The Virtue of Powdered Milk


OK, I admit it. I used to hate powdered milk as a kid.  But I have to admit, it's come a long ways in 30 years, thank goodness.  With the cost of milk nowadays, if you've got more than 2 mouths to feed, it can cost as much for milk as it does to fill up your car with gas.  And if you're a "dairy freak" like I am, you'll wonder what in the world you'll do in the event of an emergency when you may be FORCED to use powdered milk regularly.

powdered-milk-21Other than the fact that I always type the word “powdered” incorrectly, I truly do value this storage staple.  It will indulge my every dairy craving in a pinch, including buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and cottage cheese.  Just a little bit of culturing and it turns into whatever dairy product I desire.  In fact, I can even combine it with an equal amount of ice water and some flavoring and turn it into a yummy fluffy dessert topping.  And it’s great in all of my recipes.  It costs half as much as “fresh” milk, has zero cholesterol, zero fat, and is high in calcium, vitamin D and protein.  And hey, it even comes in an easy to store box which I can neatly stack on my shelves.  I have found no problem using it as a milk substitute in every recipe with just a bit of water added to it.  I can also make dry baked mixes or beverage mixes ahead of time with it with no need for anything else but water.  Ironically, the only thing I don’t care for powdered milk is as a substitute for just plain milk.  However, I have discovered the trick of adding in a ½ teaspoon of vanilla per half gallon of powdered milk mixture to make it taste a lot better.  I find that powdered milk tastes just fine when mixed equally with whole milk as well.  Plus, I’ve never had kids complain when I mix chocolate syrup or strawberry syrup in it straight.



Powdered milk tastes best if it is mixed up and allowed to chill overnight before serving, or for at least 4 hours.  Chilling actually aids in dissolving the powdered milk completely and gives it a fresher flavor.



OK.  To use powdered milk for just about anything, you first need to learn to reconstitute it.  So let’s start with that.



Reconstituted Powdered Milk


refrigerate-milkTake a 2 quart pitcher and fill it just over half with very cold tap water.  Then add 2 and 2/3 cup of powdered milk.  Using a long whisk, whisk the milk until it appears to be well mixed and the milk appears to be mostly dissolved.  Then fill the pitcher to full with additional cold water.  It’s best to have a lid on the pitcher and then place it in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours.


To make buttermilk from reconstituted milk, you’re going to need some “starter.”  But don’t worry.  You can buy the small pints of buttermilk and store them in your freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Cultured Buttermilk

You won’t believe how easy this is!  Take 3 and ¾ cups of reconstituted milk and add it to ½ cup of commercial buttermilk.  Allow it to sit on the counter overnight (8 to 10 hours at room temperature) and Voila! You’ve got buttermilk!  (I store it refrigerated thereafter, just so you know.)  I have to have buttermilk to make my all time favorite syrup recipe (Sorry, I’m going to save that for another post).

chocolatemilkHere’s another idea that I have loved to use with powdered milk.  It’s called “molasses milk.”  All you do is warm up about ¾ cup of reconstituted milk and then stir in a regular spoonful of molasses (double and triple accordingly).  It’s yummy.  It kind of tastes like caramel toffee.  And here you thought that molasses was just for cookies.

Hopefully from reading this you’ve thought about the importance of having powdered milk in your supplies, along with molasses, chocolate syrup, and vanilla extract in your storage items.  For future reference I would also add that you’ll want lemon juice and cocoa as well.

I look forward to sharing more with you later.

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I have powdered milk stored, but only recently used some of it when we returned from a trip and had no fresh milk available for cooking. I used it when I was younger, but need to get in the practice of using it more now, so am looking forward to future posts. Thanks for the ideas!

Powdered milk is a convenient way of storing milk for a long period. It comes in handy during travel and the powder can be readily reconstituted into fluid milk without any difficulty.

Am new to and loving your blog! 1) is there a difference in storing powdered milk bought at Walmart vs. the ones mentioned in this article? 2) how would you make buttermilk if the frozen buttermilk used as starter with the powdered milk were no longer available (when SHTF)? 3) since most powdered milks taste better after they're cold, again how to get it cold when SHTF & there's no electricity? & lastly 4) how do you make the sour cream or sweetened condensed milk. I think I missed that part from the article. I'm really new to prepping & am so grateful to have found your site with the wealth of info you share. Thank you so much and God bless.

If you'll use the search bar on this site, you can find answers to ALL of the questions that I see here. One thing though that I should say is that it's important to select a powdered milk that doesn't require being cold before it tastes good. That's my criteria. We'll be putting out a LOT more of this info on our YouTube channel too very soon. I just gotta get past this blasted pneumonia thing. Glad you found us!!!

Thank you for your response. I searched about 45 min. and found the info! In all my reading, I think I may have read somewhere on your site your mentioning you liked to use a particular pitcher from Pampered Chef for using/storing your mixed powdered milk. I've tried to revisit the sites I previously read, but can't find the type of pitcher again! If this was your info, could you please restate it for me? Many thanks.

It's just a pitcher that has a plunger type of lid to it, but you can actually find them less expensive at Bed, Bath & Beyond. It just makes the mixing of it SO much easier.

Many thanks!

Didn't I read in one of your other posts that you have a specific brand that you get? I obviously didn't make a not of it, & don't remember what it was. Thanks for all you do to help us!


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