Trader Joe’s KEFIR




What is Kefir? It’s a cultured, fermented milk product. Think drinkable yogurt (though we will see it’s not yogurt) KEFIR has been quite the rage in the natural health community forever. Kefir is extremely high in probiotics, with even more than yogurt. Kefir’ is just loaded with them, so is beneficial for health and digestion and especially for Gut Health, which is a huge new topic of interest. Kefir is great to make Smoothies for one thing.

The origins of Kefir are believed to be in those mountainous regions dividing Europe and Asia and it has been around a LONG time : for thousands of years, just like yogurt. While Kefir is similar to yogurt, it is both unique and different from yogurt. For one thing it has a lot more probiotics than yogurt with more varieties of bacteria in it. Look at the label listing: “Contains 12 Live Active Cultures”. Yogurt usually lists 3-5 kinds of bacteria so this has many more varieties of cultures. I recognized about the first three L ones (L. = Lactobacillus) on the label here but I don’t know many of the others. So again more kinds of bacteria in kefir than in yogurt. Meaning more diverse probiotics going into your gut. Kefir is also supposed to be better tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant ? I can’t speak to this if true or not? Anyone? Please COMMENT if you have some info about that.


I wanted to try TJ’s Kefir for a while so bought the Mango flavor first. I found it really good and quite tasty. I have heard that the Plain Kefir is naturally tart and sour. TJ’s Mango Kefi is sweetened with natural cane sugar and mango, and the mango version isn’t overly sweet, you still get some tangy sourness. They also carry a Strawberry* kefir (made with skim milk) and that too is good. I haven’t tried the Plain yet, thinking it might be too tart for me? If you didn’t grow up drinking plain Kefir, I am told it might take you some getting used to as being quite tart. The Mango whole milk kefir drink was thick, almost smoothie thick (update: it’s not as thick as it used to be; they changed it !) My TJ’s even has a “SMOOTHIES SECTION” with all kinds of ingredients gathered in the same area.

BASIC KEFIR SMOOTHIE RECIPE: In a blender, try 1 cup Kefir, 1 cup of ice, one banana (it could be frozen), a 1/2 cup of some fresh or frozen berries, a tablespoon of chia seeds and/or flax seeds and a maybe a drizzle of honey. Blend. Make 2 1/2 cups plus.

I’ve been using the kefir even pouring some over my morning bowl of oatmeal or cereal or mixing some with chia seeds. Also to make OVERNIGHT OATS. It’s great on fruit. Even kids might like the Mango and Strawberry kefir. 

So kefir is both super healthy and tasty. If you like yogurt, this is something well worth trying. There is also a Plain Kefir (unsweetened) if you are inclined to try it “au natural” (very tart I hear). TJ’s even sells a Goat’s Milk Kefir if you are interested (!) The Mango one is made with whole milk, the strawberry one is made with skim so a few less calories. Kefir, 32 oz bottle, $2.99. Is KEFIR worth buying? Definitely! Your personal biome may thank you.

The Strawberry* Kefir is made with LOW FAT milk. The MANGO version is made with WHOLE MILK. Whole milk is 4% and the low fat milk is 1-2%. So Strawberry has lower calories…. but you don’t drink that much (1 cup) at one time anyway so it’s not a huge difference really.

TIP: If you never tried Kefir perhaps don’t drink one 12 oz glass the first time. You might drink a few ounces, till your body gets used to all that extra probiotic bacteria, lest it work its magic too well, if you know what I mean ! Kefir will definately improve gut health and probably help with constipation if that’s a problem for you. Mixing a 1/2 glass kefir with chia seeds or flax seeds might be a great morning routine if you need help in that department.

Nutrition (per 1 cup): (MANGO Whole Milk Kefir) = 180 Cal. & 4.5 g of sat. fat VS 160 Cal. and 1.5 g sat. fat for STRAWBERRY Low Fat Kefir which interestingly also seems to have 1 more gram of Protein per cup serving? Plain Kefir= 100 cals (1 cup) So if you want to save a few calories get the STRAWBERRY Low Fat Kefir or PLAIN Low Fat Kefir (though the Mango is very tasty!) Honestly, I can’t see anyone drinking it a whole cup at a time straight though of any variety, this is a small glass thing (6 oz?) or mix with some ice and a dash of water….

THANK YOU TO THE READER WHO LET US KNOW, “LIFEWAY” MAKES TRADER JOE’S KEFIR (Lifeway is sold at health stores) I have no doubt TJ’s is cheaper.

(update fall 2019: many, many bottles later! The whole milk mango kefir is definitely not as thick as when I first reviewed it here. Other readers have wrote in to say the the same. TJ’s changed this kefir recipe so its thinner now, as it used to be very thick. My gut feeling (ha!) tells me people may have complained about it being too thick so they changed it. I have found product changes at TJ’s again and again from when a product first came out to as time went on so I do surmise TJ’s makes occasional changes based on customer feedback….?

Has anyone tried Plain Kefir version? Is it that tart? Please tell us below in Comments. And if you are so inclined to test the Goat Milk Kefir please report on it as well.

Mango Kefir

Strawberrry Kefir


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steven Christenson
    Jul 23, 2019 @ 13:17:06

    Mango here. Does anybody know why the last two times (month) I picked up my supply it has been so thin it is practically like drinking a glass of milk? Seems a cheat.



    • promacnyc
      Jul 23, 2019 @ 15:03:06

      Ditto, prefer the Mango flavor the best. Usually is too thick and I sometimes thin it with a little water or milk! I’ve found, shake shake shake hard for 30 seconds to get it off the bottom and sides! UPDATE: Trader Joe’s changed it so it is much much much thinner than the original product when first tried.



    • promacnyc
      Aug 01, 2019 @ 15:03:26

      I just got a bottle and agree now it was def. thinner than the last bottle I bought. (update: many bottles later. Its def. not as thick as when I first bought it. They’ve changed it for sure. Too bad!)



    • promacnyc
      Nov 25, 2019 @ 15:00:47

      (update: many bottles later. Its def. not as thick as when I first bought it. They’ve changed it for sure. Too bad!)
      Update: it seems to have gotten a bit thicker of late…. (winter 2019)



  2. yabs
    Aug 06, 2020 @ 00:35:47

    I’ve been drinking kefir since I was a little kid – I’m now 40 – so I love the stuff! Lifeway is the main brand I grew up on, but in the last few years discovered TJ’s. I enjoy them both. Your comment re: can’t imagine anyone drinking a full cup… well, I’d like to introduce myself! lol! I definitely drink kefir by the cupfuls and bottle-fuls 🙂 A bottle of kefir in my household can easily be gone in a day. I think it’s delicious!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. girl
    Mar 12, 2021 @ 15:39:13

    This comment is terribly late, but during the summer months, cows consume more water which causes their milk to be thinner, and therefore the Keifer from the milk to be much thinner as well! Also fun fact, Lifeway is the supplier of the Trader Joe’s Kefir! (THANK YOU FOR THIS INFO!)



  4. rteplow
    Mar 22, 2021 @ 14:37:11

    Another late comment: just discovered your blog and love it!

    I always have TJ’s mango and plain in my fridge. I have the plain kefir with fruit (usually berries) and nuts many mornings as week. I started out with greek yogurt instead of kefir, but found I wanted some sweetener with it; somehow I don’t need it with kefir, even if it’s unsweetened.



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  8. Jean Clemens
    Oct 25, 2021 @ 11:38:19

    I love the plain kefir and drink it by the cup. Made it from scratch but to keep it healthy, you have to produce about 4 cups a day. Too much for me. Love the plain with granola/fruit. Doubt we get same benefit from he store bought version.



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  13. Alison
    Jan 11, 2023 @ 23:43:09

    The plain is amazing!! And I only just started drinking it. I’m used to drinking lemon in water daily so this plain kefir tastes great to me.



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  15. KJ
    Apr 04, 2023 @ 17:36:11

    I love plain Lifeway kefir. Yes, it is somewhat tart, but in a good way! Also, no sugar is added, as opposed to all of the fruit flavored kefirs.



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