The Ultimate Guide to Freezing Kefir Grains: Mastering the Best Method

How to Freeze Kefir Grains – The Best Way

Kefir grains are a popular ingredient used to make milk and water kefir, which are probiotic-rich beverages known for their health benefits. If you’re an avid kefir brewer and need to take a break or store your kefir grains for future use, freezing them is an excellent option. Freezing kefir grains helps maintain their viability and freshness, ensuring that you can reactivate them when you’re ready to start making kefir again. In this article, we will walk you through the best way to freeze kefir grains and answer some common questions about kefir.

Understanding Kefir Grains

Before we get into the process of freezing kefir grains, let’s first understand what kefir grains are. Kefir grains are not actual grains, but rather a symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast living in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars. These grains are responsible for fermenting the milk or water and turning it into kefir. As you make kefir, these grains multiply, allowing you to reuse them for subsequent batches.

Choosing the right kefir grains

When it comes to kefir grains, you have two options: milk kefir grains or water kefir grains. Milk kefir grains are used to ferment dairy-based kefir, while water kefir grains are used to ferment non-dairy alternatives such as water, coconut water, or juice. Depending on your preferences and dietary restrictions, you can choose the type of kefir grains that meet your needs.

The benefits of making your own kefir

Making kefir at home with kefir grains has several advantages. First, it is a cost-effective alternative to buying store-bought kefir, which can be expensive in the long run. Second, making your own kefir allows you to control the ingredients and customize the flavor to your liking. Finally, homemade kefir ensures that you’re getting the freshest, most potent probiotics because the fermentation process takes place right in your kitchen.

The process of freezing kefir grains

Follow these steps to freeze kefir grains:

  1. Rinse the grains: Start by rinsing the kefir grains with cool water to remove any impurities or residue.
  2. Let them dry: Place the rinsed kefir grains on a paper towel and pat them gently to remove excess moisture. Allow to air dry for an hour or two until completely dry.
  3. Prepare an airtight container: Find a glass jar or freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. This will ensure that the grains are protected from freezer burn and moisture.
  4. Fill the container: Pour the dried kefir grains into the container. Optionally, you can sprinkle a small amount of milk powder over the grains before sealing the jar. The milk powder will help keep the grains fresh during freezing.
  5. Seal and freeze: Close the lid tightly to create an airtight seal. Place the container in the freezer, making sure it is upright to prevent spillage. Kefir grains will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Reactivate frozen kefir grains

When you’re ready to reactivate your frozen kefir grains, follow these steps:

  1. Thaw the grains: Remove the container of frozen kefir grains from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature. This process may take several hours.
  2. Rehydrate the grains: Once the grains are thawed, place them in a clean glass jar and cover with fresh milk or water, depending on the type of kefir you are making. Use about 1-2 teaspoons of kefir grains per 4 cups of liquid.
  3. To ferment the kefir: Cover the jar with a breathable cover, such as a coffee filter or a cloth secured with a rubber band. Leave the jar at room temperature for 24-48 hours to allow the fermentation process to occur.
  4. Strain and enjoy: After the fermentation period, strain the kefir grains and transfer the liquid to another container. Your kefir is now ready to be consumed or used in various recipes.

Alternative Storage Methods

If you don’t want to freeze your kefir grains, but still need to store them for a shorter period of time, there are a few alternative methods:

  • Refrigeration: For breaks of a week or two, you can store your kefir grains in milk in a covered container in the refrigerator. Be sure to change the milk every 2 weeks.
  • Drying: Another option is to dehydrate your kefir grains. After rinsing, pat them dry and allow them to air dry for several days until they are completely dry. Store the dried grains in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.


Freezing kefir grains is an easy and effective way to store them for an extended period of time. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure the viability and freshness of your kefir grains, allowing you to take a break from brewing or have a backup for future use. Whether you’re using milk kefir grains or water kefir grains, proper storage techniques will help maintain the integrity of your kefir culture. So go ahead and freeze your kefir grains with confidence, knowing that you’ll be able to enjoy homemade kefir whenever you’re ready to start again.


Can kefir grains be frozen?

Yes, kefir grains can be frozen to preserve their viability and freshness for an extended period of time.

How long can you freeze kefir grains?

Kefir grains can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months without significant loss of fermenting ability.

Do I need to rinse my kefir grains before freezing?

Yes, it is recommended to rinse the kefir grains with cold water before freezing to remove any impurities or residue.

Should I dry my kefir grains before freezing?

Yes, it is important to air dry the rinsed kefir grains on a paper towel before freezing. This will help remove excess moisture and prevent ice crystals from forming.

Can I freeze kefir grains in milk or water?

It is best to freeze kefir grains without liquid. Place the dry kefir grains in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. You can add a small amount of powdered milk to the grains before freezing to keep them fresh.

How do I revive frozen kefir grains?

To reactivate frozen kefir grains, thaw them at room temperature, then transfer them to a clean container and cover with fresh milk or water. Allow the grains to ferment at room temperature for 24-48 hours before straining and using the kefir as desired.