Week 13: Powdered Milk

25 lbs of Powdered Milk

After this week, you should have 25 lbs stored. The program goal is 56 lbs. We will address Powdered Milk 2 more times (in weeks 27 and 32).

Powdered Milk is a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness. One purpose of drying milk is to preserve it, as milk powder has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and does not need to be refrigerated, due to its low moisture content. This is a great item to have on hand for when the power is out and your milk has gone bad, or there has been a run on milk at the store, or even if you have just run out and need a quick alternative until you can get to the store. As always, if your family does not use milk, find a substitute or something entirely different to store. Just make sure you store something.

There are 3 different kinds of dry milks to choose from:

  • Nonfat Dry Milk, Flavored Nonfat Dry Milk, and Dry Whole Milk.Nonfat Dry Milk- This is pasteurized skim milk reduced to a powdered concentrate. It can be found in two forms, instant and non-instant (or regular). You can tell the difference in the texture. Instant powdered milk tends to look more “flaky” or “grainy”, while non-instant is definitely “powdery”. Instant powdered milk dissolves faster in water than the non-instant powdered milk, which is why it is called “instant” powdered milk. Instant mixes easily in cold water and you have milk relatively quickly. Instant also tends to taste more like real milk. It takes more instant milk powder than non-instant to make the same volume of milk. Put another way, non-instant is more concentrated. For these reasons, instant is usually more expensive than non-instant, and easier to find. Instant powdered milk is available in nearly any grocery store. Non-instant powdered milk is powdery and clumps easily. It is best mixed into warm water with a blender or a whisk and then allowed to cool overnight in the refrigerator before drinking. This gives it time to dissolve fully and to develop a fresher flavor. It does have a distinctive flavor that is not quite like that of real milk. But shaking the milk mix vigorously will incorporate air and help to improve the flavor. Many people use the non-instant milk for baking, but still keep some instant on hand in case they need to make milk for drinking, which does taste more like milk. Both types have the same nutrient composition. Because the non-instant variety is more dense, it requires less storage space than the instant.

  • Flavored Nonfat Dry Milk- This may be found packaged in a variety of forms from a low calorie diet drink (artificially sweetened) to cocoa mix or malted milk. The key ingredient is the dry milk, so buy and store these products accordingly.

  • Dry Whole Milk- This dry milk has a higher fat content and therefore, a shorter shelf life than nonfat. Other than that, it can be used in exactly the same way. Dry whole milk is difficult to find, but can sometimes be found where camping supplies are sold.

Instant vs Non-instant Measurements:

  • If you need 1/4 cup of milk: Add 1/4 cup of water and either 1 Tbsp instant dry milk powder or 3/4 Tbsp non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 1/3 cup of milk: Add 1/3 cup of water and either 1 1/2 Tbsp instant dry milk powder or 1 1/4 Tbsp non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 1/2 cup of milk: Add 1/2 cup of water and either 2 Tbsp instant dry milk powder or 1 1/2 Tbsp non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 2/3 cup of milk: Add 2/3 cup of water and either 3 Tbsp instant dry milk powder or 2 1/2 Tbsp non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 1 cup of milk: Add 1 cup of water and either 1/4 cup instant dry milk powder or 3 Tbsp non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 1 pint of milk: Add 1 pint of water and either 1/2 cup instant dry milk powder or 1/3 cup non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 1 quart of milk: Add 3 3/4 cups of water and either 1 cup instant dry milk powder or 3/4 cup non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 2 quarts of milk: Add 7 2/3 cups of water and either 2 cups instant dry milk powder or 1 1/2 cups non-instant dry milk powder.

  • If you need 1 gallon of milk: Add 15 1/2 cups of water and either 4 cups instant dry milk powder or 3 cups non-instant dry milk powder.

Taste & Cooking:

Once reconstituted, powdered milk tastes a lot better than it used to. If you haven’t tried it in the past few years, it’s worth another taste. When mixed correctly and chilled overnight, it has a pleasant, sweet flavor that tastes especially good with homemade cookies. Reconstituted milk doesn’t taste the same as fresh whole milk. If you are already used to skim milk though, you won’t notice much difference in the flavor of reconstituted milk. In cooking, powdered milk performs flawlessly. It can be substituted for fresh milk in almost any recipe with excellent results. Many budget conscious people cook with powdered milk exclusively. This is smart use of resources because the results are so good. Drinking powdered milk is another story. Some folks find the flavor objectionable even after chilling it because they are accustomed to fresh whole milk.

You cannot fool anyone into thinking that reconstituted dry milk is the same as fresh milk when used as a beverage. There are things you can do to make powdered milk taste better. Mixing it with fresh whole milk for body and flavor is a good alternative. To get good tasting powdered milk, make sure you start with fresh dry milk. If your box of dry milk is a year old, then buy a new one and use the old one for cooking exclusively. Use cool water when possible. The powder tends to dissolve more readily in cool water. Stir the milk quite a bit to dissolve the milk powder. Then let the milk sit for a little while and stir again. The protein in the milk powder blends most easily if it gets a chance to stand after mixing. Powdered milk may be used immediately after mixing if desired. For the best flavor, chill the milk for at least 4 hours; overnight is best.

Store your reconstituted milk in a refrigerator. If you do not have refrigeration (emergency situations), then only prepare enough milk to last the day. Prepare it the night before, so it has a chance to blend and chill overnight. About 2 quarts will be enough to last a family of 4 for most of the day. If you continually find you have some left over, then prepare less the next day. If you find yourself running out, then prepare more.

Some people add a drop or two of vanilla to their milk to improve the flavor. Other people add a spoonful or two of sugar for the same purpose. Pitchers and wide-mouthed jars are the easiest to use for mixing and storing reconstituted milk.


  • Sweet Vanilla Milk: Run a little hot water into a 2-quart pitcher. Add 1/4-cup of powdered coffee creamer and 1/4-cup of sugar. Stir well to dissolve. Add 1/2-teaspoon of vanilla. Fill the pitcher half full with cold tap water. Add 2 and 2/3 cups of instant nonfat dry milk powder. Stir well. Fill the pitcher the rest of the way full. Stir again. Chill and serve. This milk is more palatable to some folks than straight reconstituted milk. The powdered coffee creamer gives the milk a rich fullness, while the sugar and vanilla make it taste sweet and almost dessert-like. If you must switch to powdered milk and are having trouble with the flavor, this recipe can make the transition easier. For a gallon of milk use: 1/2-cup each powdered coffee cream & sugar and 1-teaspoon of vanilla flavoring. Add a dash of salt too, if desired. Be sure to dissolve the creamer and sugar in hot tap water first. They do not dissolve easily in cold water.

  • A Very Rich Gallon of Milk: Measure 3 and 1/2 quarts (14 cups) of water into a gallon size pitcher. Add 5-cups of dry powdered milk and a 12-ounce can of undiluted evaporated whole milk. Mix all together. Chill and serve. This makes about a gallon. It is richer than plain reconstituted milk. If you must use powdered milk, but prefer a richer product, this is the recipe for you. Children will sometimes tolerate it better than straight reconstituted milk, especially if they are already used to fresh 1% or 2% milk.

  • Mix with Whole Milk: Need to stretch the milk you currently have? Powdered milk is easily mixed with whole milk to double your current milk. When combined and well chilled, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between fresh milk and mixed milk. If you have 1 gallon of Whole milk, then you’ll need to make 1 gallon of reconstituted milk and mix them together. To do this, use an extra clean milk jug and two 2-quart sized pitchers. First, reconstitute 2 quarts of milk in each of the pitchers, so you have a total of 4 quarts (1 gallon). Reference the table above (page two) for specific measurements. Pour half of the whole milk into the clean empty milk jug so you now have two 1-gallon jugs each with half a gallon of milk. Now add the reconstituted milk from each pitcher into each jug. And now you have two gallons of milk. Reconstituting the powdered milk in the milk jug with the whole milk doesn’t work as well as reconstituting the powdered milk in the pitcher first, and then pour that milk into the jugs with the whole milk. Like regular powdered milk, mixed milk tastes best if well chilled.

  • Sour or Butter Milk: To sour reconstituted milk, just add a little vinegar to it and stir it up. For instance, if a recipe calls for 1-cup of sour milk or buttermilk, then measure a tablespoon of vinegar into a measuring cup. Add reconstituted milk to reach the 1-cup mark. Stir the milk gently. In a moment or two, it will sour. This can replace soured milk or buttermilk in baking recipes.

  • Overnight Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk, you have to start off with 1/2-cup of fresh, store-bought buttermilk and a quart (4-cups) of reconstituted milk. Combine the fresh buttermilk and reconstituted milk in a pitcher or jar. Mix it really well. Allow it to stand at room temperature overnight, or for about 8 hours. The milk will have thickened up and cultured into regular buttermilk. Refrigerate or chill and use anywhere fresh buttermilk is called for.

  • Easy Evaporated Milk: To make this you only need dry milk powder and water. Measure 1 and 1/3 cups water into a jar or bowl. Add 1 cup of instant dry milk powder. Stir or shake to combine. This is the equivalent of a 12-ounce can of evaporated skim milk. To make evaporated whole milk, you will need to add some fat to replace the milk fat in whole milk. Do this by preparing evaporated skim milk and then adding 2-tablespoons of vegetable oil to the milk. Stir it up vigorously to emulsify the fat with the milk. It will separate on standing, so mix it really well right before using it. This is best used in cooking and baking. A spritz of nonstick spray will help the emulsification process.

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: On the stove, bring to a boil 1/2-cup of water, 1-cup of sugar and 3-tablespoons of margarine or shortening. Add a dash of salt. Stir the mixture every now and then. When it comes to a full rolling boil, remove it from the heat. Allow it to cool slightly. Add a cup of instant dry milk powder. Use a whisk to stir it smooth. A fork or a spoon will not work out all the lumps. You really need a whisk, or egg beaters. This is the equivalent of a can of sweetened condensed milk. This will keep unrefrigerated for a day or two because of the sugar. In the fridge it will keep for 2 weeks. For longer storage than that, freeze it.

  • Quick Whipped Topping: This recipe is best made if you have electricity. Put 1/2-cup of water into a large bowl and place it in your freezer. When ice crystals form around the edges remove it from the freezer. Add 1/2-cup instant dry milk powder. Whip the mixture with electric beaters until it is light and fluffy. This will take a couple of minutes. Add 2-tablespoons sugar, 1-teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/2-teaspoon of vanilla. Beat until thick enough to spoon like whipped topping. Use immediately.

  • Molasses Milk: High in iron with a caramel-toffee flavor, this hot beverage is quite delicious. Heat 3/4-cup of reconstituted milk in a cup in the microwave. Stir in a spoonful of molasses. Serve hot.

  • Chocolate Milk: Fill a cup with reconstituted milk. Squeeze in a couple spoonfuls of homemade Chocolate Syrup. Stir to combine. Serve to thirsty children who object to plain reconstituted powdered milk. Cold chocolate milk can be heated in the microwave for hot chocolate. Make up a whole gallon of reconstituted chocolate milk at a time.

  • Homemade Yogurt: Reconstitute a quart of milk in a very clean container like a wide mouthed canning jar. Add another 1/2-cup of milk powder for body. Whisk in 1/4-cup of commercial yogurt with active cultures. Read the label to be sure the yogurt has active cultures. Stash the milk in a warm spot, between 80° and 110°. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 6 to 8 hours. It should be thick and creamy, like commercially available yogurt. Chill your yogurt and use anywhere you would regular yogurt. It makes a great substitute for sour cream. Or mix it half and half with prepared mayonnaise for your own homemade low-fat mayo.

  • Yogurt Cheese: Line a colander (strainer) with a clean, damp piece of cloth. Pour prepared yogurt into the cloth. Allow the yogurt to drain overnight. In the morning the remaining solids will be yogurt cheese. They can be used anywhere you would use cream cheese or thick sour cream.


Be sure the dry milk you are buying has been fortified with vitamins A and D. Most of the nonfat dry milks should come fortified with these two vitamins. The dry buttermilk does not come this way, at least the SACO brand does not. I don’t know if the flavored mixes and the dry whole milk do or not.

  • There should be no artificial colors or flavors. I believe it is illegal to add preservatives to any dry milk sold in the U.S., so a claim of “no preservatives” on the label is of no consequence. Other nations may be different, however.

  • “Extra Grade” on the label indicates the manufacturer has held to higher processing and quality standards and the milk is somewhat lower in fat, moisture and bacterial content, is more soluble, and has fewer scorched particles.

  • There are still some manufacturers of dry milk that sell ordinary Grade A product, but they are becoming fewer. Most brands of instant powdered milk are the “Extra Grade”, even the generic store brand. This, too, may vary outside of the States.

  • Try to buy your dried milk in containers of a size that makes sense for the level of consumption in the household. Once it is opened, powdered milk has a short shelf life before undesirable changes in flavor and nutrient content occurs. If you buy large packages and do not use much at one time, consider breaking it down and repackaging into smaller containers at the time of purchase.


Dry milk products are especially sensitive to storage conditions, particularly temperature and light. Vitamins A and D are photo sensitive and will break down rapidly if exposed to light. The area where your dry milk is stored should be kept as cool as possible. If it is possible to do so, air-conditioning or even refrigeration can greatly extend the nutrient shelf life. If the storage container is transparent or translucent, then it should be put into a second container opaque to light or stored in a dark room.

Dry milk will absorb moisture and odors from the air, so storage containers should be impervious to both air and moisture. The dryer it can be kept, the better it will keep. Oxygen also speeds decomposition. Powdered milk canned with nitrogen or carbon dioxide to replace air (which contains oxygen) will keep longer than powdered milk exposed to air. Vacuum canning also decreases the available oxygen. If the dry milk purchased was not packaged for long-term storage then it should be repackaged right away. One storage method is to pour the powder into clean, dry half-gallon canning jars. Once the jars are filled, add a small desiccant pack and seal. Date and store them in a cool, dark place. They must be guarded against breakage, but they offer the advantage of not holding odors, thus allowing for reuse after suitable cleaning. Since canning jars are transparent, the contents must be protected against light. Vacuum sealing and then storing in a dark place may be the best method. Larger jars, such as 1-gallon sized containers, could be used and then re-vacuum sealed after each use. An O2 absorber would take care of any remaining oxygen and would last longer when used in conjunction with the vacuum sealer. Since the jars are glass, they, as well as the lid and ring, can be reused as long as they’re properly cleaned.

Clean 2-liter soda bottles can also be used, but probably not more than once since the plastic is somewhat permeable and will retain odors. If you have access to a can sealer, #10 cans make wonderful storage containers for dry milk, particularly if used in conjunction with O2 absorbers.

Page updated: 10/13/20