Baking - Dairy and Non-Dairy Recipes

Top Ten Uses for Whey

My Top Ten Uses for Sour Whey

If you’ve ever tried making your own Queso Fresco, Cottage Cheese, or Ricotta Cheese from fresh milk, you know that there is a lot of whey left over. These cheeses are made by heating the milk and adding vinegar, which is why this is called sour whey. When I make cheese with a gallon of milk, I end up with about 3/4 of a gallon (or a bit more) of whey. Sometimes it takes a while to use all that whey up…so here are some ideas for how to use it.

  • As a base for soups
  • In place of milk in homemade macaroni and cheese.
  • In place of milk in the egg mixture for French toast or scrambled eggs.
  • In place of milk or water in baked goods and pancakes.
  • In place of water for cooking cous cous or other pastas.
  • For reconstituting dried ‘refried’ beans and dried vegetables.
  • In place of water for making instant rice or potatoes.
  • In place of water for making oatmeal and cream of wheat (use a bit of honey).
  • For making gravy.
  • For making smoothies (use a bit of honey).

If you have pets or livestock you can also:

  • Pour some over your dog’s food (you’ll be an instant hero!)
  • Feed to your chickens or pigs

The acidity of sour whey reacts nicely with baking soda, causing your pancakes and baked goods to rise up nice and fluffy. When using sour whey in oatmeal or smoothies, you’ll probably want to counteract the acidity with honey, syrup, or sugar.

If you have more whey than you can use right away, freeze in ice cube trays or small containers to use later. Whey will keep for quite awhile in the refrigerator, but try to use it up in a month or so.

Do you make cheese? How do you use sour whey?


13 Comments on “Top Ten Uses for Whey

  1. One needs whey to start your lacto fermentation – would this sour whey work? E.g. in the making of sauerkraut. I don’t expect the sourness will be a problem, but is it any less “alive” our suitable as a starter culture for the fermentation?

    1. Hi Tian,
      Because the whey was cooked, the bacteria would have been killed. You could attempt a wild culture by leaving it out on the counter for a day or so, but I have not tried it.

      I hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I am excited to try your recipes! We use whey to soak grains overnight (some need 24 hours) before making rice, porridges, pancakes, breads, muffins, etc. This breaks down the phytates in grains that bind various minerals and inhibit digestion, so the fermentation allows our guts to digest and absorb the grains much better. Usually makes for tastier (although a bit tangy-er) grain recipes! You can search recipes for blogs on soaking grains. (Nourished Kitchen and Kitchen Stewardship are a couple I like!). Typically, per 1 cup of grain, use 2 TBS whey plus water to equal the amount of liquid called for. You can also use whey for soaking black beans or lentils with the similar “breakdown for better digestion” outcome.

    1. Thanks for sharing this info, Heidi! I haven’t tried this, but now I think I need to. 🙂

      Whey to go…lol!

  3. i’m so glad i found all of this:) we are getting a milk cow this week and are so excited to find all the ways to use all the fresh milk

  4. It sounds like this whey is different, more acidic, than whey left over from straining yogurt (to use for ice cream – otherwise we eat unstrained yogurt). Does your whey taste good enough to drink straight? We find the whey from straining yogurt to be quite tasty and tangy, and we drink it straight. Interesting to read about these different uses, though. Thanks!

    1. Hi Janet,
      If you like tangy…you might like the sour whey. I’m not crazy about it as a beverage, but I’m not into tangy. I like sweet stuff. 🙂 But you could certainly try it mixed with hot cocoa mix, as a plain beverage, or maybe flavored with vanilla sugar. Let me know if you like it.

    1. Fascinating, Tom. I had read that whey from cheesemaking was becoming a serious environmental problem – great to see that someone is working on converting whey to a resource!

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