Water Kefir Master Recipe

Water kefir is a quick, easy-to-make ferment that’s dairy-free, caffeine-free, and a great alternative to sodas.

Photo by Adobe Stock/ joanna wnuk

Water kefir is a quick ferment, needing only a day or two and involving both bacteria and yeast. It’s dairy-free, caffeine-free, and a great alternative to sodas. It’s fizzier than kombucha, easier and quicker to make, and less challenging flavor-wise. For these reasons, it can be a great first fermented drink to make, even for skeptics.

Water kefir grains are a SCOBY that digests sugar and creates acids. They don’t require tea as do kombucha and Jun, only sugar. But to keep your kefir grains happy and growing, use darker sugar rather than plain white sugar. Piloncillo (also known as panela or rapadura) is a great option because it has a higher mineral content, which helps the grains reproduce. Some other good options include raw sugar, brown sugar, and aguamiel de maguey. Other ways to provide the necessary minerals include adding raisins or other dried fruit, or boiled and crushed eggshells.

The grains risk starvation if left for more than a few days with no sugar, so make new batches on a regular schedule. Fortunately, after you taste your water kefir, you’ll want to make it all the time!


  • 1/4 cup sugar, such as piloncillo, cane sugar, or turbinado
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons hydrated water kefir grains
  • Rinsed and boiled shell of 1 egg, 4 raisins, or 1 tablespoon aguamiel de maguey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fruit or frozen berries for secondary fermentation (optional) 


7/24/2021 12:23:56 PM

Vegan method using something other than egg shells?



Fall 2021!

Put your DIY skills to the test throughout November. We’re mixing full meal recipes in jars, crafting with flowers, backyard composting, cultivating mushrooms, and more!


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