Water Kefir vs Milk Kefir: What's the Difference?

water kefir vs milk kefir differences
Kefir, a traditional fermented beverage with a rich history, has gained popularity for its potential health benefits and unique tangy flavor. While both water kefir and milk kefir share the same origins and fermentation process, they differ in their ingredients, taste, and nutritional composition. In this article, we will explore the dissimilarities between water kefir and milk kefir, enabling you to make an informed choice about which one might suit your preferences and dietary needs.

What are kefir grains?

Kefir grains are a mix of bacteria and yeast. They are used to ferment milk to make milk kefir or sugar water to make water kefir. Despite the name, kefir grains are not actually grains, but rather a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). 

water kefir grains
Image: Water Kefir Grains

Kefir grains are made up of a complex community of microorganisms that work together to ferment the milk or sugar water. Bacteria and yeast in kefir grains consume lactose in milk or sugar in water. This produces lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This fermentation process creates the characteristic tangy and slightly sour taste of kefir, as well as the effervescence in water kefir.

What is Water Kefir?

Water kefir is a fermented drink made by culturing kefir grains in sugar water or coconut water. Grains are made up of bacteria and yeast. They ferment the sugars in the liquid, creating a carbonated drink. This drink is slightly sour and slightly sweet.

Water kefir is a dairy-free and vegan-friendly drink that is a good source of probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. It is also lower in calories and sugar compared to other fizzy drinks.

What is Milk Kefir?

Milk kefir, on the other hand, is a fermented drink made by culturing milk kefir grains in cow's milk, goat's milk, or other types of milk. Kefir grains are a mix of bacteria and yeast. They ferment the lactose in the milk, creating a tart, slightly fizzy drink.

Similar to water kefir, milk kefir is also a good source of probiotics. It also contains calcium, protein, and has a creamy texture that is similar to yogurt.

Water kefir vs milk kefir: What are the differences?

Kefir Ingredients

The primary distinction between water kefir and milk kefir lies in their base ingredients, which is why their tastes and textures vary.

Water kefir is made with sugar water, water kefir grains, and flavorings such as fruit, herbs, or spices. The grains ferment the sugar water and produce a bubbly, slightly sour, and tangy drink that is reminiscent of soda. Water kefir can have a variety of flavors, depending on the ingredients used during fermentation.

Milk kefir, as the name suggests, is made with milk, kefir grains, and flavorings. The grains ferment the lactose in the milk and produce a tangy, slightly sour, and creamy drink that resembles yogurt. Milk kefir can also have different flavors, depending on the type of milk used and the ingredients added. 

Taste and Texture

Water kefir has a slightly sweet and slightly sour taste, with a fizzy texture that is similar to soda. Milk kefir has a thicker consistency than water kefir, which makes it ideal for smoothies, dips, or dressings. 

Nutritional Value

Both water kefir and milk kefir are probiotic-rich beverages, offering a range of potential health benefits. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can have a positive impact on gut health and boost the immune system when consumed in adequate amounts.

Milk kefir is notably higher in protein and calcium, owing to its milk-based origin. Additionally, it contains essential vitamins and minerals present in milk, making it a nutrient-dense option.

On the other hand, water kefir might have a slightly lower probiotic count than milk kefir, but it compensates with being lower in calories and providing additional hydration, which is especially beneficial during hot weather.

Is water kefir better than milk kefir?

The preference for water kefir or milk kefir depends on personal taste and dietary needs. Some people may prefer the taste and texture of milk kefir, while others may prefer the dairy-free and lower-calorie option of water kefir.

Water kefir vs milk kefir: Which one should you choose?

Water kefir and milk kefir are both popular fermented drinks that offer a range of health benefits. However, they have distinct differences that may make one more appealing than the other, depending on your preferences and dietary needs. 

If you're deciding which one to choose, consider the following factors:

Dietary restrictions

One of the biggest differences between water kefir and milk kefir is their ingredients. Water kefir is made with sugar water, while milk kefir is made with milk. If you're lactose intolerant, vegan, or following a dairy-free diet, then water kefir may be a better option for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a dairy-based probiotic drink, then milk kefir would be a good choice.

Taste and texture

Water kefir and milk kefir have distinct tastes and textures that may appeal to different people. Water kefir is light, bubbly, and slightly sweet, with a tangy and sour taste that can be flavored with fruits, herbs, or spices. Milk kefir, on the other hand, is thicker and creamier, with a tangy and slightly sour taste that can be flavored with fruits, honey, or vanilla. 



If you prefer a light and refreshing drink, then water kefir may be a better choice. If you prefer a thicker and creamier drink that resembles yogurt, then milk kefir would be a good option.

Can you drink water kefir everyday?

Yes, we recommend a bottle a day for best effects, and a lot of water to help flush the toxins out of your body. Hydration and the consumption of more fruits and veggies help to hasten results.

Where to buy kefir in Singapore 

If you're looking for where to buy kefir in Singapore, there are several places in Singapore where you can find it. Here are some options to consider:

  • Supermarkets: Some larger supermarkets in Singapore, such as Cold Storage and NTUC FairPrice, may carry kefir in the dairy or health food section. 
  • Online retailers: There are several online retailers in Singapore that sell kefir. For e.g Fizzicle, Singapore’s #1 Kombucha & Kefir maker offers a wide selection of flavors of water kefir that you can choose from. 
  • Health food stores: There are several health food stores in Singapore such as Scoop Wholefoods that sell kefir.  


When buying kefir, it’s also worth noting that artisanal kefir is often considered to be better than mass-produced kefir. Artisanal kefir is often made with kefir grains that have been cultivated over time, resulting in a higher probiotic content than mass-produced kefir. This means that artisanal water kefir may offer more health benefits than mass-produced water kefir.

In conclusion, both water kefir and milk kefir are healthy and tasty drinks that offer a range of health benefits. Choosing between the two depends on your dietary restrictions, taste preferences and health goals. Whether you choose water kefir or milk kefir, try to support trusted local businesses like Fizzicle Singapore to reap the most benefits from this healthy drink.