Caring for Your Kefir Grains

caring for kefir grainsKefir grains literally last forever. That is if you take good care of it. Kefir grains will keep multiplying for years on end. What this means is, you can make kefir grains into kefir for as long as you want.

And with a continued kefir diet, you get a healthier body, a more alert mind and a fatter wallet from all your savings from both food and medication bills.

healthy kefir grainsCaring for your kefir grains is vital so they grow faster and give you the best kefir possible. There are so many ways people keep and take care of their kefir grains and they can vary from person to person.

Through long experimentation, we have compiled a list of important tips that will help you take care of your kefir grains and keep them alive so they can reach their full potential.

Handling Kefir Grains

  • Use plastic – We had mixed results for this. 70% had no problems at all with metal contact. To be safe, we suggest you stick with plastic strainers and spoons when there is contact with the kefir grains.
  • Rinsing not needed – From years of data, we can surely say that rinsing away the fat solids with unchlorinated water is acceptable but do limit it. Rinsing too much could hurt the grains. Notice I mentioned unchlorinated? That means you have to avoid using tap water as it may contain chlorine that kills bacteria.
  • Population explotion – You can divide it and give to your friends. Spread the love.

Storing Kefir Grains

  • Put in paper envelope after drying – you can leave this for over a year and they will still be alive. Just make sure of the surrounding conditions.
  • Store in refrigerator with milk – Be sure to change the milk after a week or two to keep them growing. From our tests, the kefir grains will last for 2 to 3 weeks normally but on some occasions will last over a couple months.
  • No milk? Use sugar water – Using water is fine but you have to add sugar to feed the bacteria.
  • Don’t deep freeze – From our tests, we got 40% success rate of reactivating it after deep freezing. It is possible, but to be safe, let’s just go with not deep freezing the kefir grains in the first place.
  • Best scenario – Leave it in room temperature in milk. If you are going away for a while, have your neighbor or friend take care of it. Replacing the milk every week so they can continue to grow naturally.

Reactivating Kefir Grains

  • If left dry and kept in room temperature – You can reactivate them slowly. Soak it in water for 4-8 hours and transfer it to another container with about a cup of milk. Let them settle and feed on it first for about a day. Transfer the grains and add a bigger batch of milk. Slowly increasing it day after day until it can culture a quart and so on. Slowly but surely, you will get it back to it’s happy healthy self.
  • If left in the refrigerator in milk – Just leave it in a fresh batch of milk in room temperature. Slowly increase the milk every day for every new culture batch.
  • If deep frozen – This takes the longest time to recover. Soak it in water overnight in room temperature. Put it in milk the next day and leave it for a day. Add it to a fresh batch of milk the next day and do this over and over for a week. You will know if it is still alive if it cultures some of the milk you added. If it doesn’t, keep trying. If still nothing happens then you might have to get some new kefir grains.

Read this if are you looking to buy kefir in stores
Read this if you are thinking of Kefir side effects.

Caring for Your Kefir Grains by


  1. Janet D'Addario says

    Can I use Almond milk to make Kefir and will it have the same health benefits as using cows milk?
    Please answer ASAP

  2. Giselle says

    yes! any milk will do as long as there’s sugar in the milk and doesn’t have harmful chemicals in the milk. :)

  3. kimberly says

    I purchased kefir grains may

    be in August but never grew them. Are they still viable? Thank you, Kimberly

  4. Diana B. says

    I was recently gifted with a beautiful healthy colony of Kefir. The crystals were large and looked like hominy. Within 3 days in my care they are looking smaller, there is a powdery substance in bottom of Kefir container(jar) and they are not reproducing as expected. I have followed my friends instructions to the letter. I use bottle water, a plastic bowl/spoon and strainer. What could be going on? This is my 2nd attempt with similar results.

    I appreciated any feed back, I have experienced the health benefits
    of the water Kefir and would really like to be able to grow my own.


  5. Jeannie says

    A quick question. I have a great colony of kefir grains, nice and solid, but some of the kefir grains are hollow in the middle instead of solid in the middle. Should I throw these grains (rather large) away or are they good?
    I hope this makes sense to you.

  6. charles branklyn says

    great new. i recieved the grains this afternoon thanks again. i have give them their
    first feeding of milk. the only ? i have is do i leave the top of the jar open or can i
    put some cheese cloth over this little first jar home. thanks again for everything.charles

  7. Giselle says

    @Diana – There can be a million reasons as to why what’s happening is happening. If it were up to me, I recommend going over the kefir video series for an in-depth discussion as to how to make and care for your kefir grains.

  8. Giselle says

    @Kimberly – Kefir grains can be little sturdy critters. : ) My advice is to try them out as it’s the only way to know for sure if they’re still good.

  9. Joan bjordahl says

    My kefir milk separates & cuddles. Is this normal?
    Thanks for your input & advise.

  10. Dr says

    I bought water grains in December 2010. They were growing like crazy. They doubled every 24 hours. I couldn’t keep up with them. Almost 2 months ago they stopped growing.
    They are still eating and they still get tart like before.
    They still grow the slimy stuff on the surface.
    They haven’t grown in almost 2 months now.
    I have done everything everyone has said to do.
    I have rinsed them every 2 days.
    I have changed the sugar they were eating.
    I have added extra minerals.
    What can I do to make them grow? I

  11. Audrey Welsh says

    Giselle, we are away from home so will order Kefer after April 1, 2012.
    Thanks for your webpages

  12. whimsley says

    1) When I transfer the kefir grains to fresh milk should the milk be at room temperature or is right out of the refrigerator okay?
    2) I started my first batch of kefir 3 weeks ago. They have grown some, but they look more like very, very small curd cottage cheese than cauliflower. Am I doing something wrong?
    3) Is it okay to change the milk every other day instead of every day?
    4) If I cook with kefir, will the heat destroy its probiotic properties?
    5) Can I put them back in the same jar when I transfer them to fresh milk, or should I use a fresh jar each time?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Giselle says

    Thanks Audrey!

    1. Room temperature is best.
    2. It’s normal. It starts off like that
    3. Yes, it will depend on how you like it to taste.
    4. It does, but it still provides nutrients.
    5. Either is fine, a fresh jar is recommended though :)

  14. Lesley says

    I started making whole milk kefir about a month ago. The grains are growing like crazy but I have high cholesterol and I’m a bit concerned about drinking the whole milk kefir every day. Is there a way of making the kefir with the grains using almond milk and adding some sweetener to feed it? I want to keep the grains alive. Thanks for any advice.

  15. Lesley says

    I’ve read that using almond milk won’t reproduce the grains, is that right? If so how can I use the almond milk and keep them reproducing?

  16. Marlana says

    I bought water kefir grains in early December. They still have not grown. I know you mentioned putting them in mineral water. I put them in about 6oz of Evian water with 2 tablespoons of sugar and I have been switching the water everyday. I only make water kefir once a week so I have been trying to get them to grow in between those times. Do you have any suggestions?

  17. Coral says

    The teaspoon of dried water kefir grains bought and mailed to me have not multiplied at all and are actually decreasing in size, although they give me a sourish drink with some fizz every 3 days. I use Evian mineral water, a mixture of white sugar, organic unrefined sugar and a bit of molass . They may disappear altogether in time to come. Please help me make them multiply.

  18. says

    Molasses will feed them better than anything, so maybe try adding more molasses and less white sugar at this stage until they grow more. Were the kefir grains you bought completely dry when you bought them or were they a still a little moist?

  19. says

    Almond milk is a little tricky, I’ve only played with it a little bit. Here’s my suggestions.
    With milk kefir grains – grow them in whole cow milk for at least 6 weeks if you just received your milk kefir grains. If you’ve had your kefir grains for awhile, just use about half of what you have to experiment. Just in case something goes wrong with the almond milk you’ll have an extra supply. Use at least 1/4 cup of milk kefir grains to 3-4 cups of almond milk. Soak for 24 hours with milk kefir grains and then you can drink.

  20. Coral says

    Thanks, Giselle, for your advice on adding more molasses to my water kefir, the grains of which have not grown at all since the dried (not moist) grains were mailed to me months ago. They are still not growing at all and I am wondering if they do not like the Evian mineral water. However, they do produce kefir that is tart and with fizz. Will be glad for a recipe that encourages growth before the grains get lesser and smaller to a greater extent.

    My milk grains which multiplied daily for 4 months when I first bought them, have become so mushy and creamy during the last one month that I could not sieve out the grains at all. In the tropical 26 degree C of my country, I used to see my milk kefir forming curd and whey every 18 to 20 hrs . Now, however, even at 26 hrs, I see no whey and almost no grains, though kefir is tart. For a new batch of milk I have been adding some kefir from the previous batch of kefir since I am unable to sieve out any grains. Kefirs have also become thicker, like yogurt. I am unable to tell what went wrong as all factors of fermenting have not been changed and the only non metal used is the stainless steel sieve. Please help. Thank you.

  21. says

    You will see more growth over time by adding more molasses but it will probably take a couple weeks to really see the difference. (Michael is asking if you got it from him because he never sends out dried grains)

    You could send a picture of the milk kefir and what is happening that would help tremendously but my first question is what type of milk are you using? Many times switching back to Whole milk will help the problem with the milk kefir grains.

  22. Linnaia says

    If I made kefir using coconut milk, would I just put the kefir grains in dairy milk afterwards for a day to keep them a!live? For example, keep two sets of kefir grains on hand, and when one is making my coconut milk into kefir, the other set will be sitting in some cows milk to keep them from dying. Then after 24 hours when the coconut kefir is done, put those grains in dairy milk and the use the others to start a fresh batch of coconut milk kefir. Is this what I would do?

  23. says

    That is actually a good idea and that should work great but I don’t think you would have to rotate the grains every time. You could use the same kefir grains in the coconut milk for 3-4 days and then switch with the ones that were sitting in milk. Just experiment to see how long the grains will last using just coconut milk, I have not fully tested this myself. If you notice the grains getting smaller or it is not producing the coconut kefir as it was before, then switch it out.

    The way you mentioned first is perfectly fine but you probably won’t have to switch from coconut milk kefir to milk everyday if you do not want to.

  24. Liz says

    Hello, just wondering where do water/milk kefir grains actually come from?? I mean the grains themselves? I have heard they are from animal intestines and other things and what kind of animals are they from if so? Would really appreciate an answer…have checked and have not gotten a clear answer yet. Help :)

  25. john gunderson says

    could you post a recipe for making kefir cheese?? Would appreciate an e-mail as your web is crowded, I couldn’t find anything on cheese.

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