What is Kefir and How Do I Make It?

Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by Ellen Christian

If you have ever asked yourself “What is kefir and how do I make it?”, read on. A few months ago when I was shopping at the food coop, I discovered something new.

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What is kefir

What is Kefir

In with all of the yogurt and dairy products was a bottled drink called kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with “grains” that has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe.

Since I have always loved yogurt, I decided to try kefir and see how I’d like it.  Four months later, I am absolutely in love and enjoy a small glass each night.

One of the benefits of drinking kefir is that it is loaded with probiotic organisms.  Probiotics do wonderful things for your health and especially your digestive system. 

Since I’m on a quest to learn to make more of the things that we eat from scratch, I started wondering if I could actually make it myself.  

After all, I make yogurt. At one point in our history, we made everything that we eat so it should be possible to make kefir as well. Right?

This product presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

There are two different types of kefir.  There is a water kefir and a milk kefir. Since the kefir I enjoy drinking is milk based, that is the one I am focusing on. I may try the other one in the future.

Both types of kefir are started from grains but each type of grain is different. You need to make sure that you are starting with milk kefir grains.

What is Kefir and How Do I Make It?

What are kefir grains?

Milk kefir grains can be used with cow’s milk, goat’s milk or coconut milk. Since I have access to raw organic cow’s milk from a local farm, that’s what I am using.

You can use traditional milk from the store but PLEASE choose something organic and non-GMO. Kefir “grains” aren’t actually any type of grain at all, they are a combination of yeast and bacteria living happily together.  

They are totally gluten and grain free. There are also powdered kefir cultures available but I have not tried using those.

Kefir grains can be used over and over again. Once you have your grains, if you care for them properly, you will be able to make a continuous supply.

What is Kefir and How to Make it

This is the process I followed for cow’s milk based kefir. Once you have extra kefir, you can use it to make ice cream, cheese, smoothies, frosting and many other dairy based products.

Have you ever tried kefir? Would you like to try making it yourself? Once you have, try serving it over this Downton Abbey Breakfast Porridge recipe.

Is it safe to drink every day?

Yes, a glass each day is a wonderful way to get your body the needed probiotics. It mas many of the same benefits as yogurt so there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it every day. Try it in the morning with fresh fruit.

a glass of milk next to a white collander

Yield: 1

What is Kefir and How Do I Make It?

What is Kefir and How Do I Make It?

If you have ever asked yourself "What is kefir and how do I make it?", read on. A few months ago when I was shopping at the food coop, I discovered something new.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 tsp milk kefir grains
  • 2 cups cow's milk


  1. Place the milk kefir grains in a Mason jar with two cups of cow's milk. Raw or pasteurized is fine. Put the top on.
  2. Leave on your counter for at least 18 hours and up to 48 hours.
  3. Make sure that the room is between 67F to 80F in temperature.
  4. After 18 hours check the consistency of the kefir. I enjoy it when it is not as thick as yogurt but not as thin as milk.
  5. When it is the consistency you like, drain the grains out of the milk using a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
  6. You can drink the kefir as is or use it as a base for a smoothie.
  7. Return the grains back into new milk on the counter. The approximate ratio is 1 tsp of grains per 1 cup of milk.
  8. The kefir grains will grow each time you use them so you'll eventually have some to share.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 125mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 8g

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51 thoughts on “What is Kefir and How Do I Make It?”

  1. This is AWESOME.. Thanks Ellen, I missed Kefir, in Germany we had this all the time and I was able to buy it ready at the store..wonderful productand soo healthy, thanks for sharing, soo will try this
  2. It's great that you found a way to make something you like on your own terms, and I'm guessing a lot more reasonably priced.
  3. I have seen Kefir at Whole Foods, I didn't know what it was. :) I'm an almond milk gal. :) I'll have to try this. Thanks for explaining.
    • I really enjoy it, Nancy. We occasionally have almond  milk for my daughter who is lactose intolerant but it won't work with kefir as far as I know.
  4. I absolutely admire your determination to not only be healthy but do it on your own terms. I test out new products and recipes but I'm not quite as adventurous as you. The only time I tried Kefir, it was a packaged product from the store and not fantastic. I'm guessing the sample I tried just wasn't a good representation of the product. 
    • Thanks so much, Nicole. I just keep taking little steps. If you want to try a good (in my opinion) tasting kefir before you try your own, the Lifeway Strawberry Kefir is quite good.
  5. I drink or use Kefir in a smoothie every day. The lactobacillus helps a lot with allergies. This kefir sounds so easy to make I'm going to try it. Maybe I missed this in your post - where do I get kefir grains? And when it's done could I add a bit of honey and vanilla at that time? thanks a bunch! 
  6. That is funny that you wrote about this, because I was actually talking to a couple of moms the other day and they mentioned me trying this with my son. He is having a bit of a milk intolerance and they said this might help.  I am am so glad I visited because I know what I need to about this now.
    • I have heard that myself, Carlee.  The probiotics eat the lactose so it is supposed to be easier for those that are lactose intolerant. Let me know how it works!
  7. i'd love to try this. i'd rather drink a natural probiotic than take a supplement. do you drink it chilled? i wonder if it would be yummy with a dash of cinnamon too?
    • I do drink it cooled. Just make sure you don't keep the grains in the refrigerator or it will stop the growth/fermentation. You could certainly add a dash of cinnamon or a bit of vanilla.  I like it with a touch of maple syrup too.
  8. WOW! You go girl making it yourself! I've wanted to try Kefir more as it's so good for you but the price keeps turning me off so this is a great idea :)
  9. Oh wow I never knew how to make it or what it was for that matter! It is interesting that you can keep the grains if you are careful!! 
    • I love that you can just keep this going continuously without having to buy new starter every month or so like yogurt.
  10. Ellen, I love Kefir and think it is so cool you can make it at home. Your explanation is very good. I have been drinking store bought Kefir just because it's good for me with all the probiotics. How does homemade Kefir taste compared to store bought? I usually like a plain (Vanilla) yogurt type flavor but it can't be too sour. I'm wondering if I should try to make it at home since it's pricey to buy. 
    • The only store bought kefir I have tried is Lifeway's strawberry kefir which is sweetened & flavored of course.  I tried the kefir I made after about 18 hours and it had just a mild bit of tartness to it. It was nice and creamy and definitely quite good. The longer you let it ferment, the more tart it will be. If you want it flavored vanilla, you could always use it in a smoothie and add a drop of vanilla extract if you want. It was really easy to make.
  11. Sounds very healthy! Can you give me an idea of what it tastes like? Does it taste like regular milk, yogurt, something entirely different?
    • It's definitely healthy! It's a cultured/fermented milk drink. It is slightly tangy depending on how long you let it culture. It's closer to yogurt in taste. If you buy it from the store, it's generally sweetened. There is a strawberry flavor from Lifeway that is quite good if you're not up for making it but want to try some.

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