16 Uses for Whey

uses for whey

Remember the nursery rhyme about little Miss Muffet eating her curds and whey?

Back before I began my real food journey, I didn’t even know what whey was… I never would have dreamed I would as familiar with it as I am now!

Whey is the cloudy, yellowish liquid that is leftover after milk is curdled. It’s packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

There are two kinds of whey that you will encounter in your home dairying adventures:

1. Acid Whey- the whey resulting from cheese in which an acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) has been added to aid in the curdling process. (Some types of mozzarella, lemon cheese, or farmer’s cheese).

2. Sweet Whey- the whey resulting from cheese that is cultured or curdled with rennet instead of additional acid. (Yogurt whey fits in this category, as does soft cheese whey and traditional mozzarella.)

If you’ve ever made cheese, no doubt you’ve been amazed (and maybe even overwhelmed…) by how much whey is leftover after the process. It takes a lot of milk to make a little cheese! But, before you pour it down the drain, WAIT!

There are SO many uses for whey, it’ll make your head spin!

(Please note: real whey is not the same as the powdered “whey” sold in health food stores. They are not interchangeable. )

I’ve compiled a list of ideas that to help you to use up this nourishing byproduct.

I prefer using sweet whey in most of these cases. Be careful when adding the acid whey to things like smoothies, etc, as it might really change the taste of things!

(Some of these uses for whey require the whey to be heated, so if you are interested in keeping all the qualities and enzymes of the raw whey, just skip those.)

16 Uses for Whey

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1. Substitute whey in any baking recipe that calls for water (or even milk). I love making fresh breads and rolls with my leftover whey. Also try it in cornbread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, homemade biscuits, homemade tortillas, and more!

2. Use whey to lacto-ferment vegetables, condiments, sauerkraut, chutneys, jams, etc. This is an area that I have yet to really explore, but it’s on my list! This is an incredibly healthful form of preservation that increases the nutritional value of so many things. Check out the book Nourishing Traditions  for more info on this topic. (It is important to use raw whey when you lacto-ferment– not acid whey or cooked whey.)

3. Use whey to soak grains, Nourishing Traditions style. Depending on your recipe, several tablespoons or more can be added to your grain and legume preparations to make them more digestible.

4. Freeze it for later. If you anticipate a milk-less time of year (perhaps when your animals are dried up), you can easily freeze whey for future use. Try putting it in ice cube trays or small cups to make the proper portion sizes. Then pop out the frozen cubes and store in a baggie.

5. Use whey to cook pastas, potatoes, oatmeal, or rice. Boiling the whey will cause it to lose its raw properties. However, if you feel like you are drowning in whey, this is a wonderful way to use it up and add extra flavor to the foods.

6. Add whey to soups and stews. Perhaps it could take the place of some of your homemade stock or broth?

7. Add whey to homemade fruit smoothies or milkshakes. The sky is the limit when it comes to all the flavor combos you can make.

8. Use whey as a hair product. Now, I personally have not yet tried this, so proceed with caution! But I have seen several sources recommend it as a shampoo substitute, hair rinse, or even as hair gel! Not sure if I’ll be trying this, but let me know if YOU do!

9. Feed it to the dogs. Our dogs love it when I pour a little whey on their dry food and make it into a cereal. It’s quite the treat.

10. Make whey lemonade. I’ve seen several delicious-sounding recipes for lemonade-type drinks using whey. It’s on my list of things to try this summer!

11. Use whey to water your plants. Dilute it with a good amount of water (straight whey will “burn” your plants- I learned this the hard way…) and pour on your veggies or flowers (avoid using acid whey here). Think how much your container garden would love that!

12. Feed extra whey to the farm critters. Our chickens love it and so did our pigs.

how to make soft cheese

13. Make ricotta. Ricotta cheese is traditionally made from whey. And it’s so incredibly easy! However, this will require the whey to be heated to 200 degrees, so all the raw enzymes will be lost. Here is my homemade ricotta recipe. I like to make ricotta when I have gallons of extra whey, and then I freeze it for making lasagna later.

14. Pour it in your compost bin. I have yet to do this, but it would be better than dumping it down the drain.

15. Make a whey marinade. Add your favorite spices and seasonings (garlic, salt, pepper, maybe some rosemary…Yum!) to the whey and allow it to marinate your steaks, chicken, fish, or pork chops. The enzymes in the whey help to break down the meat and add flavor.

16. Use whey to stretch your mozzarella. If you’ve ever made mozzarella before, you know that you must stretch the curds at the end of the process. Some recipes say to use the microwave (no thanks!), while others use a pot of hot, salted water. I always use hot whey to stretch my curds–I think it adds more flavor, plus it’s just sitting there anyway. Here’s my traditional mozzarella recipe.

And here’s where I buy all of my cheesemaking cultures and supplies.

Bonus! 17. Use leftover sweet whey to make this incredibly awesome vintage Lemon Whey Pie recipe.

Bonus! 18. Make Gjetost–a sweet cheese made from reduced whey.

Now surely I didn’t cover all the uses for whey… What are some of YOUR whey tricks?

uses for whey



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  1. I’ve only made mozz twice now, but had nearly a gallon of whey left-over each time. I felt kind of ripped off, actually, when I saw the tiny ball of cheese and all the stuff I didn’t want – well, didn’t know I wanted yet!

    A friend told me a few things I could do with the whey, and wow – it really is versatile. I use it in soups, smoothies, casseroles and breads. I’d really like to try lacto-fermenting some veggies, and I’ll be using it this weekend to sprout some grains.

    I’d never heard about using it as a hair product – fascinating!

    • I hear ya- I was disappointed the first time I made cheese, too. Until I figured out how cool whey can be!

    • lol hearing the tiny ball thing what I do is when I am making farmers cheese or pannera or the like is make up other things to create like a ploughmans lunch or antipasto type sit down. I use the whey as the water in a foccacia and the left overs from the pickling of say radishes and other fresh veg I have pickled for the feast, all get thrown in a pot to make either a soup or stock which I then freeze for later. the cheese gets used in the lunch with the fresh pickles. speaking of which I have some asparagus I need to blanch and pickle for todays feed might blanch it in some whey before using it to make my stock.

  2. We have poured it in the compost, we have poured it in the garden. Pigs, dogs, cats & chickens all love it. I have used it when I made sauerkraut.

    I would like to look into the hair thing. Right now I have been washing my hair with baking soda and water with an apple cider vinegar and water rinse. I have been doing this for 2 years with great success.

    • Marci, I’ve been getting closer and closer to attempting the baking soda/vinegar hair treatments… I hear so many people say how well it works for them.

      • I do baking soda/vinegar for my hair. The first time I was really surprised at how my hair felt – then I realized it just felt like hair! None of the stuff that shampoo and conditioner leave on your hair. Felt really good. And stays cleaner longer, too

        • Jennifer, what is the process for washing your hair with vinegar and soda? Can you give some recipes and instructions? I’d love to try this, too!

          • I just googled uses for whey and came upon this website. I GOT my whey from making ricotta! How can yoiu make ricotta from whey? Guess I’m a real newbie at all this . . . but I do make bread, so I will use it for that.


          • Hi Maureen,
            Well, it depends on what type of ricotta you make, but it’s possible to both GET way from ricotta and MAKE whey from ricotta!

            When I make my ricotta, I use the leftover, raw whey that I have from my traditional mozzarella recipe. I heat it to 200 degrees, then strain it through cheesecloth, which still leaves me with a whole lot of cooked whey. Depending on the type of cheese you are making and the method, it may or may not be possible to make ricotta from the leftover whey.

        • I just put baking soda (1/4 cup?) in a cup and add warm water to make a thin paste and rub that into my hair. It feels odd, because it obviously isn’t soap and doesn’t lather. Then I rinse it out. Then I rinse with 1 cup of vinegar and rinse it out. It helps to warm up that vinegar a little, otherwise it’s a surprise when you dump that on your head in the shower! Pretty easy

          • I use a different method–just put 3-ish tablespoons each of baking soda + vinegar in two squirt bottles, and then fill the rest of the way up with water. My bottles are smaller than regular sport-top water bottles, and they last me about 4-5 showers.

          • Shirley Barnett says:

            You probaly cant use on colored hair right ?

          • I’m not sure Shirley- honestly, I wouldn’t think it’d be a problem, but I’ve never tried it, so can’t say for sure.

          • I use Becca’s method too, but with one small addition. I use luke warm water when I make the mixtures and then add a bit less than a teaspoon full of xanthum gum, give it a good shake and then only use it the next day. The gum thickens it nicely to a consistency similar to that of shampoo and I find it easier to use. It’s a bit lumpy at first, but gets better after a day or so and I use much less of it than when it’s runny. Be careful not to use too much gum, because it will make it feel very slimy.

          • You can use it on dyed hair, both henna and chemical. I have been doing no-poo for 5 years now, and dye my hair with chemicals as well as henna (not at the same time, i only do it about 1 a year).

          • I just keep a container of baking soda in the shower, and use about a teaspoon or so mixed into the shampoo in my hand, then dump that mixture on my head and lather away, then rinse. It makes my hair clean enough with just one lathering!I

        • Doris Dye says:

          What if your hair is colored? Do you think the baking soda/vinegar would strip the color off?

      • zubair-ahmed says:

        im student of dairy technology. intresting in cheese wheyproduct

      • Marilyn Norfleet says:

        I had great success using Baking Soda/Vinegar on my hair until winter. I don’t know if my hormones started changing but my hair got really greasy. I am using shampoo/conditioner from Whole foods right now. Will return when the weather heats up.

    • Here is how I do the baking soda / vinegar thing for my hair:

    • Marci, I have been doing this for over a year now and my kids still think I’m crazy for not purchasing a $5.00 12 oz bottle of shampoo every two weeks… Interestingly enough, it makes my white hair sparkle with whiteness and gets rid of the yellowing completely without having to get some “whitening” shampoo…. ansd when the box is empty, I can put it in my composter instead of a plastic bottle in a landfill…

      • I could not do the baking soda wash. My hair is quite fine and it felt like straw… It was horrible. Maybe i did something wrong?

        • Traci you didn’t do anything wrong. It has a break in period for lots of ppl and for some it never works. I was one of those, but have still sort beat the system. I wash with just a little squirt of Dr Bronners and don’t need to again for about a week, I just rinse with hot water in between. If my hair gets dry or strawy esp in winter I use a tea rinse. That works for me better than the vinegar. Hope you don’t give up on it. There are alternatives to the ‘no poo method’ worth trying.

          • Thanks…even the Dr. Bronners made my hair feel like straw… I must have weird hair! lol

          • Try Dr Bronners with a lemon juice rinse, alternate with a conditioner every 3rd to 5th wash.

        • I couldn’t do it either. It made my hair so dry it was awful. I am a soapmaker so I made my own shampoo bars and I do not need a rinse or conditioner. My hair is soft and I only wash it every 3 or 4 days now. I know people swear by baking soda and vinegar but I am not convinced it is good for your hair, Especially the vinegar.

  3. I’ve been using leftover whey to spray our grass!! Our livestock are generally grass fed, and the whey is really making it grow, even though we’ve had no rain in 3 months!

    • Great idea! Hadn’t thought of that. Do you just put it in a weed sprayer thing?

  4. Ohmygoodness, THANK YOU!!! I’ve only been doing the “whey” thing for a few months and my original batch was getting old so yes, I actually chunked it down the drain. It made me sad but I didn’t know what else to do with it at that point (and I admit, for once I didn’t google for a solution either). So thank you so much for this. I’ll know better next time if I have any leftover.

    • Yay! So glad this gave you some ideas. :) Happy whey making.

    • zubair-ahmed says:

      amber i am student of dairy.Whey has high B,O,D and C.O.D values so we can not throw in sea water legaly. we may make ricota cheese,whey drinks,add in milk for yogort preparation.so please dont waste because it is harmfull for sealife.

  5. Great post! I have a hard time wasting anything, so if I’m desperate, it has to at least go in the compost. I’ll keep this in mind for future reference since making cheese is on my bucket list. :)

  6. HI Jill,
    I remember trying real “whey” at a fair once… As I recall, it tasted really good, but the one I tried had also been sweetened. So of course, it would taste really good :) :) :) It’s funny you mentioned “curds”, too…because there is a vendor at my local farmer’s market that makes cheese and sells curds, too. They always have free curd samples to hand out. Yummy :) :) Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

    • If you make cheese, you can make cheese curds. It’s actually quite easy. You just stop the cheesemaking process and don’t press and age the cheese.

  7. Pavil, the Uber Noob says:

    I toss in some salt & pepper and drink it.

    Ciao, Pavil

  8. I have a DD who is allergic to dairy (not lactose), so I can’t use it in cooking, but I like the idea to use it in the garden. We planted a pretty good sized garden this year. Might try it on the dog too! I mostly get my whey when I let my kefir sit too long on the counter. I’ll drain all of it out then to get the kefir cream cheese. I haven’t done anything with it yet though. It’s pretty tangy. I’m trying to decide what to make.

    • Yup- gardens/compost piles are definitely a good option if your family is dairy free!

      • can you put whey from yogurt /straining yogurt into a vermicompost system or do you think it’s too acidic even with no acid or rennet added? I make yogurt with only milk, milk powder and starter from greek style yogurt. I normally get whey off it once the jar is disturbed or when i strain it for yogurt cheese. I compost all of my bio matter with worms but unlike most, I pre-compost to keep the temp under control in my bin. Maybe if I added it to the pre-compost instead of the direct worm bin it would neutralize enough to not hurt them. This is really an interesting concept for me. I’ve had acid whey when making a quick soft cheese to use in place of ricotta in my lasagna but never knew what to do with this after b/c it’s so acidic. I use lemon juice as my acid instead of vinegar. You’ve added new thoughts to my many processes. thanks!

    • Add chives to your kefit cheese and spread on crackers. It is soooo good.

  9. Great ideas. I make yogurt often so it’s nice to have tips for using the whey. I recently bookmarked a mayonaise recipe that uses whey. The lemonade sounds good too.

    • A lacto-fermented mayo recipe? I hope to do some experimenting with that this summer!

  10. Other Jill says:

    You can mix in a few spoonfuls to a potato salad or pasta salad you are bringing to a picnic to protect it from spoiling. Of course I use it to make mayonnaise, but you can also use it to make salad dressings, to make them not only probiotic, but ALSO to make them last longer and stay fresher while refrigerated. I made blue cheese dressing and home made ranch dressing today! I put them on the Cobb Salad I made for dinner. Delicious!

    • Love, love, love these ideas- never would have thought of that! Definitely going to try this! :)

    • I am interested in the whey for salad dressing. I make all my own now. Do you use the whey instead of the oil or the vinegar?

    • Ashley Vela says:

      Please share your Ranch recipe! DS1 only wants to use Ranch dressing as a condiment. He wants it on everything. I have yet to find a natural creamy ranch recipe or store bought one for that matter. They all have something I can’t recognize or aren’t creamy or don’t taste like Ranch.

  11. What a wonderful, helpful post, Jill! I love all of the ideas you’ve shared. I have yet to enter the exciting world of cheese making, other than making my own yogurt cheese – that’s how I get my whey for lacto-fermenting. I am hoping to give cheese making a try in the near future, so this will be great to have on hand for all the extra whey that results! Blessings, Kelly

    • Oh, I have a feeling that you will love cheesemaking! It’s exciting, frustrating, and fun all at the same time! ;)

  12. I feed it to my chickens – and my guinea pig lives in the coop as well – so he eats it too.
    I’ve made ricotta with it.
    However, we mainly use it in recipes instead of water; smoothies or to smooth out the yogurt I make, pancakes, breads, Once I boiled rice noodles in it…until it’s taking up all my free bottles….then the chickens get it. ;o)
    Thank you for the article – I’m always wondering what to do better! Will try out some of the other suggestions.
    I wonder, since it’s a protein, if it would work well with water colors….and so we may try that, see how shiny they get.

    • Ooooh, watercolors! Now THAT would be interesting! Please do let me know how it goes if you try it!

  13. I think you covered most of what I do with mine… I started making yogurt and kefir just to get the whey, because I’d started reading NT about all the stuff to do with it. I was particularly excited about lacto-fermenting *everything.* My favorites so far are a red sourkraut (actually the kimchee recipe from the book, but I used red cabbage) and a corn salsa. Amazing. Whey makes everything better. Basically, if you’re going to make anything fresh, add whey and let it sit out a couple days, then it’s awesome and lasts several times as long.

    Can also make beet kvass, which helps a lot with estrogen/hormonal issues. And, of course, I love kefir cream cheese. Yum yum yum. (I like to herb it: add salt and whatever fresh and dried herbs you have to it, and i sprinkle in some turmeric as well: spread it on crackers, bread, put it in your omelet, anything).

    • I’m dying to start lacto-fermenting! I hear everyone talk about it so much. Hopefully sometime later in the summer! Never tried beet kvass, but heard many good things about it!

  14. Heather says:

    It was my understanding that you could not use the heated whey (by-product of cheese making) for lactofermenting or soaking because it is dead. Anyone care to clarify? I know in NT she only says to use raw whey.

    • Yes Heather, I believe you are correct. However, if you make any sort of raw cheese, you could definitely use the leftover whey from that. You would have to used cooked whey for some of the other applications like watering plants, etc.

      • What is “raw” cheese? I started making paneer cheese from a YouTube video. But you have to heat just til it starts to boil. So, does this mean you make cheese with cold milk? And the milk in stores is boiled isn’t it? Please help me out. :P

        • Raw cheese is made from unpasteurized, fresh milk. Some raw cheese recipes call for the milk to be heated slightly (like to 86 degrees, for example) to help propogate the cultures, but it won’t be heated hot enough to kill any of the beneficial enzymes/bacteria.
          If you are heating your paneer cheese to just before boiling, it probably isn’t considered a raw cheese.
          Most store-bought milk is pasteurized, depending on which state you live in. There are a few states which allow raw milk to be legally sold, but they are fairly rare. We choose to milk our goats and cow since raw milk is illegal in our state. Hope that answers your questions! :)

          • Could you share a recipe for raw cheese? I’ve been enjoying making vinegar cheese (paneer) the past couple days, I started cause one of my girls has insanely goaty milk and I figured I’d try making cheese and if it carried over the goaty flavor I’d give it to the chickens, to my surprise and delight her milk makes great cheese and you can’t even tell! I love keeping my milk raw as much as possible, I make raw yogurt but haven’t come across a raw cheese recipe.

            Also, I’ve just been giving my whey back to the ladies, they drink it readily and are so pleased to have it! I have no room to store anymore in the fridge as I’m getting about 2 gallons a day in one milking from my 4 ladies, we drink a lot but don’t always go through it fast enough so we have an abundance of milk and not much space in the fridge. I figure it’s better than giving it to the chickens, I’d rather give back to the girls who are puttin out all that good stuff in the first place!

        • I milk goats and have been loving the cheesemaking just because I mostly wanted the whey.

          Here is a quick, easy recipe my friend gave me:
          3 gallons of raw milk
          Slightly warm the milk to 85-90 degrees.
          Mix in the Rennet (3 drops for 3 gallons); I use a veggie source.
          Whisk in the rennet for 2 minutes.
          Add 1 cup Buttermilk
          (Optional 1/2-1 cup yogurt)
          Stir all ingredients together.
          Heat til warm (especially if Buttermilk and Yogurt we chilled)
          Leave covered overnight.
          In the morning, use a knife to cut the cheese and strain it out to seperate the cheese and the whey.

          This makes an awesome soft cheese.

          We then freeze our whey into ice cubes and make ice cream in our vita-mix blender with it. Just by crushing the ice cubes with herb powder and stevia we get an awesome ice cream.
          I love whey in so many wheys~*~

          • this sounds really interesting. I’ve never let the cheese sit so long. Do you think you could use kefir in place of the buttermilk?

  15. Aprillynn says:

    I use whey to soak my steal cut oats over night to soften and slightly ferment for more health benefits. We also use it in baking our guten free bread instead of water. Smoothies can get a boost too!

  16. I have just put mine to work in a bowl of kimchi-to-be, will see how it turns out. the whey bread on the picture looked gorgeous, could you share the recipe or is it already on the site and i’m just blind? Blessings, Maria

    • I actually don’t have the whey bread recipe on my blog. It just a stock photo. However, I have successfully used whey in several of my bread recipes- just sub 1:1 for the water!

    • zubair ahmed says:

      uses of whey
      1:whey basid drink
      Ingredients 4 this
      1: take whey in a pan heat it upto70-75c.
      2: now cool it to40c.(mild feel with hand)
      3:at this temperature add color* and **flavor
      color* 1 part color and 9 part water mix, use this color solution according to desire
      flaavor** flavor mix in a small portion of whey than add in hole bulk.

  17. Looks like you covered everything I can think of! I make yogurt every week, and often strain it to make Greek-style yogurt or homemade cream cheese. I have Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and got excited about lacto-fermenting some things. I’ve made the gingered carrots, and added some whey to my normal homemade ketchup. I hope to try some pickles when the cukes from our garden are ready.

    I also use it as you mentioned in baked goods (pancakes, muffins, sweet breads) and for soaking beans and grains. Nourishing Traditions has a “punch” recipe that’s basically lemonade (if you omit the spice), and I’ve tried that a few times. If you’re used to traditional lemonade, it takes some getting used to, but I think it’s great.

    I’ve tried the no-poo method of baking soda and vinegar, and loved it the first few times I tried it. Once the cold weather hit, I found it too drying, but may pick it up again now that it’s more humid.

    • I have the whey lemonade/punch on my list of things to try. Can I admit that I’m a little scared of it, lol? I’ve been wanting to attempt the no-poo method too. At least in the summer time like you mentioned.

      • Mary Mary says:

        I just made the lemonade! It does take a little getting used to… I made paneer, used lemon juice to curdle the milk. So then I just added more lemon juice, some sugar and a little apple juice. 2 out of 3 kids liked it. Then I got a fantastic idea: freeze it in popsicle molds! You end up with the equivalent of a pedialite pop. I looked up the uses of whey on a dairy science website and they point out that whey is good for people suffering from diarrhea. It’s full of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, water, and protein. My youngest is home from school with the flu and has been throwing up. She won’t eat much food, but she LOVES the popsicles! We had to color them pink though…she insisted. =) so now you can make your own hydration aid as well.

  18. I have a wonderful Norwegian whey cheese posted on my blog that you would probably enjoy. It is from sweet whey. http://creatingnirvanatoday.blogspot.com/2011/06/homemade-gjetost-cheese-and-gjetost.html I also have a fermented sweet potato drink that was wonderful. http://creatingnirvanatoday.blogspot.com/2011/06/sweet-potato-fly-fermented-sweet-potato.html Great list.

  19. We use our whey for several of the things you mention – soaking oats overnight, making lacto-fermented ginger carrots, and lots of smoothies.

    We have encountered white whey recently a few times, which I understand to come from milk that is particularly high in butterfat content. Most of the cream will settle to the top and you can skim it off – but then some still remains, we found, suspended in the whey and you need to use this faster because it does spoil.

    • Veeeerry, interesting about the white whey- have yet to run into that!

    • I have only made Mozzarella twice. I am using a low pasteurized, non-homogenated, pastured Holstein milk. Both times I have gotten white whey and I was afraid that I was doing something wrong. But Jill has a Jersey cow which has a higher milk fat in their milk. Since she hasn’t seen the white whey, I’m assuming the fat content may not be the reason, but I don’t know what is. Thanks for this resource!

  20. Found your blog and love it already! I definitely suggest doing fermenting with whey. I started doing it early this year. Some things are an acquired taste but most I like right off the bat. Thanks for the other ideas!

    • I agree- it is an acquired taste- one I am still acquiring myself! :) Glad you are enjoying the blog!

  21. I just thought I should mention. DO NOT put whey down the drain or toilet. It will completly eat the walls of your septic tank. I am speaking from experience. Even if you are on town sweage or water I would not do it. Outside on the compost or garden is a great solution if you can not use it.

  22. You can use whey to rebuild your soil. Mix it 1 part to 5 parts water and pour or drip over soil. We use a piece of PVC with small holes drilled in it every few inches. Then connect to a container (large bucket) and pull behind your tractor and the whey will drip into the soil. We do this for large areas mixing 2 gallons to 10 gallons water. Doing this once a month will rebuild even the worse soil to make it better for growing.

  23. No way! i dont’y know you could use Whey in these ways!

    …..well, Someone had to say it

  24. I make a fabulous recovery drink that I use on the days when I do more than 3 hours of exercise (Yes, I’m insane). It’s a great energy booster, and it really helps my body recover much more quickly!

    Just mix 1 cup of raw whey (I use either yoghurt or sour cream whey), 1/2 cup of water, 1 tbsp. of raw honey, and 1 tbsp. of raw apple cider vinegar, and a bit of celtic sea salt all together in a mason jar until the honey and salt disolves, and enjoy! It’s fairly acidic, however, so you may need to add more water. It tastes like a combination of lemonade and apple juice!

    • Sounds yummy! And wow, 3 hours of exercise?! Now that’s some motivation!!

    • Christie says:

      Thanks for this recipe! We are new to GAPS. THe children lasted all of 8 hrs on the Intro before their hunger drove Dad to say, “Feed them oranges!” So, we’re navigating constant hunger and slowly changing taste buds. Well, I read this recipe and immediately made some to try. The kids, curious, asked what it was an I said “Apple Lemonade” Oh – the power of marketing! They had only had water for the last 8 days, so they clamored to try something new that sounded SO tasty. My pickiest eater (who does NOT eat yogurt) was the first to gulp her share and the other kids finished it off. I had to make another serving for the girls to split. It is a hit! And I have NOT told them what’s in it yet…. little does Miss Picky know that she is quickly developing a taste for my yogurt (through drinking the whey)
      though she does not know it yet!

  25. Do you know long whey will keep in the fridge? I’ve had some that are months and months and MONTHS old… Also, I have some sour milk so old in the fridge they have literally separated – the clear liquid (which I’m assuming is whey) and the white stuff on the bottom. Is this whey safe to consume? Again, very old…

    • Cee,
      If your soured milk is RAW and not pastuerized, it should be safe to consume after the milk solids and whey has separated. That is called clabbering.
      I think the best indicator of whether the whey is still good is the smell. (That goes for the clabber, too). If it has any sort of “putrid” smell, toss it. Otherwise, you should be ok.

  26. Thanks, Jill. I had taken this out of the fridge and been sitting on the counter for several days. Is it still safe to consume? Thanks again.

  27. MAHEHSWARI.M says:

    I Want to know the basic usage of whey……….

  28. The farmers around me are using whey for controlling powdery mildew on their grapes. They say it works. They just mist it on to the leaves and let it dry.

    • Very interesting Laura! I’ve never heard that before. What a great alternative to chemcial treatments, though.

    • We have a vineyard that I would love to use the left over whey on. We also have a problem with powdery mildew . I am wondering if you mix the whey with water and the amount. Can you please let me know.

  29. I read the entire article and all the comments hoping someone would give more info about using whey as a hair product. Alas, I suppose I’ll just go Google it. :)

    • Sorry Rachel- wish I had more info on that, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’d love to know what you think if you give it a go!

    • Big Dave says:

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for this woman to give you any useful information. She’s all smoke and mirrors, and “This person told me this … and I heard someone say that” … not a darn thing concrete. She, she hasn’t actually TRIED most of this stuff herself.

    • Hi, I tried the whey on my hair last night and it did a great job (thanks for the tip!). I just rubbed it on and then rinsed out like you would with shampoo. My hair is really frizzy, but in fact the whey seems to flatten it down and make it less mad – still plenty of volume but sleeker. In fact, the added benefit is that it seems also to do wonders for my skin – my skin felt smooth and soft after using it. It’s worth a try, I reckon.

  30. I’m soooo excited to find your blog! I just made cheese and knew there had to be options for the whey because there is so much left over. I am just starting our real food journey. Today I told my younger daughter that it was the last time we will be stepping foot into the grocery store. What we can’t grow or make, we will be buying from local farmers. I’m so excited about this journey.

    Thanks for the great post!

  31. I just used whey with Maseca to make tortillas! They turned out good!

    • Yes! I love using whey for tortillas! I think it makes them a little softer than using water, plus it boosts their nutritional value!

      • I was wary about using whey, because I thought it might make them taste weird, but they were great! I just started a “Real Food Month” in my house, so I ate them with the refried pinto beans that I made (adding a little local canola oil and turkey broth) and topped with the queso blanco I made yesterday. It turned out good!

        • local canola oil?… sorry to ask but that struck me as odd because everything I have heard about canola oil is that it was made for machines during war. and to not eat it.
          I have never heard of a local source. Are you in Canada?

  32. Hi There – Love the additional tips. I just started teaching mozzarella/ricotta cheesemaking locally. Yes, you can get innudated with the amount of liquid left over. What I did with the whey was make pizza dough calzones for the ricotta class and stuffed them with ricotta, mozzarella and pepperoni . I have also used whey on my acid loving plants like tomatoes and blueberries as well as feeding the whey to our older horses. My fascination is that you can take a product and use the entire product without waste. Check out our blog – http://www.hobbyhillfarm.com/blog for our take on making mozzarella and rocotta cheese.

    • zubair-ahmed says:

      i am student of dairy in pakistan veterinary university.whey of cheese may consider as by product but have a lote of use
      it should kept in mind that milk has 13% solids and 87% water. when cheese made from milk then half of solids(7.5%) in whey. so it contain hlf nuterient then milk. out of7.5%
      lactose is 4.7%……………………………………………………………………………………….. sory remaining next time
      1:may use to make whey drink which has high nuteritive value

  33. You can also use the whey as a mordant for natural dyes. Its the minerals like calcium, phospherous and magnesium that give the whey its mordanting properties. Not a food use, but very relevant in this time when our clothing costs the Earth so dearly in chemical pollution and human slavery. Clothing manufacture is the #2 polluter in the world.

    • Wow Chris, what a fantastic idea! I’ve not yet dabble into the world of dying fabrics, although I’m sure some of my readers do! Thanks for the info.

    • do you use the whey straight to mordant with, or do you dilute it with water? what temperature do your use and for how long do you soak it? Thank you

  34. Wow – I’m really excited to read this post today as I’m getting ready to try my hand at making yogurt. I heard you could save the whey, but I didn’t know what exactly to do with it! Any idea how long it can be refrigerated before being used?

    • Hey JulieAnn!
      I don’t have an *exact* time frame, but I know I’ve kept mine in my fridge for several weeks without it going bad. As long as it doesn’t smell nasty, I’m thinking you’ll probably be ok. Good luck!

  35. Hi! Thanks so much for this post; I’m excited to read the rest of your blog! I have lots of whey from making yogurt, which I like to strain for a thicker consistency. I was wondering if this is the kind of whey that can be used to make ricotta. The link you have to the Fias Co Farm recipe mentions using whey leftover from making hard cheeses. Is there a difference? Will my whey work? (It’s just so clear that it doesn’t look to me like something that could be turned into cheese.)

    Many thanks! Sarah M.

    • Hi Sarah,
      I personally have never made ricotta from my yogurt whey. In the research I’ve done, I’ve gotten conflicting answers as to if it would work– so I can’t say for sure. However, another thing to keep in mind is that it takes a lot of whey to make a small amount of ricotta, so the small amount of whey you would get from straining yogurt probably wouldn’t be worth it.

      When I make ricotta, I use the leftover whey from making raw mozzarella- it always gives good results. Good luck! :)

  36. I love whey! What great ideas!!

  37. I use it to soak flour in overnight before making pancakes. I think it helps break down the gluten and makes it easier to digest. It definitely makes some tasty, moist, sourdough-type pancakes!

  38. Is this goat milk whey you are using? If so, if I use vinegar to make my goat cheese, which type of whey would it be….acid or sweet?

    • I’ve used both cow and goat whey. Using vinegar to make cheese will result in the acid whey.

  39. How long does whey keep in the refrigerator? I make mozzarella cheese and I’m never sure how long the whey is still good?

    • Amber,
      Mine will usually keep a couple of weeks. I think the biggest test is to check how it smells. If mine ever smells “off”, out it goes.

    • I sometimes have it for a month or two never had any problems with it. The worse thing that happen is that the probiotics die of, but that takes a long , long time in the fridge.

  40. Awesome tips! I just kind of came across your blog- I love making cheese, but most times end of throwing away the whey (hehe) because I just can’t use it all! I will have to try out some of these ideas!

    • I hear ya- the volume of whey you end up with can be overwhelming at times! :) Hope some of the tips work for you!

  41. Great article. I never thought of freezing whey. Brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing.

  42. Jill, :)

    I would LOVE for you to share this post on Wildcrafting Wednesday. Ways to use whey would be greatly appreciated! :)

    ~ Kathy

  43. I have used it as a hair rinse and it was incredible! I love whey and use it faithfully to cook chicken in it! Yummy as a chicken marinade and so delicious with a sour cream sauce too. I also make a super delicious drink with fresh blackberry juice that I have made with the champion juicer and then add whey water and sugar with salt, ferment it in the warm oven until sparkling and then chill…oh my goodness so good!!!!

    • That’s awesome that it works as a hair rinse for you! I also love it as a marinade- have yet to try a fermented drink with it like you mentioned, but it sounds delish!

  44. Thanks for sharing all this valuable information Jill. I usually add whey to the water I take after my workouts, it has a weird taste but you get use to it pretty quick.
    I also use the whey as a face mask, after washing my face I’ll apply whey and let it dry about 30 min, then rinse again with water, it moisturizes and leaves the skin fresh and glowing.

  45. I make yogurt weekly and always have a pitcher of whey in my fridge. I just drink it like buttermilk which, incidentally, is how it tastes to me… just like buttermilk. :)

  46. The Stockman Grass Farmer has had articles on using milk as a fertilizer (feeding all those good microbes in the soil). I assume whey would be equivalent.

    • Never thought of using milk as fertilizer– but I’m with you in assuming whey would be equivalent! Cool idea…

  47. What is the source of the comment about whey eating your septic tank from Angie a while back? I make yogurt every 10-14 days and have been doing it since we moved here 4+ years ago. I’ve been putting the whey down the drain since I wasn’t aware until now of all the things I could do with it. I don’t know if my septic tank walls are in trouble or not. Please repy as to how I know if I’ve done some damage.

    • Hi Betsy- I don’t know how to check your tank for issues, as I’ve never dealt with that. I would definitely call your septic tank service guy and chat with him to find out his opinion. And of course, I think at least dumping it outside/in the compost pile from now on would better than dumping it down the drain. ;)

  48. Great post! With a milking goat I end up with a lot of whey… Here in Northern NM there is a great deal of natural building and natural mud plaster happening. I know many natural plasterers use a casein wash with micha chips in it, painted over top of the finished coat of mud. It leaves a dust free, translucent seal that sparkles with micha. I am very interested if anyone has heard of using whey instead of casein for this application?

  49. amanda gargulaz says:

    thank you so much for a great article i have shared this with a few friends who i am sure will drop by and have a nosey around themselves.
    thanks again

  50. Hi, I have been making Almond milk from scratch for some time now. I also make almond cheese and today made my first batch of almond yogurt!! There is a bunch of whey left over and I’m going to use it to ferment my kids oatmeal every morning, ferment my bread I home make and my hubby will drink it for a recovery drink after workouts!! :)

  51. I ordered me some kefir grains this past weekend am waiting for them to come in now. I’ve never tried the whey but I don’t like buttermilk at all so I don’t know IF I will like whey or not. Although I CAN use buttermilk in my recipes and it’s fine. I just can’t stand drinking it. I’m hoping I will like the whey though since I need it. Am just looking around for ideas and things now. :) Thank you for sharing your knowledge!!

  52. I wonder if you could use it instead of water to make soap with? Next time I make soap I’ll give it a try and let you know. I make goat’s milk soap, but mix the lye in with water and add the goat milk after an initial swirl of the stick blender with the lye and oil mixture.

    • Yes, you can! In my last batch of soap, I substituted whey for the milk that the recipe called for- turned out great! Hopefully will be sharing the recipe soon…

  53. I’ve been using whey on my hair for about two months and love the results. Less frizz in humidity, much more manageable, stays clean longer, and curls well with the curling iron. I use about 1/4 cup after I shampoo. I don’t rinse it out. Be sure to keep whey refrigerated or it will turn sour.
    I also use whey in Irish Bread and have enjoyed the texture and flavor.

  54. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com

  55. I’ve been using whey as a hair rinse/protein treatment and my hair seems to love it! It’s very soft and shiny! I’m always doing some sort of homemade hair treatments, lol, and so far whey has been the least messy.

  56. Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings

    The most recent edition – http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2012/06/carnival-of-home-preserving-13-come.html – open until Thursday 6/7.

  57. I really love these kinds of posts. I ALWAYS learn something or ALOT that I didn’t know. :) I honestly had no idea that you could use whey in all these different and interesting ways. I will be coming back to list often! Thanks for such a great post.

  58. I have heard that you can use whey for marinades. It is supposed to tenderize the meat. If you leave it too long though, you can have meat mush.

  59. Pondering, how can something ‘safe’ to eat destroy a septic tank? Did I overlook that answer?
    Soaking overnight flour: countertop or refrigerated? Is whey considered Cultured buttermilk or is that not a ‘homemade’ product ( biscuit recipe). This is all great reading!

    • Hi Jayne,
      I believe it’s the acidity of the whey that is the concern- but I’m still not sure about that whole deal.
      You’ll definitely want to leave your flour on the countertop to soak. The fridge will majorly slow down the process.
      Whey is different than cultured buttermilk. And you can definitely make cultured buttermilk at home, you just need the proper starter. It’s really yummy, too.

  60. Has anyone said, “just drink it straight?” I do. It has a flat taste but otherwise I like it. Mine is sweet because it comes from small batches of yogurt I make at home for personal use. I generally don’t have much whey because I like to keep it in with my yogurt but lately I’ve been straining it down to Greek yogurt and that then yields 50% of your original loose yogurt. So, that makes for a lot of sweet whey.

    If your whey is particularly sour (acid) then be careful with using it with yeast, like breads, pizza etc. The high acid sometimes prohibits the yeast, I think.

    • Yes, definitely drink it straight! I think some folks are a little wary of the taste, but if you like it, then awesome! :)

  61. I’d like to warn those who might want to use it for plant watering. The plants liked it, but some varmint wanted some, too, and dug up my flower planter to try and find what was making that wonderful smell. :( I posted a photo on Facebook.


    • Ugh! What a bummer Laurie! :( I noticed that it caused the flies to swarm my deck last year when I watered my pots with it, too…

  62. What a lot of good ideas! Cooking pasta in it for a salad is a great idea.
    About once a week I make labane cheese from 3 liters of yohurt and am left with 1 1/5 liters of whey. It’s a great substitute for lemon juice in cooking or salads, especially now in summer when lemons aren’t in season.
    To use up big amounts, I soak a cup of burghul in 2-3 cups whey to make a tabbouleh salad, which is not cooked, so very nutritious.
    Or poach fish fillets in it. Then you could concentrate it to make sauce.
    Or make lassi in the blender, add lots of mint, some salt and sugar, and whatever fruit there is.

  63. I just made some pot cheese with basil, garlic and wine vintage for the acid. I didn’t want to throw the whey out, because it’s flavored. So this evening I’ll use it to start some no knead bread dough, it’s water, flour, yeast and a little salt.

  64. I have a ‘silly’ question I can’t find an answer to: I just made clabber from raw cows milk for the first time. I put it in a 1/2 gal. jar with a towel on top for 2 days. It’s now separated into the milky clabber & ‘watery stuff’. Is the ‘watery stuff’ whey or do I throw it away? I know I need to hang the clabber in cheesecloth etc. I just don’t know what this liquid is. I want to make whey for fermenting veggies. Thank you!

    • Not silly at all Patti! Yes, the watery stuff is whey. You can definitely use it. :)

      • Thank you! None of the books I have said anything about the ‘watery stuff’ left in the jar. It said make whey by hanging the clabber & letting it drip so I assumed it was the same stuff but I thought I’d better ask. I’m trying to learn all about fermenting veggies. It seems easy but not. :)

        • Yep- the easiest way to separate the whey from the solids is to let it drip- but it’s all the same stuff. ;)

  65. I have read a lot online about using liquid whey to for lacto-fermentation of foods, but I am still confused about something (and I really what to try it)! I make lebneh (which is just strained yogurt) at home and I always have a lot of whey left over (and never knew what to do with it until now). But, the yogurt I make is traditional boiled milk cooled down to lukewarm to which the yogurt culture is added. The culture I use has “thermophilic bacteria” …meaning it requires warm temperatures to grow. Everyone says that you can use the whey from strained yogurt to ferment veggies, and the recipes usually involve leaving the foods out at room temperature to ferment. If the bacteria in the whey are thermophilic, don’t I have to keep the foods I want to ferment warm for the bacteria to grow?

  66. I am so happy to find so many homesteading blogs. It makes the internet worth using in my opinion! I have been using the whey for many things on the list above and one addition…. I mix a teaspoon of Blackstrap Molasses to a cup of whey and drink it down in the morning or as an afternoon ‘pick me up’ as an iron supplement :0) It’s been working pretty well !

  67. Valerie edwards says:

    I used mine to replace milk in scrambled eggs and the whole family loved it!

  68. I just made yogurt in my crockpot for the first time but I used 2% store bought milk. I have not ventured into raw milk but have been planning on it for some time. I just have to find a way to do it legally in my state. I know I should have used whole milk but grabbed the wrong jug. I have about 3 cups of whey after straining. Since I used milk from the store, I’m gathering through comments that the whey is no longer super-nutritious and unusable…….am I understanding this correctly? Does this make it unusable for soap making, hair rinse, etc. then too?

    • Hi Sandy,
      I wouldn’t worry about it too much. (And I might get crucified for saying that, but I said it anyway.) :) You are right- whole milk from a source other than the store is optimal, but sometimes you just do the best with what you have. Is the whey as good as it would have been with whole milk? Probably not. Can you still use it? Yes.

      The good thing about yogurt, is that it usually is “cooked” anyway. So, even if you were to buy the best raw milk ever, you’d still end up loosing the rawness after the yogurt process was over. So, yogurt is one application where you can actually improve the quality of the store milk, since you are adding the extra bacteria during the culturing process. Hope that helps! :)

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond! I have my whey in the freezer now. I was so excited to see that I could use it for baking, but maybe not? My husband likes to make soap so maybe we’ll go that route first. In our state, we either have to own the cow/goat for raw milk or own it via a CSA arrangement. We cannot legally buy it outright nor can farmers legally sell it outright. I’m sure in Wyoming, you don’t have those kinds of laws. We miss living in Wyoming for several reasons and that is one of them.

        • That particular whey would be great for baking or for soap- either one! ;)

          And sadly, it sounds like your state is even more lenient than Wyoming… :( Not only is it illegal for us to purchase raw milk, they are currently trying to outlaw any sort of cow/goat share agreements. Makes me so angry– you’d really think a “wild west state” like WY would give us more freedom than that!

          • Love the posts. My question is if you must use store bought molk & pasteurized buttermilk can you make the cheese without boiling? I made sof cheese the other day and saved the liquid. Now what can I do with it? Compost only?

  69. Very helpful! I didn’t realize there were different kinds of whey. I have so much acid whey from making ricotta, so these tips will be of use.

  70. Hi! Loved the post! Thank you!
    I just made my first attempt at whey & sour cream. I would love some feedback/tips from those more experienced than I. I’m just a newbie. ;)

  71. Mary Hardwick says:

    Reading this article and just begining to get started with this. I pour off the liquid that forms on sour cream and other dairy products. Is this whey? and could I be saving it and using it?

  72. i read this whole article about whey being the best go to for pink eye. breast milk would be number 1 but thats a little hard for some people to get. i will always keep that in mind because pink eye is terrible especially if u cant go to the doctor!!

  73. Hi Jill-

    I just read your most recent post on making cream cheese. Silly question, but would the whey from that recipe be the acidic or the sweet? I’ve never made cheese before, but I’d love to give it a shot.

    Also, have you ever written a post exclusively on raw milk? I live in a state where it is legal to purchase, but I’ve honestly been too afraid. I know next to nothing about it. If we were to have our own livestock, it would be one thing, but I’m a little leery of buying it from a local source. I’d love if you have any pointers on that.

    • Hi Jen,
      The cream cheese whey should be the sweet kind.

      I haven’t yet written a post just on raw milk- but great idea! Many of my readers are “raw milk pros,” but we can’t forget about folks who are still looking into it. Look for a post in the future!

  74. I use my acid whey as the base for my homemade pizza crust. It adds a nice tang to the crust. I also use it when baking biscuits.

  75. How long will whey (from raw milk) last in the fridge?

    • I know mine lasts quite a while– sometimes up to 2 or 3 weeks. Just smell it before you use it– if it’s bad, you’ll know it! You can also freeze it with great results.

    • I have read online and quite a few places say up to 6 mths! I am still using my whey from raw milk after 4 mths but only if it is perfectly clear with no milk particles in it. I use the ‘milky’ whey up first before dipping into my ‘clear stuff’…..

  76. My LactAid milk has separated into a clearish liquid while the white part has thickened a bit. It will get thicker. Is it making a soft cheese on it’s own? I’ve poured off most of the whey and not sure what to do with it. It seems anything that involves cooking destroys it’s valuable properties. I’ve added cultured buttermilk to the white part and I’ll see what happens.

    • Joan- I have no experience with Lactaid milk– but I’m pretty sure it is probably heavily processed and pastuerized. So, I would be surprised if what you’re seeing is whey– it might just be that the milk is bad?

  77. Hi I am loving your blog. Our goal in the very near future is to buy a house with enough land to support a cow and a few other animals. I make butter now for raw milk from the neighbors, but I don’t know what to do with the whey that is left over from that. I don’t think it would be considered sweet or acid whey, because I don’t add anything to the cream. I just scrape the cream off the top of the milk and shake it till it is butter. It is very white and not yellow. What can I do with that? Thanks so much for your website.

    • Hi Hannah– what you have leftover from your butter making is actually buttermilk! You can definitely use it in all our baking (breads, biscuits, pancakes, etc) for extra flavor. It’s good stuff! :)

    • Or you could do what I do and let the buttermilk curdle, strain out the soft cheese and then you will have whey. I find the soft cheese a little too sharp on its own so I mix it with the soft cheese I make with kefir. Surprisingly the whey in both cases tastes the same but the cheeses are miles apart.

  78. Thanks for sharing all the uses for whey. Used whey as gel and it’s great. More info on whey in hair care can be found here:

  79. Howdy this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually
    code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    • I would suggest using wordpress.org – it’s very easy. Just buy a domain name and host it (I use dreamhost to search available domain names, buy them, and host my domains all in one step), install wordpress (a one click install when I use dreamhost), choose a theme and start blogging!

      You will have a choice between visual editing (wysiwyg) or html when posting or setting up pages. You can click back and forth between the two as needed.

  80. I’m a little confused over the whole sweet/acid thing. Obviously if one uses lemon juice or vinegar to separate milk for paneer and whether they would have acid whether. Similarly I understand that using rennet, either meaty or veggie, will produce sweet whether. If one used yoghurt (not mis-spelled I’m English!) to separate the cords from the whether in paneer making would it be sweet or acid?

  81. I’ve enjoyed whey daily for years – very good for your health. Whey bread and pizza crust sounds amazing. Thanks for the tips!

  82. hippytea says:

    I’ve got a lot of whey this week, from straining yoghurt and my first try at paneer cheese. I put the yoghurt whey (which had some thin yoghurt at the bottom – next time I’ll use thicker cloth to strain it!) in scones in place of milk. They were very fluffy – whey works like buttermilk or soured milk and gives a better rise. I put some of the whey from the cheese in mashed potatoes, they tasted just the same as if I’d used milk! Now I’m curious to know if you can make white suace with it, so I’m going to experiment with that tonight.

    Thanks for all your whey ideas! It’s too nutritious to just throw away – I believe most of the calcium in milk stays in the whey when you curdle it, so even if you cook the enzymes away it’s still very much worth finding a use for it. It’s especially satisfying when you find a use, like scones, where the whey actually improves the recipe!

    • Excellent tips– thanks for sharing! Let me know how that white sauce works out! :)

      • hippytea says:

        Not that well.

        The thing about white sauce is it’s supposed to be white. The thing about whey, as compared to milk, is that… well… it’s not white. That and my whey had some vinegar in it (completely forgot this until it started to heat up and I smelled it), and vinegar isn’t a very good flavour in white sauce.

        I managed to rescue my grey sauce with lots of cheese, salt and pepper and some pureed butternut squash, which is really nice in macaroni cheese and covered over the vinegar flavour. But I would advise anyone else to find another use for their whey!

        • Good to know! I had a feeling it might not work the greatest– but still was worth a try. ;) But glad you were able to rescue it– cheese makes everything better!

      • i just found another whey recipe that i can’t wait to make….it uses up 3?4 cup of whey!

  83. Hi Jill,
    I culture kefir in pasturized milk (low-fat) and I drink a glass of the kefir milk daily. I save the whey sometimes. Would this be the sweet whey? I’m am going to try the whey hair leave-in as it’s very humid in Louisiana and I have frizzies. The whey is great for people who have scalp psoriasis. It really tames down the inflammation and the itching. After shampooing, towel dry hair and saturate head with whey, leave on 20 minutes, (can put a plastic grocery bag over your head and clip it tight) , and rinse out with warm water. Now I’m thinking may be best left in. I’ve also used whey on my toenails to kill fungus, but I wasn’t consistent enough with applying it twice daily with an medicine dropper, still I saw tremendous improvement in my nails..oh and speaking of nails…my nails and hair grow like crazy from drinking milk kefir. I love pickled okra and I’m going to try whey to pickle some fresh okra soon!

    • I think that whey would be considered “sweet,” although I don’t have much experience with kefir, yet. Thanks for sharing your other tips! :)

  84. I’ve been getting whey from kefir that I accidentally overfermented. My little problem is this: When I keep the whey in the fridge, it forms a white, cloudy, fluffy moldy layer that definitely smells like mold on the top. Is this just part of the whey? It smells like cheese that has gone really bad. Is this okay to ignore? It is not curd particles, definitely something new and growing, in the fridge…but it’s happened to me both times I have kept whey in the fridge, even just after a few days, and I read it was supposed to last for months. Would be delighted if you could help me with this…I’ve googled and googled, but can’t find a solid answer. Thank you! ~~Elisa

    • Hmmm… Good question– I’ve never had this happen before! My gut instinct says it’s probably not good to use. But, I’m going to post this on my FB wall and see what everyone else has to say. You can follow the replies here: http://facebook.com/theprairiehomestead

    • I may be comparing apples and oranges here, but I too am concerned that my whey didn’t last more than about 2 weeks without smelling sour and having some creamy stuff on top. I checked it a few days ago and it wasn’t sour yet. At the same time, I tasted the creamy top layer and it didn’t taste bad ( a few days ago, now I am afraid to taste it). My whey is a sweet whey left over from a dry milk powder mozzarella I made. I wanted to use my whey to try a recipe for homemade ginger beer that uses whey to help in the fermentation process. I am not sure that smell can be a reliable way of judging whether or not the whey is off. What may smell bad to one person, may just be sour to another. Mine is not molded, that I can tell.

      I hate to throw it out when I am unsure of what process is actually taking place in my whey. It may be that it is beginning the fermentation process and would be excellent for starting ginger beer, but how can one tell?

      I would like to find more resources about this souring aspect of whey and will be beginning to look into the lactofermenting stuff too.

      Good luck with your Kefir whey challenges.

  85. I am wondering if you can use whey instead of the protein powdered whey? My doctor has me taking protein each day and I thought that now that I have the real stuff that I could use that instead. Also, would I use equal amounts do you think?

    • Hmmmm… I would think that real whey would be a much better option than the powdered stuff- however– I’m not quite sure about the ratio. It might take some playing around I suppose?

  86. I use whey to make a fish pie. I cover 3 different types of fish with whey and cook in the microwave for 5 mins. Drain the whey and thicken with cornflour and pour over the fish. Put on top mashed potatoes that have had whey added instead of milk. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and put in the oven for 20mins at 180 C. Delicious

  87. The article links to a grain soaking ebook on page http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/free-soaking-grains-ebook… but the ebook that arrives when one subscribes from that page isn’t about soaking grains but about essential oils?

    • Hi Sandy,
      Sorry, I thought I had changed all the links, but I must have missed this one. I used to give away the soaking grains book, but I’ve switched to the essential oil one. However, if you’d like a copy of the grain ebook, send me an email and I’ll make sure you get one. :)

  88. Actually, I just dumped yogurt whey down my drain on purpose. We just had our septic pumped and I was reading online about how septic systems need bacteria, and antibacterial cleaners, bleach etc. will kill that bacteria (I don’t use much of that stuff, but I do from time to time). The septic guy recommended we put buttermilk and yeast down the drain twice a year. I thought about that while I was googling what to do with the whey, and then I just dumped it down. There must be bacteria in whey since greek yogurt makers are having such a hard time getting rid of it due to bacteria. :)

  89. Hi there,

    I read that you shouldn’t put dairy products in your compost pile. Does whey count I wonder?

  90. HonestOmnivore says:

    I used the last of my buttermilk to make a batch of chevre- is their culture still in the whey? Can I re-culture some of my goat milk to make more butter milk?!

    We use extra as a beverage and as a supplement for the chickens and dogs, both of them love it. The chickens dunk their heads all the way into the whey so it’s dripping off their combs – so funny!

    • Hmmm… that’s a good question– and one that I don’t know the answer to, sorry! :) I’m guessing that the whey probably won’t work for reculturing, but can’t say for sure.

  91. Hey Jillee
    Just one question (its possible its been asked above and i apologize if i missed it)
    Is the whey from kefir grains the sweet or acid kind?
    Thank you for this awesome list!!

  92. Hi, I have a question on yogurt making. I am using store bough both full fat and reduced fat milk and Kefir yogurt as the starter.

    I follow the standard steps by heating the milk to around 80c, let it cool to 43c, add yogurt and let the mixture incubate 8 to 10 hrs.

    I have done draining as well as not draining the whey. My question is how do I keep the yogurt from being so tangy? It smells wonderful but just way too tangy.


    • Incubate your yoghurt for a shorter time at 43 degrees, around 7 hours rather than 8-10 hours. Then you will have lower lactic acid levels and a sweeter outcome. It may be a little runnier and if you want to thicken it up, add a little either milk powder or skim milk powder (about 25g) before heating the milk.

  93. ketan h desai says:

    Dear jill,its wonder idea of feeding kids the very high nutrition whey. can i add that cruddy cheese which got separated from milk along with greenish whey to make indian bread ? i think this will be much better in taste and highly nutrition too? Please correct me. thank you in advance, with regards ketan

  94. peter b says:

    I can definitely vouch for whey as hair tonic… I only started using whey a few months back — but definitely — my head is noticeably “less dusty” now when I ruffle my fingers through my hair — plus my hair feels much softer. I apply about 1/4 cup to my entire scalp when I get up in the morning, then rinse it out with water in the shower about 30 minutes later. There is a slight whey smell when I apply it, but as soon as it’s dried, there is no odor. I can also vouch for the no-shampoo comments — I stopped using shampoo about 10 years ago, I use just water to wash my hair — I’m pushing 60 years old and I’m still waiting for my hair to turn gray.

    re: using whey as a protein supplement — 1 ounce of whey powder has 20 grams of protein, as much as about 20 ounces of milk. You’d have to drink even more whey to get the equivalent amount of protein, since not all the protein in milk ends up in the whey.

  95. You can also use whey to make your own fermented soda(-pop). We’re currently letting four pint-sized ball jars of blueberry soda sit and ferment. It’ll be fizzy and ready for drinking in two weeks after we bottle it on Sunday (three days from when we started). Our whey comes from straining plain yogurt to make skyr (for eating savory foods like smoked salmon and skyr in sushi nori or sweet foods like homebaked banana-nut bread, toasted with skyr and grape jelly spread) (or my breakfast of skyr, ligonsylt and oatmeal).

  96. Cathy Anderson says:

    I am sitting here reading everyone’s posts. Today is my first attempt at making cream cheese from yogurt. I have my cheese cloth tied up to a wooden spoon and they whey is draining. I have NEVER done anything like this every and am very excited…..yes, just about my little batch of cream cheese and whey. I am interested in making cheese at some point but have no idea where to begin.

  97. Meranyrae says:

    I have found no better natural fertilizer for acid loving plants than whey. I make my farmers cheese, then make ricotta, and then save the leftover whey for the tomato’s. I have used both buttermilk and yogurt as a starter, and both animal and vegetable rennet as a coagulant, and used both lemon juice and vinegar to clot the ricotta, and the leftover whey has worked wonders on my tomato plants. I’ve applied it both diluted and undiluted and never had plant burn. The tomato’s LOVE it, as well as rhododendrons, asparagus, and strawberries. I am always amazed at the efficiency of making cheese. You get three benefits from one product of milk: cheese, ricotta cheese, and then whey. Cost-wise it is efficient as well. A 5 gallon cheese wheel cost me approx $27. That wheel will last my family about 6 months. Store bought ricotta is not cheap and doesn’t taste near as good as homemade (plus I know everything thats put into my product). But the thing that is just thrilling to me is when I put a 1/2 cup of whey on my tomato plant and see a noticeable improvement in growth within 48 hours. I’ve read that many cheesemaking facilities have trouble getting rid of their whey, this is disappointing when it could be put to good use as a natural fertilizer.

  98. If you strain your yogurt to make it thicker, is that stuff whey?

  99. Hi! I make ricotta by heating whole milk and cream to 190 degrees, adding lemon juice then straining the curds. So this is definitely not a raw whey … can I use it for any other fermented or food products? I’m a little confused about the raw vs not raw and salted vs non salted whey. Any help will be much appreciated! Thanks :)

  100. I wonder if you could dehydrate the whey to use later or in protein drinks? Or find a way to thicken it up for other uses.

    I have used yogurt whey for water in my bread. Using it for the base white sauce for making a cheese sauce sounds like a great idea! I use whole wheat/grain flour anyway, so my white sauce isn’t very white either. I usually add Parmesan cheese to sharpen the flavor, it if it tastes like buttermilk, I could save money on the Parmesan… Sounds like a winner!

  101. How long does the whey stay good for in the fridge? I make yogurt about once a week but will probably only have use for the whey every two weeks.

  102. Forgive me if this has already been mentioned (I did not take the time to read ALL of the comments). Our favorite thing to do with our leftover whey is to make mysost. Just simmer the whey down until you have a spreadable cheese. It is DELICIOUS and very healthy for you.

  103. These are great ideas. I just published a post ( http://wp.me/p2UxnZ-lm ) on making your own Yogurt Cheese on my Yonder Wild blog ( http://yonderwild.wordpress.com/ ). I mention you and put a link to this post for my readers to see what to do with all the leftover whey. I hope that you don’t mind! Best – Rachel

  104. I tried using it with my usual bread recipe and it did not rise well. Anyone else have that problem?

    • Hmmm… No– I’ve never had that problem– did you heat the whey up a little bit first?

    • I read in the comments above that if your whey is too acidic, the yeast doesn’t rise as well. I’ve noticed that very thing with my bread, but just thought my kitchen was too chilly. Now I think I’m going to cut back on how much whey I use. I don’t want to eliminate it entirely, but maybe using half as much and replacing the rest with water will do it. Here’s to hoping…

    • MachelleH says:

      I had that problem too when I substituted whey for all of the liquid. When I cut it back and only substituted for part of the liquid it rose better.

  105. Whey can also be used to make quick sourdough, 1 c flour 1 c whey let sit 8 to 12 hours and use as you would regular sourdough replace what you use with equal parts flour/whey, if used regularly will stay good on the counter

    • Greeneyes says:

      Can you give details on the sourdough recipe you use? I would like to try it.

  106. Okay, so I just found my LABELED bottle of liquid whey in the cupboard.
    What can I say? Husband was trying to help by cleaning up.
    It’s been there for at least a week…maybe two.
    It doesn’t *smell* any different than it did before. Slightly cheesy. A little more foamy than normal, and the flip top opened with a LOT of pressure and foam.
    Good or bad?

  107. I am just getting into Bokashi composting and noticed that one way to create a starter for the composter was to use whey from yogurt making. To find out more, go to: http://newspaperbokashi.wordpress.com/category/newspaper-bokashi/

  108. I am just starting the homemade cheese process and know next to noting about whey… you mentioned acid and sweet whey but which is raw whey? I’m interested in fermenting vegetables…. Thank you!

    • Raw whey can be either– it just depends.

      For example, most 30-minute mozzarella cheese recipes use citric acid, which would result in acid whey. And if you started the process with raw milk, you’d have raw, acid whey. Hope that makes sense!

  109. i use whey in place of the water in my hummus. (Gordon Ramsay’s recipe is my favorite) i have been known to make hummus out of not only chickpeas but any type of beans i have in the pantry. and we know a little digestive aid is helpful for the toots some beans cause. the tangy note is tasty too.

  110. I made Russian style farmer’s cheese in which you use buttermilk and heat on low heat at the end. This was my first time making it and I would like to use the whey to make ricotta but I am not sure I can because of the heat and acidity of the buttermilk. What’s the verdict on this?

    • *Buttermilk and whole milk* buttermilk is the catalyst to start the curdling process I imagine..

  111. The only cultured dairy I have done is yogurt. I make whole milk yogurt, and I also make Greek yogurt from skim milk. The greek leaves a ton of whey, which somebody told me was nothing but liquid carbs and not good for much, so I feed some to the chickens and toss the rest…now I am wondering where to start with using it!

  112. I can vouch for whey use in the shower/bath. I love using it as a bath soak and as a hair rinse. Made my hair more baby soft than it’s ever been. Also my skin was super soft. Problem is, it sort of smells like dirty feet when you are soaking in a tub of it, but the smell didn’t stay on my skin or hair, so don’t let that alarm you…just a precaution to use some good smelling stuff while you take a soak…lol! I have used both sweet and acid whey for this and they are both great. For my hair all I did was submerge myself in the tub water w/ a couple cups of whey in it. I didn’t think it would even do anything, but then when my hair dried I was so surprised at the softness of it. I have tried it more concentrated and didn’t like the results. So just use it super super diluted for your hair at first. Like maybe a Tablespoon per gallon of water?

  113. Great tips thank you! I heat leftover yogurt to make some kind of “labneh” or “ricotta” without adding any vinegar or acid. I am left with lots of whey and I have to throw it as we don’t have a fridge. Would it work it to make ricotta from the whey left this way?

  114. I make greek yogurt every week and I keep the whey for various uses in the kitchen. I was wondering what the white particles that settle on the bottom of the whey are? I tried to separate it from the whey this week to figure out what it was.

    Thank you, Katie

    • It’s just solids left over from the straining. When you strain it, a little yogurt gets through and into the whey. It’s really difficult to strain it completely out, even using a super-fine strainer.

      I just let it settle and then pour off the clear stuff, if I’m using it in baking. If I’m trying to use it up because I just have a ton of it, I’ll just leave the solids in and pour it onto my lawn.

  115. WalksWithDogs says:

    I want to suggest something to you, because I really like this blog, and I can tell that you and the family are big on getting back to “Nature” and being natural and living cheaply….

    Why are you feeding your dog/s kibble?

    Just like the processed travesty of chemicals and scent enhancers, and dyes, and by-products have turned human “food” into almost anything but, the situation for pet food… even the supposedly high quality, grain free stuff…. is much worse. Kibble is traced to just some of the following: tooth decay/wear, allergies, hot spots, dry skin, sparse coat, ear infections, cancer, joint problems… and shaves years off of their lives. The pet food industry often competes with the meat industry for the disposed of “offal” that human food production creates.

    I know you mentioned you were a Vet tech… I promise you that just as Americans are being lied to about GMO’s the effects of the chemicals in our food, so too has the pet food industry lied to, and infiltrated the Vet industry, and paid it well to sell it’s wares, teaching vets in the very schools they go to, that dogs are omnivores and that their processed garbage is better for dogs (and cats) than what nature intended from the beginning of their species: meat.

    Dogs are directly related to wolves, and are therefore, like other canines, carnivores. Their diet should be made up of raw meat, raw organs, raw bones, and vegetation in the form of the grass that they commonly will eat. (They don’t do it “to throw up” as is commonly believed, it actually supplies digestive fiber.)

    I say this as a fellow homesteader, and a dog/canine expert with over 22 years of working with dogs and wolf-hybrids, and the proud owner of two dogs ages 5 and 6, with gleaming white teeth, NO HEALTH ISSUES, and coats that a show dog would kill for.

  116. Whey from yogurt or milk kefir is acid whey, not sweet whey. Plus, you do not want to use sweet whey for starter purposes in fermentation, only acid whey should be used as the culture for a ferment.

  117. So glad you included a link to gjetost (also called mysost, when made with cow whey)!! I wanted to add that it is delicious plain, without the added ingredients the blogger listed to recreate something she bought. We make this regularly when we have lots of whey, because it is the most effective way for us to use LOTS of it at once! One gallon of whey makes about 1 1/2 cups of the sweet, salty spread (again, nothing is added to it, but the cooked down whey concentrates the existing sugars and salt), and it is delicious as a grilled “cheese” sandwich, on tortilla chips, or crackers.

    • I really want to try it next time I have a bunch of whey! Well, I actually already tried to make it once, but burned it beyond recognition…

      • Oh! Yeah that…that is easy to do! It takes a long time to cook down, but the beauty of it is that once you get it at a good simmer, you can virtually leave it unattended until it is nearly done, but you must, must, must keep an eye on it and stir almost constantly for the last 30 minutes (or, as it is thickening). Just be careful getting it up to temperature, because I’ve also had a little whey volcano on my stove top, too!

        Tip: You probably already know that you an also get ricotta during this process, but sometimes I’ve left it in and it makes the spread much creamier and a little less tart! We love it either way.

  118. Thank you so much for those other uses for whey. I’ve tried it in smoothies and feeding the plants so far.

    One thing that I’ve discovered is using it when making gluten-free breads. To get a gluten-like bread rise, there needs to be a protein substitution for wheat gluten. Whey does a great job of that.

    With a wonderful recipe from Nicole Hunn (Gluten-Free On A Shoestring), I substitute 1/2 cup of warm whey for 1/2 cup of water in her recipe for the dough starter. Mixed with the yeast, sugar and gluten-free flour, the smell is wonderful. The entire dough mixture sets in the refrigerator for a few days and once baked, the resultant bread is heavenly tasting. Almost a sour dough. Unfortunately, it never quite rises like regular wheat flour bread but the taste makes up for it. Next time, I am going to try to use a whole cup of whey instead of the 1/2 and 1/2 water mixture to see if it improves the rise.

  119. Max Murrey says:

    Awesome. Thank u : )

  120. Know I know what to do with the kefir whey that I have left after draining it for kefir “cream cheese”! Thank you!

    As for the b.soda/vinegar hair, I started doing it this winter and it makes my hair very soft and shiny. BUT the key is to use the vinegar rinse. Without the rinse, my hair was very dry and as others have said, straw like. Soap will also leave your hair dry.
    I use about a tablespoon or 2 of soda, mix with water, scrub into hair. RINSE WELL before using about 1-2 tbsp. vinegar mixed with water. Pour over hair, work into hair, rinse. I top that off with some essential oil that I like mixed with water just to cut the vinegar smell.
    Be sure all of the soda is rinsed off your face before using the vinegar or you’ll feel it bubbling and stinging and don’t open your eyes with the vinegar on your hair either (yeah I learned that the hard way too!)

    • Yup! I too switched to only using baking soda (1T in 1c water) as my shampoo and ACV (2T in 1/2c water) as my hair rinse since January this year. My hair is finally starting to feel super soft and looking shinny too. I color my grays about 2x/mth with henna so the only smell I get is from the henna (smells like alfalfa which I love, reminds me of childhood days on the country-house farm in Italy). Cheapest, healthiest and environment-friendly shampoo you’ll ever use!

  121. Hey Jill! Great post. I have made and used whey since last year and stopped recently consuming it since I am following a dairy-free regiment at the moment. I love whey and still have it on-hand to cook meals for my hubby. Got some great ideas from you here, especially the links to the cheeses … I anticipate resuming dairy at some point, once I detox completely. Thanks again ;)

  122. Ramesh S. Bhide says:

    I am 70 years young Consulting Engineer [ Reverse Engineering ] & Geophysicist. Yes I have started making fresh whey every day in the morning by using citric acid crystals. Daily I am taking about 100ml. i.e. about 4 Oz. to improve my masculines and strength. I is it enough or I am suppose to increase to intake?

  123. I have been making my own yogurt lately, discovered a very simple way using a heating pad. My husband isn’t a yogurt eater but started eating a little having been told about the gastro-intestinal benefits. He prefers it thicker so I strained it, effectively making Greek yogurt and was amazed that leaving it to strain overnight I had 1-1/2 cups of whey from 3-4 cups of nonfat milk. I made a gluten-free loaf of yeast bread this morning using a cup of pureed banana and a cup of the whey. Turned out great. Another thing I do is never throw out water I’ve cooked vegetables in. I use the liquid in soups, gravy, sauces, etc. In a newspaper column the other day I read “If you want to save the nutrients of boiled vegetables, you’d have to drink the cooking water and who wants to do that?” as if it was a revolting thing to do. I emailed the columnist and said that as a child, when mother cooked cabbage (in water) a treat was to have a drink of “cabbage water” with a little milk, and pepper. Waste not, want not! Good philosophy not used often enough these days.

  124. I just went back and read a few more posts in detail and see that most of my points have already been addressed. So nice to find a lot of like-minded ladies. Thank you.

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  126. I’m new to yogurt making. I tasted the whey, and said “say, this has to be good for something”. Thanks for all the tips! Here is a marinade I tried and really enjoyed: http://www.nomeatnom.com/2012/05/whey-moroccan-chicken-marinade.html#comment-69964. It made the chicken thighs VERY tender.

  127. I made yogurt but over heated the batch…so i had a lumpy, yellow liquidy gloppy mess. I was told to strain it to make ricotta. I felt it had a bitter aftertaste as i was straining it so i rinsed it a bit then added salt. Its ok but not amazing…i never really ate this cheese in the first place so don’t really have a reference for comparison. It now resembles a creamy cake icing..is this thick enough? What do i do with the cheese and whey now?

  128. shrinidhi says:

    Lovely way to make cheese and sweet whey! Thank you dear :)

  129. I’ve been straining my kefir just to get that magical whey! I’ve cultured some veggies but my absolute favorite thing to do with it is make lacto fermented ginger ale! Yummy yummy yummy! Never thought about adding it to my smoothies though. May have to do that, or give some to the dog. I think I’m going to be having more whey now because I made homemade kefir ranch dressing today and it was amazing! totally having a blast with all this culturing. It’s become my new obsession!

  130. Joe Ayotte says:

    Hello Jill, I have been making “yogurt cheese” for years now. Essentially, you take milk (I use store boughten milk- it`s what`s out there). Since I make sourdough breads, the brown juice that floats on top of the starter is good for a yeast starter for my cheese. 1 tablespoon of starter, 1-2 pinches Celtic seasalt goes in a wide shallow s/steel mixing bowl full of about 2 gallons of cold milk. I set it on the fridge for a few days and let it culture out. Soon, it curdles into a thick curd. From there, you can use the techniques out there for cheese making. The best thing about this recipe is, you are re-rawing the milk.

  131. Theresa Rodriguez says:

    How long can you hold (store) clabber and whey in the frig?

  132. Hi Jill
    Thank you for all the amazing tips. I make cottage cheese from raw organic milk by placing the milk in a glass jar on a window sill for a few days. When it has turned by itself without rennet I pour it onto a muslin cloth to strain overnight. I drink some of the whey with a flavoured whey hydrolosate after training. Convincing my friends neither of them or gone off is proving difficult. How long should they last in this instance? Some friends say that cheese doesn’t go off, it just matures. However, I do think it is probably nicer when I skim the cream off the top before I strain it and the more I strain it the more it becomes like cream cheese as opposed to cottage cheese. Am I right to do this and is there some other use for the cream?
    The nice on I make is to strain once add real salt, garlic granules and dried herbs. Can’t remember why the herbs are better dried!?
    Love to yours and anyone else’s thoughts and experiences on these few issues. Love to all my follow homemade cheese buddies the world over :-)

  133. I just made cream cheese and whey from clabbered raw milk for the first time. Is my whey sweet whey or acid whey? I didn’t add anything to the milk – just left the jug out on the counter for 3 days with the top loose.


  134. Erin Althaus says:

    How long does whey leftover from yogurt usually last in the fridge? And how would you know if it wasn’t good anymore? Just go by smell?

  135. I made greek yogurt for the first time. I’ve been making yogurt for years, but my teens were asking for greek. I got a really good nut milk bag and it made perfect greek yogurt. The exciting thing was I read your blog and ended up making my first Lemon Whey pie with the Meringue. I also put the why in my chicken and beans dish instead of water to get that extra nutrition. I’m looking forward to making ricotta. My husband hates Ricotta, but I’m hoping he’ll like it home made. Keep up the posts and advice. I cook nearly everything from scratch, so more ideas are great..

    Now I need a good pumpkin flax granola recipe so I can stop buying.