When I first started making kefir, I wasn’t sure what all to do with it. The store versions are flavored and so you just drink them like milk.
I wasn’t a fan of the flavor of kefir at first so I needed to get creative in all the ways to include it in my diet.
Use Kefir as Buttermilk
The biggest Aha! moment I had was when I figured out I could use kefir any time a recipe called for buttermilk.
[Yes, you can “make” your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit 10 minutes. But that’s an extra step and sometimes it adds a funky flavor.]
Kefir never goes bad, it just gets stronger. So I wasn’t worried about it ever going bad. Plus, since I made my own, I could make it in smaller batches.
Pancakes, cupcakes, cake, and whatever else calls for buttermilk were now open for me to make! I soon enjoyed all these recipes made with kefir for buttermilk.
Have you ever wanted to make a chicken recipe really bad but it called for marinating the chicken in buttermilk overnight?
I have! And I never made those recipes because I’d go broke buying buttermilk! But with making my own kefir, I can make just as much as I need and marinate the chicken in my “homemade buttermilk”! Delicious! [And my husband loves the great chicken recipes, too!]
Do you enjoy fish or chicken recipes that call for a buttermilk dip? Because I always have kefir on hand I never shy away from those recipes either.
Use Kefir as Sour Milk
There are the occasional recipes that call for sour milk, as well. With raw milk, it won’t go bad, it will just sour. Eventually the whey will separate out and it is still useful in recipes.
I often don’t have soured milk so I just use kefir.
11 Ways to Use Kefir
- Drink Plain – For those who enjoy mildly tart foods, just drink it plain. If you don’t care for the lumps, blend it. If you don’t drink the blended kefir all in one setting, the whey may separate. Just give it a good shake before drinking again. I’m too lazy to blend, so I just scoop out the starter grains, shake the jar vigorously and drink.
- Smoothies – Yum! This is my favorite way to drink kefir! I love starting with a cup of kefir in the blender and throwing in whatever is within reach. Bananas, berries, honey, peanut butter, cocoa. Serene from Trim Healthy Mama makes a Yuck Yum Bitty. It’s a kefir smoothie packed with powerhouse foods and no added sugar. Check out a YouTube tutorial here. My 14 month old loves my weird smoothies!
- As a probiotic in baby’s bottle – I ran out of breast milk for my little guy when he was 11 months old. My goal was to breast feed until he was two. [If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans, right!?] After I ran out I switched him to raw cow’s milk. Before I fill his bottle, though, I put about a tablespoon or two of kefir in and fill the rest with milk. He doesn’t mind a bit and he’s getting wonderful, inexpensive probiotics for his c-section gut.
- As a Marinade – Any other buttermilk chicken fans out there? Before deep frying or oven frying chicken I try to soak it in kefir for a day. Pioneer Woman’s buttermilk chicken recipe is my husbands favorite (fried in lard, of course). I really should make it more often…
- Baking – Cake and cupcake recipes often call for buttermilk or sour milk. With kefir always on hand, I can make any recipe I want! And, oh, the biscuits.
- Pancakes – Buttermilk pancakes. ‘Nuff said.
- Milk Shakes – You can call your smoothies milk shakes so they don’t sound so healthy and your kids will drink them. Just use kefir as a base and add in ice cream or ice cubes and whatever flavor combos sound good. My favorite is peanut butter/banana/honey!
- Baby Food – I still blend all of my little guy’s food. If I need to thin down a mixture, I like to use something with nutrients instead of just water. I’ll use chicken or beef broth in his meatier blends and add some kefir to thin down his oatmeal breakfast blends.
- Treat Acne – This is like a buttermilk bath for your face. Just wash your face with a bit of kefir. This will help neutralize your skin’s pH and help fight off those nasty red imposters.
- Buttermilk Bath – You don’t have to fill the entire bathtub with kefir for a therapeutic bath like this! Just add a cup or so of it to your bath water and soak. This will help neutralize the pH of your skin and help fight off yeast infections. [See #11.]
- Yeast Infections – I’m not a doctor! But I have a friend who was desperate for relief during a weekend yeast infection (I’ve never had one so I haven’t experimented…). She applied some unflavored, unsweetened yogurt and it worked! Yeast infection gone! I’m not saying this will work every time, but it will at least provide relief.
Kefir works the same way as yogurt. But if you’ve made your own, it will be on hand and it will most likely be unflavored and unsweetened.
I’ve had a nasty yeast infection in both armpits and this worked wonderfully.
To save money and enjoy as much kefir as you want, don’t forget to read my post on how to make your own kefir.
Once you master the art of making kefir, you will discover all kinds of ways to use it. Your gut microbiome will become a happier place thanks to the probiotics. And, the microbiome present on your skin will benefit from it, as well. Have fun experimenting with all the ways to use kefir!