How To Make Water Kefir (Video Tutorial)

Heather Dessinger

This post contains affiliate links.
Click here to read my affiliate policy.


Do you miss cherry limeades? Or are you looking for a healthy alternative to soft drinks for your kids? Homemade soda pop to the rescue! Not only is it delicious, but water kefir is also rich in beneficial bacteria that support digestion and healthy immune function.

The best part? It only takes about five minutes of hands-on time to make, and kids love it.

Video Tutorial: How To Make Water Kefir

Print Pin
4.72 from 7 votes

How To Make Water Kefir (Photo Tutorial)

For this recipe you will need: 1 quart jar, plastic mesh strainer (metal will harm the grains), cloth with rubber band to cover jar, measuring cup or bowl with pouring spout, swing top bottles - like these or these
Course Beverages
Cuisine Russian
Keyword fermented, probiotic
Calories 0kcal
Author Heather Dessinger


  • plastic mesh strainer
  • straining cloth
  • rubber band
  • measuring cup
  • swing top bottles


  • ¼ to ⅓ cup sucanat or organic white sugar (avoid honey because it does not have the right composition of sugars to feed the kefir grains)
  • 3 cups purified water (no fluoride or chlorine - these will kill the grains.)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp kefir grains Where to buy kefir grains
  • 1 squirt Concentrace minerals or unsulphured blackstrap molasses (Optional. Water kefir tends to do better in mineral rich water. Both of these are good sources of minerals - I'm not a fan of molasses flavor in my kefir)

Optional flavoring ideas:

  • 3 slices ginger (I've found this makes my kefir extra fizzy for some reason)
  • ½ lime
  • fresh mint
  • 2 to 3 tsp vanilla extract (for a creamy soda experience)
  • dried mango or pineapple (not preserved with sulphur)
  • cherry limeade / mango colada / blackberry lavender (You can find recipes here)


  • Dissolve Sugar In A Small Amount Of Hot WaterAdd 1/3 cup sucanat/sucanat to a quart-sized mason jar. Add the remaining 2 1/3 cup water.
  • Place 2/3 cup of water in a pan and heat until warm enough to dissolve the sucanat/sugar, then pour the water in the jar and stir until fully dissolved. (Or if you prefer, add the sugar to the pan and dissolve before transferring to the jar.)
  • Make sure the water is cooled to room temp before continuing to the next step.
  • Strain Kefir GrainsWhether your gathering your grains from a previous batch (as shown in the photo above) or using new grains recently hydrated in sugar water (instructions will be included when you order from the source above), you're going to need to strain them. My favorite method is to place my mesh strainer over a measuring cup and pour.
  • As the cup fills I pour it into swing top bottles for the second fermentation, which I'll cover later in this tutorial. Make sure to use a plastic mesh strainer as metal can harm the kefir grains.Here's what they look like up close:
  • Add Grains To Your Sugar Water Mixture. Boy do these things love converting sugar into probiotic goodness! Pictured on the right is a brand new batch of kefir that hasn't fermented yet. On the left is a finished batch - the color tends to lighten when they've done their magic.
  • Cover your new batch with a cloth secured by a rubber band. Place in a warm area of your kitchen (away from direct sunlight) and allow to ferment for 24-48 hours.
  • After one or two days, strain your kefir. Drink it right away, place in the fridge for later, or go on to add flavoring or ferment a second time to create a bubbly, soda-like fizz. Details below!
  • Optional Step: Add Flavorings To Water KefirIf desired, now is the time to make your soda a cherry limeade, cream soda, mango colada, etc. You can add the flavorings to your finished (single ferment) kefir and let them infuse in the fridge, or add them and ferment for a second time to create carbonated, bubbly goodness. See above in the ingredient section for a link to flavoring ideas.
  • Optional Step: Ferment A Second Time For Extra FizzinessIn order for your water kefir to become carbonated you need to place it in tightly sealed bottles. As the beneficial bacteria and yeasts continue to consume the sugar they release gases which carbonate the drink. As a side benefit, this kind of carbonation benefits digestion!I let mine sit for 1-3 days, depending on the temperature of my kitchen. Personally, I like to allow most of the sugar to be converted before serving, but you can pour a glass whenever the flavor develops to your preference!


Perfect summer treat for the whole family. Enjoy!


Calories: 0kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 0mg | Potassium: 0mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg

water kefir pouring into a cup

Special Notes

Make sure to check on your bottles often while you’re getting a feel for how quickly the fermentation process goes in your environment, because if the pressure builds up you may end up spraying fizz all over yourself and your kitchen. Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything.

Also, it is possible to ferment with freshly pressed juices, but they yield a higher alcohol content than regular kefir, which contains a tiny amount. Please use caution when serving them to children, perhaps by fermenting them for a shorter amount of time. Also, second ferments are not recommended with juice kefir – pressure may build up very quickly, causing the bottle to burst.

More Refreshing Drink Recipes

Watermelon Limeade – This refreshing limeade recipe pairs beautifully with sunshine, laughter, and water of any kind – be it the sea, a pool, or a sprinkler.

Fruit and Herb Infused Water – Love squeezing lemon in your water but want to change things up a bit? I’ve put together four easy, delicious infused water recipes that use just herbs & fruit. 

Lavender Lemonade – This lemonade is tart and sweet and perfect for relaxing in the backyard. If you want a bubbly version, try sparkling water instead of plain water.

Related Posts


Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

51 thoughts on “How To Make Water Kefir (Video Tutorial)”

  1. Heather, this was wonderful. I am a visual learner and you’ve made it seem so easy to make this. I will definitely give it a try in the near future.

    Do you know if using Stevia would be a viable alternative to sugar? I’m working on keeping my blood sugar down and am leery of using regular sugar.

    Btw, seeing you take a ‘shower’ gives me great hope for my own messes. Gotta get dirty to learn, right?

    Have a wonderfully blessed day and know you are an encouragement to many. Thank you.

    • Hi Melinda, I am so glad you found it helpful! Getting dirty and making “mistakes” is the best way to learn in my opinion. 🙂

      To answer your question, the bacteria in kefir need sugar to survive, so stevia is not a viable alternative. However, if you do a second ferment without adding any additional sugar most of it will be eaten by the bacteria before you drink it. Hope that helps!

    • Melinda… I’m with you…..I’m a visual learner too and after searching through lots of info, I came across this video and I found it GREAT ! I made my first kefir yesterday and I’m looking forward to tasting it ??

  2. thank you for taking the time to put together a really helpful tutorial. between the fun video and your easy to read blog post, I am hopeful that I will finally hydrate my grains from Cultures for Health that have been sitting on my desk for weeks. I am grateful for your guidance in the land of crunchy living. All the best to you and your family.

  3. Oh! I didn’t realize until I was half way through that this is Kvas! After living in Russia for some time, I’ve never seen it repeated and called “Water Kefir” before. But all Russians drink quite a bit of Kvas all summer long. An awesome drink. Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂

  4. Is there a way to know for sure that all of the sugar has been consumed by the bacteria? I like the idea of drinking water kefir, but need to avoid the sugar.

    • I think it’s impossible to say for sure. Tangy kefir has less sugar than sweet kefir, but those measures are pretty subjective.

      • Heather I am not getting my kefier bubbles. No fiz what is wrong my grains are growing and I was doing the two step so it would have extra fix. Sorry not using right terms in new art this however I did this in the past and it did very well for a couple times them my kefier started dying

    • Use your blood glucose meter! Do a baseline blood sugar, drink some and half an hour later take your blood sugars, and about 2-2 1/2 hours later test again. This should tell you how it effects you.

  5. Our family’s favorite flavoring for water kefir is from using organic grape juice concentrate (no sugar added). We also like apple and orange but grape is our favorite. I have found that using the frozen concentrate gives the water kefir a stronger flavor.

  6. great video! I have just started making water kefir mad absolutely love it! I have one question in regards to the second fermentation. Mine never has the fizz like you find with soda (or like in your video lol). What I do is…use 1/4 cup organic juice along with organic frozen fruit in my water kefir in a quart jar with the lid screwed on tight. I let it ferment for an additional 24 hours. My house is not warm enough so I keep it in the garage. When I go to burp it there is never enough pressure built up so most times I leave it along. Should I add an additional tsp or so of my organic sugar to the second ferm. to help it have the fizz? Any other suggestions? Thank you so much!

    • What type of lid are you using? If you are using the plastic lids for canning jars, they are not air tight so the carbonation won’t build up. If you are using the two part metal then you could try the extra sugar. You could also try using some bottles that are made to hold carbonated beverages. We had saved a bunch from Kombucha. Burping your jars releases some of the carbonation but if you don’t have bottles made to hold carbonated beverages you really need to to avoid an explosion.

      • I’m using the 2 part metal lids and I’m screwing them on as tight as possible. To the kefir water I’m adding 1/2 cup organic juice and also about a 1/4 cup of organic fruit. I made another batch tonight and I added an additional Tbsp of organic unrefined sugar hoping this will give me my fizz. I was originally purchasing my water kefir from a friend but it’s cheaper to make my own. Her’s has never failed to be full of the fizz just as you have with soda. Mine has yet to produce that. I’d had these grains about 2 weeks today and have made several batches. When I go to burp my jars there has only been at times a little bit of the carbonation. I’m wondering if I don’t need to get new grains but I hate to have to do that!! Thank you so much for your help!

        • It sounds like you are doing everything right. Perhaps giving your grains a little more time will help. I just started a new batch of grains from dehydrated ones from Cultures for Health. They have not yet gotten fizzy for me whereas my old ones always fizz. The only other thing I can think of to give a try is to add about 1/16 teaspoon of baking soda per quart to your 1F. The grains seem to like the minerals in the baking soda. It may also react as the grains start acidifying the sugar water causing a fizz. You can go a little more on the baking soda, but for my tastes, I start noticing the baking soda when I add more than the 1/16.

    • Unfortunately you really need a swing top bottle in order for the carbonation to build to – for lack of a better term – maximum fizziness. 🙂

  7. Heather,

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into Mommypotamus. I have been wanting to start fermenting for some time — and have had one unsuccessful attempt at making water kefir so far. While many sets of instructions I’ve seen have been a bit vague (like, how much of the grains do I put in? beats me…), yours was quite explicit. Given that this fermenting stuff feels like a bit of a mystery to me, this is a very good thing. Your video actually helps an awful lot too. I’m ready to give it another try.

    I’d love to see more fermenting tutorials, if you feel the inclination. Any kind of ferments would be most welcome. I wish you lived next door so I could just pop over and watch what you do, but the videos are the next best thing 🙂

  8. I noticed your note about alcohol content, and I realize that some things would just need to be tested to know exactly, but what does a “tiny amount” means?… I do understand there is a tiny amount in super ripe fruit, and I am okay with that kind of thing, but I wanting to be wise about fermenting when there is the possibility of an alcoholic ferment? At what point do you begin fermenting what would be considered an alcoholic beverage? I read somewhere that fizz is a sure sign of alcohol, but it also makes sense that culturing (when a bacteria is consuming sugars and letting off gas) of any kind would create the possibility for built up fizz if you bottled it? Can you give any advice or help? As far as I understand anything that has a lot (or maybe it’s just easily digested) sugars would create alcohol or at least yeast, instead of probiotics? Please help me out (there seems to be quite a bit of conflicting, or I guess lack of information out there). Thanks! 🙂

  9. My first batch turned out great — we did a second ferment and it turned out nice and fizzy. I did two jars for the second batch and one of the jars developed a thin white film on the top. It smells fine and when I swirled the jar, everything looked normal, though it did settle back into the center of the jar after a while. I did some research and determined that this can be a sign that the grains need to be rehabilitated. I don’t need to salvage the grains as I have loads of them from the other jar, but I’m wondering what might have gone wrong. Any ideas? I don’t want to repeat the problem and ruin all of my grains.

    I’m using a mix of sucanat and a white dried sugar cane sugar, with Berkey filtered water (which has alkalizing rocks in it). My house is on the cool side, at around the lower recommended temperature for kefir making. The grains multiplied like crazy — from about 2 tablespoons to over 1 cup. We have very hard water, with loads of minerals.

    I read the problem could be contamination, too high of a mineral content in the water (but that makes grains slimy and mine are not), overcrowding (but the jars were pretty much the same, with the proportions in the recipe above), or a lack of nutrients (but again, the jars were the same).

    Is the batch with the white film okay to drink? It doesn’t look like mold …


  10. Loved this video, Heather! Thank you for posting the tutorial – the end was hilarious. I am looking forward to making water kefir at home!

  11. I was just trying to find the bottles that your used for making water kefir soda. The jars with bails
    that you recommended.
    Thanks !!

  12. Hello! Could you tell me what size mesh strainer you used? I see they come in 3″, 4″, 5 1/2″ and 7″

    Thanks for your help!

  13. 5 stars
    It looks delicious. Planning to try this once when I got back home. Anyway, I am also a kefir lover and I love to use it for my smoothie and ranch dressing.

  14. 5 stars
    Good evening, may I ask what kind of spring water did you use for your grains? Unfortunately after 8 months, my grains stopped making quality kefir. After all the different sugars and dried fruit I tried (sulfate free of course), I just couldn’t get them on track. After much thought, I think was water source is to blame for their slow land untimely death (?). I don’t own a reverse osmosis or Berkeley, nor can I invest in one living in my apartment. I would still love to brew kefir (just ordered more grains), I am just looking for a reliable bottled water source. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! 🙂

  15. Thank you so much for your guidance and tutorial on how to make water kefir! This is definitely inspiring me to make some of my own. I appreciate the pictures to help guide through the process as well.

  16. 5 stars
    Great video. Thanks! If you drape a kitchen towel over your bottles before opening, you’ll not get kefir everywhere. Towel will hold it.

  17. When second fermenting do you strain the fruit when you put back in the fridge? And how long is a batch good for?
    Thank you! Very helpful and great easy step tutorial!

    • Yes, I strain the fruit after the second ferment when I am storing the final product in the fridge for use. I’m not sure exactly how long it lasts – we usually drink ours pretty quickly 🙂

  18. Hi! I have been using no sugar added juice in the second ferment and my kefir always taste like alcohol. Is there anything that I can do to not have that taste? I do the 2nd ferment for 24 hours. I did one for 12 hoirs, but it didn’t have any fizz. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!