Homemade kefir

Make your own milk kefir with our easy-to-follow recipe. This tangy fermented dairy drink is similar to yogurt and packed with beneficial probiotic bacteria

  • Prep:10 mins
    plus 18-24 hrs for fermenting
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 63
  • fat 4g
  • saturates 2g
  • carbs 4g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 3g
  • salt 0.1g


  • ½ tsp kefir grains (see tip, below)
  • 1 pint milk (organic whole milk for best results)
  • 1 slice lemon or 1 drop lemon oil (optional)
  • 500ml clip-top jar with gasket for fermenting (or jar, cover and rubber band)
  • a sieve, jug/bowl, storage bottle or a straining funnel and wide-necked bottle


  • You can’t make kefir without kefir grains. The 'grains' are actually bacteria and yeast that look like tiny cauliflower florets, bound together in a kefiran polysaccharide matrix. 
  • If you know someone who already makes kefir, ask them if you can have some – as little as half a teaspoon will be enough to make your own.
  • Alternatively, fresh grains can be purchased online. If they arrive in the post, they may need a little re-invigorating after their journey; put them in a small jar and cover with whole milk – you won’t need more than 100ml. Cover and leave on the side for 12-48 hours until the milk has set (it varies depending upon milk used and temperature). When it does, you’re good to go and can scale up.


  1. Put ½ tsp kefir grains in the jar. Add the milk, leaving about 2cm head room if using a clip top jar, or at least 5cm for a cloth-covered jar.

  2. Set aside at room temperature for 18-24 hrs to ferment. It’s turned to kefir when the milk has thickened. It may have set and separated, with pockets of whey forming – this is quite normal.

  3. If you can’t strain it straight away, put it in the fridge to stop it fermenting further, the flavour can get quite strong – you can strain it anytime over the next 48 hrs.

  4. Strain the kefir through the sieve or straining funnel into the jug or bottle. The grains are quite robust and will withstand gentle stirring.

  5. You can drink it straight away, flavour and refrigerate it (a slice of lemon peel or a drop of lemon oil add a delicious fresh taste), or leave it at room temperature for a few hours to make it taste stronger. Storing it in the fridge will slow down the fermentation by the microbes and it should remain pleasantly useable for 7-10 days.

  6. In order to make some more kefir, rinse out the jar, return the grains (don’t wash them, there’s no need), and start again from the beginning.

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