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Kefir vs. Yogurt: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 7, 2024
Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a tart, slightly fizzy taste and a thinner consistency, while yogurt is a thick, creamy dairy product with a mild flavor.

Key Differences

Kefir, originating from Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia, is a fermented drink made by adding kefir grains to milk. These grains ferment the milk, infusing it with beneficial bacteria and yeast. Yogurt, on the other hand, is created by fermenting milk with specific bacteria, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The fermentation process thickens the milk, giving yogurt its characteristic texture and tanginess.
Nutritionally, kefir stands out for its probiotic content, boasting a wider variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts compared to yogurt. These probiotics contribute to gut health and immunity. Yogurt, while also containing probiotics, typically has fewer strains but is often fortified with vitamins and minerals. Both kefir and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium, protein, and B vitamins.
The consistency and taste of kefir differ significantly from yogurt. Kefir has a thinner, more drinkable consistency and a tart, slightly effervescent flavor due to carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. Yogurt, conversely, is thicker and creamier with a milder taste, making it a popular choice for smoothies, sauces, and as a standalone snack.
In culinary uses, kefir is versatile, often used as a base for smoothies or as a tangy addition to soups and salad dressings. Yogurt's thicker texture makes it ideal for creating dips, spreads, and as a substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise in recipes. Both kefir and yogurt can be found in various flavors and fat contents, catering to diverse dietary preferences and culinary needs.

Comparison Chart


Eastern Europe, Southwest Asia
Various regions globally

Fermentation Agent

Kefir grains (bacteria and yeast)
Specific bacteria strains


Thinner, drinkable
Thicker, creamier


Tart, slightly fizzy
Mild, slightly tangy

Nutritional Profile

More diverse probiotics
Often fortified with vitamins and minerals

Kefir and Yogurt Definitions


Kefir is similar to yogurt but has a thinner consistency and a fizzy texture.
Kefir is a great alternative to yogurt for those who prefer a drinkable option.


Yogurt is versatile in cooking, used in sauces, dips, and desserts.
I use yogurt to make a creamy dressing for salads.


Kefir can be used in smoothies and salad dressings for a tangy flavor.
I added kefir to my fruit smoothie for an extra probiotic boost.


Yogurt is a dairy product made by fermenting milk with bacteria.
I often have yogurt with granola for breakfast.


Kefir is a fermented milk beverage with a tart taste.
I enjoy a glass of kefir every morning for its probiotic benefits.


Yogurt is a rich source of calcium, protein, and probiotics.
Eating yogurt daily contributes to my calcium intake.


Kefir contains a variety of microorganisms beneficial for gut health.
Since starting to drink kefir, I've noticed an improvement in my digestion.


Yogurt is known for its creamy texture and mild, tangy flavor.
The tanginess of this yogurt pairs well with sweet fruits.


Kefir is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains.
I learned to make homemade kefir using kefir grains and whole milk.


Yogurt comes in various forms, including Greek, set, and stirred.
Greek yogurt is thicker and higher in protein than regular yogurt.


A creamy drink made of fermented cow's milk.


A custardlike food with a tart flavor, prepared from milk curdled by bacteria, especially Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and often sweetened or flavored.


A fermented milk drink from the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, similar to yogurt but more liquidy.


A milk-based product stiffened by a bacterium-aided curdling process, and sometimes mixed with fruit or other flavoring.


An effervescent liquor like kumiss, made from fermented milk, used as a food and as a medicine in the northern Caucasus.


Any similar product based on other substances (e.g. soy yogurt).


A sour fermented milk drink, used in various regions of Asia, made by addition of Streptococcus or Lactobacillus cultures to cow's or goat's milk; it is considered by some as a form of yoghurt.


A custard-like food made from curdled milk


Can kefir help with lactose intolerance?

Kefir's fermentation reduces lactose, making it easier to digest for some lactose-intolerant individuals.

Does yogurt contain probiotics?

Yes, yogurt contains beneficial bacteria good for gut health.

Can kefir be made with non-dairy milk?

Yes, kefir can be made with non-dairy milk alternatives.

What is yogurt?

Yogurt is a dairy product created by fermenting milk with specific bacteria.

What are the health benefits of kefir?

Kefir is rich in probiotics, aiding digestion and gut health.

How long does yogurt last in the fridge?

Yogurt typically lasts 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

Does kefir contain more probiotics than yogurt?

Generally, kefir has a wider variety of probiotics compared to yogurt.

What is kefir?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains.

Is yogurt good for weight management?

Yes, yogurt can be part of a healthy diet for weight management due to its protein content.

Can kefir grains be reused?

Yes, kefir grains can be reused multiple times for fermenting milk.

Is yogurt suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, yogurt is suitable for vegetarians.

Can yogurt be used as a substitute for sour cream?

Yes, yogurt can be used as a healthier substitute for sour cream.

Is Greek yogurt different from regular yogurt?

Yes, Greek yogurt is strained, making it thicker and higher in protein.

Is flavored yogurt as healthy as plain yogurt?

Flavored yogurt often contains added sugars, making plain yogurt a healthier option.

What are the best toppings for yogurt?

Fresh fruits, nuts, and honey are popular toppings for yogurt.

Can kefir be used in baking?

Yes, kefir can be used in baking as a substitute for buttermilk.

Can consuming kefir improve skin health?

Probiotics in kefir may have a positive effect on skin health.

What is the best way to store kefir?

Store kefir in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness.

Can kefir help boost the immune system?

The probiotics in kefir may support the immune system.

Is yogurt a good source of vitamin D?

Some yogurts are fortified with vitamin D, but it's not naturally high in this nutrient.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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