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. Cristina Avatar

    Thanks so much for such a great blog. I signed up for cultures of health. We love our raw dairy. I would love to try Water Kefir soda! Thanks!

    1. Jo Avatar

      Where do you live so that you can get raw milk?! We live in Canada and they put people here in jail for selling raw milk… odd thing is I drank only raw milk till I came here in my late 20-s , and soon after so came here all my allergies started… I am trying fermented foods now see if they make a difference since I ccannot get my raw milk here…

  2. Theresa M. Avatar
    Theresa M.

    I’m looking forward to trying Water Kefir soda and getting my daughter to stop drinking Dr. Pepper!

  3. Sahnya Avatar

    I just starting hearing about water kefir and love the simplicity and health benefits, this would be a great thing for my family!

  4. Megan Ciampa Avatar
    Megan Ciampa

    What I like about fermented foods is that they are like a 2-for-1 deal. They taste great & are yummy, AND have probiotic-gut-boosting benefits!

  5. Lenetta Avatar

    I liked you on FB, and I’m signed up for the 40 day challenge. Thanks so much!

  6. Jein Noir Avatar
    Jein Noir

    I have also liked your site on Facebook and posted about the give-away. ;3

  7. Hope Avatar

    I would love to get started with Kefir. Thanks so much for all the sharing all the information.

  8. Dave Avatar

    We’re making our first batch of kombucha and are anxious to try the kefir, too.

  9. Jein Noir Avatar
    Jein Noir

    I love how much of a boost probiotics give the immune system. Last I read, 70 to 80% of our immune systems are actually dependent on probiotic bacteria in the intestines. I definitely notice a different while eating/drinking fermented products. xD I also used to eat sauerkraut before bed to get rid of bloating and wake up with a flat tummy! Also, these foods are tasty and easily digestible. I think that might put a bit of a dent into why I love fermented foods/drinks.

  10. Sarah L Avatar

    I am trying to get more fermented foods into our diet and water kefir sounds like the easiest thing to get my kids to like! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  11. Chelsea Avatar

    i love how incredibly good fermented foods are for you..most people look at you like “what? isnt that disgustin?” it has wonderful flavors and heathgiving properties that you just cant get from normal food.

  12. Veronica Avatar

    I love your website! Have been making tons of recipes. My toddler and husband have been eating them (although hubby still eats bread too….) 😉

  13. ingrid Avatar

    oh i ‘ve really been wanting to try this! keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

  14. Sarah Webb Avatar
    Sarah Webb

    I love fermented food! They taste great! I have been wanting to try kefir. I subscribe to the newsletter.

  15. Claudia Ritter Avatar
    Claudia Ritter

    It’s great to see so many great blogs about nourishing foods/cultured foods 😀

  16. Claudia Ritter Avatar
    Claudia Ritter

    I’ve never had Water Kefir but I’m a fan of fermented foods! My favorite is kombucha, and I’ve had success with cultured salsa and buttermilk. Never tried to make kefir with grains – can’t wait to try!

  17. Hannah Skelly Avatar
    Hannah Skelly

    We love water kefir… and makes a great summer drink. Sadly our water kefir grains died last winter when we didn’t use sugar for several months.

  18. Amber filkins Avatar
    Amber filkins

    My husband and I have been talking about ordering some kefir and water kefir grains from Cultures for Health. I’ve been really pushing for the water kefir because he’s been a champ about quitting drinking soda, but he’s missing the carbonation more than anything. We make kombucha, but it’s not quite doing the trick 🙂

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