Water Kefir vs Milk Kefir

21 March 2022

Water Kefir and Milk Kefir are both fermented probiotic-rich drinks that are excellent for gut health, far better than virtually any other probiotic if you make them yourself. Here I'm going to state some of the pros and cons of each. This will involve looking at the microbe content of each drink, the taste, and so on.

Probiotic Value

This one is straightforward - milk kefir wins. Milk kefir has many more strains of beneficial yeast and bacteria. Water kefir is said to have 10 to 15 strains, while milk kefir has a least double that.


I'd say this is largely a matter of preference. Water kefir is a fruity fizzy drink, milk kefir is a creamy and somewhat fizzy drink. When made properly either one tastes good, so I'll call this a tie.

Nutritional Value

While water kefir is quite nutritious, since the microbes break down the sugar and create various vitamins and minerals, milk kefir is much more nutritious overall. It contains more vitamins and minerals, while water kefir also lacks protein and fat.

Ease of Making

Both are easy to make, with the correct ingredients. Water kefir requires clean water, organic sugar, organic molasses, and some organic fruit. Milk kefir requires high quality raw milk, as well as possibly some organic fruit to flavour it with. I'd say this is a tie since it depends if you have access to a steady supply of raw grass-fed milk or not. If you don't, water kefir should be your drink of choice.

Food Intolerances

Water kefir is suitable for anyone who can't, or doesn't want to, consume dairy products. Even high-quality dairy products can be very problematic for some people. There are many potential problems such as lactose intolerance, or the high calcium content of milk.

Water kefir wins this one because obviously it lacks these dairy-related issues.


Personally, I don't think one is substantially better than the other. The main trade-off is that water kefir lacks the potential problems posed by dairy, but milk kefir is a more potent probiotic. Personally I like to drink mostly water kefir, but now and then I drink some milk kefir for the extra probiotic boost.