Guide To Powdered Milk For Emergency Food Storage – Prepping 101

powdered milk emergency food storage

When we think about milk, we think about fresh milk from a cow or goat or even alternative milk such as almond milk. We don’t typically think of powdered milk, do we?

Except if you’re a prepper, that is.

Powdered milk is a staple among the prepared because an unopened (or repackaged in a mylar bag with oxygen absorber) bag of non-fat powdered milk can last anywhere from 2-10 years past the “best buy” date.

Most powdered milk is non-fat. This doesn’t make it ideal for a lot of recipes because the fat from milk is what makes a lot of recipes thick and creamy. However, if all you have is non-fat then you’d use the non-fat and try to make up the fat or thickness needed in other ways. But there is whole fat powdered milk. I’ll talk about the various brands and types down below.

Types of Powdered Milk

Goat powdered milk emergency milk
Goat Milk

Goat Milk is whole powdered milk. Many may not like the taste of goat milk, but it’s certainly an alternative for cooking and baking needs. This was the only type of milk that I could find available when all the other cow powdered milk was out of stock due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

whole powdered milk
Whole powdered milk

Whole Powdered Milk certainly exists and it’s great for drinking, cooking and baking.

augason farms alternative whey milk
Alternative whey milk

Augason Farms makes a low fat milk alternative that is a whey-based beverage. It looks and tastes like milk and has a lot of the same benefits.

Instant nonfat dry milk

Carnation sells non fat dry milk which is commonly used primarily for cooking, but it’s regular nonfat dry milk and it’s pretty cheap.

Hoosier farms whole milk powder
Hoosier farms whole milk powder

Hoosier Farms (big fan of their products), has a great selection of powdered dairy products. One of their products happens to be whole milk powder.

powdered milk for kids
Powdered milk for kids

There are many powdered milks that are marketed towards children, but these are also great options for drinking, cooking or baking.

Full cream powdered milk
Full cream powdered milk

Red Cow makes a ‘full cream’ powdered milk version that comes from The Netherlands. It sounds pretty tasty!

There are dozens of powdered milk brands. Powdered milk can be found at most grocery stores and Walmart.

How To Make Your Own Powdered Milk

For at home purposes using a dehydrator, I would suggest using skim milk as it’ll store better long term. It’s tempting to use whole milk, but it will have a reduced shelf-life.

Making your own powdered milk is fairly easy. All you need is a dehydrator. If you have a freeze dryer, that’s certainly better, but a dehydrator will be effective.

In addition to a dehydrator, you’ll need some type of solid insert for your trays such as the fruit roll up trays or, if you’re extremely careful, parchment paper will work.

Pour milk onto the tray so they’re not overflowing, go slow. This will come out to about 1 cup, but it could vary depending on your dehydrator size.

Set your dehydrator to 130-135 degrees F. and dehydrate for around 12 hours. The milk will be flaky and crumbly.

When it’s fully dehydrated, blend it into a powder.

Store it in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.

How To Use Powdered Milk For Drinking, Cooking and Baking

How do you use powdered milk? It may be a bit intimidating at first and a bit strange, but it’s fairly easy to use.

Every brand of powdered milk will have different directions on how to reconstitute it to use it for drinking purposes. For best results, follow the directions on the package.

If you’ve made it yourself, use this basic outline, though adjust if you need to:

  • 1/4 cup water to 1 1/2 tbsp powdered milk = makes 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup water to 2 tbsp + 1 tsp powdered milk = makes 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup water to 3 tbsp powdered milk = makes 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup water to 1/3 cup powdered milk = makes 1 cup
  • 3 3/4 cup water to 1 1/3 cup powdered milk = makes 1 quart
  • 7 2/3 cup water to 2 2/3 cup powdered milk = makes 2 quarts
  • 15 1/2 cup water to 5 1/3 cup powdered milk = 1 gallon

To use powdered milk in place of fresh milk, use this basic outline:

  • 1/2 cup milk = 2 tbsp. dry milk and 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cup milk = 2 tbsp. dry milk and 2/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk = 3 tbsp. dry milk and 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup milk = 1/4 cup dry milk and 1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups milk = 1/3 cup dry milk and 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups milk = 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. dry milk and 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk = 1/2 cup dry milk and 1 1/2 cups water

Powdered milk can be used in recipes that call for fresh milk, such as:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Breads and other baked goods
  • White sauce (alfredo sauce)
  • Protein powder
  • Smoothies
  • Buttermilk (1 cup water, 1/4 cup powdered milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and let stand 5 to 10 minutes)
  • Butter (3/4 powdered milk, 1/3 cup water, place into mason jar and shake vigorously until it begins to form a ‘butter’, can also be whipped in a mixer if available)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Use powdered milk to make your own dehydrated meals at home
  • Coffee creamer

In some instances, you may need to find an alternative for the fat content or use an additional thickening agent like corn starch or flour.

However, powdered milk can essentially be used the same way as fresh milk. If a recipe calls for milk, reconstitute it per the directions listed above or on the packaging of your powdered milk and use it as it calls for it.

Again, keep in mind that thickening agents or mixers might be needed to thicken the milk, if required.

I would highly suggest doing an online internet search to find cooking and baking recipes that use powdered milk then save/print them out now. There are thousands online. Search for recipes that specifically use powdered milk. These recipes have been formulated for powdered milk. This way you already have the recipe that specifically calls for powdered milk and it’ll make everything go a lot smoother. Also by doing this, you’ll know what other types of supplies you might need to store to cook/bake these items.

Powdered milk is pretty incredible. How much do you have on hand?

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Morgan is the founder of Rogue Preparedness. She has been a prepper for over a decade. She's a wife, mother of two daughters and is homesteading off grid. She teaches people how to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

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  1. Hi Morgan😊

    I wouldn’t say that I am great preparer, more like an as needed and last minute kinda gal. But I do like to have necessities on-hand ie., baking supplies,( flours, sugar, spices) canned coconut milk, shelf-stable milk, beans and tomato products
    And…powdered milks. I just snagged a marked down(still in date) powdered Goat’s milk.
    Have you used Goat’s milk in many recipes and if yes, what were the results.
    Thank you for sharing and love those t-shirt slogans!

    P.S. Looking to live off grid coming soon.

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