How to make Water Kefir

A simple step-by-step guide to making delicious Water Kefir, a fruit-infused, slightly fermented sparkling fruit water full of healthy probiotics, like yogurt but without the dairy!

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A simple guide to make Water Kefir-a refreshing probiotic fruit-infused drink made with water kefir grains ( cactus) that is bubbly, effervescent and so healthy!




  1. Fill two, half gallon mason jars with 4 cups cool water in each.
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar in each, stirring to mostly dissolve.
  3. Add ¼ cup kefir grains to each jar.
  4. Add ¼ kefir water to each jar (optional–you can obviously only do this after your first batch of kefir, so just leave it out for the first batch.)
  5. Add ¼ of a lemon wedge to each jar.
  6. Add 1 prune to each jar.
  7. Cover both jars with a thin kitchen cloth and leave on the counter for 2-4 days. 2 days if warm out, 3-4 days if cold. This 2-4 day time period allows the grains “to eat” the sugar, so most of the sugar will actually be metabolized, and not end up in the drink itself. You want the water to get the point where it is not sweet anymore, but tastes a little tangy. So taste it before moving to the next step. If it tastes sweet, it’s not ready. When it’s cold this takes longer.
  8. After 2-3 days the kefir will have fermented slightly, taste tangy or lightly sour, but there is one more step which gives it flavor and makes it effervescent and bubbly.
  9. Get your third jar ready and place 1- 1 1/2 cups fresh, ripe fruit in it– like fresh berries, peaches, mango, pineapple, plums, concord grapes, apples, pears – I muddle them up a bit to release their juices. Add a few thin slices of ginger, or whole spices if you wish. Or add 1 cup fruit juice – especially nice in winter when fresh fruit is limited.
  10. Strain both jars of the fermenting kefir water into the third clean jar with the fresh fruit in it, straining out the kefir grains ( set them aside) filling the clean jar( with the fruit in it) to a ½ inch from the top. Then cover tightly with a metal lid, and leave this on the counter another 24 hours, allowing pressure to build up yet, burping them ( releasing the pressure), every 8 hours or so, especially if warm.
  11. I will warn you that these metal lids like in the photos above, have pros and cons. They allow pressure to build up, creating bubbly effervescent kefir, but they can explode if the pressure is not released occasionally. Plastic lids are “self-burping”, which if you are away from home for over 8 hours, I would recommend using. The down side is the plastic lids do not let the pressure build quite enough in my opinion so kefir is not quite as bubbly. Sometimes I switch between both, depending if I am planning to be gone.
  12. To reiterate- During the 2nd phase, the water kefir is creating gas and building pressure, which you want it to do – this makes it nice and bubbly, but with the metal lids, you must let out some of the pressure, “burping it” every 6-8 hours or so, so the lid doesn’t bend or blast open (yes this happened to me). With a plastic lid, it stays on fine, it self burps, but it’s less bubbly.
  13. After 24 hours, the fruit will float to the the surface and it’s time to refrigerate it. Burp it, place it in the fridge. Once it’s chilled, give it a try. You can strain this and put it in a different pourable container, or just strain as you pour, leaving the fruit in for maximum infusion. Up to you.
  14. The kefir grains that you strained out earlier should be stored in a smaller jar, in the extra kefir water you will have after you merge the two jars into one. You can refrigerate them and feed with a teaspoon or two of sugar, every week –or if trying to grow more grains to give away, store the jar on the counter, feeding every couple of days. They grow faster at room temp, and grow slower in the fridge. They are happiest when they are actually making water kefir, so I usually make a jar a week.


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