Kefir Starter vs. Kefir Grains: Which Should I Choose?

Do you want to make milk kefir at home, but your mind swings between kefir grains and powdered kefir starter?

This article will help you better understand the differences and the benefits of each option.

Whatever the options (grains or starter), you can create milk kefir that is:

  • Tasty
  • Good for your health
  • Easy to prepare

What are the differences between grains and cultures?

Milk kefir grains and kefir culture are two sources of microorganisms that can be used to transform milk into delicious milk kefir.

Kefir grains are colonies of wild microorganisms, which live in small white amalgams. They look like small gelatinous cauliflowers.

Kefir grains grow and multiply with recipes. To learn more, see: What are kefir grains?

Kefir powdered culture is a culture created in a laboratory and dehydrated. When added to milk, the microorganisms wake up and create milk kefir.

Comparing Kefir Starter vs. Kefir Grains

Ease of Preparation

When you have healthy milk kefir grains, it is very easy to make kefir. You take the grains, mix them with milk at room temperature and, 24 hours later, you have kefir!

However, the grains must be cared for to be able to produce kefir. For that, you have to change the milk regularly, as if you were feeding a small pet.

Powdered kefir starter, on the other hand, is even easier to use. It does not require any activation: just add the small packet of powder to the milk and let it ferment.

Your first kefir can be prepared in a heartbeat! In addition, the powder keeps for a very long time in the refrigerator.

Winner: powdered kefir starter.

Health Benefits

Kefir grains contain a jungle of different microorganisms. There is a wide range of bacteria and yeast that live in symbiosis in these little clusters.

This wide variety is excellent for us because it has the potential to diversify the ecosystem of our microbiota.

On the other hand, kefir starter is less diverse. It is made up of a few select bacteria and yeast.

Kefir made with a powdered starter has less diversity of microorganisms, but it is still super healthy.

Like grain-based kefir, the drink will be a great source of vitamins B1 and B12, calcium, and vitamin K2.

Winner: kefir grains.


Milk kefir grains are a wild culture. The results can vary depending on many criteria: temperature, quantity of grains per volume of milk, fermentation time, etc.

Your kefir can be more or less fizzy, more or less liquid, or with different tastes from time to time.

Professional cooks and commercial brewers tend to prefer powdered starter because it is more predictable.

With the right recipe, calculated quantities and culture, you will always succeed in producing delicious and identical kefir every time.

Winner: powdered starter, for its more stable and constant results.


With the kefir grains, you can make kefir endlessly! Indeed, if you take good care of your grains, they will grow and start to multiply.

You can even give some to your friends. You can also store your grains easily for the long haul.

With the powdered starter, you need to use a new packet of culture every time.

Winner: milk kefir grains.

Kefir Grains or Starter… Which Do We Prefer?

Whether with grains or powdered starter, you will be able to make delicious and healthy kefir at home.

After that, it’s up to you to decide whether you want a more long-term relationship or one-off kefir adventure (we’re not judging!)

We like milk kefir grains for:

  • Their diversity of microorganisms
  • Their infinite capacity to produce kefir

We like powdered kefir starter for:

  • Its simplicity
  • Its efficiency

Get Started!

Making milk kefir with grains:

Making milk kefir with a starter:

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