Reconstituting Powdered Milk

The key to reconstituting powdered milk is to use the right amount of water for the amount of powder. Below is a handy little table that will show you exactly what you need to mix to make a certain amount of milk from powder. You can then use it to cook or bake with or of course to drink it and use it in cereal.

To equal this amount of liquid milk Use this much
Fresh Water
And this much Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder
1/4 cup 1/4 cup 1-1/2 tablespoons
1/3 cup 1/3 cup 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup 1/2 cup 3 tablespoons
1 cup 1 cup 1/3 cup
1 quart 3-3/4 cup 1-1/3 cups
2 quarts 7-2/3 cups 2 -2/3 cups
1 gallon 15-1/2 cups 5-1/3 cups

The table above will help you work out the amount of powdered milk you will need to prepare a specific measurement of liquid milk. Here are some tips to help the milk turn out as fresh tasting as possible:

  • Use cool water when possible. The powder tends to dissolve more readily in cool water.
  • Stir the milk a lot, 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.
  • Chill the milk whenever possible. Use a refrigerator if you have one. If you don’t, then wrap the milk in a wet towel. As the water evaporates, the milk will cool. If you have a root cellar or basement, you may want to keep the milk there, or even outside in the fall and winter.
  • If you store the milk outside be sure that it is protected from critters who may be thirsty. A box with a large rock on top is sufficient to keep out most animals.
  • If you do not have refrigeration, then only prepare enough milk to last the day. I 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. I don’t use either of these ideas, because we are accustomed to reconstituted milk, and prefer it plain.
  • If you have fresh milk available, then it may be mixed half and half with reconstituted milk to improve the flavor. If you use half whole milk and half reconstituted milk, you will end up with a very good tasting milk that is equivalent to 2%.

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DadMom - May 20, 2009

2tsp of butter powder in a quart of prepared milk will add the nearly-natural milk fat back in to make something very close to whole milk. In a quart of whole milk, which consists of 4% butter fat, one would expect to find about 1/4 cup of buttermilk and 2tsp of butter. Sadly, most buttermilk sold today is not actually the leftovers from making milk but rather just cultured milk so buying expensive buttermilk poweder may not be in your best interest.

For a delecious quart of rich and creamy milk that is not so expensive as adding a can of cream, add 2tsp of butter powder (margarine powder _may_ work), and 1 to 2 Tablespoons of plain yoguhrt then chill, stir, and compare to a glass of store-bought whole milk. To us, there seems to be less “powdered” flavor this way too.

For cream, which is about 72% butter fat, about 3/8c of butter powder is added to the quart of non-fat milk. 1% milk has about 1/2tsp of butter powder. 2% has about 1tsp of butter powder.

    Linda E - June 2, 2011

    Where do you find Butter Powder. I have never heard of that before

      ronnie bowen - February 26, 2013

      Wall mart
      ie: Bakers choice powdered butter milk great for baking ” biscuits” yum yumm

RobG - July 11, 2009

You mention preparing the milk the night before… will reconstituted milk last overnight without refrigeration? I know regular milk is good at room temp for around four hours (or so I’ve read).

I’m going on a camping trip in a couple of weeks and want to make my morning breakfast mix, which requires milk. Where we’re staying it will be in the 40’s at night, so I’m hoping to use your idea of preparing the milk mixture the night before. Then it should be nice and cold the next morning.


Kelli - November 13, 2009

I just followed your tips (thanks!) and used a screw-top Nalgene water bottle to make measuring easy (the ounces are marked on the bottle). Plus then you can just shake it up. Have never been sure what to do with the powdered milk in the past so glad to be able to use it now. Thanks again!

Debie - November 20, 2009

I don’t know much about powdered milk. Does it not cost more to use than purchasing regular milk? If it is cheaper, how do you get your family to switch over?

    natalie - October 4, 2015

    I use it in baking primarily. As far as drinking, you could try to stretch it out by mixing a 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup without getting push back from the kids.

Scott - November 21, 2009

Powdered milk used to be considered a low-cost alternative to fresh milk; however, this was in the day when milk prices were controlled (usually by state laws) and thus artificially high. In the 21st century, that is no longer true (perhaps for Wisconsin, maybe?), so that fluid milk is routinely used as a loss leader, featured prominently in supermarket sales flyers, and often matched by mega-retailers like Wal-Mart. Now, it is almost always cheaper to purchase fresh milk (in appropriate sizes–usually gallons). In my region, gallons of fluid milk were selling this summer [2009] for $1.59, and never higher than $1.99 as a loss leader. I have never seen powdered milk sell for the equivalent of less than $3-$4/gallon in modern times.

What powdered milk is good for is emergency and convenience uses. I keep a little on hand (I find the boxes of individually-sealed pouches to be better overall than a big box of powdered milk) in case I run out of fluid milk. It can also be used for camping and cooking where excess liquid would negatively affect the recipe. Since I do not drink milk alone, the taste concerns are not an issue for me, but may be with others.

    Jack Taylor - October 30, 2011

    Be careful to differentiate between powdered milk and milk powder. Milk powder is superior and a little more difficult to reconstitute. I use it where concentrated milk ingredients are called for (like canned evaporated milk). Milk powder mixes very easily into the dry ingredients (pancakes or waffles? No problem!) and if you want to adjust for more milk, you do so without overdoing the liquids. Just made a pumpkin pie last night…. Wow! Killer good. I like to make it a little stronger and the pie turns out like I made it with cheese, like a pumpkin cheese cake. Speaking of cheese, milk powder is essential for yogurts and cheeses. Most of my uses for milk powder go to these activities.

      Raquel - November 27, 2011

      Had no idea there was a difference between “powdered milk” and “milk powder”…honestly didn’t know there “was” two different forms of this stuff. Now I’m not sure what to use for ‘everyday’ milk…Here in Ontario Canada, I can purchase a large noname bag of ‘powder’ for $22 which translates to 6Litres of liquid (following directions). A 4L bag of milk(2%) costs anywhere from $3.75 to $4.75. The bag of non-liquid milk is the better deal for me…but now I got to make sure I’m using the correct ‘type’.

        JerryF - June 14, 2013

        There is Non-fat dry milk, there is instant non-fat dry milk and a big difference in how to mix and the taste. Most Instant milk calls for 11/3 cups powder, where nf-dms (non-fat dry milk solids) on takes 1/2 cup of DMS (dry milk solids). I use NFDMS to make drinking milk, yogurt, fresh cheeses, and Ice creams. Of course I use some whipping cream to get some fat back into it.
        Bargain? Not really except I live in the Philippines and UHT milk just plain sucks, fresh milk is available but @ $4.00 / ltr.(qt) So it is a lot cheaper for me to ship DMS and add water here.
        I’m online this AM trying to find out how much 35% whipping cream to add to a qt. of non-fat skim to get fat content of whole milk. LMAO, math used to be my best subject, now I have a problem adding 2+2.
        Just for the record, no such thing as powdered Butter, so don’t waste time looking for it.

Cheryl - November 23, 2009

I live in the deep south and I’m a bargain hunter. I’ve seen the price of milk powder wildly fluctuate recently, but it seems to be back down a bit. I wouldn’t advise buying the store brand ‘instant milk.’ That stuff is expensive.

I can buy whey based milk (moos) for 1.29 a gallon or Walton regular nonfat for 1.71 a gallon (both prices take into account taxes and shipping.) I have to have it shipped because I live many, many, many miles away from bulk sellers. The cheapest milk has been here as a loss leader is 2.79 a gallon. It usually runs closer to 3.59 or 4.25 during certain times of the year. According to my price book, I haven’t seen milk go for 1.99 since early 2004. I sure wish I lived where Scott does.

Just bought another 50 lb from Walton’s Feed last week, so my prices are current.

Powdered milk is excellent in bread machine mixes–no scalding the milk. Also, it is very good to use in DIY or MYO mixes: puddings, cream soups, sauces. But the best part, besides being half the price for me, is that I never run out–I can just make more up whenever I need it.

Left out of the fridge, powdered milk tends to seperate back into granular gook and liquid after about 12-18 hours; it also starts to smell. I have found many lost sippy cups this way.

Jenni - January 28, 2010

Does powdered milk contain gluten?

    Sarah F - January 28, 2016

    Absolutely not. However, it is high in protein which makes its consistency similar to gelatin in water.

Tammie - January 28, 2010

If using non instant powdered milk use half the amount of powdered milk. Everything else stays the same. Also non instant is cheaper than instant and you get more for your money You also use 1/2 as much to make the same amount.

Old Virginia Joe - April 8, 2010

We use powdered milk much of the time, though as prices for liquid milk and milk powder change over time, we regularly have to get the calculator and determine which is cheaper per gallon at that particular time, and purchase accordingly.

My wife has found that keeping the reconstituted milk in a glass and not plastic container in the fridge seems to make it taste better. We don’t know why, but it does.

We like not having to do without milk (with three little boys) over the weekend, if we run out, because we can always mix up some dry milk. Driving to town for a single food item ain’t happening in our family, though we plan well, and hardly ever let ourselves run out of something important like milk.

Dawn B - April 11, 2010

OV Joe, milk tastes better in glass over plastic for several reasons. One is that plastic tends to leach out that plastic flavor, and another is because milk proteins tend to stick to plastic. Plastic is always slightly porous, whereas glass is not.
I’m a person who tries to avoid plastics whenever I can, especially for storing wet foods in direct contact. I’m suspicious of most petro products in general.

Dawn B - April 11, 2010

Nobody mentioned the water/towel trick to keep milk cool overnight sans refrigeration. Wrap the bottle in a damp kitchen towel and place in a small basin of cool water – evaporation will keep the milk fairly cool for quite a while.

David Folts - April 19, 2010

I can easily see the advantages of powdered milk but what is the shelf life. Also is it possible to store powdered milk in a uncooled place namely being in AZ where temperatures can reach 115 deg F. Does nonfat powdered milk have a longer life than regular? I did see something that looked fairly close to powdered milk in a 50 lb plastic pail container in the big box wholesale stores but was not sure of taste, quality or shelf life. This product also contained other constituents other than milk most likely for taste, storage and suspension.

Kerri C. - June 10, 2010

To Scott: Here in the Dallas, TX area milk runs anywhere from $2.30 – $6.00 per gallon. I’ve always considered powdered milk a cooking alternative only if you can’t get to the store. However, a friend who was visiting recently told us that she’s priced powdered milk (including adding a little extra for taste & about 1/4 c heavy whipping cream for heft & flavor) and (using the Sam’s brand) prices out to $0.97 – $1.07 per gallon. That’s quite a savings… especially if you have a milk drinker like my growing boy who at 15 can easily put away two gallons by himself in a week.

Sheila R. - June 10, 2010

I have two strapping boys, 7 and 10, that drink an average of 3 gallons a week. We are going to be using the powdered milk we get from the food banks. Free versus 5 bucks a gallon is a no brainer. I remember when I was a kid, my mom would put a teaspoon of vanilla in the mix and it would make it taste great. Will let you know if it still does lol.

magnoliasouth - July 11, 2010

Kerri: Your friend buys Sam’s brand? When I buy it from Sam’s it’s VERY clumpy and refuses to de-clump, even in a blender (both wet and dry). Does your friend have a suggestion on this?

Maybe it’s due to the humidity and heat here in coastal Alabama, but every single box I’ve ever bought is clumpy like that.

auntie miller - August 19, 2010

my friend has been trying to find a recipe for making buttermilk from powdered milk. She made it when her husband was in the military stationed in Africa. They couldn’t by regular milk. She has lost her recipe but thinks it was started with either a cup or half-cup of buttermilk. Can anyone help us? Thanks

Alan Vallis Henderson - September 4, 2010

Dawn B said:
“… the water/towel trick to keep milk cool overnight sans refrigeration. Wrap the bottle in a damp kitchen towel and place in a small basin of cool water – evaporation will keep the milk fairly cool for quite a while.”

Exactly right. When camping this works even better if you put the milk and other perishable food in a stream. Preferably on some support to keep it above water then drape a big towel over it so that the ends of the towel are in the water stream.

Yillbyung Lee - September 11, 2010


Could not help write why I want dried milk.

(1) I am going on a long term cruise where my sailboat’s refrigerater is small and not reliable, actuall power supply would not be.

(2) I am a Korean and was born at the end of Korean was, and I had a lot of American powdered milk and cheese given to Korean as an aid. Thank you! We had nothing to east in those days, and I appreciate and still remember those solidified milk crumbs that I had to brake or scrape with my spoon (US made SS one).

(3) I was trying to buy some regular, not fat-free milk powder. I owuld appreciate some information on where I can buy good tasting fat (not non-fat) milk.

Thanks again, you Americans!
I survived with your milk powder aid.

Yillbyung Lee
Seoul, Korea
Now preparing cruise from Mystic, CT.

    RebeccaC - October 23, 2010 has powdered buttermilk and regular milk also. It is wonderful and doesn’t have that tell-tale “dry milk smell” which my kids object to.

    This milk powder also makes amazing yogurt!

    GMcM - September 5, 2013

    God bless you, Yillbyung!

Ginnamom - September 12, 2010

I use some powdered milk but I can get fresh “raw” farm milk at 2.50 a gallon so we usually use that but when i’m in a pinch I will use the powdered milk it is also good for cookign and shakes and such

Jodi - September 29, 2010

Yillbyung Lee: I live in Florida. At Walmart and some groceries they sell powdered whole milk in a can similar to a coffee can. The brands are Spanish. The one I buy is called Nedo. It makes a very creamy tasting milk with a pure white color. Delicious! Hope this helps. I keep the cans on hand for when I run out of milk.

    Catherine - November 11, 2011

    Nido is very good! It tastes like slightly sweetened milk. They have a special fortified one for children one year and up and my one year old loves it. And then a less fortified for I guess 2 and up but I am not there yet.

Jodi - September 29, 2010

The name of the powdered whole milk is actually called Nido. It is made by nestle. As I said before, very creamy and a beautiful white, white color. Delicious!!

    Michelle - November 20, 2012

    We love Nido. My daughter drinks the Prebio which if fortified for toddlers. The older kids love the regular Nido and we always keep it on hand. I have heard of people using it to make homemade yogurt.

Sarah Shelton - October 6, 2010

I have a question: Is it possible to make butter from reconstituted milk?

Susan - October 6, 2010

Hi Sarah,

Since powdered milk is fat-free (at least I’ve never seen whole milk powdered milk where I live) I doubt you could make butter from it.

sernamary - October 17, 2010

i have problems with my stomach.i had some intestines removed and some of my acid from my stomach is i can’t tolerate milk products ,but i can tolerate powdered milk. and i like it.

Nitalynn - November 1, 2010

Scott I agree with Cheryl. I pay more that $1.99 for a half gallon! Although I do buy fresh milk for drinking I use powdered for all my cooking now.
I have been wondering about making my own baking mixes like Bisquick or Pioneer brand because my husband is a diabetic and they have a good bit of sugar in them. That way I could substitute Splenda. I noticed some people on here mention buttermilk powder and was wondering where you buy it. I bought a can years ago but have not seen any lately.
By the way I’m in the deep South also.

    Leslie - June 2, 2011

    You can buy buttermilk powder at Emergency Essentials – their website is

Pamela - November 2, 2010

Is there such a thing as whole, powdered milk? All I can find at the stores is non-fat instant.

    Catherine - November 11, 2011

    Try Nido in the Hispanic/Latin foods section.

Tara - November 8, 2010

Nitalynn~~~My last shopping trip to out local walmart I spotted the powdered buttermilk mix, it was in the same area as the powdered milk but seemed a bit pricey to me since I knew I was not going to be using it for anything this month. Next month though I may have to pick it up.

rebekah wheeler - December 23, 2010

is powdered milk as good as regular likqid you buy buy the gallon? we are on hard times financaly, and i have an 18 month old at home i was thinking about starting with the powdered, since its easy to store, and wont go bad and all. anyone recomened the best/ healthyest brand i could get for him? thanks in advance for any tips….

Doris - December 23, 2010

I have went to powdered or dry milk over 2 years ago. If my husband knew that he would murder me lol. So that tells you you cant tell the difference. I get mine at wal mart and mix it and pour in a 1/2 gal. container where milk use to be in. I put it in frig right beside the ice tea and he drinks about 6 glasses a day of tea and I am sure he sees the 1/2 gal milk jug and even sometimes have to move it to get to the tea. Doesn’t know it is powdered milk. Uses it on cereal every morn.

k - December 31, 2010

The Aldi brand is great. Cheap, tastes good, and non-clumpy.

Amber C - January 1, 2011

I honestly hate the way powdered milk tastes, but I keep a good supply on hand at all times. It is so useful for baking and I have the best recipe for sweetened condensed milk that calls for it. It allows me to save the regular milk for my son and I to drink, and heck I can make up a batch if I run out of milk for some reason, although the son is the only one who will drink it.

Randi - January 1, 2011

@Scott, I live in Wisconsin and can get a gallon of organic milk for $2.50 a gallon where I am. Liquid milk prices are not really so much of a problem here.

Becky - January 1, 2011

In the DFW area, Walmart and ALDI are having milk price wars, much to the appreciation of customers like me. YOu can get a gallon of liquid milk for 99 cents. (A half-gallon is $1.80!) Before assuming dry milk powder is cheaper, be sure to check prices of liquid milk!

Esmerelda - April 3, 2011

Here in Spokane we’re having small amounts of radiation in our milk due to the tragedy in Japan. They levels are tiny and pose no threat but I’ve decided this is a great time to try out the powdered milk from my emergency food storage. Thanks for all the tips!

Linda - April 6, 2011

Nitalynn—I make a Bisquick -type baking mix and use powdered non-fat milk instead of the more expensive buttermilk powder such recipes often call for—tastes good, works fine, nobody’s complaining.

Sarah Brown - April 6, 2011

ya can take whole milk and power milk and mix it.. I use to buy a gal. of whole milk and make a gal. of power milk then mix it half and half. had 2 gal.’s for price of one. and no one could tell the differance…

Kim - April 6, 2011

I keep powered milk on hand for emergencies and for baking. My husband and I use it to put in our coffee too. I’m allergic to corn and artificial creamers are loaded with corn so a little powdered milk takes its place and my husband loves it because it doesn’t dilute the coffee.

Lael - April 6, 2011

…Yillbyung Lee, I am glad that America was able to help you and I hope that you are having a happy life!
…I mix the powdered milk (Aldi’s) in a pitcher filled about half wall with cold water, and I add some powdered creamer. I mix everything thoroughly and add the rest of the water. I then strain the milk into another pitcher and then I pour it into a washed and dried milk container. I would prefer a glass container, but I haven’t found one that would work.


Grizzly907 - May 17, 2011

Your instructions were perfect!!! The milk is great. I don’t mind the taste either. Its kind of sweet. Thank HBHW!

cdowis - March 28, 2012

I have been using powered milk for many years. I prefer using warm water to mix it up. Here are some simple variations that can save alot of money. Use hot water for the mix:

You can make buttermilk by adding live buttermilk, and letting it sit in a warm place for several hours.
You can also make yogurt as well by adding live yogurt, and you should double the amount of powered milk solids. Let it sit in a warm place for a day. This is the “greek” style of yogurt.

cdowis - March 28, 2012

I had trouble with lumps and this is how I got rid of them.

Use 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of very hot water, add some of the power and stir. Continue to add the power and stir until the big lumps are gone. Let it sit for awhile to dissolve, and stir briefly for a last time.

Then add the cold water and put in fridge. The lumps will be gone in the morning.

Worked very time for me.

Kathy - January 30, 2014

To the Mom looking for milk for her 18 month old, I would research the age it is safe for a child to put aside whole milk. I thought it was 2 years old. Calcium is not absorbed by anyone without fat and Vitamin D, even if it is ingested (swallowed). That means that bones, all of them including the “soft spot”, will not be able to develop normally, if there is not enough absorbable calcium.

My friend had a beautify toddler, with a large soccer ball shaped forehead that was thought to be genetic. Her beautiful blues eyes appeared to be buried under it. When her Mom switched to whole milk, she developed a beautiful, normal forehead in a matter of weeks. Her soft spot had not been able to close, due to the lack of calcium ABSORBED, even though it was INJESTED. Her bones had built a thick gristle to protect the brain, until she had enough calcium absorbed to build the bone. The thick gristle was naturally removed and replaced with thin bone, when calcium was absorbed by her body.

I had been reading Adele Davis, and mentioned to my friend that trying the whole milk may be worth a try. She was so embarrassed when it worked. They had been trying to save a dollar a gallon by buying skim milk. As a side note, they were active duty Air Force, and somehow this did not get caught by the medical team. Hope this help with your decision making, as fat and vitamin D are needed from somewhere in order to absorb the calcium.

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