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How to Make Kefir Soda — Homemade Soda That You’ll Love — Also WHY Make Homemade Soda Pop, and How Does it Taste?

how to make kefir soda

Learn how to make kefir soda (homemade soda) here, but first: why would you want to make your own kefir soda pop?

(Just want to get some kefir grains to try making it? Try asking a friend, or get water kefir grains here. Or learn how to make dairy kefir here.)

When you make a pizza, or maybe order one in now and then, don’t you still feel like a fizzy soda pop like you had in the “old days”, before you knew or cared about the evils of high fructose corn syrup? Before you thought about things like “empty calories”? On the day before school starts, it’s our family tradition to have ice cream and order pizza. Now when the kids ask if they can have a pop with it, I say yes and feel good about it, too. (Be sure to see my important tip at the end of this post, though, to keep them asking for it!) When they drink this fermented beverage, they’re getting beneficial probiotics (healthy bacteria) to promote gut health and a strong immune system! (Click here if you need stronger probiotics.)

What’s so bad about soda pop from the store?

Soda from the store has high fructose corn syrup, chemical flavorings, MSG, chemical colors, and preservatives, that’s all! Dark colas are high in phosphoric acid which has been linked to bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Citrus flavored soft drinks often contain bromide which is harmful to your thyroid. Regular soft drinks have been linked to elevated blood pressure. Both diet and regular sodas are associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome: obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. (See sources for this information below.)

Scary huh?

By the way, a video of exactly how to make kefir soda / water kefir is included in my Real Food for Rookies class!

How does homemade soda pop taste?

When my family tried it (meaning my Mom, step-Dad, siblings), most of them didn’t like the taste. They think it’s not sweet enough, but they’re used to Coke and Mountain Dew. They also don’t like the fermented taste, but I honestly don’t think it’s that strong and my kids don’t seem to notice it at all. Besides, if people can get used to the nasty fake-sweet chemical taste of diet pops, surely they can get used to this. (Have you seen, “Do diet pops cause weight gain?”) In my opinion, Kefir soda pop tastes like a really mild wine cooler, “mild” as in less sweet, and less alcohol taste, too, obviously. It has a nice fizz, and while it’s no where near as sweet as regular pop, it’s sweet enough that my kids and I love it.

I’m a wine wimp…

Another way I love to drink our homemade pop is with wine for a spritzer – I’ve never been a wine person, although I wish I was, since it would be better for me than the occasional Amaretto Sour or Mojito I normally drink. But wine mixed with some kefir soda adds just enough sweetness and fizz that I really enjoy it, and it’s better than Sprite, which I used to use for this. (I had to share this update 2 years later… My palate continues to change, I can’t stand Amaretto Sours nowadays, they are too sweet! I might still drink a Mojito depending on how it was made. And get this: now wine is my drink of choice, and I’m liking them less sweet all the time. Look at this picture on the right from Christmas Eve when we had wine and let the kids have kefir soda in a wine glass. This batch was pink because I added raspberries to the second ferment and it gave it a great flavor and color!)

Why another recipe?

While there are other recipes for kefir soda pop out there, I thought you might appreciate another tried and true kefir soda recipe that kids love. Besides, I had to record mine so I remember exactly how I make it, how the family likes it after playing around with some variations, and so I remember my simple steps – it’s got to be simple so that I can make it often enough to keep on hand.

(Did you see my other post on Kefir Soda? 5 Reasons Why I Love Kefir Soda More than Kombucha Tea.”)

How Much Alcohol is in Kefir Soda?

Soon I’ll be posting the results of my kitchen chemistry experiment, where I find the answer to that age-old question that has undoubtedly been driving you crazy (yeah right): “How much alcohol is really in kefir soda pop?” Many have speculated, but I want to know for sure. In that post I’ll also tell you why this was so important for me to find out. (Hint, it has to do with my family members…on my back…!) By the way, even though I don’t have the exact number yet (you wouldn’t believe what a project this has turned out to be), I’m still confident that it’s very very low, or else I wouldn’t give it to my kids, obviously! (UPDATE – here are the results!)


  • kefir grains NOTE: See the note below in comment #74 for how to make this recipe even easier with less steps.

how to make kefir soda

  • Once you get your kefir grains, follow the directions for rehydrating, then strain the grains (in a non-metal strainer) and use them to make kefir water (kefir soda)…
  • If a friend gave you some kefir grains, just store them in sugar water until you’re ready to make your first batch. See the next step for how much sugar to water, etc. – just do it the same way for storing as you do in your first step of making it, only keep it in the fridge. (If you’re not going to be making it for months, your grains will usually keep just fine, but to be sure, change out the sugar water every month or so. I’ve done it less, though, and it’s still been fine.)
  • kefir soda fermenting To make kefir water: Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in a little bit of very hot filtered water. (I’ve used organic sugar and organic palm or coconut sugar, but will stick with palm or coconut sugar from now on because I read that the less refined the sugar, the better the carbonation.) Add cool filtered water up to 2 quarts (1/2 of a 1 gallon jar). This will cool down your water to room temp – hot water will kill the grains. Add your kefir grains, stir with a wooden spoon, and rubber band a coffee filter or a tea towel or thin dish towel over the top. Let sit on the counter for 24 hours to ferment (48 hours will result in less sugar and a more fermented beverage). Make sure it’s away from any other ferments/cultures you may have going so they don’t mess each other up.
  • If you’re not ready to bottle the soda pop, keep it covered and put the whole thing in the extra fridge until you’re ready – this stops the fermentation.
  • When ready to bottle, assemble your supplies:
    • kefir water (after fermenting on the counter for 24-48 hours)
    • funnel
    • 1 quart of any 100% juice you prefer – I’ve been using a pomegranate juice to make a red pop – which adds antioxidants! The kids want to try orange pop next.
    • Bottles, caps, and capping tool (unless you use the flip top bottles mentioned above).
    • Big non-metal bowl & wooden spoon
    • Measuring cup or something similar to scoop and pour with.

kefir soda pop supplies

  • Strain out the kefir grains in a non-metal strainer as you pour the kefir water into a big bowl — I also strain it through a tea towel so little particles from the sugar don’t go through. Use the kefir grains to make your next batch, or set them aside just until you’re done bottling this batch. (Make sure they’re in a safe place away from kids…trust me.)
  • Add the 1 quart of juice to this big bowl and stir. (By the way, this makes a 1 part juice – 2 parts kefir soda beverage. I don’t think this is too bad – many kids get 2 or more glasses of full strength juice each day. Mine get 1/3 strength juice in their probiotic beverage a couple times a week or so. I love it!) My instructions also came with other flavoring options such as dried or fresh fruit, 1 T. vanilla for a cream soda, or 1/2-1 c. lemon juice for lemonade, but I haven’t tried these yet. (Update: recently I threw in 1 cup of raspberries and let it set another night to get the great flavor and color throughout before bottling, and it gave it a pretty pink color as shown in the picture above.)
  • Using a funnel, add the kefir soda up to just below the neck of the bottle and cap with your handy capping tool (very simple). I get about 8 bottles from this batch.
  • Leave the bottles on your counter for 18 hours or so to give it more carbonation, and then refrigerate – now you have cold soda pops on hand! (At first I left it for 24 hours and it got so fizzy that it squirted all over when we opened it. 18 hours is just right. This will vary depending on the room temp, though.) (Read here about when my kefir soda EXPLODED.)
  • Now enjoy having a “pop” around that you don’t mind letting your kids drink! Here’s my tip though: don’t be too free and easy about letting them have these or they’ll catch on that it’s good for them. I still make them beg a little.
  • Note: to store your grains between uses, just keep them in sugar water in the fridge with a cover. Then when you’re ready to make another batch, strain and start from the beginning. :)
  • Another note: to help your grains to proliferate so you can share with friends and to keep your kefir soda rich in minerals, keep a piece of egg shell in your kefir water (when it’s fermenting or just being stored in the fridge), and keep in mind that it seems to like the darker sugars like Rapadura or coconut sugar. Julie from Cultures for Health has a post about making sure your kefir soda has enough minerals, and she suggests a small pinch of sea salt, and possibly also a small amount of organic molasses as directed in that post.

Sources for the bad health effects of soda and diet soda are here:



  1. I don’t know why, but I’ve never done the second fermentation or bottled my water kefir. I’ll have to try that, along with some of the flavorings. I did try the vanilla the first or second time, but it didn’t taste that much different from plain IMO, so I never bothered again.

    I’m thinking ginger.

  2. I made gingerale this week and it turned out great…esp if you like Vernor’s ginger ale. The last times I have tried it, there was no carbonation, so this time I put in several chopped up pieces of crystallized ginger for a one quart mineral water bottle and screwed the top on tight. When I opened it, the fizz shot up so fast the pieces of ginger blew out! What was left of it was delicious, but next time I will know to open it slowly and let the fizz dissipate a bit.
    I will be anxious to hear your alcohol results. I have read that the alcohol content is about the same as a ripe banana, whatever that means.
    And for what it’s worth, Kelly, you might want to only try one bottle with orange juice and let your kids do a taste test. I made some and it had a taste that one of my sons likened to…ummm…throw up. (And that’s putting it more delicately than he did! lol) Maybe you’ll have a better experience and come up with a good way to make this one. Let us know…

  3. Kelly,
    I know less refined sugar would be better in so many ways, but will plain white sugar work for the purpose of reducing cost???

  4. Hi Kelly,
    I was wondering if I can use my kefir grains that I have used already with raw milk, or if I would need to buy additional ones for this. I also have Body Ecology Kefir Starter which is a little different than the regular Kefir grains. Do you know if that would work as well?

  5. Kelly, my new favorite way to make water kefir: add crushed frozen fruit to the 2nd ferment. I just use plain white org. sugar, a pinch of baking soda, pinch of sea salt, and a piece of clean egg shell in the first ferment (those add minerals). I have tried frozen strawberries and frozen raspberries. Those have been our favorites so far. They taste just like strawberry/raspberry pop! I have also tried frozen black cherries, but the flavour was less pronounced. I just tried frozen pineapple, and I let it ferment a little too long, so now it tastes like pineapple beer, but I still like it! Next, I am going to try frozen blackberries. It is best to crush the fruit a little, as it helps to release their juices and flavour. Vanilla and orange slices are also really good.

      • I’m assuming that what Christine means is that she adds the berries before bottling (the 2nd ferment happens on the counter in the bottles), and the berry flavor goes through as it finishes fermenting and gets fizzy. Thanks for the reminder to give this a try!


  6. LOL! Sorry you got me thinking about mojitos and went off on a tangent. Tour pictures definitely make this seem more approachable. Although I love the idea of drinking kombucha, I’m frustrated with the variations in taste. My dh has started drinking pop again (much to my dismay) so maybe this will help. Thank you!

  7. Christine, I do the frozen fruit thing with kombucha. Raspberries are wonderful! I need to find a way to do the 2nd ferment before bottling. One of those days I’m not going to be able to get the raspberries out at the end, and the bottle necks are too small for strawberries, lol.

    Kelly is that the yellow Tupperware strainer in the grains picture? I have that one, too. Handy little gizmo. :)

    Lots of good ideas here!

    • I strain my 1st ferment then add fruit still in mason jar with tight seal for 18hrs or so. Then I strain fruit & pour in flip top bottles & leave out for a an hour or so till carbonation builds back up. Then in fridge. I call this 2 & 1/2 ferments lol.

  8. Thanks for posting this, Kelly! I have yet to venture into the world of kefir soda pop, but am definitely interested in trying, especially because my husband complains that “there’s not really much to drink around here.” Kombucha, water, and raw milk only go so far for him.

    I share the aforementioned question about being able to use milk kefir grains. I’ve heard that you can use them but that they should be separated from the grains that you plan to use to ferment milk. I’m just not sure of the logistics and how long they can successfully be used. Am interested in hearing others’ responses. Would like to *not* have to order the water kefir grains if possible.

    Also, is there a reason I shouldn’t use old bottles around the house? i.e. I have saved a bunch of smaller bottles which were formerly Lakewood Lemon Juice and would like to simply use these. I also bought some 1/2 gallon old beer bottles at a garage sale, which I’ve been using for kombucha. Do you think these could be used, too? Do you know if there’s a reason that the soda pop seems to be bottled in smaller bottles? Am I annoying you yet with all of these incessant questions? :)

    That’s all for now…hope all is well with you, ma’ friend! :)

    ~Julie L.

  9. Donielle, I can’t remember what kind of juice it was, just some whatever brand of 100% pomegranate juice.

    Nancy O, thanks for the scoop on your OJ…I’m thinking we’ll stick with red pop…

    Jody & Judy, for your questions, I’m going to see if I can get Julie to answer you because I don’t know!

    Betsy, yes, that’s the one. :)


  10. Julie L.!!! How fun to hear from you!

    Yes, you can use any old bottles! The other Julie will know more about the kefir grains question, I’m emailing her now…

    Take care!!! :)

  11. Jodi–White sugar does work (preferably organic to reduce the amount of chemicals coming into contact with the kefir grains). White sugar produces a different taste (one I prefer actually) but it is less fizzy.

    Judy–Milk kefir grains can be converted to juice but if you want to make sugar water kefir, it really would be best (and easier) to get a set of water kefir grains (see below). I believe the BE kefir culture will work but I haven’t tried it myself.

    Julie L–You can put milk kefir grains in straight fruit juice (but you won’t be able to return them to milk afterward). I’ve never tried converting them to sugar water. If you have milk kefir grains to spare, you could certainly try it.

    Hopefully that helps!

    Julie (Cultures for Health)

  12. We love water kefir in our home – I LOVE the flavor. It’s such a mild and pleasant taste. I use organic white sugar in my water kefir and other probiotic beverages – most of it is metabolized by the wee beasties anyway.

    You can convert milk kefir to water kefir – but it’s not always successful. It’s much better to simply shell out for the water kefir grains (incidentally, if you’re looking for a true ginger beer plant, water kefir grains work well as both water kefir grains and ginger beer plant are comprised of primarily the same bacteria). I don’t think the BE starter really provides long-lasting re-culturable (is that a word?) results.

  13. One more tip: Avoid metal! Can you tell I learned this one the hard way? Metal “burns” the grains and kills them. For bottling, I use old GT Dave’s Kombucha bottles or one-cup “jelly” canning jars.

  14. how sweet is it? I’m trying to cut out unnecessary calories & sweet things. So is water kefir the same sweetness as actual soda pop? I wouldn’t think so since people say most of the sugar is metabolized. I guess maybe the only way to know is to try it. If it is kind of like seltzer water with some flavor – that would be great tasting to me.

  15. I’ve been wondering about how to make healthy soda. It’s crazy what soda has turned into, considering it started out being served in pharmacies as a medicinal beverage. Can’t wait to share this post with the readers of my Cellulite Investigation blog. But we’re just starting to learn about real food (we’ve got ketchup down, everything else to go…), so this one might have to wait for a more advanced stage!

  16. Jessie, it’s no where near as sweet as regular pop, but sweet enough that we still love it. You could always use less juice, and also if you ferment it 48 hours it will be less sweet, too.

    Cellulite Analyst, if you can make lacto-fermented ketchup, you can do this, it’s very easy!


  17. Kelly,

    The most recent juice I used for second ferment was papaya juice. The dc love it. I bought the jar to make a jello treat but it never made it to the recipe because they liked the papaya water kefir so much. I don’t put that much juice…maybe 1/6?

    Usually we just put dried fruit in the first ferment and call it good. My ‘experiment’ jar usually has ginger with fresh lemon slices (BTW, you can freeze peeled/sliced lemon, yeah!). Oftentimes I make plain and the dc flavor it as they pour it (a drop of vanilla or a squirt of organic lemon juice straight into their glass).

    Jessie, regarding the sweetness, it’s a matter of taste. I like it when there is no sweetness left but no alcohol/vinegar either. It’s tricky to catch it at the right moment but 3 days actually works for me. Right now I need to take out some grains for backup, the jars are 1/2 grains, so I should probably check it at 48 hours. I had to dump the last batch.

    Kelly, I thought you weren’t suppose to put the WKGrains in the fridge. When you don’t have time you put it in the fridge grains and all? Wow, that would’ve saved the last batch I couldn’t get to in time.

    (who still occasionally has an evil Coke but water kefir grains broke the ‘habit’ to the point where Coke tastes yucky now)

  18. Oh no! I’m not supposed to put the kefir grains in the fridge?! What am I supposed to do with them when I’m not using them then?

    LOVE the idea of freezing lemon!


  19. I put my grains in the fridge when I’m not ready to start a new batch. It just slows their metabolism down. Hasn’t harmed mine. Just finished a kiwi batch yesterday (got the idea from somebody here) and melon is now culturing!

    I culture my kefir sodas for at least 48 hours as I am candida-sensitive and I don’t want any sugar left to feed the bad guys.

  20. I have covered my kefire crystals with a light sugar solution and put them in the frig for a few days with no problem. The water is always a bit bubbly when it comes out of the frig, so I know they are still doing their thing. I’ve never had any trouble getting them going happily again. The longest I have done this is 5 days. I also have dried them on the lowest setting on a dehydrator. I have shared them with friends this way and they have done great.

  21. You’re right, Kelly. I guess I assumed it was an advanced recipe because of those mysterious “water grains.” But once you have the grains, it doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult. I think you’ve inspired me to give it a shot. Thanks!

  22. I got my grains in the mail a couple of weeks ago, but they didn’t come with any re-hydration instructions. I just stuck them in the glass jar with the sugar and expected them to do their thing. So far, the sugar water is still sugar water- without any fizz or tang, and it has been two weeks!

    I think I killed them… Any help?

  23. If you got them from Cultures for Health, the instructions are on the website. You basically let them sit in a smaller amount of sugar solution for a couple of days then strain them and start fresh with the full recipe. The fizz and tang comes mainly from keeping a lid on them during or after the basic fermentation (such as when you strain the soda off the grains and put it in the fridge). You put them in sugar water right, not straight sugar? They’re probably fine. Try straining them out of that solution (do make sure not to use metal implements with them) and start a fresh batch, cap the bottle, loosening now and then to let gases escape if you like. They might be fine. I hope you don’t have to send away for a new batch.

  24. Alison, if you let them set outside the fridge for 2 weeks you may want to contact Julie at Cultures for Health and ask for her advice. My instructions say not to let them set out longer than 72 hours…I’m not sure if that *kills* them, though…Julie would know.


  25. I know this is an old post, but in case someone sees this comment, I”m having trouble with my soda pop. I’ve made it twice. The first time, I made the water with grains and organic evap cane crystals, let it sit for 24 hours, strained the grains, put lime juice and white sugar, sitrred, and put it into grolsch bottles. I left it sit on the counter for 18 hours. THe taste was fine, but no bubbles.

    The second time, I made the water with grains and OECC for a little more than 24 hours, strained it, put in lime juice and more OECC, let it sit on the counter in a mason jar with cheesecloth for about 2 more days, then bottled it and let is sit on the counter almost 18 hours. No bubbles.

    Any pointers?

  26. Hmmmm, that’s no good, ya gotta have bubbles…

    I’ll email Julie from Cultures for Health and see if she knows. Did you order from her?


  27. Melanie,

    Mine hardly ever gets fizzy, but then I don’t bottle it either. We enjoy it regardless :). When you taste it after the first ferment how does it taste? If it’s still really, really sweet then maybe the grains aren’t kefiring or maybe you need more time. How do the grains look? Are they still healthy and bobbing?

    Just some thoughts,

  28. Bobbing?? The grains are supposed to be bobbing? Mine just sit on the bottom of the jar.

    I get bubbles during the ferment, but the finished product is not fizzy bubbly. Tastes fine, though.

  29. Hi everyone!

    There is a range of normal for behavior of water kefir grains that depends on a number of factors including the type of sugar used, length of the fermentation period and what you do with the finished kefir after removing the grains.

    Melanie–Did you just get your kefir grains or have you had them awhile? If you just got your grains, did they come to you hydrated or dehydrated? If they were dehydrated, it could just be that they are still waking up. It can take up to a few weeks for them to get to be their happy bubbly selves. A few things can help. First I would use a full 48 hour fermentation period (but no longer) with the kefir grains unless your house happens to be very warm (over 75 degrees). Second, run a batch or two through with some sort of whole sugar (rapadura or sucanat are options) or add about 1-2 t. of molasses to the 1/2 cup OECC. The minerals are really useful for the grains and can help perk them up a bit. You don’t have to do this every time (I’m a fan of OECC water kefir myself) but during this initial stage it’s helpful and then every once in awhile will keep your grains happy (this is particularly important if the water you are using doesn’t have good mineral content). Ultimately it could just take some time but as long as the kefir tastes and smells okay, it’s fine to drink it just might not be at its full potential yet.

    In terms of the second fermentation, be sure to add the juice and then immediately bottle it up in a truly air tight container. The grolsch bottles you have are perfect. Let it sit 24-72+ hours but how fast it ferments is going to depend on room temperature so this may take some trial and error to figure out what is the right time frame for your particular home and situation.

    Beth & Betsy: Once you’ve had your grains for awhile (and particularly if you are using a very mineral rich sugar such as something containing molasses) it is normal for the kefir grains to move up and down with the bubbles. Whether you actually see this occur though could depend on how much you are able to watch the jar.

    For example, we grow kefir grains for sale in rapadura sugar. The mixture gets extremely bubbly and the grains are pretty much constantly moving. But I don’t personally like the taste of kefir made with whole sugar, I prefer white sugar (Organic Evaporated Cane Crystals). So my own personal grains don’t move nearly as much and the mixture doesn’t get nearly as bubbly if I don’t do a second fermentation later with juice.

    Hopefully that helps but please let me know if there are any further questions. We are always happy to help troubleshoot your cultures and ferments (even those you didn’t get from us!).


  30. It does taste less sweet than when I start after the first ferment. The grains look plump, but they don’t bob around. They sit on the bottom. Are they supposed to move?

    Julie- Thanks for the info! I’m going to print and digest it (so to speak). I got my grains from CFH :) dehydrated. I’ll try a longer fermentation, and different sugars for a bit, etc.

    Thanks everyone!!

  31. I finally have my first batch of soda in the works – 2nd brew w/ root beer and vanilla extracts in a rapadura base – should be done tonight.

    I’m still confused as to the best way to store your kefir grains when not in use. I’m not going to want to brew every single day.

    That’s what I like about kombucha – fix one big batch and forget it for 1 1/2 to two weeks. Unfortunately, I’m the only one in the family who likes the taste. I’m hoping the kefir soda will go over better.

  32. I keep them in sugar water in the fridge…hope that’s what I’m supposed to do. I think I read it somewhere.

  33. Ok – I tried OECC and molasses and hated the flavor. I tried succanat, but couldn’t make my fave – lime soda. But it tasted great with pomegranate blueberry juice, and fizzed, so yay.

    The lime only tastes good to me when made with the OECC, but there are still no bubbles, so I’m experimenting with keeping the grains in the fridge with succanat water, and making the soda with OECC water.

    Oh, and my stepdaughter (who makes her own baby food) taunts me endlessly, “You can *buy* soda, you know…” lol

  34. I currently have my first batch of water Kefir going- and I have NO BOTTLES!!! :( Is it OK to bottle in plastic? Can I go to the store and get a pack of bottled water, dump the water into a jug and use the bottles? At least for this go round???

  35. Kelly, have you figured out how much it costs per bottle of “pop”? I am kicking my addiction to DR Pepper, and am interested in making my own sodas. So far, my family and I are pretty happy with Izze’s, but even on sale, they’re $1 a bottle. Would I save money making my own?

    • The kefir grains & bottles can be reused over and over so that’s just a tiny amount, that leaves the sugar and the juice. Each bottle has about 4 oz. of juice, so however much that costs is basically the cost of each bottle of pop, much less than an Izze I’d say! :)


  36. Well, I’ve been making my fizzies for several weeks now- and LOVING it! Depending on which juice I buy my bottles cost me between $0.50-.90 each, not as big a savings as I hoped, but when you look at the big picture- negligible amount of sugar, good li’l critters for your bell- it’s a great deal! I have to ferment in the bottle longer than 18 hours- I’ve discovered a good indicator that they’ve reached carbonation is by seeing if they have a little layer of bubbles at the top. After drinking my pops for awhile, I had an Izze, and it tasted too sweet- so you do acquire a taste for it. But without carbonation- eh. Tastes like old tea to me. :/ I started out with Whole Foods brand whole cane sugar, then went to Rapunzel brand. The grains look a bit mushy now, but they are still working.

  37. Just started making my kefir soda tonight but I am using extra grains I had from raw milk. Hopefully it comes out ok.. Where do you get the bottles? I am really starting to have fun with all of this…

    • Francine, I think I heard somewhere that you shouldn’t try making kefir soda with milk kefir grains…so you may want to look into this. (Sorry!) My bottles are from a local beer making store.


  38. My grain source says that when milk grains get too acidic (from too long of fermenting time) they can be washed in mineral or spring water (not normal tap water containing chlorine & other chemicals) for 24 hours, then put them back in milk. So the right kind of water won’t hurt them for a short period. I don’t know if they will produce fizzy or a soda type water in that short time, though. I’ve only had my grains 4-5 days, so they are still getting acclimated to their new environment and I don’t have enough to experiment with yet. I do plan to experiment with this when I get enough to spare. My grains were live, not dehydrated. He says they shouldn’t be ‘washed’ for at least 3 weeks after getting them so give them a good chance to adjust to the environment and once they are adjusted they should double in size every couple weeks. At least for the grains I have, when there are just a few grains and they get bigger to gently break them apart (it looked like they were broken into 3-4 tip of the thumb size pieces) to increase the surface area the milk will be exposed to.

    • I don’t know because it all would depend on how long you let it set, how warm the room was, etc. There are no exacts with Real Food. :)

  39. Kelly – have your grains ever started multiplying? I just got a 1/2 C a couple months ago. Since then, I’ve given so many away, I can’t seem to keep track of how much they’ve multiplied. BUT, I still have 2 quarts in the fridge and I dehydrated a whole quart too!! And I use a metal strainer. Doesn’t seem to bother my grains. I also started using filtered water bcz I’m not sure how good my well water is. Going to check on that. But I use the plain, white sugar (cheap stuff), 3 dates (for a 2 qt batch), 1/2 C grains, a little bit of egg shell. I let it sit for 24 hours and then either add fresh lemon juice and some stevia for me. Or I’ll continue the 2nd ferment (in the same jar), transferring the grains out and putting in my reserved juice grains. Then I add about 1/2 can of concentrated grape juice and let it ferment for 1 more day. I don’t bottle the stuff. My DH likes the juice version, as it’s similar in flavor to a wine cooler. We just keep them on the counter, otherwise I heard the refrigeration kills some of the fizz. I also make root beer by adding a scant 1/2 tsp of the syrup in the first ferment. Then straining the grains and adding stevia. The longer it sits, the stronger it gets though. If my kids don’t drink it quickly, they don’t like it (like in a couple days). BUT, apparently it’s as good as the store bought stuff. I would love to try some more. I tried a ginger one, but didn’t like it as much. I heard you can also take the frozen (or fresh) fruit, puree it, then add it in the 2nd ferment (although I wouldn’t put it in with the grains). Might try that with my current bottle. Sorry this is so long. I have several scoby’s bcz I tried it twice, but no one really liked it. So I might do it every once in awhile to add to smoothies or whatever.

    • Your well water probably has something to do with the healthy growth of your grains. Well water and hard tap water are highest in minerals. Just make sure the chlorine is removed if you use tap. You can do this by boiling without a lid for five minutes at a hard boil. Then let cool until lukewarm, enough to not kill the grains when re-introduced. I boil some each day and add to gallon water jugs until full. Spring water is also mineral rich.

      • This is good advice for removing chlorine, but do check with your water utility if chloramines are added. This chlorine plus ammonia molecule has been replacing chlorine water treatment across North America as it is much more stable but it cannot be easily boiled off. It kills the bacteria. Use a pinch of powdered ascorbic acid/vitamin C (6mg) per quart of water (based on 1000mg per 40 gallons).

  40. Did you ever mention in your recipe how much water kefir grains to use?

    I’ve been using different herbal tea bags with ours and they’re quite tasty — even adding a bit of juice afterwards to the mixture. I’ve not tried real or dried fruit yet.

    I keep mine in a quart jar with lots of head room and with the lid screwed on not too tightly as I do with my kombucha — which I am loving this year! It tastes so very similarly to sparkling cider, but not as sweet, and my kids are loving it (as long as they don’t have to see the scoby beforehand, lol). Tasty!

    • Hi Cheryl, I just use the amount that comes in one packet from my sponsor (Cultures for Health) in the link above. :)


  41. Kelly, have you tried doing this in bigger batches? I have the set up for making 3 gallons of wine … do you think I could adjust the timing and recipe and make 2-3 gallons at a time and bottle it for later?

  42. I’ve tried kefir…and just can’t get a taste for it. Which sucks, because I really like soda and wish I could get off the stuff. I’m down to only having one 12 ounce can a day but a healthy alternative would help me kick the stuff for good. But kefir is just gross.

  43. I prefer Kombucha. I do like kefir soda, though. I used to make it until my kefir grains got sick. I have had better luck with kombucha.

  44. Hi Kelly and other Kefir Experts! I have 4 questions for you about making kefir soda:)

    1. When waiting for the water, sugar, and kefir mixture to ferment you recommend covering the jar with a cloth and rubber band. Another source I read says to seal the jar tightly with a lid during this process. Do you know how the results of these two processes differ?

    2. Following the addition of juice to my fermented kefir solution I read that I should cap it right away, then let it sit out for a day before refrigeration. Others recommend to wait a day following the addition of juice and to then cap it, let it sit a day, and refrigerate. Any idea how these two processes differ? Does the sugar content differ in either of them?

    I’m looking for maximum carbonation here and so am wondering how to preserve and seal in the greatest about of bubbles that is possible!

    3. If I don’t dissolve the sugar like you suggest, with warm water at the start, how will this impact the initial fermentation?

    4. How long does capped kefir soda last? Does the taste, sugar content, or bubble quality change over time?

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • Are you the Andrea I shared kefir grains with at the meeting? :)

      I don’t know how much help I’ll be on these questions, but I’ll take a stab at it…

      1. Everything I’d seen said to cover with something that can ‘breathe’, not sure how a tight seal would change it…

      2. No idea, sorry. All I know is that I’ve had great success using my recipe above.

      3. You might get chunks of sugar…

      4. Ours doesn’t last long, so I’m not sure, maybe someone else can answer the questions I was fuzzy on?


  45. Love what you do, Kelly, but you seemed to add some unnecessary steps and I just want to encourage those who might get overwhelmed that it can be SUPER easy.

    I put my kefir grains in a mesh bag and tie it at the top. Then I plop them in a 1/2 gallon Ball jar, add 1/4 cup sugar (I’ve tried different stages of refinement), 1/4 cup juice (I’ve tried fresh lime, fresh lemon, cranberry, but orange always tasted funky), and fill an inch from the top with filtered drinking water. Cap the lid, gently turn it a couple of times to get the sugar incorporated, taste it every so often until it is to your liking and then take out the mesh bag, put it in another jar and start the process over again so you always have one going. We leave the one we just made out for a second ferment and then just add it to a cup with ice for drinking. No bottles, no filters, no funnels, no bowl. Truly easy.

    Love the idea of adding sea salt and molasses. Will try that next time.


    • I’m SO going to try this, I love the idea of less steps, thanks for sharing!!!

      Dumb question: where do you get a mesh bag for this?


  46. I had never heard of Kefir soda until you first posted this article. I just wanted to post to say that after reading this I bought some Kefir grains and some bottles and tried my hand at it. I just took my first bottle out of the fridge. It is delicious!! I can’t wait for my boys to come in from chores and try it. They’ve been so excited that I found a “soda” that I’ll allow them to drink! Thanks so much!

  47. Hi there! I very recently began making kefir soda – I received my grains in the mail, “activated” them and am on my second batch. My question is this – while the kefir is fermenting, is it supposed to smell like spoiled milk? My batches have been smelling very sour and even after I bottle it with juice, it still smells sour and I haven’t been able to get any carbonation (in spite of the fact that I’m bottling the kefir soda in tight flip cap bottles). Any ideas what’s going wrong? Maybe my kefir grains aren’t all the way active yet? Thanks so much, I love your site and all the work you put into this post is very helpful!!

    • Gosh I’m not sure about that, it often smells vinegary, but I don’t know about ‘spoiled’ milk.

      And what kind of sugar are you using? That affects the carbonation.


      • I used organic evaporated cane juice from Wholesome Sweeteners. Should I be using coconut sugar instead? Yeah, the smell is pretty rancid. I’m wondering if I need to dump it and buy new grains? If I do, I’ll get them through your resources page

        • Thanks, I appreciate it. :)

          Yes, the evap. cane juice won’t give you as much carbonation as less refined sugars like coconut sugar or rapadura, etc.

          If you say it smells rancid, that’s definitely not good. So you may want to start over.

          Like I said, a slight vinegary/alcohol flavor is normal, but once you add the juice or flavorings even that will hardly be noticeable.


  48. A cup Lifeway Kefir also supplies about 30% of
    the daily calcium requirement and 4 grams of protein.

    Because the kefir grains were considered as tribal wealth, they were
    inherited from generation to generation and possession wasn’t easy. How to Make Kefir – The production of kefir grains requires the addition of live kefir in milk.

  49. Kelly, I hope you are still around, this blog post is kind-of old but the info is still helpful. I just recently started making (or as my husband calls it “mad experimentation”) water kefir. If you go to my blog site you can read about some of my mishaps, which I now understand are normal (thank goodness, I thought it just happened to me.) I’m not clear on if you add your fruit to the jar while you still have the kefir grains in the sugar water or if you pour the sugar water out (straining the grains) and then add the fruit…. I have been using the strained water adding one and a half cups of water kefir to 1/2 cup of juice. I also have a question about how long the water is to set with the grains. If I let it set 48 hours, it has absolutely NO sweet taste, when I add my juice and then let it ferment for 24 hours or longer it has a tonic taste… no sweetness at all and even smells like eggs almost a sulfur smell…. yeah that’s appealing.
    Help!!!! I found you by way of Kitchen Stewardship

    • Hi Judith, yep I’m still here!

      I always add the fruit in the 2nd step.

      Not sure why you’re not getting any sweet taste left unless it’s really warm where you are and the sugar is all used up in the fermentation???


      • Thanks for your reply Kelly.

        It’s really warm here, 107 yesterday, but we could butcher goats in our house. Hubby likes it cold in here. Maybe I’m not using enough ‘sugar’ in the initial batch with the grains, I’m using 1/4 cup and about a 1/2t molasses. I’m also using either organic bottled juices (that say ‘no sugar added’) or fresh juice I’ve made with my juicer. I don’t really want to poke whole pieces of fruit into my bottles and then have to fish them out later. Recently we made some water kefir using coconut water and creme de coco. OMG!!!! Perfect pina colada! Just pour over crushed ice (add a little rum if you like)! I’m sure the creme de coco gave it enough sweetness to put the bubbles over the top (an all over the kitchen…)

        I guess it’s just a science experiment, kind of like everything else in my kitchen.

        • I am new to making kefir, so all of this information came from reading various articles on the internet, but it is probably pretty acurate.

          For the lack of sweetness, either ferment it for less time or add more sugar, and see if that helps. What I have seen most often (you would not believe how many different kefir recipes there are!) is one cup of sugar for every gallon of water. (For the 1/4 cup of sugar that you are using, you should only use a quart of water. Any more than that and the grains will eat too much of it, and you won’t get any sweetness. Also, it could eventually cause them to die.) If you are using less than that, try adding a bit more sugar before you add the kefir grains and see if that helps. If you are already adding a cup per gallon, you can try tasting your kefir at 24 hours and see if you like it then.
          The sulfur smell is probably also because you aren’t using enough sugar. You should look at the article on Cultures for Health about rehabiliting your kefir grains. (
          I hope this information helps.

  50. We’ve be making and drinking kefir soda everyday for over a year now. Hubby loves it. Meh is diabetic and had to give up sodas when he found out he was diabetic. We let first firmentation go 2-3 days in summer and 4-5 days in winter. The second ferment goes 1-2 days in summer and 5-7 days in winter. This makes it very bubbly and lowers sugar content. Hubby’s fasting blood sugars actually improve on days he is drinking kefir as opposed to no kefir. I found some research that supports the kefir (milk and water) and glucose management connection we were observing. We just consider it medicine…..a good dose of healthy bacteria (over 30 different strains). He loves the second ferment with grape juice.

  51. How do you all clean those long-neck bottles? I have the grolsch style but they are now scummy on the inside. I’ll still make the soda and drink it but it would be nice to have clean bottles!!!

    • We have the grolsch style too. The key is to rinse well AS SOON AS the last drink is taken. I have my kiddos trained:) I even leave about an inch of water in the bottom of mine until I’m ready to put them in the dishwasher. Hope this helps!

      • Sally, I do the same thing as Kimberly, and if I *don’t* do it right away, I just soak it good with really hot soapy water for a while and it comes clean – just shake it up good for a while.


  52. Have you ever flavored the kombucha with liquid stevia and then bottled it? I bottled it and it tasted great when it was done but it had a sulfur type smell to it – quite unpleasant. Any idea what happened? Would it be possible to sweeten it with xylitol before bottling? Basically, I am trying to make a sugar free kombucha that is still sweetened with a natural sweetener that doesn’t spike the blood sugar at all (stevia/xylitol).. The end result being a fizzy and sweet drinking, but with relatively little to no sugar! Thank you in advance! I love your stuff :)

    • Hi Dan,

      Well I’m no expert on this stuff, but I’m pretty sure that it has to have sugar for the fermentation process.

      OK I just looked on my friends’ site and found this:

      “Why do I need so much sugar? Can I use anything else?

      The sugar isn’t for you. Sugar is the easiest food for the culture to ferment. You can use molasses, honey (not raw!), agave, etc. You CANNOT use Raw Honey (it has its own host of bacteria that could adversely affect your culture), Stevia or Xylitol (these are plant based sugars that do not ferment.)”

      There’s more about that at this link:

      Hope that helps!

      • Kelly,

        Thanks for your comment. I think I should have been more specific. But let me ask you about this in terms of water kefir, not kombucha…

        After the first fermentation (where I have used sugar), is it possible to add liquid stevia into the second fermentation (bottles). I know the stevia will not ferment, but will there be enough sugar left after the first fermentation for it to fizz up during the second fermentation without adding any fruit, etc?

        Thank you!! :)

  53. Just came here from another blog. Health blog written by someone that drinks? Great example you are. I’m not coming back or respect anything I read here.

  54. Lol…what? The previous comment is hilarious. I make kefir water too, but my recipe is drastically different than yours. I don’t use any juice…just frozen cherries. I also ferment for 48 hours for the first round and 24 hours for the second round. Ours is very fizzy and very sweet…barely any fermented taste as long as I don’t go past 48 hours.

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