Finding the Best Plant Based Milk for Making Kefir

Rohit Panwar

Although kefir can be made using all types of plant milks, some vegan milks produce better results. In this guide I help you find options for the best non- dairy milk to make kefir. 

The milk used to make kefir impacts the flavour and consistency of the final product. Therefore, it is important to choose the right kind of milk to get the best tasting vegan kefir.  


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What is the Best Non Dairy Milk to Make Kefir | 17 Top Options

Vegan kefir can be made with a number of non dairy options like fruit juices, water, plant milks and coconut water. Here let me delve a little deeper into some of the best plant-based milk options for making kefir- 

1. Oat Milk Kefir

Oat milk is one of the best options for making kefir. Since oat milk is rich in starch, it makes the kefir thick and creamy. 

In a jar of oat milk add kefir grains or powdered kefir starter along with some date paste / raw sugar. Cover the jar with a lid and let it ferment for 18 -24 hours. Remove the kefir grains and enjoy. 

2. Coconut Milk Kefir 

Coconut milk is my personal favourite when it comes to choosing the best non dairy milk to make kefir. Thicker your coconut milk, the creamier will be your coconut milk kefir. 

Since coconut milk is readily available, it also makes for a very convenient option. However, when buying coconut milk make sure you buy preservative free and natural coconut milk. 

3. Rice Milk Kefir

Rice milk, a popular vegan milk, can also be used in preparing kefir. The fermentation of rice milk is know to improve its nutritional value which make rice milk an excellent choice for kefir preparation. 

The kefir made with rice milk, however, is thinner and less sour in taste as compared to other plant based kefirs. 

4. Macadamia Milk Kefir

Made from the creamy and buttery macadamia nuts, macadamia nut milk can be used in many ways including for making kefir as well.  

Since macadamia milk is low in carbs (which acts like food for kefir grains) you need to add date paste or some sugar for the grains or starter to work properly.

5. Soy Milk Kefir

If you want a kefir that is similar in taste to dairy kefir, soy milk is your best option. Soy milk kefir has a mild and creamy taste with a hint of sourness. 

Since soy milk is so easily available, making a batch at home is quite easy and cost effective as well. 

6. Almond Milk Kefir 

Almond milk is another popular option for making kefir amongst vegan kefir lovers. The kefir made using almond milk is usually thinner but nonetheless delicious and nutritious.

Just follow the regular steps for making kefir and try to use home made almond milk if possible for best results. 

7. Hazelnut Milk Kefir

Hazelnut milk is not as popular as other plant milks but in my opinion it needs more recognition. The creamy flavour makes it a good choice for making kefir. 

You can use activated or live kefir grains or powdered kefir culture for this purpose. 

8. Peanut Milk Kefir

The high protein, creamy peanut milk can also be a good option for preparing kefir. Although peanut milk is not readily available, it can be easily prepared at home with plain peanuts. 

In order to make kefir using peanut milk, you will need to add some sugar/ date paste into your peanut milk. This ensures that the kefir microbes have enough food to multiply. 

9. Pistachio Milk Kefir

Pistachios are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Pistachio milk is thus a delicious and nutritious vegan beverage. 

You can enhance the benefits of pistachio milk by adding to it the probiotics of kefir. The resulting kefir would be slightly nutty and mild.

10. Cashew Milk Kefir

Cashew milk is a very popular choice for making vegan or plant based yogurt. The creamy and buttery texture makes it so appealing. 

Kefir is thus also a preferred option for making kefir at home. If you want a thicker kefir, I recommend using homemade cashew milk that has not been strained. 

11.  Walnut Milk Kefir

Walnut milk may not be as readily available as other nut milks but it is one of the easiest nut milks to make at home. 

The homemade walnut milk can be used to make kefir as well. However, the time needed for fermentation in case of walnut milk and other nut milks may be longer than 12 hours.

12. Pine Nut Milk Kefir

Pine nuts are one of the most nutrition dense nuts rich in iron, magnesium, zinc and antioxidants. Pine nut milk as a result is also a very nutritious drink. 

Pine nuts have a delicate, buttery and rich taste which makes your kefir quite creamy. It is also less sour when compared to dairy versions. 

13. Sunflower Seed Milk Kefir

If you are in for more experimentation, why stop at nuts, try some seed milks. Sunflower seed is easy to make at home and is truly delicious. 

Sunflower milk is rich in nutrients including vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, selenium, etc. Culturing it with kefir grains will further  enhance its nutrition.

14. Quinoa Milk Kefir 

If you are looking for a nut-free, soy-free vegan option for making kefir, quinoa milk can be a really good one. 

Quinoa milk is low in fats and surprisingly good to taste. It can be cultured easily with kefir grains or cultures. It will take anywhere between 18 to 24 hours for the fermentation to complete. 

15. Flax Seed Milk Kefir

Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids or “good fats” flax milk is another good option for making a non dairy kefir. 

Again, follow the regular process of making kefir and enjoy a delicious, nutritious and gut friendly drink. 

16. Pumpkin Seed Milk Kefir

If you do not find pumpkin seed milk at the stores, make it home. You will only need a very few things to make this or any other vegan milk at home. 

Pumpkin seed milk kefir can be made using kefir grains that have been previously grown in dairy milk or powdered kefir cultures that are a one time use. 

17. Pecan Milk Kefir

If you like walnuts, you probably love pecans too. Pecan milk is not only delectable but is also rich in healthy unsaturated fats and nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients. 

Now marry these nutrients with the benefits of probiotics and you will get a super nutritive drink. 

How to Make Kefir With Plant Based Milk?

Making kefir from plant based milk can be tricky. This is because unlike animal milk, vegan milks lack the natural sugar lactose. The kefir grains are a colony of good bacteria and yeast that need lactose to feed. 

So, add a small amount of sugar/ date paste/ maple paste to vegan milk before fermentation. This is just to make sure that the bacteria in the grains have enough food to ferment.

Therefore, you have two options for making kefir with vegan milk

Using Powdered Kefir Starter

This is a single-use culture. You can use it only once. All you need to do is add it to your vegan milk. Let it ferment for 12-48 hours.

Using Kefir Grains 

For using kefir grains to make vegan kefir,  first treat the grains in regular dairy milk. This will activate the grains and make them ready to be used for vegan kefir.

Repeat the process  after making 3-4 batches of vegan kefir or when your grains seem to be smaller in size.

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Non Dairy Milk to Make Kefir?

  • Can you make kefir with non-dairy milk?

Ans. Yes, you can make kefir using any kind of dairy milk. 

  • Will kefir grains grow in plant milk?

Ans. Yes, they will. However, since plant milks lack lactose, you need to add soem form of sugar – date paste or raw sugar along with kefir starter to make sure that microbes have enough food to feed. 

  • Is non-diary kefir good for you?

Ans. Non dairy kefir is rich in probiotics and can thus help you in maintaining your gut health.

  • Can kefir be made with lactose free milk?

Ans. Yes, it can but you will need to add sugar so that the kefir microbes can feed on them.

Rohit Panwar

Hi! I'm Integrated Nutrition Coach Rohit Panwar. I hold twin Certifications from IIN, New York & SAFM, Massachusetts. I am a passionate vocalist of holistic lifestyle and have fully committed the past several years to educate & empower people towards their wellbeing. Despite a successful yet hectic corporate stint of 21+ years, I have prioritised nutriment in my life. I truly hope my personal journey from illness to wellness helps everybody reading this forge their own path.