Video Blog: How to Make Coconut Milk Kefir

Since beginning the GAPS diet back in March, our family has been dairy-free. Although we are currently not on the GAPS diet anymore, through doing the diet we discovered that at least two members of our family react poorly to dairy.

Though I am a huge advocate of raw milk (and cheese and creme fraiche and yogurt, etc.), we’ve had to say good-bye to this part of our diet, at least for the time being.

I am preparing a post that will hopefully go up later in the month, detailing some of the fantastic dairy alternatives are out there, which are easy and kid-friendly, while sticking to the principles of traditional foods. Yes, there are LOTS of options. Soon, I promise I’ll share them!

In the meantime, here is one of those alternatives that we have been greatly enjoying lately: Coconut Milk Kefir!

There are lots of reasons that this is a fantastic combination, but I’ll boil them down to these:

  • Coconut oil/milk are traditional dietary components in many cultures. Coconut contains medium chain fatty acids, including lauric and capric acid. These are GOOD fats, ones that boost the immune system, fight against yeast overgrowth, and have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities.
  • Kefir is a wonderful source of beneficial bacteria. It is like a drinkable or more liquid form of yogurt, except that the bacterial strains are different. It helps digestion and overall gut health in particular, and supports good health in many ways.

When I first began making coconut milk kefir, I didn’t actually know that there was information out there on how to do so. I just tried it on a whim, because I was really missing kefir. I simply hoped it would work, and was so pleased when it did!

I’ve since found a few other tutorials in making coconut milk kefir. I will link to them below, for those who would like to look into this further.

One thing to note is that both Mare and Lindsay recommend using coconut milk that has not been diluted with water, which is how I make mine. I have since tried this and it makes a wonderful, thick and creamy kefir, which can be used more in place of yogurt, sour cream, in ice cream, etc.

However, I began diluting mine for two reasons:

1) Cost. I needed to make it stretch a little bit further, and because coconut milk is so rich and creamy, diluting it works well for this purpose.

2) Texture. I actually wanted a more drinkable kefir, not quite so thick. I like to use it as a base for smoothies, as a drink, or in place of milk to pour over homemade granola.

Although I have read that diluting it can lessen the effectiveness of the grains, and result in not enough natural sugars for the kefir grains to consume, I (happily) haven’t found this to be true in my experience. I am diluting it at a 1:1 ratio. After over a month of frequent use, my kefir grains are working as well as ever.

In my video, I will show you how I make my frugal, diluted version of coconut milk kefir, perfect for smoothies, drinking, pouring over cereals, etc.

If you would like to make the thicker, undiluted version, simply follow the same steps, but do not add any water to your can of coconut milk.

**Wondering what that banging noise is in the background? 8 month old Johanna in her high chair, happily kicking the footrest!**

For those who want to learn more and see how others do make their coconut milk kefir, here are a couple more links:

How to Make Coconut Milk Kefir @ Passionate Homemaking

How to Make Coconut Kefir @ Just Making Noise

Have you tried making coconut milk kefir? How do you use coconut milk or other traditional dairy alternatives in your kitchen?

Image by YimHafiz

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Do you need to put the kefir grains in dairy milk every once in awhile to keep them alive as with nut milks?

  2. hi. great blog! after reading your post and passionate homemaking’s post, i’m just starting to make coco milk kefir with milk kefir grains. i used two cans of arroy D brand milk to 2 TBSP healthy milk kefir grains. the first batch was OK. the second batch had a slight almost fuzzy film on the top that i never see on my raw milk kefir. then put the grains in raw milk (their usual diet) and let kefir for 24 hours. the milk kefir got a thicker fuzzy coating. what is going amiss? should i use more kefir grains? less coco milk? both? or is this just my grains adjusting to their new medium? the fuzzy layer is disconcerting.

    • Perhaps a shorter culturing time? In the summer, I often find that I need even less than 24 hours. I’m not sure why that would have happened, but it may be a good idea to try rinsing your grains off then trying them in a small amount of milk again.

  3. Hi
    Wow we have a lot of similar interests and ideas! I’m on the other side of the country though. Otherwise it would be fun to get together and chat about all this stuff on your website!
    I have been learning the art of Kefir making. My husband enjoys it and I do too but am finding it irritates my bladder. Not sure if its the milk or the alchohol in the kefir. I think I’d like to try it with coconut milk though and see. Which leads me to my question. Similar to you we’re a young growing family and I’m always nervous about drinking the kefir during that ‘am i pregnant?’ phase. Have you done research about this? I can’t find anything conclusive yet – no one saying ‘ya kefir is fine for pregnancy and no one saying ‘no avoid it’. Just thought I’d see if you found anything.
    Thanks

    • Hi Sheryl! I can’t see any reason not to drink kefir. The alcohol content is very, very minimal. It’s so much more beneficial than it would be worrysome. I always drank kefir, through pregnancy, nursing, and in between, and I know that many others do, too. I know that some prefer to avoid kombucha for pregnancy (because of the detox factor), but I’ve never heard it about kefir. Of course, I’m no expert. That’s just my opinion. :)

  4. i just saw your video tutorial on coconut milk kefir. we’re anaphylactic to dairy and so i was wondering whether i could use water kefir grains instead of the milk kefir grains?

  5. What a great video! I’ve been researching coconut ideas for my 8 month old who is intolerant of dairy. I’m actually searching for a homemade baby formula using coconut as a base. I know it’s possible – I just haven’t found a reliable recipe yet. Ever heard of this? Anyway, I am going to make coconut kefir this week!

  6. Mischele says:

    Thanks so much for doing this tutorial. I have been making dairy kefir but recently discovered that I have a dairy allergy so am excited to try this. I do have a few questions though. Someone told me that dairy kefir grains used to kefir other substances (like coconut milk) need to be returned periodically to dairy milk or they will die. Have you experienced this problem? Do you return your grains to milk periodically? If so, how often? Thanks!

  7. I have been doing some reading on the ‘metal’ issue with kefir. And it seems that at the turn of the last century most utensils were made of aluminum or tin, and the fermentation of the kefir ‘could’ draw molecules of the metal into the mixture.
    Now most kitchen utensils are made of stainless steel and do not release molecules.
    So it is ‘reportedly safe to use a stainless strainer

    Cheers!

  8. Stephanie, when making regular milk Kefir, do you use whole milk? I know you use organic, right? If you have this posted somewhere, I’m sorry. I’ve been looking all around your site and haven’t found anything except for this tutorial on coconut kefir. Will you ever do a tutorial for regular milk Kefir??? ;)

  9. chrissy says:

    I am very interested in making coconut milk keifer/yogurt. I have found though that it does not work with the so delicious coconut milk (unsweetened)…I only tried the yogurt and after 24 hours it still hadn’t thickened. Does it not culture due to the preservatives or not enough sugar or any ideas? Thanks!!!

  10. Stephanie,
    Thank you for this video! I’ve been making kefir using the Dan’s milk recipe you posted a while back, but we can no longer find cream in our area that isn’t ultrapasteurized. I finally gave in and made yogurt with skim milk today, just to keep my culture from going bad through lack of use (which has already happened to my buttermilk). I’m going to go right now and start some coconut milk kefir.
    I have one question. If you don’t start a new batch of kefir right away, do you add some coconut milk to your kefir grains, before refrigerating them?
    Thanks,
    Paula

  11. Hi Stephanie, I’m new at this for please forgive me if I’m asking a silly question. I am currently in the process of hydrating my milk kefir grains in raw milk and also have some water kefir grains that I haven’t hydrated yet–one thing at a time. Which grains would I use for the coconut milk kefir. I’m assuming the dairy kefir grains but not positive. Also, would I have to acclimate my grains to the “new” milk before it can be effective and how long. Thanks so much for your time and help.

    • @Sandy Beckwith, I used my dairy kefir grains. From what I’ve read, it’s possible to do it with water kefir grains, but you will get more reliable results with dairy grains. I didn’t really notice much time for my grains to acclimate to the coconut milk. The kefir was pretty good even the first time, although as with dairy kefir, it always works best when the grains are being used regulalry.

  12. stephanie –
    THANK YOU!! your video made this process so simple and do-able for me. i literally opened a can of thai kitchen organic coc milk last night after watching you, used some of my water kefir grains + water, and today we enjoyed the results in a delicious smoothie!! i am linking to you on my blog today, as well.
    i am so appreciative of learning and now implementing this awesome addition to our diet!!
    .-= emily´s last blog ..welcome home, babe!! =-.

  13. Do you think there would be a small amount of dairy in the kefir from using dairy kefir grains?

    Native Forest Organic coconut milk is in BPA free cans.

    Great post, thanks!

    • @Krissy, I think the amount of dairy is so minimal that it doesn’t matter, except of course for someone with an extremely strong allergy to dairy. You can also rinse the grains off with water before switching them over for us in non-dairy “milk”.
      I have never seen Native Forest brand coconut milk in the stores where I shop, but I will keep an eye out for it. Thanks!

  14. Hi,
    I am new to your blog…thank you for all your info.
    The only Kefir drink I’ve ever tried was from the grocery store.
    I always bought the plain, I am totally trying to go sugar free…again.
    I am very interested in making my own kefir coconut drink, but I have a few questions.
    I am a little confused about the water kefir and the milk kefir and kefir in general.
    What would be best for me to purchase from Cultures for health if I have a yeast problem and don’t want dairy? When I went to their site I started reading a bit about the water kefir and it mentioned sugar and yeast, I guess that kind of confused me a bit. Then when I read “dairy Kefier” it makes me think that I’d be drinking a dairy product….confused, can you give me some direction?
    Thank you sooo much!!!
    Rene’

    • @rene@bargainhoot, If it’s dairy kefir, then yes, it’s definitely a dairy product. I use my dairy kefir grains, though, in non-dairy “milks”, like coconut milk, as I showed in this video.
      With the water kefir, you are using sugar but the kefir grains basically eat most of the sugar so that when you drink it, you aren’t really consuming much sugar at all anymore.
      Cultures for Health is a great place to purchase, especially if you’re a bit unsure. They will send you helpful info about how to use the cultures/grains that you buy, and Julie is extremely helpful and you could also send her an email with any questions!

  15. We used coconut milk a LOT during the months we were dairy-free. Family couldn’t handle almond milk and we don’t do soy or hemp or others. It works great in baking though should be diluted a little. We often made ice cream out of it, used in mashed potatoes, etc. At home we had a huge range of options!

    One caution: I’ve heard that you should not use the canned coconut milk. We had switched to So Delicious in cartons (although ALL of them seem to have guar gum and other stuff in them…so making your own is probably best!).
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Do Your Research!: Antibiotics =-.

    • @Kate, Canned anything is usually not the most ideal. :) However, I don’t have easy access to the stuff in cartons, and I’m not too worried about the guar gum (it’s far better than what’s in the cans of coconut milk at the supermarket- sulfites, colors, etc.). Making my own would be best, but impractical for me right now. Sometimes I have to just choose a convenience like this, and then just pick the best options available to me. For me, this seems to be the best options. I am also experimenting with the dried coconut milk powder from Wilderness Family Naturals, so we’ll see what I think of that after a little while.

  16. I’ve never heard of making kefir from coconut milk. I got out of the habit of making my milk kefir…should get that started again. I started a kefir soda yesterday, excited to see how that turns out.

    I’d love to hear more of your thoughts from the GAPS diet. I’ve thought about doing it for our family, maybe in the fall when life is a little less hectic for us.

    • @Amy, I suppose I should think about writing an “after GAPS” post. We did it for 2 months and had a really good experience with it, I am just in a hectic season myself and needed to simplify things in the kitchen a little. But it’s a fantastic diet, which gave us great results, and I highly recommend it!

  17. Christine. says:

    We eat dairy free due to my children’s dairy intolerance. My daughter also seems to be reacting to soy now, and so I’ve been steering clear of that. I have never tried kefir of any kind. But today in TJs I did find a new “milk” I had never seen. Instead of merely rice milk, it’s a grain milk with amarinth, quinoa and one other grain that I’m forgetting (it’s still in the car to be unloaded with the other groceries). I’m excited to try it. Soy milk was my most pleasant milk alternative and I find rice milk very thin and almond milk, well it was gross. Maybe I got a bad batch. No one in our family would drink it. I’m excited to see how the new grain milk tastes and it’s organic to boot!

    • @Christine., That grain “milk” you got sounds really interesting. I haven’t heard of anything like that, but would be curious to know more about it.

      I prefer to stick to milk alternatives that are higher in fat and protein, rather than grains, simply because it’s easy to get enough grains in our diet, but it’s more of the good fats and proteins that we’re missing out on without dairy. My favorites are either coconut milk or hemp milk (which is really wonderful, I would recommend it!).

      • @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Stephanie can you make hemp milk? How do you buy yours? I’ve only seen it in those tetra packs…which I thought weren’t the greatest? Does hemp milk taste similar to hemp seeds or hemp oil?

        • @Nola, Yes, you can make hemp milk. You buy the seeds or hemp “hearts” and then you can just soak them and blend them up in your blender. You can add a bit of sweetener, vanilla, etc. or leave it plain, and you can either use it strained or unstrained, though I don’t find it makes much difference.
          I buy the Manitoba Harvest brand, and just make the milk myself. Definitely better than in the tetra packs, though I have used those in a pinch. It tastes similar to the seeds, but not so much like the oil (not so strong tasting). It is nicer with just a bit of sweetener or vanilla, or even a pinch of sea salt.

  18. I have been wanting to try this!! Thank you so much. I usually read in my feed, so I don’t stop by and comment enough, but I must tell you how very much I L-O-V-E your blog! XOXO
    .-= Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy´s last blog ..How To Change A Tire : A Newbie’s Guide =-.

  19. Very interesting. I would love to hear more about dairy alternatives..but as far as coconut goes…coconut in any form seems to make me gag. Even the smell (nope I am not pregnant). I don’t think my body likes coconut! LOL I did try making nut milk with almonds a while back with a nut milk bag…that seemed to work well, but I still prefer the taste of store bought “rice milk”…but I know its not good for me so I’ve stopped buying it…I do miss it. I’d love to hear if you have any ideas how to make something with that sort of taste (if you know what I am talking about). I wonder if you can make almond milk keifer. Or something like yogurt that is dairy free. Anyways…I’ll look forward to your sharing more :).

    • @Nola, Gosh, I can’t imagine not liking coconut, but hey, if you don’t like it, you can’t force yourself to.

      I also like homemade almond milk with soaked almonds. I have no idea, though, if you can make kefir with it. I suppose you could always give it a shot, right?

      Have you tried water kefir, yet? That’s another great way to get the beneficial bacteria, without the dairy.

      • @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,

        That is how I make my almond milk- with soaked almonds. Nope, I haven’t tried water keifer yet. Its on my “to do” list for baby steps. I’m in the research stage I’ve been looking at the Cultures for Health website.

  20. I have been making water kefir for the last few months and am addicted! My next step is to make milk kefir, currently I am just buying it. My water kefir grains are so small compared to your milk kefir grains. Do you know if that is normal? I got them from Cultures for Health, so I am guessing that that they are fine.
    I definitely am going to try coconut kefir once I get some grains. One last question I have – I buy the Thai Kitchen coconut milk for smoothies and Passionate Homemaker’s ice cream recipe (yum!) and it is so thick that it is mostly a solid with some separated out water in the bottom of the can. Is this how it is supposed to be? The can says to shake well, but shaking doesn’t do anything to reincorporate it. I would need to blend it if I wanted it smooth. I am wondering if this is normal or if it has been sitting on the store shelf too long. Thanks!

    • @Sheri, I actually think that this is because it is higher quality and doesn’t have any preservatives in it. The coconut cream naturally separates from the water. Mine is always just like you described. I always have to use a spatula to scrape out all the cream, then give it a really good stir.

      And mine are huge because I’ve had them for a long time and use them lots. They’ve just grown really big. But perhaps the water ones don’t get quite as big? I’m not as familiar with them, as I’m only experimenting with water kefir myself at this stage. Does anyone else know if water kefir grains don’t grow as large?

      • Melissa says:

        @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,

        In general I think the water kefir grains are smaller in size than the milk kefir grains. I’ve been doing water kefir since the beginning of the year and my grains have not grown in size much at all. They do grow in numbers though… holy cow! :)

        When I got my milk kefir grains I noticed they were sort of held together by this stringy stuff. I think the woman I got them from had hers a while as well. It looked like she sent me 2 large chunks of them and they were all stuck together.

  21. Melissa says:

    I got my milk kefir grains a month ago from someone on etsy.com and they were cheaper than what I was going to pay w/culturesforhealth.com. I was so happy. :)

    I got them to do coconut kefir but after culturing once, I’m not sure I am doing it right. I know it’s supposed to be sour, but it was SO sour. I know I couldn’t consume it with that taste. (We do water kefir and I’m so used to just drinking it straight up, LOL.)

    It also never thickened up at all. I used the So Delicious brand of coconut milk instead of the thick canned stuff so I’m wondering if this is part of my issue. I’m excited to try the canned milk and see if I have better luck.

  22. Thanks for the post! I will have to make this! I was just wondering why you and your family are no longer on the GAPS diet? My family and I have been on the GAPS diet for the over a month, with only a few meals where we went off. I am just curious, as I respect so much of your opinions and information on health and diet.

    Sarah
    .-= Sarah Harbottle´s last blog ..Potty Training…..Resumes =-.

    • @Sarah Harbottle, Good question. We did it for 2 full months, taking an entire month to work our way through the full intro diet. It was definitely helpful for our family, and in fact, we are still completely dairy and gluten-free because of some of the differences we noticed while on it.

      There was a lot of healing done for us in those 2 months, but I know that the healing work isn’t finished yet. However, I am in a particularly busy and stressful season right now, and I simply needed to make some changes that would ease up on my work level in the home. Though the GAPS diet is definitely do-able, with the significant level of other tasks on my plate during this season, it was just a little bit too much for me to continue with. We would like to get back to it in the fall, when life has slowed down a bit and after we are settled into our new home (we’re moving in July).

  23. Interesting. I began making kefir just three weeks ago and will try it with the coconut milk.

  24. Thank you for explaining things so clearly in your video presentation. I love both kefir AND coconut milk, so I will give this a try, thanks! p.s. I didn’t find your baby daughter’s noises distracting at all ~smile~ Funny how we mothers can just tune things out, lol!
    .-= Mrs. T´s last blog ..My Exciting New Venture =-.

    • @Mrs. T, I actually hadn’t noticed that she was making the noise the entire time I was making the video. It wasn’t until I was watching the video in the evening (when it was quiet in the house!) that I suddenly noticed it. I’m sure many moms will just tune it out like yourself (thank God for giving us that ability!), but I thought that some people might wonder what the noise was! :)

  25. Thanks for the post! I am adding this to my list of things to try. We don’t have raw milk readily available in my community, so I was looking for alternatives. I was raised on skim milk (thinking it was healthier) but I’m trying to move away from that. I used to drink a glass of milk a day. Lately I haven’t been doing that, and I’ve noticed that my acid reflux hasn’t acted up once. But, I love milk so this seems like a great alternative. I do have one question – where do you get your kefir?
    .-= Christy Sheffield´s last blog ..May Trend Essentials: Making Memories =-.

    • @Christy Sheffield, I actually got my kefir grains almost 2 years ago, from a sweet reader who sent them to me. :) One great place that I know of to purchase kefir grains (unless you can find someone near you who can share some of theirs with you) is CulturesforHealth.com. There are also some online places for people who want to share kefir grains, although I don’t know where to find tem specifically. I just know they exist. Try googling “kefir grains” or “find kefir grains” and you might find something.