How To Make Milk Kefir – A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink

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How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

It wasn’t until last year that I started incorporating milk kefir into my family’s diet. It took me so long because I was already settled into my yogurt making routine and honestly, I had tried kefir years ago and I remember thinking it was much too tart for my taste buds.

Oh goodness, what years of adding fermented foods to your diet will do. From sourdough, kombucha, natural pickles, beets, and kraut, I now can’t get enough of anything fermented with a bit of fizz – tart and tangy. So last year when my friend Elisa gave me some kefir grains, I couldn’t wait to start brewing this nourishing probiotic rich drink at home.

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

Kefir is a fermented milk product that originated in Southern Russia. Kefir (pronounced keh-FEHR) is much more than just bacteria but is also made up of yeast. Just like a kombucha scoby, kefir grains are also a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The benefits of the yeast and extra bacteria make it a much more powerful probiotic than yogurt as it may colonize the gut more thoroughly. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my sweet delicate yogurt, but in my family we are now consuming much more kefir than yogurt.

Besides the probiotic benefits of yeast and bacteria to the gut, kefir is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. It contains high levels of thiamin, B12, calcium, folate, and Vitamin K2. It contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. It also contains biotin, a B vitamin that helps assimilate other B vitamins. For women deficient in B vitamins and magnesium, kefir is a great fermented drink to add to your diet that can help ease stress and anxiety.

How To Make Milk Kefir

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

One of the things that I love most about kefir is how easy it is to make.

To make kefir all you need is…

  • a quart sized jar
  • 2 tbls – 1 cup (if you like tang) of kefir grains
  • raw or VAT pasteurized local milk

All you need to do is place the grains into the quart sized jar and fill it with milk. Cap it with a lid, give it a shake, and place it on your counter at room temperature. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed. Since most people no longer ferment their kefir in skin bags, just give you kefir jar a couple of good shakes throughout the day to mix the grains into the milk.

That’s really it. After 12-24 hours your kefir will be done. The jar above was fermented for about 6 hours. Since I use a cup of grains, it doesn’t take long to ferment at all! Just know, the longer your fermented time, the more sour and tangy it will be.

Once it’s fermented, all you need to do is strain out the kefir grains from the thickened milk and whey. When straining, use a a non-corrosive straining utensil which can be stainless steel or food grade plastic.

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

I use a spoon to mix the kefir and grains which helps the straining process.

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

Once the kefir is strained, you’ll be left with just the grains. You’ll soon start to notice that your grains have multiplied. I like to use just about a cup for brewing. Anything more I feed to my chickens or give away to friends. However, a couple tablespoons of grains is all you need and won’t lead to such a tart and tangy brew.

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

After straining, I pour my kefir into a pint sized mason jar and fill a quart sized jar with the grains to start the process all over again.

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

Another great thing about kefir is that it is so forgiving. You can keep your grains in your fridge covered with milk for quite a long time and they won’t die. I love that about kefir as I’ve been known to kill quite a few cultures 😉

Just remember, you don’t need to use 1 cup of kefir grains to brew. A couple tablespoons will suffice. The more grains… the tangier!

How To Make Milk Kefir – A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 24 hours

How To Make Milk Kefir – A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink

How to make milk kefir - a probiotic yogurt-type drink. It's simple and completely nourishing!


  • 1 quart sized mason jar
  • 2 tbls - 1 cup (if you like tang) of kefir grains
  • raw or vat pasteurized milk to cover


  1. In a quart sized mason jar, add the grains and cover with milk leaving about 1-2 inches of headspace.
  2. Give it a good shake and set on a darkened corner of your countertop at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Make sure to keep it away from other fermented foods to avoid cross culturing. During the 12-24 hours, give it a shake to mix the grains and milk.
  3. Once fermented, strain the grains from the kefir. When straining, use a a non-corrosive straining utensil which can be stainless steel or food grade plastic.
  4. Place the kefir into a pint sized or quart sized jar and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Place the grains into a clean quart sized jar and start the process all over again.

One of the best things I love about kefir is how refreshed and energized I feel after drinking it. When I’m feeling sluggish, a bit sick, or need a bit of a boost, I drink about 6-8 oz straight.  I love it.  I now enjoy the tart and tang; however, my kids aren’t fond of it like that just yet.

So for them, I make sure to include it into a morning powerhouse kefir smoothie 3-4 times per week. They drink this down and I’m sure you will too!

Powerhouse Kefir Smoothie

Feel free to share and pin this recipe! I’d appreciate it 😀

How To Make Milk Kefir - A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink |

So, do you enjoy drinking kefir? Tell me, what do you like best about it? Do you have any recipes using it that you can share with My Humble Kitchen?

29 Responses to "How To Make Milk Kefir – A Probiotic Yogurt-Type Drink"
  1. Kristen H. says:

    Thank you. I have been wanting to try making kefir for a long time. I regularly purchase it at Trader Joe’s and Wal-mart carries it now. Do you have a recommended source for purchasing the grains?

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Kristen, you can get it at Cultures For Health.

      Or, if you’re a part of a local Weston Price Foundation group, I’m sure you’ll find many people within your local area with live grains to share 😀

    • I just bought 2 tablespoons from a lady on amazon and a week later I have several cups of grains. It really is easy. all I did was add the 3 tablespoons of grains to a quart of organic milk and then added that quart to a gallon jar of milk 3 days later. Now, 4 days (7 days total) later I have something akin to yogurt, which is exactly what i wanted, a yogurt like mix for smoothie making, that I can put in the fridge in a 1/2 gallon pickle jar. .

      • Judy says:


        When you added your quart of kefir to the gallon jar of milk, you left it on your counter? Did you leave the kefir grains in the gallon jar?

        I am very new at kefir. In fact, this morning is my first day of being able to drink the kefir after “reviving” the grains someone gave me.

        My kefir is more yeasty than sour, like yogurt. I would prefer a more sour/tangy taste like yogurt.

  2. I am so happy you are getting word out about the benefits of kefir. I have been making it with the same grains for eight years. The only difference is that I don’t use a cup of grains per quart. I only make a pint a day and I use 1 Tablespoon of grains. It works great with the small amount of grains. When the grains multiply to more than I need, I just blend some of them into the smoothie.

    • JOY says:

      What a great idea to blend the grains into a smoothie. I HATE throwing out grains. And don’t have enough friends who wanna make it.

  3. Emily says:

    I can’t wait to make this! Our commissary just started selling frozen keifer and I’m seriously addicted! I LOVE it! Quick question, can you make this with breast milk? I’m following the super nutrition for baby book, and I believe I saw keifer in their to feed your baby so I was just wondering about using breast milk :). Thanks!

  4. Amy says:

    I’m curious about the amount of grains you use. I’ve been making kefir for a few years now and only use a couple of tablespoons for a quart of milk and it turns out great. Is using more better? I also find that if I stir the kefir while it’s fermenting it gets too curdley and weird, so I let it sit untouched then stir well before straining and I get really nice thick kefir. Can’t drink it straight though!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Amy, I’ve been hearing this from a lot of people today. I’ve only been making this since last year and have been using about a cup at a time. I’m going to give it a try with less grains and see if there’s a difference. As far as shaking it, mine turns out fine. Thanks for letting me know about the amount of grains:D

  5. Susan says:

    Would you feel comfortable using free range eggs from Trader Joe’s for this recipe?

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Gosh.. I know for myself, I would. However, for my kids, I feel more comfortable giving them raw eggs from my backyard or locally produced from a local farmer.

  6. Christy says:

    Thanks for sharing this today!
    Question–I would like to flavor my homemade Kefir, but can’t find directions for doing that. Do you have directions or suggestions for how to flavor it, with fruit? I can’t make a smoothie as we don’t have a blender at this time! Thanks!!

    • You can use fruit juices since you don’t have the ability to blend at this time.

      Use your taste buds as a guide to what ratio you like, when I have used this method in the past (not for lack of a blender but for lack of wanting to wash it!) I did 1/2 juice to about 2 cups of kefir.

  7. Love, love, LOVE kefir! I always have a quart culturing on the counter and drink it daily. Actually, I’m making some kefir cheese at the moment with some over-cultured kefir. Love that I can be lazy with it too and it doesn’t ruin, lol!

  8. Maria says:

    Good morning,

    I have a question, I’ve never made kefir or yogurt for that matter, but I was wondering if instead of using cow milk, could I use almond/soy milk and get the same results?

    • Yes, you can use non mammal milks like cow, soy, almond, etc.

      You will need to use the grains in regular dairy milk (cow’s, goat’s, etc) every couple of batches to keep your grains alive and growing.

      Also, depending on the type of alternative milk you use, you will get varying thicknesses. Coconut milk kefir tends to be the thickest but still thinner than cow’s milk kefir. Here is a link to a recipe for coconut milk kefir or any alternative milk kefir:

  9. whitney says:

    How many servings does the smoothie recipe make?

  10. Tati Braida says:

    A poucos dias ganhei um bocado de Kefir de Leite … menos de uma colher de sopa , lavei-os e cobrir com leite num vidro com tampa , mas não acontece nada o leite continua igual :( … noto que os grãos estão um pouco maiores mas o leite não fermenta … o que devo fazer ?

    Obrigada !!

  11. Bekah says:

    If you make too much Kefir do you store the leftovers in the fridge?

  12. Kim says:

    I give my extra kefir grains to my dogs for some added probiotics.

  13. Pari says:

    It is about year I am making Kafir. I use organic full fat milk . Recently been told by GP i have a high blood pressure can i use low fat milk ?

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