How to Make Milk Kefir

Please note that our kefir grains are living cultures and for best results they should ideally be used within 48hrs of receiving them. The grains require settling as they adjust to their new environment (they are very temperature sensitive) and this usually takes just a few days. However, as you are working with a living product, it can be hard to predict exactly how quick they will recover from the shipping process and can at times take a week or two to fully settle in to their new environment. Always ensure your grains are at 18°C or above, especially during the colder winter months.

Milk Kefir is one of the easiest fermented cultures to make at home and today we are going to show you how to make milk kefir.

Making milk kefir is not difficult and in simple terms – Add the milk kefir grains to a glass jar, add milk, let it sit, take the grains out and you are done… so let’s get started making milk kefir.

Please note that if you’re not planning to start your milk kefir right away, you can store the grains in the refrigerator for a few days until you’re ready but again it’s important to note your kefir grains are a living culture and therefore for best results they should ideally be used within 48hrs of receiving them.

What type of milk should be used?

Whole Milk:

We prefer to culture the grains with organic whole milk. Whole milk works best. When whole milk is used, the cultured milk kefir will be thick and creamy which you can enjoy at home.

Raw Milk:

Culturing the grans with raw milk is usually best attempted when you have gained some experience with live cultures. We strongly recommend you do some research on raw milk before attempting to culture your grains with it as raw milk in itself can carry a whole hosts of issues that you need to be aware of before proceeding.

Skimmed Milk:

Yes, you can use skimmed milk to make milk kefir but the kefir that is produced is very thin and watery and it may harm the grains long term. You could try using skimmed milk, but it’s important to revitalize the grains in dairy milk for 24 hours once every few batches.

Goats Milk:

Yes, it is possible to culture the grains using goats milk which would produce a thinner consistency milk kefir than cows milk.

Soya Milk:

Soya milk tends to yield more inconsistent results but you could give it a go and see how you get on, again it’s important to revitalize the grains in whole fat milk for 24hrs if they stop fermenting the kefir properly whilst using soya milk.

Coconut Milk

Yes, you can culture the grains using coconut milk and again this would produce a thinner consistency milk kefir than cows milk.

also, it’s important to only use the best quality coconut milk available as most store bought milks are simply not suitable. It’s always advisable to read the label. The list of ingredients will be listed on the label. If it includes preservatives don’t purchase it… ever! Remember, coconut milk doesn’t require preservatives. Most of the top brands don’t use them, so really it’s not difficult to find a good quality coconut milk. Your local health store is always a good place to start. Look for 100% pure coconut milk with a high fat content.

Note: We strongly recommend you use whole milk for the first couple of batches to allow the grains to settle after their journey. It’s always a good idea to have some spare grains available before experimenting with different milk types. At least this way you can always start over if it goes wrong.

Do I have to use Organic Milk?

We pride ourselves on culturing milk kefir grains that have been grown with love, care and attention by professionals with all safety standards in place. Therefore we choose to use only certified organic whole milk as we believe the pesticides and added chemicals found in non-orgainc milk can actually harm the grains long-term BUT that does not necessarily mean you have to use organic milk, that is something for you to decide upon and you are obviously free to use whatever type of milk you choose.

You will need:

  • Fresh milk kefir grains
  • Organic milk
  • Non-metallic sieve
  • Glass jar with coffee filter or muslin cloth to use as a cover for the jar
  • Rubber band
  • Plastic/wooden spoon (preferably plastic)

Instructions for Making Milk Kefir

  • Place your kefir grains into milk (the correct ratio is 250ml of fresh whole milk per 5g of milk kefir grains).
  • Cover the jar with a muslin cloth/kitchen paper or coffee filter paper and secure with a rubber band.
  • Store your grains somewhere out of direct sunlight and away from a direct heat source but where the room temperature is between 20° – 22°C for approx 24-48hrs. 22°C is optimal.
  • Shake or stir occasionally. During this me, the healthy cultures will ferment the milk, preventing it from spoiling while transforming it into kefir. Note: The colder the kefir grains are the longer the kefir will take to brew.
  • Check after 24hrs, has it started to separate, thicken or change texture?

    Yes: As soon as you notice the change in texture, stir the mixture and strain the grains from the milk using a plastic sieve and the put the grains into fresh milk noting the correct ratio above. Cover and repeat as before. At this point, you can drink the milk kefir as is OR do a second ferment (see below for more info on the second fermentation) for improved flavour and extra bacterial content. 

    No: After 24-48 hours stir the mixture and then strain the grains from the milk using  a plastic sieve then put the grains into the same amount of fresh milk (250ml)  cover and repeat as before. Carry on with this process until you notice it has started to separate, thicken or change texture.

  • The kefir grains can’t live long without food so you need to repeat the process for your next batch of milk kefir.

Once received all live kefir grains require settling as they adjust to their new environment (they are very temperature sensitive) this usually takes between 3-5 brews but can take longer depending on the temperature.

How to produce larger volumes of Milk Kefir?

Once the first few batches of milk kefir are complete you can always move up to a bigger jar for larger amounts as our milk kefir cultures grow and multiply very quickly.

As your kefir grains grow & multiply you will need to remove some of the grains to keep to the correct ratio: 250ml of fresh whole milk per 5g of milk kefir grains. The goal is to keep the ratio of grains to milk the same as you started with. 

Longer culturing times make a more sour product, shorter times make a milder product

Your finished Milk Kefir can be enjoyed as is, or blended with fruit and/or honey for a delicious smoothie.

How long can I store my cultured Milk Kefir?

Room Temperature: 1-2 days.

Refrigerator: We recommend no longer than 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

How to take a break from Milk Kefir?

If you need to take a break for a few weeks for an upcoming holiday etc.. and you’re worried about what to do with your kefir grains, then follow the steps below:

Simply go ahead and place the grains in a fresh jar of milk. Now cover the jar with a tight lid and place them in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Cold temperatures greatly slow the culturing process, so the refrigerator is a good place to store your grains when a break is necessary.

If you plan on storing the milk kefir grains long-term, make sure to change the milk at least once every few weeks!

Making Milk Kefir Again

Once removed from the refrigerator the grains will need to be activated again. See above for the activation method.

Troubleshooting & FAQs:

If you experience any problems with your kefir grains please contact us immediately as refunds/replacements will only be issued if you have contacted us within the first three days of receiving your live cultures.

It’s been a few days now and my grains have not arrived. Will they be still be alive when they arrive?

We are the Ireland’s biggest supplier of live cultures and have spent years investing in and testing the safest and best delivery methods. Unfortunately delays within the postal service can and do happen from time to time BUT we absolutely guarantee our cultures will arrive safely and in top condition. In the rare event there is a problem, please be assured we will look after you fully with a replacement.

Are the milk kefir grains reusable?

Yes, a single purchase of our kefir grains can provide you with a lifetimes supply of milk kefir.

Are all milk kefir grains the same?

No, all kefir grains are not created equal and they vary from one to the next. Our milk kefir grains are grown using finest organic ingedients available and they are extremely potent. Over time, your grains will grow and multiply. This means you can either make more kefir at a time or enjoy stronger kefir in the same time.

If I am making more than one cultured food types (kefir, kombucha, sourdough, etc.), how far apart should I keep the live cultures?

We recommend a minimum distance of 5 feet between the cultures. However when your cultures are being stored in the refrigerator and secured with tight-fitting lids, there is no requirement to keep distance between them.

My grains are not showing any signs of activity after 48hrs:

Once received all live kefir grains require settling as they adjust to their new environment (they are very temperature sensitive) this usually takes between 3-5 brews. See “How to activate your milk kefir grains” above and carry on with the process until you notice it has started to separate, thicken or change texture then move on to the next step.

It is absolutely normal for milk kefir grains to produce poor quality milk kefir for the first few weeks. You may find the kefir is watery or even very sour. Again this is normal and the kefir is still fine to consume. This happens due to the grains still settling into their new environment and recovering from the shipping process. It is important to continue with the daily fermentation process. Once settled your grains will produce great tasting kefir (usually within 1-2 weeks).

What ingredients are used when growing milk kefir grains?

Our live milk kefir grains are grown using only certified organic milk.

I followed your instructions and nothing is happening?

The first few batches may be off-balance as the live grains are are very temperature sensitive but once settled they will make top quality Milk Kefir daily. This can usually take 3-5 days but it really depends if the grains are stressed or not and the grains can sometimes take 1-2 weeks to fully settle.

How will I know when my milk kefir is ready?

Milk kefir will be thicker than fresh milk, so you’re looking to see that change in texture and consistency. The cultured kefir will have a sour, tangy taste to it which will confirm that your milk kefir is ready to drink. If you like it more sour tasting, simply allow it to ferment for a little longer.

I really don’t like the taste of milk kefir, what can I do?

You could add flavours during the second fermentation stage. The options are endless. You are only limited by your imagination.

What is a first and second fermentation stage?

To put it simply, the first fermentation is done when your milk kefir grains are added to milk and cultured at room temperature for approx 24 hours. Now, once you strain out your kefir grains with a plastic strainer and pour the drained kefir into a jar the milk kefir is then ready to consume OR…

You can add fruit to the jar, seal it and store the milk kefir (with the grains removed) on your countertop for an additional 24hrs. This is what’s known as the second fermentation.

Fruit contains sugars which will continue to feed the bacteria within your kefir (even with the grains removed) thus boosting the overall probiotic content of the cultured milk kefir.

Alternatively you can store the milk kefir and fruit mixture in your fridge for a few days, again in a sealed jar. It will continue to slowly ferment. Again this is what’s known as the second fermentation.

I’m interested in kefir but I’m allergic to dairy. What are my options?

We recommend water kefir. Our certified organic water kefir grains contain no dairy and are cultured with organic sugar and filtered water.

Is the homemade milk kefir gluten-free?

Yes, milk kefir grains are usually grown in cow’s milk and are gluten-free. Some milks, however, may not be safe so you’ll need to check the ingredients to make sure.

Is it necessary to rinse the grains between each batch?

No. It’s not necessary to rinse the grains between batch UNLESS they stop culturing kefir effectively (which can happen sometimes due to a buildup of yeast on the grains). If it does become necessary to rinse the grains, use only filtered water.

There you go!

Remember, like most live cultures, milk kefir grains can be temperamental and will take a while to master. These instructions should only serve as a guide and are a reflection of what works for us. After a while you are likely to find your own way and methods which is the beauty (and fun!) of working with milk kefir.


When fermenting more than one live culture at home, we suggest a distance of at least 4 feet between the cultures at all times. This is to help stop cross contamination of the different cultures and is of particular importance when culturing dairy products. The only exception to this is when cultures are being stored in the refrigerator with tight-fitting lids.