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. James Avatar

    Can you ferment with the lid on?
    Does the ferment need to breath – if so why?

    I’m not actually using Kefir culture – instead I have used some wholefood probiotic powder blend mixed with coconut water in a jar with lid screwed on.

    I hope someone can clarify my questions. Many Thanks

  2. Regina Osborn Avatar
    Regina Osborn

    I’m so excited. I received my cultures Kefir and Kombucha today. Can’t wait to start!

  3. Tia Avatar

    Hey, I just had one question! Can you continuously brew Water Kefir as you do kombucha? I brew my own kombucha and its much easier with the continuous system.

    1. Annie Avatar

      I’ve been brewing mine continuously for two years, if that helps. 🙂

  4. Christine S Avatar
    Christine S

    Question, can I use a ginger flavored simple syrup with my water kefir grains? I am planning on making ginger flavored simple syrup using fresh ginger.

  5. Helen Louise Rideout Avatar
    Helen Louise Rideout

    Hi, I want to go away on holiday and I’m worried about leaving my kefir! You say you shouldn’t leave it for more than 48 hours with sugar and water. How can I store it for safe-keeping, just drain the liquid off and leave the grains in a jar?

    1. Holly Hunter Avatar
      Holly Hunter

      Water Kefir Grains
      The simplest method to preserve water kefir grains is to place the kefir grains in fresh sugar water, cover the container with a snug lid, and place the jar in the fridge. Kefir grains will generally keep for up to a few weeks in this manner. Keep in mind that when you remove the kefir grains from the fridge, it can take a few batches for the grains to come out of hibernation and begin reliably making kefir again. (You may have to toss a few batches that do not kefir properly.) We do not recommend putting kefir grains in the fridge frequently, but for the occasional trip out of town, this is the most reliable method.

      For longer-term breaks, water kefir grains can be dried. Rinse the water kefir grains thoroughly with cool, unchlorinated water, and place them on a piece of unbleached parchment paper. Leave the kefir grains in a warm safe place to dry where the temperature will not exceed 90°F. Depending on temperature and humidity, it will generally take several days for the grains to dry thoroughly. Once dry, place the kefir grains in a ziplock bag. Keep the bag in a cool dry place or ideally the refrigerator. Dried kefir grains will generally keep for at least a year.

  6. Amos Avatar

    Hi 🙂 I am just learning about Kefir water (a little nervous about trying it since my family is not enjoying our journey to healthful eating!). It is winter now and we keep our home at 62 degrees during the day, 65 at night to conserve energy and money. But the recipe says to ferment at 70 – 78. Can I still make it?

    1. Annie Avatar

      I keep my house below the recommended temps in both summer and winter. The grains are very adaptable if you take care of them. The process just takes longer in lower temps. I just add more sugar than other people do to start with so they don’t starve – e.g., if most people’s grains kefir a quart of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 or 2 days and mine take 4 or 5 days, I start them in a quart of water with 2 tablespoons of sugar. My grains have been perfectly healthy for two years, now, so it’s safe to say that cooler works just fine. 🙂

    2. Kayla Avatar

      Do you know anything about using a syrup for second ferment? Like torani puremade syrups?

  7. mari Avatar

    Thanks for sharing . I would like to try my hand at the water kefir but cannot use cane sugar ( for medical reasons) . I am wondering if coconut sugar would be fine for the fermentation process . Kindly guide , thank you .

  8. Amee Massie Avatar
    Amee Massie

    Would I be able to use CountryTime Strawberry Lemonade flavored mix drink as the sugar substitute, by chance??

    1. Roslyn Avatar

      check the ingredients list. kefir grains will not ferment with artificial sweeteners. Most drink mixes are made with artificial sweeteners, anti caking and preservatives. It can damage the grains. In my opinion drink mixes often leave an after taste that I do not like. I tried the root beer mix for the Soda stream machine and it had a long list of artificial ingredients and chemicals and nothing natural at all. it had an after taste that made the soda unpleasant to drink. I will try a natural root beer extract next to compare.

  9. Sarah Jean Avatar
    Sarah Jean

    I’m making water kefir right now and that’s how I found your site! I was looking for recipes on the second ferment. I’m going to try the pomegranate juice!

    1. Kat Martin Avatar
      Kat Martin

      Depends on the amount of kefir grains you have. Check the cultures for health website for more info, but if I remember correctly you need at least 3 tablespoons for a quart.

  10. Melanie C Avatar
    Melanie C

    How long can kefir water last shelf/fridge once made? (After 24-36 hrs)And if you ferment with fruit etc.

  11. laura Avatar

    a friend gave me a bottle of water kefir and I drank some the first day. I mixed it with apple juice and it tasted like, well, diluted apple juice. No fizz or anything. Then life got crazy busy and the bottle got further and further back in the fridge – and now three weeks or so has passed. What should I do with it now? Does the flatness mean anything? Should I throw it out and ask her for some grains and start all over again?

  12. Bev Avatar

    I did my second ferment and put it in flip top bottles. I was so excited to try it so after placing them in the fridge overnight, I opened one. IT was like a volcano! I lost all the precious kefir all over my kitchen. Any ideas of how to avoid this next time?

    1. Holly Hunter Avatar
      Holly Hunter

      I have had the same thing happen somewhat, depending on what I’ve added for my second ferment. I’d say keep practicing with your additives and the amount of time left on the counter for the second ferment. It’s amazing to me how each juice or additive ferments differently. I love doing fresh ginger (cut into matchstick’s) and fresh lemon juice. I also do a pomegranate and blueberry blend that’s delicious!

      1. Delphine Avatar

        Mine are like volcanoes every time I open them… but there’s an art to opening/pouring immediately that prevents the mess.

        Near the sink and with a glass ready to fill nearby, ‘pop’ it open *without* holding the lid down (it will sound like champagne, warn people first lol.) Immediately tilt the bottle at an angle over your glass and pour gently with both glass and bottle at an angle. This allows the maximum air space inside the bottle for the fizz to offgas. You don’t want to pour too fast or it will come shooting out of the bottle, likewise you don’t want to let it sit upright or it will shoot straight up. Takes a couple tries but I haven’t spilled a drop since ;).

        1. Daisy Avatar

          Yep. I was doing the second ferment with some pomegranate juice and I exploded the glass flip top bottle. Thankfully nobody was in the kitchen when it happened. It was literally shards of glass everywhere and spray up, down, and everywhere. What did I learn? 🙂 Burp your kefir on the second ferment every few hours and do not exceed 24 hours of secondary fermentation. (It was also summer, so it went really fast.)

          As far as making sure it doesn’t champagne-type explode, someone suggested putting the jug/container/grolsch bottle in a bowl in the sink and having another bowl ready to put over the top of it so it can rain down into the bottom bowl and you don’t lose any.

  13. Brenda Reed Avatar
    Brenda Reed

    I made my first batch of kefir cherry soda and I’m so excited that it carbonated. It tastes subtly sweet and sour! It’s yummy and good for the tummy. This was only the 3rd batch from dehydrated water kefir grains; the 1st batch I dumped, and the 2nd didn’t carbonate. They are not multiplying yet, but I’ve read that it can take 6-8 weeks before that happens. I’m keeping them in our water heater closet which is inside the house. I tried putting them on top of the water heater but I think it might have been too warm, so now they are on a box on the floor and the temp seems about right.

  14. angela Avatar

    I keep hearing….don’t kill the kefir grain (tap water, metal, or doing it wrong). But just how do you know if your grains have been destroyed? Do they disappear or change color? Thanks! First batch a success.

  15. Reshma Sidhpura Avatar
    Reshma Sidhpura

    Once the Kefir water is prepared so you have to drink it in one serving or can it be kept for the next day? Can you also drink it daily and if so how many times? Thanks! x

  16. Linda Bezooyen Avatar
    Linda Bezooyen

    If I add dried apricots or cranberries or some other dried fruit to the first fermentation of kefir, can I eat it rather than throwing it out (adding it to a smoothy)?

    1. Pauline Liptak Blacker Lorincz Avatar
      Pauline Liptak Blacker Lorincz

      You certainly can add them to your smoothie or eat them! My Kefir Guru who taught me all I know about this even adds some of her excess grains to smoothies!

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