For those who wish to avoid dairy, or just as a tasty change from regular milk kefir, coconut milk kefir is a great alternative.
- Milk kefir grains
- Coconut milk: Fresh homemade, canned or boxed. We recommend avoiding brands with additives and sweeteners as they can be hard on the kefir grains (guar gum, which is a typical additive, does not seem to be problematic).
- To make coconut kefir, just place the milk kefir grains in coconut milk, give the coconut milk a quick stir with a non-metal spoon, cover loosely (a towel works great), and allow the coconut kefir to culture on the counter for 12 to 24 hours.
- After 12 hours, check the coconut kefir every few hours (as possible) so you can remove the kefir grains once the coconut kefir reaches the desired consistency. If your home is on the cool side, it can take a few hours longer for the milk kefir to culture.
Sometimes kefir grains will require an adjustment period so the first batch of coconut milk kefir may not culture as desired. Use the non-kefired coconut milk for cooking and place the kefir grains in new coconut milk. An adjustment period isn't uncommon whenever kefir grains are switched from one type of milk to another (cow to goat, pasteurized to raw, dairy to coconut, etc.).
Milk kefir grains can be cultured in coconut milk regularly but should be allowed to culture in cow or goat milk for 24 hours once every few batches to revitalize.
Note that dehydrated milk kefir grains should be rehydrated in dairy milk and allowed to become fully active before being used to culture coconut milk.
Dairy-free Option: While using milk kefir grains is the most effective way to make coconut milk kefir, there is a truly dairy-free option. Put 1/4 cup water kefir (finished kefir, not the water kefir grains) in 2 to 4 cups of coconut milk. Cover loosely and allow to culture for 24 hours.
Ideas for Using Coconut Milk Kefir
- Use in place of sour cream in a recipe or as topping to your favorite recipe.
- Add to your coffee.
- Sweeten the coconut kefir and add it as a topping to fruit or your favorite dessert.
- Use as a base for your favorite smoothie.
- Use as a base for making coconut milk ice cream.
- Use in almost any recipe calling for yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk (will add a coconut flavor; may need to thin out the kefir with a bit of water).
- Just eat with a spoon like yogurt (particularly when cold, as coconut milk kefir can be quite thick).