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So Simple, So Good: Water Kefir

This post is part of REAL Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Who would’ve thought that a jar of sugar water can transform into an amazing, health-giving, probiotic beverage?  It’s true!  The sugar used to create water kefir is necessary for the fermentation process to occur as bacteria and yeast feed on the sugar and convert it to lactic acid and probiotic cultures.

Water kefir is a delicious and nourishing drink that your kids will love, and you will too. It is a lacto-fermented, health tonic that is pleasant to taste and so easy to make. The best thing about it…it’s filled with dozens of strains of beneficial bacteria, yeast and enzymes that are essential for whole body health.

You can find a whole host of recipes for water kefir on the internet.  I have gotten in a routine of making mine in the simplest way I can and then adding flavor options after it’s finished brewing.

Here is my basic recipe

Note:  my family drinks a lot of water kefir, so I double this recipe and make it in a 1/2 gallon jar.


1/4 cup sugar (I use sucanat, as I prefer the taste that results.  You can also use rapadura, dehydrated cane crystals, organic sugar or even white sugar.  I have found the more refined the sugar, the sweeter the results.  Also of note, honey should not be used because of its antibacterial properties)

1 quart of filtered water

2-3 tablespoons (approximate) water kefir grains



  • Add the sugar to the empty jar.  Pour in a small amount of hot water (approx. 1 cup) and swirl around until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Fill jar with cool water, leaving a couple inches of headroom in the jar.
  • Add water kefir grains to the jar.  (Make sure water is room temperature before adding the grains as heat will damage them.)
  • Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  • Leave on counter for 24-48 hours to ferment.

That’s it!  Really, it’s that easy.  It takes me less than 3 minutes to start a new batch every morning.

Photo:  Water kefir being made with sucanat (brown) and finished water kefir soda flavored with 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice.

How to serve water kefir

When water kefir is done, simply strain the grains out using a plastic or cloth strainer.  Water kefir grains are sensitive and can be damaged by stainless steel and other metals.

There are a couple of things you can do from here.

  1. Flavor by adding any of the following flavor options (get creative!) and serve now.
  2. Make water kefir soda by putting into an airtight bottle (I found some flip top bottles at IKEA) and leaving on the counter for 18 to 24 hours.  The longer it sits, the more carbonation is produced.  (check out Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s experiment to see if alcohol is produced in making water kefir soda).  I add a splash of juice to the finished soda when serving, but some people do add the flavoring before fermenting.

Ideas for flavoring water kefir

  • sliced lemon
  • lemon juice
  • ginger root
  • splash of juice like cranberry or pomegranate
  • vanilla extract (makes a cream soda flavor)
  • dried fruit like figs, apricots, mango
  • fresh fruit like mango, pears, apples
Really, there are so many different ways to flavor water kefir that it never gets boring to drink it.  Have fun experimenting!

There are several places to purchase water kefir grains on the web that you can find by googling.  I have purchased from Cultures for Health and have been pleased.  But if you know someone who is already making water kefir, they will likely be happy to share some.  Water kefir grains multiply….and boy do they multiply!  I am overrun with water grains at this time and am looking for people to pass them along to so that I don’t have to waste them.

Leave me a note and let me know how your water kefir turns out.  Also, if you already make water kefir and have some flavoring ideas, please share.  I’m always up for trying something new.  

12 Responses to So Simple, So Good: Water Kefir

  1. I like to flavor mine with ginger root and raspberries. So yummy!

  2. I would live to try this for my girls and I. Sounds do good:)
    How can I get the grains??

  3. I like FRESH ginger and a squeezed orange~!

  4. I love fresh ginger in ours! My recent favorite is lemon and lime.

  5. […] very simple recipe for water kefir gave me a reason to dust off my water kefir grains and try again. Apparently, I was missing the […]

  6. My friend just gave me some grains today! I am looking forward to making this and getting my two-year-old son involved. Thanks for the recipe and ideas!

    • That’s great Jenn! When we first started making it my kids thought it was so cool to see how the grains multiplied in the jar. It’s neat to see a certain amount of grains in there in the morning and by bedtime, there is almost twice the amount. It was fun seeing them run to check the jar every so often. =-)

      • Hmm, my grains did not multiply! What did I do wrong?

        • According to the information that I got with my order from Cultures for Health, sometimes they don’t multiply, and they are still fine. Lack of multiplying apparently does not mean anything is wrong with them and they can still ferment the sugar water.

          Mine stopped multiplying for about a week and I was able to give them the boost they needed to kick it up again by doing a really good rinse and then adding some dried fruit to the next batch (in with the kefir grains). They really liked the extra sugar and have been growing like crazy again since I did that. I only needed to add the dried fruit for one or two batches before they started growing again.

  7. Fun! I’ve been using milk kefir grains for our raw milk for quite awhile now, but I’ve never had water kefir. I think I’ll order some!

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