Recipes with kefir for baked goods and meals

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Delicious ideas to use your kefir when you have too much of it or if it didn’t turned out so great to drink it
[Warning: mouthwatering – don’t read this post with an empty stomach!]

Marble cake with kefir

Wether you make your own kefir or you just have some of this fermented drink in the fridge, there are times you can’t drink it all up (because let’s be honest: kefir is an acquired taste).
So, what can you do with kefir beyond drinking it?

The good news is, there are plenty of tasty answers!
In this blog post, I’ve gathered some cooking and baking recipes with kefir as an ingredient.
You’ll find something for any time of the day and occasions: delicious breakfast ideas, light lunch ideas and fluffy dessert ideas.
So let’s get baking (or cooking) with these kefir recipes!
After realizing all the delicious recipes you can make with kefir, you’ll never have too much kefir again!

Common questions about kefir

What is kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink.
It has a sour taste similar to yogurt, but the consistency is thinner and it’s slightly fizzy.
You can buy pre-made kefir in most supermarkets (usually near the dairy or yogurt section) or you can make your own at home.

How do you make kefir?

The way to prepare kefir is by fermenting milk (originally dairy milk, but it’s also possible to use plant-based milk that is high in protein) with kefir grains or kefir powder starter.
The fermentation process takes around 12-24 hours and it turns the sugars in the milk into lactic acid. After that, you can strain out the grains.
To see detailed instructions and a video on how to make kefir with grains, check my post “How to make kefir (vegan or with dairy)”.

Is there alcohol in kefir?

Yes, a little. The fermentation process produces a small amount of alcohol, around 0.5–2%.

How long does kefir last?

Once strained, homemade kefir milk can be stored in the fridge for around 2 to 3 weeks.
Just make sure it’s in a closed container.
Also, be aware that the longer you wait to use it, the fizzier and stronger it will taste.

What to do when you have too much kefir

If you’ve been making kefir for a while, you probably already know that homemade kefir has great perks, like kefir grains living infinitely or being able to make an inexpensive probiotic drink out of any kind of milk.

But at the same time, this brings some inconveniences, as:

1- More kefir that you can drink

Living kefir grains need to be kept in milk, which means, after straining your finished kefir, you will add new, fresh milk to the grains right away, starting a next batch.
In other words, you’ll get new kefir every day.

In addition of that, kefir grains keep growing, specially when keeping them in dairy milk, so you will get more and more kefir until you divide some grains (which you should do regularly).

All this makes it very easy to end up having too much kefir: you just have to forget drinking your daily glass or someone in your family is away for a few days… and before you know it, you’ll find a gallon of kefir your fridge.

That’s where having recipes for cooking with kefir come in handy!

2- Batches don’t always turn out as expected

You’ll find out quite quickly how much milk to use and how long to let homemade kefir ferment to get your desired level of sourness.
But sometimes, finding the right consistency might be trickier.
Specially if you make kefir with plant-based milk alternatives, the resulting kefir liquid vary A LOT depending on the milk you use.

So, it may take a couple of tries to find the brand or vegan milk recipe that works best to reach a kefir with the desired results.

Also, since kefir grains are a alive, environmental changes (like change of temperature) might affect the fermentation process, giving different results even when you did the same as other times.

But even in the cases your kefir doesn’t become so palatable as a drink, most of the time you can still use it for cooking.

Related question:

Why does my kefir keep separating?

Kefir separates into milk curd and whey when it over-cultures.
Most frequently this happens when the ratio of milk to grains is not balanced.
To prevent this, you can shorten the time you culture the grains or add more milk for the same amount of grains.
The milk you use may also contribute to this separation, so you may switch to a different brand of milk.

If your kefir separates, you can just re-mix it before drinking.
But if it’s still too chunky for your taste, using it to bake or cook is a good alternative.

How to cook and bake with kefir

No matter if you have too much kefir or if it didn’t turn out as you wanted to drink it: it’s great to have some recipes that use kefir as an ingredient.
Baking and cooking with kefir can be a way to use up this fermented drink and also turn it into something delicious!

In many recipes, you can substitute milk, buttermilk, sour crème or water for kefir; it adds a great texture.

So, while heating the kefir kill its probiotic cultures, using kefir for baking and cooking is still a great way to make good use of it.
Here are some ideas for leftover kefir:

Baking with kefir

Kefir works wonderfully as a baking ingredient because the fermented nature of kefir makes your baked goods fluffy.
It also adds moisture without the need of adding so much fat.
And while in most baking recipes you won’t taste the kefir, in recipes that are tangy, its tartness makes a great contribution.

The recipes below are mostly links to other baking and cooking sites, but the first recipe is my adaptation of a recipe I got from the package of a silicone mold I bought:


  • Kefir sponge cake:
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 gr. of sugar (or preferred alternative)
  • 80 gr. of butter or vegetal oil
  • 200 ml. kefir
  • Vanilla essence
  • 250 gr. flour
  • 2 tsp. backing powder
  1. Pre-heat oven to 175 °C (347 °F)
  2. In a bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar
  3. Add the oil, the kefir and vanilla. Whisk all these wet ingredients together.
  4. Separately, combine the flour with the backing powder.
  5. Add the dry ingredients (step 4) to the bowl with wet ingredients (step 3).
  6. Pour into a mold and bake for 25 minutes.

Optional: take 4 Tbsp. from the dough and mix it with 2 tsp. pure cocoa and 2 Tbsp. milk to make it marble cake like in the picture.

  • Chocolate kefir cake:
    I love this recipe from Imagelicious because it’s very moist and the combination of chocolate and orange is like made in heaven.
    Also, it’s a great recipe when you don’t have any eggs at hand.
    And this also means, you can easily make a vegan chocolate cake of it (when you use vegan kefir).
    The original recipe has a chocolate glaze that looks like a dream, but even skipping it, the cake tastes incredible.




Cookies and biscuits

Ice cream and popsicles

Cooking with kefir

You can use kefir in most savory dishes that use yogurt, sour cream and similar dairy products.
So, if you are looking for a vegan replacement for any of these dairy products, homemade vegan kefir is a good option: easy to get and as cheap as it gets.

Kefir also adds zing to soups, sauces, dressings and dips.

And thanks to the lactic acid and the active cultures, kefir is great to marinade meat: it will make the meat tender and juicy.

Like we mentioned before, if you heat the kefir for your dishes, the living cultures will die but it will add moisture to your dish without tasting like kefir (which can be a good thing if your family doesn’t like the taste of kefir).

Here are some examples to use kefir in your meals:






What to substitute kefir with

Now that we’ve seen some greats ideas to consume kefir, let’s see some alternatives if on the contrary, you come upon a recipe that uses kefir and you don’t have any.

Understanding how some dairy products are interchangeable may also help you convert your recipes in both directions, from other dairy products to kefir or the other way around:

  • YOGURT – replace 1 cup of kefir with 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup of water or milk
  • BUTTERMILK – You can use buttermilk to replace kefir in a one-to-one ratio
  • SOUR CREAM – replace 1 cup of kefir with 2/3 cup sour cream and 1/3 cup of water

These are some recipes where you can easily substitute the sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk for kefir:

As we’ve seen in this post, there are plenty of dishes you can do with kefir aside from drinking it.
I hope these recipes with kefir give you some ideas on how to use up that extra kefir and put it to good use.
Baked goods and savory dishes alike, will benefit from the addition of this fermented drink.

Don’t forget to share with me your favorite way to use kefir!

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  1. So wonderful recipes with kefir!
    The cakes look yummy and I guess they are also quite healthy using kefir. This made me want to have kefir!
    Thank you very much.

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