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. These are available on their own or as part of the Water Kefir Starter Kit.