International Recipes and Cooking Around the World


Kvas Recipe (Russian fermented rye beverage)

(Russian fermented rye beverage)

Image Creative Commons by andrijbulba

Average: 3.8 (33 votes)

Kvas (квас) is an ancient and beloved beverage from Slavic Europe. While it is basically a low-alcohol beer, it is enjoyed as a soft drink, even by small children. Factory-made versions have been available for some time and many are quite good. But homemade will always be best. Often spelled "kvass."

2 1/2 quarts


  • Stale dark rye bread, cubed -- 1 pound
  • Water -- 3 quarts
  • Active dry yeast -- 1 (1/2-ounce) packet, or 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Water, lukewarm (110°F) -- 1/4 cup
  • Sugar -- 1 cup
  • Raisins -- 2 tablespoons


  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and place in the for about an hour, or until the bread is fairly well dried out.
  2. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the bread. Cover with a clean towel and let rest in a dark, cool place for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer, gently pressing one the bread to get the liquid out. Don't press too hard, or your kvas will turn cloudy.
  4. Mix the yeast with the warm water and a pinch of the sugar. Set the yeast mixture aside for 10 minutes to proof until foamy. Stir into the strained liquid along with the 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cover again with the towel and let set another 8 to 10 hours.
  5. Strain the liquid again through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer and pour into a 1-gallon pitcher or container. Add the raisins and cover tightly with plastic wrap and a rubber band. Set in a dark, cool place for 4 or 5 days until the yeast sediment has settled to the bottom of the container and a clear liquid remains.
  6. Carefully pour off the clear liquid into a clean container or individual bottles, taking care not to disturb the yeast sediment. Chill well before serving.


  • Add 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves along with the yeast and sugar.
  • Some recipes substitute berry juice for 2 to 3 cups of the water, giving it a refreshing, fruity flavor.
  • Kvas is often served unfiltered, with the yeast sediment. This gives it a richer flavor and boosts its vitamin content.
  • The final fermentation can also take place in stoppered bottles if you like. In step five, pour the strained liquid into individual beer bottles. Add one or two raisins to each bottle and rest for 4 or 5 days. Move to a refrigerator and store chilled until consumed. CAUTION: the bottles have an alarming habit of popping open from pressure during the fermentation. So it's best if you know what you're doing.


  • Apart from its use as a beverage, kvas is often used as a based for soups and stews, including borshch.


how much alcohol is produced?

There is not a lot. When I was 6, I drank a liter and was walking around drunk. But have a sober adult drink it, and it will be alright

Any mixture of yeast and sugar will prodyce alcohol. In this case itll be very weak - probly around 1% by volume at most.

Not all Kvass is alcoholic, actually.

hmm, I am Russian, drink kvas all my life, never felt drunk. Maybe if you let it ferment for a very long time, sugar will turn into some alcohol. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about alcohol content at all.

in response to what somebody said before, to prevent it from popping open, you can use an air trap like they do for wine fermenting. theyre 2 or 3 dollars usually and are easy to find in any home winery supply stores or online.

I made this a couple of days ago, and it turned out to have a significant amount of alcohol in it. I'm a lightweight drinker, but felt a buzz after just 12oz. Maybe 2% ABV? Much higher than I expected.

This is probably due to the long fermentation time, and the plastic wrap/rubber band assembly acting like a fermentation lock.

First of all, I am immensely grateful to the author for sharing this info since I rather miss the good-old kvass...

I do have one pressing issue (no pun intended) - and that is, where do I find an adequate "dark cool place"?

On the one hand, a refrigerator springs to mind. But I am afraid if it was that simple, that's what the author would have said. On the other, I can probably keep the batch in my garage, but I suspect it won't be cool enough.

So, can anyone tell me what would qualify as a "dark cool place" please?


My cool dark place is in my basement. The temperature is a fairly constant 65°F, and it's certainly dark. Another place you might put it is in a kitchen cupboard or in a closet.

an unfinished basement would suffice be sure to cover all windows with a towel so no sun light gets through and make sure to keep away from any furnaces,laundry vents,ect. second alternative is to put it in a box in a panrty or closet. hope this helps these methods have proven to me to work.
Terry Borolov

I live in the condo so I had use the oven once it totally cooled off, and all of my 3 batches turned out great. One note however, since there is no air in the oven you will have to pop the door open every few hours otherwise the moisture will build up inside, which I think is not what you want. In my case however... even with the moisture situation the recipe turned out tasty and didn't spoil.

I just added the water to the bread and put it in my cupboard. I'll report back once it's done.

By now it must have exploded.

Never! Never as a based for borshch.

Definitely as a base for "okroshka" soup.
Basically a light salad (raw onion, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, potato, no lettuce!) mixed with kvas and served cold. Very refreshing in the summer.

I'm only on this site because my "friend" recently used this word against me in Scrabble--to score 40 points. I'm sure this recipe is tasty, but I will never drink this beverage. You can thank Tyler Smith for leaving a taste in my mouth that 1,000 "kvases" cannot erase.

Thank you for this wonderful recipe I remember from Europe. Never tried making my own until now. Keeping my fingers crossed!

I'm very proud to announce the recipe worked!!! I made 2 batches just 2 days apart. One was stronger than the other and I must say the weaker one tasted better at the end. Moreover... I re-used strained bread leftovers and repeated the process and again the Kvass turned out very tasty :) Thanks for the recipe!