Water kefir is not only easy to make, it is a delicious, probiotic-rich, dairy-free beverage your whole family will enjoy.

These instructions utilize the traditional starter culture known as Water Kefir Grains. To use a powdered Kefir Starter Culture, consult our article on How to Make Kefir with Direct-set Starter Culture.

What You'll Need to Make Water Kefir


  • One glass jar
  • One plastic or wood stirring utensil
  • One towel or paper coffee filter to use as a covering for the jar
  • A fine mesh strainer for removing the kefir grains from the finished kefir


Please note, if your water kefir grains are in a dehydrated state, you'll need to to activate the grains prior to making water kefir. You can also make coconut water kefir, just follow our recipe.

  • Rehydrated Water Kefir Grains
  • 1/4 cup sugar per quart of water
  • Water (free of chlorine and fluoride)

To learn more about the types of sugar you can use or ways to supplement your water, read our article on Choosing Ingredients for Making Water Kefir.

Instructions for Making Water Kefir

  1. Pour 1/4 cup sugar in to the jar.
  2. Add 1/2 cup hot water.
  3. Swirl to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Add 3 cups room temperature or cool water.
  5. Check the temperature of the liquid to make sure it's room temperature ( 68°-85°F.)
  6. Add the water kefir grains
  7. Cover the jar and place in a warm spot, 68°-85°F, to culture for 24-48 hours.
  8. After culturing is complete, prepare a new batch of sugar water, (steps 1-4 above).
  9. Separate kefir grains from the finished water kefir.
  10. Place kefir grains in the new batch of sugar water.
  11. The finished water kefir is now ready to consume, flavor, bottle, or store in the refrigerator.


Making Larger Batches

To make larger batches, use up to 8 cups water and use ¼ cup cane sugar per quart of water.

Removing Water Kefir Grains from Finished Water Kefir

Option #1: Plastic Strainer

The best method for removing Water Kefir Grains from finished water kefir is to use a Plastic Mesh Strainer. Simply set the strainer on top of a clean jar and pour the entire batch of finished water kefir through the strainer into the jar, catching the grains. Transfer the grains immediately to the new batch of sugar water.

Option #2: Stainless Steel Strainer

A stainless steel strainer may be used for removing water kefir grains from finished water kefir. Avoid strainers made from other metals, which may react with the grains and damage them.

Option #3: Cheesecloth or Butter Muslin

While not the easiest method, using Cheesecloth or Butter Muslin to separate the grains is also possible. If using cheesecloth, use at least a double layer, to avoid losing the grains through the holes in the cloth.

How to Rest Water Kefir Grains

If there ever comes a time when you need to take a break from making water kefir, there are few ways to put your grains on pause. Depending on the length of break you want, you can either refrigerate them or dry them. Just be sure that your grains have been actively culturing for 3 to 4 weeks before you do so.

SEE INSTRUCTIONS: How to Take Break From Making Water Kefir