The wonderful thing about milk kefir grains is their endurance. Even after pausing their activity to produce kefir you can revive milk kefir grains. There are many reasons why you would need to revive milk kefir grains. Perhaps they were in the fridge for month or two. Or perhaps they traveled by  mail. The steps to revive milk kefir grains vary depending on the condition of the kefir grains.



Revive milk kefir grains that were in the fridge or sent by mail

This is a step by step instruction how to revive milk kefir grains:


1st Step: Take them out of the liquid and rinse with lukewarm running water, preferably non-chlorinated.

2nd Step: Put them in a glass jar (Kefirko jar) and add just a bit of fresh milk. It is better to use small amount of milk because the grains are not active yet.

5 steps to revive milk kefir grains2

3rd Step: Cover with a clean cap – not to tight to allow gas from the fermentation process to escape and leave the grains in milk on room temperature. You can use Kefirko jar that allows slightly opened top lid. Check regularly if there is a sign of activity.

5 steps to revive milk kefir grains3

4th Step: Shake the jar after 24 hours and see if the milk thickens or it stayed liquid. Stir with swizzle stick or wooden spoon.

5 steps to revive milk kefir grains4

5th Step: Strain the fermented milk – use the plastic sieve or strainer lid on Kefirko jar. Rinse the grains with running water and put them  in fresh milk. If the milk over-fermented use a bit more milk this time.


Repeat steps 1-5 for two to ten days. The clear sign or reactivation of the grains is thickening of the milk. However, pay attention to the smell and looks of it. In case it smells funny after several days or looks strange,  find some fresh grains.

Furthermore if the grains send by mail are fresh you can revive milk kefir grains quite quickly and they can produce drinkable kefir within few days.

Freezed milk kefir grains

It is possible to freeze milk kefir grains. In case to revive milk kefir grains, you need to thaw them in the fridge, strain them and repeat the steps written above. Again, it is important to check if the milk thickens and continue to change milk every 24 hours until grains can produce drinkable kefir.

Dried kefir grains

On the other hand, in case you have dried kefir grains the first thing you need to do is to put them in cold clean water for several hours to re-hydrate. After they’re re-hydrated, put them in the milk. From there the process is the same like with grains in other conditions – allow it to ferment at the room temperature for 24 hours and check if there are signs of kefir production.

Pay attention! If the grains are yellow, brown and crumbly don’t revive them but throw them away.


    • Hi!
      I’m not sure I understand. The grains were frozen or not? If the kefir grains are frozen they can last up to few months. You just take them out, thaw them and revive them (5 steps to revive kefir grains). If they were in the fridge, it’s possible they died. Try to revive them with milk and you will see if the fermentation will happen (the milk will thicken).
      Hope it goes well.

    • Hi,
      yes it can be harmful to put them in the water, especially if it’s not clear. Note, this is a revival of kefir grains. When you have activated grains there is no need to rinse them in water between batches.

  • I received milk kefir grains in the mail 3 days ago.
    I have been soaking them in milk on the counter since.
    The grains are floating on the top. Is that good or bad?

    • Hi Rita!
      It is possible to take more time for grains to activate. Does the milk thicken at all? Try changing the milk a few more days, maybe even stir the milk occasionally and leave it on room temperature. If the grains don’t activate in 7-14 days there is a possibility they are bad.

    • It’s fine. The grains are producing carbon dioxide gas, and that will often cause some grains to float. It’s perfectly natural.

  • Hi I was making Kefir regularly. Over summer I needed to take a break and I put them into milk and left them in the fridge for 2 months. Will they be ok the start up again ?

    • Hi Debbie!
      It’s hard to tell if your grains will still be active. Try to leave them on the room temperature and change the milk every day. The activation can last up to two weeks. If it thickens and the smell is OK, the grains are activated.
      Hope this helps!
      Best regards,

  • Hello, Kefirko.

    I was given a piece of kefir (as big as a walnut) about 6 years ago and always exspected it to increase in size.
    On the contrary it fell apart in many small grains and turned from white to brownish. It still generated good kefir, except for a few times with organically produced milk, which I had bought at organic food shops.
    Each time I used that kind of milk the result was a white, spongy, rubber-like lump of cheese swimming on top of the whey. The grains were enclosed in that cheese-like matter. It was hardly possible to re-extract them. Thus I lost almost my whole amount of grains.

    Inexplicably that did not happen when I employed organically produced milk of lesser (EU-Bio) quality.

    My questions are:

    (How) can I increase the amount of kefir-grains?

    What is wrong with organically produced ( Demeter, Naturland, etc.) milk?

    Thank you for your answer.

    Regards, Carsten

    • Hi Carsten!
      Thanks for writing. You are opening some interesting questions to which, I hope, our other readers and fellow kefir makers will also have some answers.
      It’s hard to tell about the quality of your grains without analysing it in a lab. Since they’re making kefir, which you find OK, they must be good. But it it natural for grains to grow a bit with every batch you make.
      What you describe with making it with organic milk, to me seems like over-fermentation. For how long do you ferment kefir? Separating whey from thicker kefir happens when you leave it to ferment for more than 24 hours, especially if the temperature is higher.
      So, there are a lot of things that can affect your kefir making. If you are out of grains, you can check if there is anyone sharing them on or you can get them here

      Hope all turns out well!

      Best regards,

  • Hi Kefirko,
    I was given kefir grains which I feed with Sucannet and just leave in the fridge. But then the past six months I didn’t feed it and it turned brown. I tasted it and it tasted like alcohol.
    Can I still revive it? I just wanted plain kefir with the milk.

    • Hi Marian!

      Thanks for leaving the comment. It’s hard to tell what is the situation with the grains. Six months is quite long period for live culture to survive without food. I would suggest taking it out of the fridge and pour fresh milk over them (just to cover them or a bit more). Then change the milk every day. This can take up to 10-14 days. If the fermentation process starts you will find the milk thickening and the regular smell of kefir … if the milk doesn’t change, the grains aren’t alive probably.
      Hope for the best!

      Regards, Urška

  • Dear Urška
    I left my kefir grains in the fridge for about 3 weeks. I’ve been changing the milk every day, but no luck in getting the milk to thicken just yet.
    Could I revive them by placing a spoon full of healthy grains from my friend’s batch?

    • Hi Sue!

      Thanks for getting in touch! If I understand correctly, you are now trying to revive them after leaving them in the fridge for 3 weeks.
      – Did you change the milk, when they were in the fridge? You should change it approx. once a week to ensure they have enough food even when they are “resting” in the fridge.
      – For how long are you trying to revive them now? It sometimes takes up to 14 days for grains to activate again.
      – Do you revive them on the room temperature? If they are in the fridge, the fermentation slows down.
      – Other grains won’t significantly affect the old ones. If you have other activated grains, you should just use them separately.
      Hope this helps.

  • a friend gave me frozen milk kefir grains. I’m thawing in fridge. I have raw goat’s milk that I’m going to revive these with, Can I use cow milk kefir grains to make raw goat milk kefir?

    • Hi Martha!
      Thanks for your question. It’s possible to make kefir with goat milk. But since they were made with cow milk until now I would recommend to start with cow milk until the grains are revived. Then switch to goat milk and maybe leave some grains aside, if this isn’t success. The revitalisation period of grains is sometimes a delicate thing. Also when someone gives us the grains it’s best to slowly adapt them to different milk that we use.
      Hope it works out!
      Best, Urška

  • Hi,
    To slow down kefir production I leave the new batch (grains & fresh milk) in the fridge for the 1st 12-24hrs then transfer the jar to room temp, on the counter, for the next 12-24hr cycle.

    In this manner I produce a fresh batch every 2 days rather than daily. It has been observed that once they are transferred out of the fridge they are very active.

    Is this process harming the kefir grains?

    What is the ideal ratio of grains to 1lt milk (1 qrt). (Tbsp grains per quart?)

    Thank you for a gr8 site.


    • Hi George!
      Thanks for leaving a comment here. Putting grains in the fridge is slowing them down a bit. I do that every now and then when I’m away for a day.
      If you notice that the grains are more active after you take them out of the fridge, that probably wont harm them. You will see after a month or two if there are any changes.
      About the ratio, using Kefirko we fill up the small cup on the top lid for 0,6 l of milk kefir. That would be about a tbsp of kefir grains. For 1 litre that would be a bit more than 1 tbsp. You should try what is the right ratio because the results depend on the room temperature, milk and quality of grains too.
      Hope this helps.
      Best regards,

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