How to Make Water Kefir Soda (Recipe)

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How to make healthy probiotic water kefir natural soda
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » How to Make Water Kefir Soda (Recipe)

It’s a probiotic… it’s a carbonated drink… it’s water kefir!

I started making this as part of my mission to get more probiotics in our diet and it has worked like a charm! The kids love it and ask for it each morning.

Water Kefir Culture

You will need one unusual ingredient for this recipe: water kefir cultures (also called water kefir grains). They aren’t really grains, but are a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria that create probiotics and enzymes during the process of breaking down natural sugar.

I got my water kefir grains from this family-owned company. You’ll also need…

Equipment Needed

  • Glass jar (1 quart or half gallon)
  • Wooden spoon for stirring (avoid metal)
  • Towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter to cover jar
  • Rubber band
How to make healthy probiotic water kefir natural soda

How to Make Water Kefir Soda (Recipe)

A healthy probiotic-rich drink that you can make quickly and easily at home for pennies.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Author Katie Wells


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  • In a half gallon size glass jar, dissolve the sugar in a 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 the 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 a towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out insects and 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 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 n additional 1-3 days before drinking or refrigerating.
  • Repeat the process!


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!

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

My Favorite Kefir Variations

  • After the first fermentation, cap the water kefir without adding any juice and leave on the counter. After two days, put in refrigerator and add vanilla extract before drinking — tastes like cream soda!
  • Add lemon juice and drink right after the first fermentation — tastes like lemonade!
  • Do the second fermentation with grape, apple, cherry, or pomegranate for a fizzy fruit flavored soda.
  • Add raisins or prune juice for the second fermentation — tastes like Dr. Pepper.
  • Make a grape or berry flavored second fermentation and mix with iced herbal tea for a carbonated fruity iced tea drink.
  • Add pineapple juice after the first fermentation, but drink right away — don’t allow to ferment or it gets slimy!

Water Kefir Recipe Video Tutorial

This video that explains this in more detail and gives step by step instructions. You can also check out Cultures for Health to find the supplies to make water kefir soda and other great fermented probiotic-rich foods and drinks!

Have you ever made water kefir? What’s your favorite flavor?

Water Kefir is a naturally fizzy fermented drink that is full of probiotics and enzymes for a delicious and healthy drink!

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.


337 responses to “How to Make Water Kefir Soda (Recipe)”

  1. Jennifer Avatar

    I understand that there is approximately 1.4% fructose that remains in the final water kefir product but i need to know the percentage of glucose remaining so that i can work out the glucose/fructose ratio as i need to know this as i have a high fructose intolerance and the amount of fructose is only relevant in relation to how much glucose is also present. Can you help me with this information please?

  2. Lana Oliver Avatar
    Lana Oliver

    Thank you for this! I’ve been following your blog for a while and just started making Kefir water. Your recipes are great!

  3. Alanna Yousif Avatar
    Alanna Yousif

    Help! My water kefir tastes and smells like sulphur. I’ve tried resting them in sugar water in the fridge but it didn’t help although the next batch was less slimy/cloudy. My first attempts I used 3 tbsp white sugar and 1 tbsp cocnut sugar per quart of water. Thought I was adding too much minerals so I cut the cocnut sugar down to 1 tsp but its still sulphury. I tried no cocnut sugar just white sugar and it didn’t ferment at all. After two days it was just sweet water. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Pauline Liptak Blacker Lorincz Avatar
      Pauline Liptak Blacker Lorincz

      Rehabilitating Water Kefir Grains

      Water Kefir: Rinse, Rest, Recover
      Water kefir is a delicious and refreshing drink, loaded with probiotics and easy to make. Under ideal conditions, you can put a couple of tablespoons of water kefir grains in a quart of sugar-water, coconut water, or fruit juice, let it sit for a day or two, then strain, add flavoring, and let ferment for a few more days. The result will be a light, slightly fizzy drink that kids and grownups love to drink.

      However, there are a few problems that can come up when the grains are stressed from overcrowding, lack of nutrients, or contamination. These problems include:

      Grains are slimy.
      Kefir is syrupy.
      Kefir smells bad. (Sulfur smell, smells like rotting fruit, smells “like feet,” etc.)
      White film forms on the top of the kefir.
      Grains start to diminish in volume.

      These problems can be a result of the kefir not properly re-building themselves, which is a result of undernourishment. Or, it can be an imbalance in the bacteria and yeasts in the culture, which can come from undernourishment, or overnourishment, or just the wrong ingredients.

      Kefir grains need not just sugar as food; they also need minerals. It’s very easy to supplement with minerals when needed. However, while minerals are essential to the good health of water kefir grains, they can also get too many minerals, or an imbalance. Or, they can change their requirements for minerals: having had enough of one mineral, they may now need a different one!

      Often water kefir grains will benefit by a short time “on vacation” so they can re-balance and. So while adjusting the ingredients in your water kefir can be helpful, sometimes it’s a good idea to let the grains rest a little as well.

      Here’s how to give your grains a “rest and recover” treatment that will get them back on the road to robust productivity.

      Make a Resting Solution

      Start with fresh, clean water. Make sure it does not have fluoride in it. If your tap water is fluoridated, it is not likely that an ordinary house filter will remove it. You will have to use bottled spring water, or get a filter specially designed to remove fluoride. Chlorine can be removed by filtering, evaporation, aeration, or boiling. Chloramines, used instead of chlorine in some municipalities, must be filtered out.

      Bring the water to a boil and let it cool for five or ten minutes. (If you boil for 20 to 30 minutes, it will also remove the chlorine.) You will need a quart for the resting solution, plus a quart or more for rinsing the grains.

      In a quart-size mason jar, put 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar. The best type to use is an unrefined organic sugar such as turbinado, Sucanat, evaporated cane juice (unbleached), rapadura, etc. You can also use white table sugar. Don’t use honey, agave, coconut sugar, or any other type of alternative sugar. (Some of these are okay for culturing, but you want to just keep it simple for now.)

      Now, depending on the mineral content of your water and the condition of your grains, you might need to add some mineral supplementation. Small, mushy grains can usually benefit from some minerals. Syrupy kefir is usually a result of too many minerals. If you have an idea of the mineral content of your water, add minerals to soft water, or leave them out of hard water.

      You can choose any one of the following:

      1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
      1/4 teaspoon plain baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon unsulfured blackstrap molasses
      A few drops of liquid mineral supplement (such as Concentrace)
      1 teaspoon oyster shell (sterilized, the kind that is used in aquariums), or sterilized, crushed eggshell (If you use oyster shell or eggshell, put it in a muslin bag so it doesn’t get mixed up with the grains.)

      Fill the mason jar with the boiled water to about an inch or two from the top, and let it cool to room temperature. Set the rest of the water aside. When it is cool, you can rinse the kefir grains.

      (Alternatively, you can use just enough boiled water to dissolve the sugar, and fill the jar with cool, filtered water.)

      Rinse the Grains

      Ordinarily you should not need to rinse the kefir grains, but if they have gotten to the point where they are slimy or stinky, it’s a good idea to clean them off.

      Put some filtered or boiled, cooled water in a shallow bowl, and set up a plastic mesh strainer so you can put the grains in the strainer and have them bathed in the water.

      Stir the grains around in the strainer gently with your finger, brushing them lightly up against the strainer. This will clean off any loose yeast or contaminants off the surface of the grains without damaging them.

      Pour off the water, which will be cloudy.

      Repeat the rinsing a few times until the discarded water is pretty clear. Your grains are now “naked” and ready to rest.

      Rest the Grains

      Put the cleaned grains in the prepared solution, and cover the jar with a plastic lid. (If all you have is a metal lid, put a coffee filter over the top of the jar, then put the lid on top of that.)

      Now put the jar of grains and water in the refrigerator and leave them there for at least three or four days. The cold will put the grains to sleep. They can stay in the refrigerator for as long as a month, resting and rebuilding.

      Get the Grains Back to Work

      After your grains have rested, you are ready to make a new batch of kefir.

      Set up the new kefir solution the same way you made the resting solution, with clean water, granulated sugar, and mineral supplementation if needed.

      Strain the grains out of the resting solution. If you want, you can save the liquid. If it has only been in the refrigerator for a few days, it will be mostly sweet water with some probiotics in it. If you left it in the refrigerator for a long time, it may be very lightly fizzy and can be treated like kefir. In any case, it should smell better than it did before you started. If the grains still seem distressed (slime, bad smell, or white film), make a new batch of resting solution and rest the grains again.

      Add the rested grain to the new kefiring solution. You should have between 2 and 4 tablespoons of grains to a quart of water. If you have more grains than that, you can either divide them into smaller batches and make more jars, or use a larger jar. Make sure you maintain the right proportions of sugar and minerals in the water.

      Cover the jar with a paper towel or coffee filter secured by a rubber band, and let the grains sit for 24 to 48 hours.

      The resulting kefir should be clean and fresh, and ready for you to strain off, flavor, cover, and let sit for a couple of days to ferment again.

      Badly damaged grains may require two or three cycles of rinse, rest, recover. The good news is that once they are fully recovered, you can continue to use them for many months to come.

  4. Clark Avatar

    Do you mix in or discard the sediment of the second ferment prior to drinking?

  5. Sue Avatar

    I’ve recently started making kefir water, and I love it! In most cases the recipe has been fool proof but not in one finished batch. I made apple kefir from dried apples and then bottled it. Yesterday when I checked on the finished product, it appeared I had a thick half inch “mother” inside the bottle! It has been stored in a fridge that isn’t opened much (spare in the garage), so I was shocked to see it. Do you know if this means the batch is bad, or have you ever heard of a “mother” springing to life like that?

    1. Roslyn Avatar

      apples have high pectin, which can leave a “mother” in the bottom of the jar. it is actually good for you, just shake before you drink. any fruit that contains pectin will leave a mother. also excess yeast will settle to the bottom of the jar, it can mean your grains are not multiplying at an uniform rate.

  6. Michele Casias Avatar
    Michele Casias

    I want to start fermenting foods but I hate how how you have to add sugar to everything! Can you make water kefir without sugar?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Unfortunately no, but most of the sugar ferments out… it is the food for the beneficial bacteria…

      1. Michele Casias Avatar
        Michele Casias

        Thank you! I appreciate you letting me know…makes me feel a lot better! 🙂

  7. Mel Avatar

    Hi I am new to kefir and I was wondering how much should you begin drinking? I got mine off a friend who said it can cause quite an upset stomach and to take it in small doses, and the clerk at the health food store told me to take only 1 or 2 tblsp per day… is this right? I can’t find much about kefir causing stomach upset online or about initial quantities to take, but most recipes seem to make a drink that you can guzzle to your hearts content….? My grains have only been in the sugar solution 1 day and are already very bubbly and active, but I don’t want to get sick from drinking too much, please let me know 🙂 thank you

    1. Roslyn Avatar

      I make milk kefir, water kefir and kombucha. Milk kefir is the mildest of the probiotics but hard for those lactose intolerant. Kombucha which I love, can be damaging to the liver in large amounts, and those with a compromised liver, acidosis, or hepatitis in any form should never drink kombucha. Water kefir is very versatile and can be made in most any that has sugar in it, even tea on the second ferment. When first starting any fermented drink, start out with 1 oz or less to gage your bodies reaction. Many just starting probiotic drinks can go through a detox cycle until you reach a balance or homeostasis. gradually increase your intake. eventual you can drink it as you would water. I limit my kombucha to one glass a day and follow it with several glass of clear filtered water to prevent acid build up. milk kefir I have in the morning milk kefir grains seem to be more delicate then water kefir and required more careful prep, and water kefir I drink off and on all day.

      1. Kayla Avatar


        Where did you get your info on Kombucha being hard on the liver? My health coach recommends Kombucha to help support the liver in the detox process. Just don’t want people getting confused? We need to make sure we’re passing on correct information. Interested to read your resources.

  8. Stephanie Avatar

    When I started making water kefir and it wasn’t working well at all. I found out from a friend that you can add a fig to the first fermentation and it makes my kefir super bubbly. I believe the fig adds trace minerals. I also started adding a day of baking soda. I have had the most bubbly kefir. Now that its so hot I let the first fermentation sit for less than 24 hours because its so fizzy!

    1. kate Avatar

      Are you adding a whole fig or a piece to the first fermentation? Are you adding baking soda to the first fermentation also?

      thanks! I am having fizziness issues! LOL

  9. Richyne Derrick Meyer Avatar
    Richyne Derrick Meyer

    I made water kefir two days ago – when I checked it today it had what looked like a powdery white substance and bubles on the top. Is the ok to drink?

  10. Kim Avatar

    Has anyone been successful with putting the kefir in a BPA free plastic to-go jug on 2nd ferment after straining and adding juice? I am trying to wean my husband off of soda but he needs to take a plastic thermos jug and not glass bottles to work.

  11. Donna Tipton Avatar
    Donna Tipton

    I’m a vegan and trying to lose weight – I began drinking Kevita (store-bought water kefir) not only to clean my gut but also to eliminate sugar cravings. It worked great but at $3.49 a bottle seemed costly so I decided to try making it. My first batch worked well – I like the slightly vinegary taste so I left it on the counter 72-hours. Initially using organic sugar then adding coconut water. My grains are multiplying rapidly but I’m concerned about alcohol and sugar content. The Kevita has 10 calories per serving with only 1 gram of sugar. My batch tastes much sweeter and more alcoholic. What do I need to do to reduce the sugar and alcohol? Thanks!!

    1. Milena Avatar

      I assume you would just add less sugar to the water when fermenting, and keep at a slightly lower temp…

    2. Linda Avatar

      Hi I also found Kevita and because of the price, I’m hoping I can recreate it at home.

  12. Laura Avatar

    Allright, I’m getting on to it ! But I thought fructose was bad for you… On the video, it sais that’s what the kefir bacteria produce. Am I getting muddled up?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      The bacteria eat the fructose to create the beneficial bacteria, so most of the sugar is fermented out….

  13. Disserta Avatar

    Thanks for this article. I ordered some dehydrated water kefir in 2010.

    Unfortunately, I was unable to use it and still have it in my refrigerator in its original packaging (ie the grains are in a zip lock bag which in turn is inside of a bubble envelope).

    Has that batch expired?

    Thank you.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’m not sure… I”d check with the company as I’ve never waiting that long so I don’t know…

  14. Neva Avatar

    hi i’m qorya from indonesia, everyday i making water kefir from Japanese species of algae white crystals. I am happy if the benefits of water kefir greatly assist the process of healing the disease, every day I always gave away our old lady neighbors who have a particular disease can be cured by the Japanese crystal algae. and of course to our earnings back here to sell online japan crystal algae that we have

  15. Crystal Burnham Avatar
    Crystal Burnham

    Anyone try this with dandelion “juice”? (Pick as many dandelion heads (must be from good organic soil) as you can and then cover with boiling water.)

  16. Kristy Avatar

    How does you kefir water look so clear? I use unrefined, unprocessed whole can sugar (Rapuzel brand) and it’s really dark! Also, what kind of air tight lids to you use? I have been using the plastic lids that fit onto canning jars and I don’t think my water is getting very fizzy. Do I need to buy different lids/jars/bottles? Thanks!

    1. Donna Tipton Avatar
      Donna Tipton

      I googled “how to keep water kefir clear” and this site came up because of your post – I was sure hoping for an answer because mine is very cloudy 🙁

        1. Donna Tipton Avatar
          Donna Tipton

          When I first received my grains I started a batch spring water and 3 Tablespoon organic cane sugar and 1 Tablespoon organic granulated maple sugar. I drained that off after 48-hours and used coconut water.

  17. erica Avatar

    Hello, to water kefir drinkers out there, what share my experience back in Mexico,my mother gave use what she called: Tepache de Arroz this was back in the 90’s we drank it plain and we loved it, I’ve had my batch of grains for ten years in Florida, I brought them in 2002, I use piloncillo always have and they still multiply like crazy , and when i moved to the Chicago area i got lazy and did not change the water or gave them any more piloncillo for almost a year, i have done this in the past i don’t even put it in the fridge or any thing, just in the cabinet, back in Florida I even left it over night in a metal strainer totally forgot about it but here we are still making my Tepache de arroz! and when i was googling bulgaros i saw kefir, water kefir thats how i came to know the correct word and in my experience and most of the people that have this “grains” back in my home town of Mexico, no special sugar needed just piloncillo and drinking water and at end of the first fermentation when we stain it in to our glass we add a pinch of baking soda and stir and enjoy =D

    1. Laura Avatar

      That’s awesome! I just ordered kefir grains, but i didn’t know it makes Tepache!
      I love Tepache! the one i know is de Pina fermented pineapple soda It was in the Spanish food store here until last year and now there’s some nasty junk with artificial everything replacing it! The Tepache was so delicious! I really felt like it was ok for my body even though it was soda. How cool to find out that maybe I was right! Maybe someday I’ll be able to semi-duplicate it. mmmm! delicious

      how do you make it with rice?

  18. Katja Moos Avatar
    Katja Moos

    Two questions: How long does the finished water kefir keep in the fridge? If I can’t or don’t want to start brewing a new batch right after I’ve fermented a batch, how long do the grains keep in the fridge and how often do I best feed them (with more sugar?) during their hibernation ? Thank you!!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Brewed kefir will keep weeks on the counter or the fridge and the grains will survive for a few weeks in the fridge if properly stored…

      1. Vondrelle Avatar

        The kefir does last a long time, but I did read somewhere that the probiotic qualities diminish over time.

      2. Madeleine Avatar

        Hi, I have a friend who brought back to life some 3-year-old kefir grains that she kept in the back of her fridge. They are resilient little buggers!

  19. Julia Marine Avatar
    Julia Marine

    Hello! I just began brewing water kefir. My first batch came out great! I kept it simple – first brew was just organic raw sugar and unfiltered tap water. Then, I strained and bottled it with slices of orange for the second fermentation. It came out perfectly. Second batch, I got fancy. I bought a Britta filter thinking that would help. I brewed with raw sugar and filtered water. Second fermentation was left for two days with lemon and ginger in a sealed jar and more orange slices in my two sealed bottled. For the record, my ratios of sugar to water at roughly the same as yours.

    The orange kefir in the bottles ended up completely flat and sour, while the jar was perfectly carbonated and sweet.

    Third attempt, and I’m using just jars, along with the filtered water. I have raspberries and ginger in the second fermentation. So far they’re not bubbly after two days. They still taste ok, but I’m afraid they’ll be sour tomorrow.

    What gives? Is it the filtered water? Why was my jar the only successful batch in the second brew? Could it be how much I’m filling each bottle/jar up? My successful jar was half full, while the bottles had about and inch and a half of unfilled space. I’m stumped!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Are space can make a difference, and so can water quality. Even the temp of the water when the grains are added can make a difference. I’d stick with what worked the first time and then change only one thing at a time until you figure out what is causing the change…

        1. Lindsey Avatar

          pbi- I don’t know the science behind it but it can make your kefir taste metallic or bloody

          1. Roslyn Avatar

            metals are reactive to acids, minerals and other sugars and will cause a chemical reaction damaging the grains, making your resulting water an off taste. some reactions cause the waters to heat enough to kill the grains and corrode the metal. Because the grains need these minerals and sugar to grow, you will need to use a non-reactive spoon and strainer such as plastic, wood and glass.

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