6 Surprising Ways to Use Kefir

Kefir is versatile in the kitchen and can be enjoyed in a variety of everyday recipes.

Pronounced "keh-FEAR" , this fermented milk drink is expanding in the yogurt aisle. It has vitamins A and D and calcium in amounts comparable to those in milk, making it a good way to help get your daily recommended servings of dairy. Kefir is brimming with gut-friendly bacteria, which help keep your intestines happy. It's versatile in the kitchen and can be enjoyed in a variety of everyday recipes. Try it these seven ways.

#1: Smoothies

Smoothies are an easy way to start experimenting with kefir. Blend with fruit like bananas, berries and peaches, and flavors like vanilla and cinnamon, or try this tropical-inspired variation with pineapple.

#2: Salad Dressing

Kefir can be used in creamy dressings in place of yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream. Use it in homemade ranch dressing or in a spicy combination of garlic, cayenne and cumin.

#3: Summer Salads

Cut back on calories while getting a healthy dose of tummy-pleasing probiotics by replacing part of the mayo or yogurt in summer favorites like broccoli, pasta and potato salads.

#4: Popsicles

Blend kefir with your favorite fruits and a touch of sweetener like honey or agave, and freeze in ice-pop trays for a delicious frozen treat.

#5: Ice Cream

Substitute kefir for the milk in homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt for a cool, tangy treat. Complement with delicious fruit like strawberries or bananas.

#6: Spreadable Cheese

Strain kefir through cheesecloth or a coffee filter over a bowl overnight to allow the whey to drip out. The result is a thicker, creamier kefir that can be spread on whole-grain bread or crackers. For a creative spin, stir in savory flavors like chives, rosemary or olives, or sweet flavors like strawberries, honey or vanilla extract.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

Keep Reading

Next Up

6 Essential Pantry Ingredients and 3 Surprising Ways to Use Them

One mom shares her six pantry must-haves, plus her favorite recipes for putting those goods to work.

15 Surprising Ways to Enjoy Edamame

We all know that steamed edamame make a phenomenal appetizer. But given that soybeans are nutrient powerhouses, why not add the gems to your regular menu?

6 Genius Ways to Use Up Candy Canes

Use your surplus of candy canes to add a minty crunch and festive color to your favorite holiday treats.

6 Ways to Use Leftover Hard-Boiled Eggs

Make the most of leftover hard-boiled eggs with these Food Network recipes.

On TV

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.