Trader Joe’s KEFIR




Kefir is cultured, fermented milk. Think “drinkable yogurt”. Kefir is quite the rage in the natural health community and in social media. Why? Well, Kefir is extremely high in probiotics. Even more than yogurt. So it is considered beneficial for health and digestion and especially for Gut Health, a huge new topic of interest in medical research currently. The origins of Kefir are probably the mountainous regions dividing Europe and Asia and it has been around a LONG time (thousands of years)!

Kefir is similar to yogurt however it’s unique and different. For one thing it has more probiotics than yogurt and more varieties. Look at the label listing Live Active Cultures. You may notice there are a LOT more kinds than are typically in yogurt, which usually lists 3-5 kinds of bacteria. “12 active cultures“. I recognized about the first three Lactobacillus kinds (L. = Lactobacillus). I don’t recognize many of the others off the top of my head. So there are more kinds of bacteria in kefir than in yogurt, so much 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?


I wanted to try TJ’s Kefir for a while so bought the Mango flavor to test out. I found the TJ’s Whole Milk KEFIR to be really good and really tasty. In fact, Kefir is yummy. I understand that plain kefir is really sour. The Mango version is sweetened with natural cane sugar. Still I found the mango not at all overly sweet, you still get some tangy sourness. They also carry a Strawberry* flavor kefir which I would buy next time as I would like to try that flavor also. (UPDATE: I tried the Strawberry and it was also good). I haven’t tried the Plain yet, 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 a smoothie (update: it’s not as thick as it used to be; they have changed it !)

Kefir is great to make Smoothies. 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 also pouring some over my morning bowl of oatmeal or cereal. 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 one made from Goat’s Milk (!) The Mango one is rich as it’s made with whole milk. The regular and fruit Kefir’s come in a 32 oz bottle selling for $2.99.

UPDATE: I now tried the Strawberry* Kefir and realized it is LOW FAT. The MANGO version is WHOLE MILK. Whole milk is 4% and the low fat milk is 1-2%. So go for the strawberry kefir if you want lower fat/calories.

A little warning: If you never tried it, perhaps I would not drink a full glass the first time. Try a few ounces for a few days at most. A little will go a long way till your body gets used to all that extra probiotic bacteria, lest it work its magic too well maybe, if you know what I mean !

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 straight, this is a small glass thing, or mix with some ice and a dash of water….

Is KEFIR worth buying? Definitely! Your personal biome may thank you.

(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 stated the same thing. TJ’s changed it so it is thinner now, as it used to be really, really thick. My gut feeling (ha!) tells me people may have complained the kefir was too thick so they changed it and made it a bit thinner. I have found product changes at TJ’s again and again. I wonder do they get feedback and make changes based on customer feedback?

THANK YOU TO THE READER WHO LET US KNOW : LIFEWAY IS THE MAKER OF THE TRADER JOE’S KEFIR (Lifeway is sold at health stores for example) I have no doubt this is cheaper than buying it elsewhere.

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. I am curious about that one, too. I love goat milk in cheese but never drank it.

Mango Kefir

Strawberrry Kefir

16 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.



  5. Trackback: TJ’s BUTTERMILK PANCAKE MIX | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (Mostly Raves with a few rants!)
  6. Trackback: Trader Joe’s KIMCHI | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)
  7. Trackback: Trader Joe’s MUESLI CEREAL | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)
  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.



  9. Trackback: Trader Joe’s SAUERKRAUT with Persian cucumbers | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)
  10. Trackback: Trader Joe’s ORGANIC CHIA SEEDS | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)
  11. Trackback: Trader Joe’s ROLLED OATS | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)
  12. Trackback: Trader Joe’s ORGANIC FLAXSEED MEAL | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves, a few rants)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: