Non-Dairy Kefir

Lovely Fizzy Apple Juice Kefir

I have been making and drinking Kefir for years and really like it. I like the taste and I like what it does for my body. But did you know that while it was originally a dairy drink, you can use any drink that has some sugar in it for the microorganisms s to eat?

I like to use apple juice and coconut water, but I have also used beetroot juice, water with some sugar added, and even coconut milk. They all turned out great and are easy to make. My secret weapon to being able to make all of these different varies is that I use the Kefir Culture, not kefir grains.

The grains are great, but, for me and my proclivity to change the type of kefir I want to make every few days, I need to be able to go from milk to water, to apple juice, to beetroot juice and then back to milk, all within a few weeks. With grains, you just can’t do that. Dairy grains are used in milk and water grains are used in water. They do not switch from one medium to another.

So, if you like to make 4 different types of kefir, and you don’t want to have to maintain 4 sets of different grains, the way to go is with Maintenance Free Kefir Culture.

Just warm up your drink to 30 degrees. I do this by placing the unopened drink into a sink of warm water for a while. Then transfer the drink into a large jar. I use the flip top 1.5-litre jars for one litre of drink. I am using apple juice in one and coconut water in the other. Add a VERY SMALL amount of culture and mix it in. Then use a piece of tight weave cloth to cover the open jar and secure it with a rubber band or a piece of string.

Allow the jars to set for 24 hours to ferment. In winter, I usually leave mine for a little longer because I am in Stanthorpe QLD, and it is cold here in winter and it takes a little longer to get where I want to go in terms of flavour.

Once the kefir has fermented to the taste that you are looking for, remove the cloth and string and close the lid. You can now pop it into the door of your fridge and drink once chilled.

Fermenting drinks like coconut water and apple juice reduces the sugar while at the same time giving a home for the rapid growth of probiotics, essential to good gut health. For me, it also drastically improves the flavour. Most juices are far too sweet for me, and the acidity created by the fermentation of the sugars is just what I need to make this a refreshing beverage that is a pleasure to drink.

Give your favourite juice a try and see what you think. Kefir is so good for your gut and delicious and with the maintenance fee culture, you can feel free to experiment.

As always,

Live well.

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10 Replies to “Non-Dairy Kefir”

    1. Hello,

      I leave the unopened container in hot water just long enough to bring it up to 30 degrees. This will take a different amount of time depending on how hot the water is and also how cold the liquid is that you are trying to warm. Did you get it out of the fridge or the pantry? . Try just a few minutes and then, using a thermometer, check the temperature. Put it back in the water if it is not yet 30 degrees.

      Hope this is of assistance

  1. Hi Valerie,
    After this process can we keep a small amount of the fermented kefir & add it to apple juice at 30degrees again? To keep the batch going or not?

    1. Hello Kaz,

      Yes, you can. However, it will be slightly different as there is some drift, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is mother nature at work and she is in charge. I usually go back to the culture, which comes in a packet that does 100 litres, so I am only spending about 25 cents per litre on culture. I like the reliability of the culture and it fits with my busy lifestyle.


  2. I like to eat oats with kefir for breakfast. I would like to move away from dairy kefir, but would like to make a coconut kefir. Would any type of coconut milk available in the shops be suitable?

    1. Hello Anna,

      You need one that is preservative free. Go organic if you can, but any preservative free coconut water will work.


  3. can one use a smidgen of champagne yeast rather than kefir grains, which would defeat the ethics of veganism?

    1. If you use a different ingredient, other that kefir, you are making something different. Not bad, but different. I use kefir culture, a mix of bacteria and yeast, with great results. I am not sure I understand your comment on the ethics of veganism.

  4. Hello Valerie,

    Thank you, I had received my ordered Maintenance Free Keir Culture. As the instruction mentioned a dose of kefir culture per 1 litre, can you please specified is it 1 teaspoon per one litre of coconut milk? Can I use repeat Kefir coconut milk to second ferment again? Or do I need to use the new kefir culture to ferment my goat milk kefir?

    Thank you greatly

    1. Hello Lee.

      Have a look at the directions, and you will see that the pack contains enough for 100 litres, so there are 100 doses in the packet. Read the section on how much culture to use. You can also go to the Green Living Australia website and look up the frequently asked questions on kefir. Here is the link to “How much culture do I use to make kefir?” There is also a video you can watch.

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