts
Water Kefir Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


The longer you let your kefir ferment, the more sugar ferments out. So if you’re limiting carbs, I recommend fermenting for the full 48 hours. Don’t leave it longer than that though or it can starve the grains, which need sugar to live!

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My Favorite Water Kefir Variations

For flavors, I recommend using a secondary ferment. After making the water kefir with the instructions above through step 6, I remove the kefir grains and use them to create a new batch as described above. I then transfer the newly made water kefir to a quart size jar and add in any of the ingredients below. Then, I cap the new jar tightly and leave to ferment for 2-3 days on the counter. This allows it to develop a natural carbonation.

Here are our favorites:

  • ½ cup grape or apple juice
  • ¼ cup raisins or a few prunes (makes a Dr. Pepper-like taste)
  • ½ cup fresh fruit such as mango, berries, etc. (just not citrus or pineapple)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3-4 prunes or dates (makes a cream soda flavor)
  • a small piece of fresh ginger and ¼ cup apple juice
  • strawberries and then a splash of lime juice right before serving

Do you make water kefir? What is your favorite variation?

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.


99 responses to “Water Kefir Variations and Recipe”

  1. Julie Avatar

    When i click on 1x, 2x, 3x above the recipe, the quantities seemed to be mixed up! The 1x says 8 cups serving but put 1/4 cup sugar per quart. The 2x says 16 cups serving but put 0.5 cup sugar per quart. The 3x says 24 cups serving but put 0.75 cup sugar per quart. So i m all confused… If i put 0.75 cup sugar per quart in 24 cups, could it be 4.5 cups? So maybe it s just the “per quart” part which is wrong?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      For some reason the recipe cards are acting up when it comes to hitting the double or triple recipe button. You would still just use 1/4 cup of sugar per quart. So to double the recipe it would be 1/2 cup of sugar per 2 quarts of water. To triple the recipe it would be 3/4 cup of sugar and 3 quarts of water.

  2. Marcia Avatar

    I like to add 1/4 cup elderberry syrup to water kefir second ferment. I make my own with our elderberries, and only add cinnamon stick and honey. The honey doesn’t hurt the second ferment.

  3. Cheri Avatar

    My favorite flavoring is grapefruit and I’ve never had issues with the stringy things you describe. I add a good amount of grapefruit juice – maybe a 10% mixture and it’s so, so refreshing!

  4. Hannah Avatar

    Do you know if it’s ok to drink water kefir and consume the grains during pregnancy?

  5. Ms. Linda Avatar

    5 stars
    I’ve been making water kefir about six weeks now and just came across this article. Didn’t know about pineapple for water kefir. I use it a lot in my kombucha second ferments, so thought I’d give it a go. And I just opened a 750ml of strawberry/kiwi/pineapple water kefir that’s been second fermenting for two days and it is quite fizzy and the taste is incredible! No yeast strands at all. I’m going to let it chill for a bit before I attempt to open it again so I don’t have a water kefir volcano on my kitchen (lol). Thanks for the great info!

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