What is Kefir?

Kefir is a cultured, creamy product with amazing health attributes.

Kefir’s tart and refreshing flavor is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but it contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria found in yogurt. The naturally occurring bacteria and yeast in kefir combine symbiotically to give superior health benefits when consumed regularly. It is loaded with valuable vitamins and minerals and contains easily digestible complete proteins.

For the lactose intolerant, kefir’s abundance of beneficial yeast and bacteria provide lactase, an enzyme which consumes most of the lactose left after the culturing process.

How is Kefir Made?

Kefir can be made from any type of milk, cow, goat or sheep, coconut, rice or soy. Although it is slightly mucous forming, the mucous has a “clean” quality to it that creates ideal conditions in the digestive tract for the colonization of friendly bacteria.

Kefir is made from gelatinous white or yellow particles called “grains.” This makes kefir unique, as no other milk culture forms grains. These grains contain the bacteria/yeast mixture clumped together with casein (milk proteins) and complex sugars. They look like pieces of coral or small clumps of cauliflower and range from the size of a grain of wheat to that of a hazelnut. Some of the grains have been known to grow in large flat sheets that can be big enough to cover your hand!. The grains ferment the milk, incorporating their friendly organisms to create the cultured product. The grains are then removed with a strainer before consumption of the kefir and added to a new batch of milk.

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  • Lisa


    I live around brooks, Alberta Canada. where can i get some kefir already made. What would be the equivalent to kefir, just in case I can’t get it here.

  • Jesyca

    @ laura desperate for kefir – try Caravan Grill and Bakery. They have it there.

  • Nicole Kroeger

    I want to start making kefir regularly but right now I travel a lot and I am afraid I can’t take care of the grains properly. Tell me how to use the powder for the time being- I heard you can continue to make new kefir from the powder for 6-7 times before needing to get fresh powder. I assume that means using a half cup or so of kefir to be the starter for a new quart batch? Someone please tell me if this is ok! Also, after the kefir is made I have used a metal whisk or blending tool to add vanilla and stevia and blend it to a smooth consistency. Why do I read that I should not ever use metal and is that advice only for when the kefir is actively producing? Can you thoroughly blend the kefir if only using a wooden or plastic spoon? I would appreciate any help you can give me on this. Thanks!

  • laura

    Where can i find kefir in san antonio, tx. I am desperate and tired of all my digestive problems, i tried a lot of doctors and specialists and all my test results come back negative, they say nothing is wrong but I don’t fell right. I am bloated all the time and with abdominal pain, tired and depressed. In my search I read about kefir… can anybody tell me if this product is as good as they said?

    • Rosa

      It did help me with my stomach problems, I had bloating, pain, cramps, and couldn’t eat anything after 6pm, then it went to where I was waking up already bloated and lots of pain, This had been going on for over a year and getting worst every time.

      I stared kefir and after a month I was sooo much better, after 3 months all my stomach issues went away. email me a [email protected] if you want some grains, I can share some.


    • Alicia

      We live in Blanco and make fresh kefir please email us if interested. This product is outstanding and if you stay on the regimine your whole body will feel better. I have bowel obstruction, reflux and this has been the best cure! ([email protected])

      Thanks and good luck.

  • frraaaz

    when i can buyy?

  • Suzanne Crow

    How much sugar in a serving of Kifer?

    • jennifer

      the kefir lives off of the sugar in the milk! kefir is not sugar. Any sugar in the milk you use to make kefir milk will be diminished and therefore have less or nearly no sugars. Although if you add honey or fruit to the kefir milk that will add sugar grams, but that is up to you. I drink my kefir neat, or over fresh fruit. Another nice drink in kefir ginger ale.

  • Rosalinda

    How can I make the kefir grains? I live in Mexico and I can’t buy them

    • iac

      You can’t make the grains. You have to buy them, or hopefully get some free from somebody whose batch has grown too large. Then when youre batch gets too large you then pass some on.
      Google for a website that shows a kefir user near you.

    • Sprouts Ajijic

      Hi Rosalinda,

      We sell kefir (cultivated from the grains) at the local organic market. Are you anywhere near Chapala/Ajijic/Guadalajara?

    • Rosa

      I can send you some dry grains, I mailed som to my mom in Mexico and she rehydrated them with no problems. email me at [email protected] if you still need some.


  • Stacey

    On day 3 with my Kefir. I change it every 24 hours. Is the benefits better nutritionally if I leave it longer? My kids love it in smoothies. I also heard that blender’s take away some of it’s nutrition. Is this true?

    Thank You,

    • Lee

      Hi Stacey,

      I have read that metal should not be used when transferring or even stirring the Kefir. It “kills” the grains. The best way to get all the nutrition out of your Kefir is to drink it without any additives. It takes some time getting used to because of the smell of it but it does wonders for the body.

      • karleen

        i know that you should not use metal on the grains – but isn’t it OK to use a blender AFTER you have seperated the grains for the next day supply and want to blend the Kefir for today with fruit for instance – with a blender – without the grains??

  • Linda Walker

    where can I buy this in cookeville tenn.

    • sn

      I know a source in Fayetteville, that would be happy to share with you. But, I have not seen HOW or IF anyone has shared by mail. I shared two starts this morning. It’s like the widow’s flour and oil supply when she fed Elijah. 🙂

      • ec

        If it’s the Kefirlady, I can vouch for her. My grains are MASSIVE now and produce GREAT kefir!

      • kathalina

        would love that info please:)

  • motherof4

    Consuming kefir at the same time every day, preferably in the morning when the stomach ‘s empty, wil train your bowel movements to correct itself. You will eat less, have more energy. If you have left over kefir milk, use it as a face or hair mask. Good luck.

    • Rosa

      I do use my kefir milk as a face mask morning and night and it is keeping wrinkles at bay. 🙂


  • motherof4

    Kefir grains should be rinsed every other day or once a week. Doing so the nutritious bacterials would stay with the grains, instead of being washed away. Kefir milk should be strained within 22-24 hours. If not consume right away, kefir milk can be stored in glass with lid container. Don’t contact kefir milk or grains w/ metal of any sort ( that includes the strainer). Expose the grains to light and it will grow faster.

    • karleen

      so that means you should not blend the finished product without the grains (of course) in the blender for a smoothie?

  • Mistie

    Hi! I am so glad to have found this page 🙂 I was hoping that somebody could answer this question for me. I have never used Kefir before and I was wondering if Kefir is a good healthy substitute for buttermilk? I have been doing the Maker’s Diet for the past year, and I really miss Ranch Dressing on occasion. Making it without buttermilk just isn’t the same, but then somebody mentioned to me that they heard Kefir is like buttermilk. So, I guess I just wanted to confirm this with somebody who has used it before. I am new to all this, so I appreciate your advice.

    • Cathi

      Milk Kefir can be used as a substitute for buttermilk. I use it along with homemade Piima Yogurt to make my homemade Ranch Dressing. I also use it in other recipes like homemade pancake and waffle batter and in my Buttermilk Syrup recipe. Please note: If you use it in a recipe that is cooked, you may lose the probiotic properties due to the temperature your recipe is cooked at but it still will add great flavor and texture to recipes that are cooked. 🙂

  • Cathy

    I have been making kefir for over a year. I make it in a jar and put it on top of my fridge to ferment, but I usually leave it for at least 5 days – the longer it ferments, the thicker and more sour flavoured it is. I have never had any issues with it, even leaving it that long. On another site though, I read that kefir should be kept in the dark while fermenting – this is something I haven’t done as I ferment it in a mason jar. I’m wondering if I am losing a significant amount of the dietary benefits?

  • jasem alkandri

    you might help me in answering the following questions:

    what is the best way to restore kefir? for how long i can restore it in water only?is restoreing kefir in refrigator god or bad?when kefir turnes to be poisonous?


    • Cathi

      The most informative site I have found with milk & water kefir info is Dom Anfiteatrors kefir site. It explains everything you need to know about kefir…how to make, how to store, how to restore grains etc. and also has recipes. Here is the link: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html


  • Our grains are growing!

  • Pasturedbeef

    I was able to find kefir grains close to home through craigslist. Plenty of people are willing to give their grains away for free. I wouldn’t buy grains from anyone especially a store. Real Kefir grains will thrive and grow indefinitely so long as you give them fresh milk.

  • Pasturedbeef

    I have been making and consuming kefir for 3 months. I let it ferment until the curd and whey start to separate on the bottom which is usually around 20 to 24 hours. Any longer that this and it is difficult to strain. After straining the kefired milk goes into the fridge for an additional 24 to 48 hours with the lid tight.

    • gbmeyer47

      When you say you strain the keifred milk, do you mean taking out the clump of grains or do you actually put the milk through a strainer before it goes into the jar and then in fridge? What do you use to strain with? I use a wooden slotted spoon to remove the grains. I am new at this and want to make sure I am doing it correct. Thanks for any tips.

      • karleen

        I am new as well – and learning. When you strain – do you also strain out the curds with the “grains”? I have a little hard time telling the difference.

  • ving afrondoza

    Where can i buy kefir? or its mother culture and how much is it. thanks ving

    • nancy

      what did u find about where to get kefir

    • Lois

      I get my kefir at Whole Foods. They have several brands and types, including lowfat and nonfat, flavored and plain. I think most large grocery stores stock it.

      • Cathi

        What you can get at Whole Foods is a kefir drink…it does not contain the grains needed to culture your own kefir. You can get milk and water kefir grains online (milk grains are great forculturing milk kefir to make fruit smoothies and water grains can be used to culture water that can be used to make great kefir ice tea once brewed.) Look carefully at what the companies are selling. Some places are not selling grains but a powder. You need grains to be able to continually culture your own kefir. Here is a link for the best site I’ve found for kefir: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.htmlonline.


    • Kefirdude.com is under construction at the moment, but we do sell kefir grains. 4oz $15 + shipping($20 total). Shoot me an email if interested. They are home grown grains.

  • Mariel

    I sometimes let mine go for that long. It just makes the kefir a bit stronger, thicker, and even more nutritious. I think it is perfectly safe to leave it for 48 hours. I do.

  • Maria Miramontes

    Hi! Great page you have here!

    I was wondering, we have kefir at home, and my husband leaves it fermenting for 2 whole days. Is that too much? Should we leave the Kefir with the milk only one day, and then rince and change the milk?

    Thank you for your knowledge!


    • Cathi

      You can ferment your kefir for 2 days. 1-2 days is the usual time people leave the grains in the milk to ferment. I would taste it after a day and after 2 days. What do you pefer? I personally like mine after 24 hours but there are variables that will change the fermenting time of my grains like the amount of grains I have in my jar compared to the amount of milk I am culturing and how warm the room is. My milk grains ferment quicker and multiply more in the summer when my kitchen is warmer than in the winter when my kitchen is around 69 degrees. From the info I have read, wash your jar after each culture (make sure it isn’t hot when you put your grains back in or the heat can kill them) and it isn’t necessary to rinse the grains. I’ve been culturing the same grains for a year and have only put them in water when I was going on vacation for 2 weeks. 🙂

      • gbmeyer47

        Thanks for your info since I am new at using Keifer grains. What kind of milk do you use? Whole, fat free, organic, or regular? I am using fat free organic (NOT ultra pasturized) from whole foods.

        • kirac

          I use raw whole milk without the cream removed from a local farmer’s pastured cows. Pasteurization kills the good bacteria and limits what your kefir is producing. I would suggest organic whole milk from pastured cows if you cannot get raw milk.