15 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Powdered Milk

glass of milk made with powdered milk next to bowl of powdered milk used to make survival food

Milk is one of the first items to sell out in an emergency. Plus, it doesn’t have a very long shelf life. Powdered milk is a long-term survival food staple you should include in your emergency food supply—and in your everyday supply, too.

How Do You Use Powdered Milk in Cooking?

Use this conversion chart as a basic cheat sheet.

1 cup milk = 1 cup water + 3 tablespoons powdered milk

¾ cup milk = ¾ cup water + 2 ¼ tablespoons powdered milk

⅔ cup milk = ⅔ cup water + 2 tablespoons powdered milk

½ cup milk = ½ cup water + 1 ½ tablespoons powdered milk

⅓ cup milk = ⅓ cup water + 1 tablespoon powdered milk

¼ cup milk = ¼ cup water + ¾ tablespoon powdered milk

What Is Powdered Milk Used for Besides Making Milk, Anyway? 

Believe it or not, powdered milk comes in handy for anything from oatmeal to pizza. Here are 15 surprising things you can do with powdered milk that will make you want to keep it on hand in a crisis and for everyday use.

1. Hot Cocoa and Chocolate Milk

1 cup cocoa powder

4 cups instant powdered milk

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

Combine cocoa, powdered milk, salt, and sugar to make the mix. The dry mix can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. To make one cup of hot cocoa, combine ½ cup mix with 1 cup hot tap water. For chocolate milk, add ¼ cup warm water to ¼ cup mix to make a paste, then add ¾ c cold water and chill if needed.

2. Powdered Coffee Creamer

Many people wonder, “Can I use powdered milk in coffee?” The answer is yes! You can stir in the dry milk or make a sweet creamer by combining it with just a few other ingredients:

4 cups powdered milk

½ – 2 cups powdered sugar 

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla powder or cocoa powder 

3. Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is a nice touch to 4Patriots hot cocoa, coffee, fruit, or buttermilk pancakes. Just add equal parts ice-cold water and powdered milk and whip the mixture until fluffy. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional) per cup of water and continue to beat until the mixture thickens and forms stiff peaks.

4. Butter

Powdered butter is another great food item to have stashed away. If you don’t have powdered butter on hand or are running low, you can make butter with powdered milk. You will need:

¾ cup powdered milk

⅓ cup water

¼ cup coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

Add the powdered milk, water, oil, and salt to a food processor. Blend for about 2–3 minutes, then check to see if it’s starting to thicken. Keep blending until it thickens to a soft butter consistency. Refrigerate if possible. 

5. Homemade Ice Cream

Did you know that powdered milk makes homemade ice cream even creamier? Just another reason to have powdered milk on hand, crisis or no crisis, just as long as you have a working freezer available. Try it for yourself.

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

1 cup whole milk, chilled

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons nonfat powdered milk

Whisk all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until sugar completely dissolves. Churn mixture. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 4 to 5 hours. 

6. Pancake and Waffle Mix

You can make your own pancake and waffle mix and store in an airtight container. When you’re ready for a delicious breakfast any day of the week, just add 3/4 cup water for every 1 cup of dry mix. Chocolate chips or 4Patriots blueberries are a great addition, too. 

4 ½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup nonfat dry powdered milk

⅓ cup sugar

2 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon salt

Combine all dried ingredients and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to six weeks or in the freezer for up to two years. If you wait to add the powdered milk along with the water, you can also store it for up to two years.

You can instead purchase a #10 can of buttermilk pancake mix if you prefer to save a few steps.

7. Instant Oatmeal

Make your own inexpensive instant oatmeal at home for healthy, quick, and easy breakfasts—especially good for getting the kids off to school on time.

5 cup quick oats, divided

1 teaspoon salt

½ – 1 cup brown sugar

½ cup powdered milk

Pulse 3 cups of oats, salt, brown sugar, and powdered milk in a food processor until it’s a fine powder. Combine thoroughly with the remaining 2 cups of oats in a mixing bowl. Store in an airtight container. When ready to eat, mix ½ cup of oatmeal mix with approx ¾ cup hot water. Stir in fresh or dried fruit for additional nutrition. Makes about 12 servings.

8. Curds, Cottage Cheese, and Ricotta Cheese 

Curds come in handy for a number of recipes, like cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. You can eat both with fruits and vegetables, bread or crackers, or use it for pasta, lasagna or pizza.

Bring 1 part powdered milk and 2 parts water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for each cup of water, then stir until just combined. Let it stand until it separates. Then, line a sieve with layers of cheesecloth and strain the mixture to separate curds from the liquid. Rinse the curds in cold water.

To make cottage cheese, simply add evaporated milk to the curds little by little until you get the desired consistency.

For ricotta cheese, add salt and other desired herbs to the curds and whip until smooth and fluffy. 

9. Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt isn’t at the top of the emergency food supply list since it has a very short shelf life. However, you can make your own homemade yogurt from powdered milk, water, and live yogurt cultures. Once you make your first batch, you can save ¼ cup each time to act as the starter for more batches.

1 ⅓ + ½ cup powdered milk

3 ¾ cup water

¼ cup store-bought yogurt with live cultures or package of yogurt starter

Mix 1 ⅓ cups dry powdered milk to 3 ¾ cup water and combine, then add ½ cup more powdered milk. Heat over low heat to 110 degrees, then stir in the yogurt or starter. Cover and place in a warm spot and leave undisturbed 12 to 24 hours, until yogurt is thick and creamy. Chill. Add a flavoring if desired. Top with fruit and granola for a healthy breakfast or snack.

10. Biscuits and Gravy

This classic combination can be made with powdered milk in both recipes.

To make the biscuits:

2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup powdered milk

¾–1 ¼ cup water

Oil a baking pan and set aside. Combine all the dry ingredients. Slowly mix in water until the dough is sticky. Move to a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding a bit more flour if needed. Pinch into small balls and place in the oiled pan, turning so all sides get oiled. 

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the insides are fluffy.

Meanwhile, make the gravy:

½ cup unsalted butter

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 cup milk (1 cup water + 3 tablespoons powdered milk for 1 cup of milk)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Make the milk and set it aside. In a cast-iron skillet, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Sprinkle in flour 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring until completely combined each time. Once all flour is added, reduce heat to low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add milk a little at a time to heat the milk slowly, stirring constantly (you may not need all the milk to get the consistency you want). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the homemade biscuits.

11. Homemade Bread

Can powdered milk be used in baking? When it comes to bread, it definitely can! Along with milk, grains, honey, meat and fish, and many shelf-stable items, bread is one of the first things to disappear from grocery store shelves in a crisis. With powdered milk and a handful of other ingredients, you can make your own bread at home. Try a homemade sandwich loaf or milk bread.

12. Sheet Pan Pizza

This recipe for Copycat Lunch Lady Pizza uses powdered milk to make the crust. Top it with mozzarella or the homemade ricotta, your choice of 4Patriots protein and your other favorite toppings.

13. Potato Soup

This hearty soup is good for any cold night. Top with bacon bits, green onion, and cheddar cheese for a warm weeknight meal.

2 cups diced potatoes

¼ cup chopped onion

1 ½ teaspoon salt 

½ cup powdered milk

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons butter

4 cups water

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt, potatoes, and onion, and cook until soft. Remove from heat, then remove 2 cups of the water and set aside. 

Drain the rest of the water from the potatoes and onions, then mash the potatoes, leaving a few small chunks. Set aside.

Add the 2 cups of potato water plus 2 cups water to a large pot over low heat. Stir in the powdered milk and flour until dissolved. Let simmer for about 15 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Add potatoes and onions. Stir to combine and cook for about 5 more minutes, until warmed through. Salt to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

14. Corn Chowder

Another hearty meal for any day of the week!

24–30 oz canned or frozen corn

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

½ cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño or Serrano, diced

½ teaspoon salt

4 cup water, divided

1 cup powdered milk

½ cup cheddar cheese

4 oz cream cheese

Add 1 cup of water, salt, onion, carrots, celery, and peppers to a large pot over medium heat. Simmer until vegetables are soft. Stir in the rest of the water, corn, milk, and cheeses, and cook until just boiling, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Even better with cornbread. Serves 6 to 8.

15. Meatballs and Meatloaf 

Try your favorite meatball or meatloaf recipe and substitute powdered milk. Just add ¼ to ½ cup nonfat powdered milk per pound of ground meat. 

Powdered milk is just one of the many food items you should have on hand in case of an emergency. Don’t stress—you can find powdered milk, survival food kits, emergency gear, and more at 4Patriots.