There is a process by which active milk kefir grains can be transitioned from culturing milk to culturing sugar water, effectively turning them into water kefir grains.

Before You Get Started

    • Make sure your milk kefir grains are fully activated! Milk kefir grains must be rehydrated and fully active before being converted to water kefir grains.
    • Keep in mind that the conversion is a complicated process that often fails even if all the right steps are taken. It is possible that the grains will be lost in the process, thus it is a good idea to have a set of back-up grains should you decide to attempt this conversion.
    • Also, remember that once the grains have been converted, they cannot be changed back.


    1. Dissolve ¼ cup sugar in 1 quart of water. Add ⅛ teaspoon unrefined sea salt. If using white or refined sugar, optionally add ½ teaspoon molasses, as well.
    2. Add active milk kefir grains to the sugar-water solution.
    3. Ferment for 4-5 days at room temperature.
    4. Separate the grains from the sugar water and add them to a fresh batch of sugar water. Ferment at room temperature for 12-24 hours less than the previous batch.
    5. Repeat step 4, shortening the brew time by 12-24 hours each batch, until the culturing period is 48 hours or less.
    6. At this point, the grains have been converted into water kefir grains. Continue culturing for 24-48 hours per batch.

Another Option to Consider

Since converting milk kefir grains to water kefir grains is often a tricky and unpredictable process, you may also consider making water kefir from new water kefir grains.