Groceries Under $300 Month » Why You Should Keep Powdered & Evaporated Milk on Hand

Why You Should Keep Powdered & Evaporated Milk on Hand

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If you’re one of those people who thinks ‘yuck’ at the very mention of evaporated or powdered milk, it might be time to give it a second thought. When used correctly, these forms of milk can be indistinguishable from fresh milk. Powdered and evaporated milk can provide vital nutrition during extended power outages when traditional milk can quickly go bad.


Why You Should Keep Powdered & Evaporated Milk on Hand

Powdered and evaporated forms of milk are also often cheaper than traditional milk. The average cost for a gallon of milk, in my area, is almost $5 a gallon. In stark contrast, I can usually get the same amount of evaporated or powdered milk for just $2 a gallon when using coupons or buying in bulk.

In some places, it’s illegal for companies that sell fresh milk to give out coupons for their products. This is because it gives them an unfair advantage over a state’s local dairy farmers. This rule, however, does not apply to powdered or evaporated milk. This can make them a more economical choice than fresh milk.

Benefits of Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk and powdered milk are highly recommended staples for any emergency stockpile. The problem with keeping evaporated or powdered milk in your pantry is that people often save it for an emergency and forget all about if no emergency arises.

I recently heard a fellow survivalist talk about how he had purchased a large quantity of evaporated milk and that all of it had expired before he could use it. This reminded me that I also had a lot of evaporated milk in my stockpile that was probably close to expiration.

Make Your Own Evaporated Milk

I often stock up on evaporated milk during the holidays when it’s cheap, but the only thing I generally use evaporated milk for is making fudge. I had good intentions of making a lot of fudge last Christmas to use up the evaporated milk that I had purchased the year before last, but I didn’t get around to making as much as I had intended. After examining the date on my cans I discovered that six of them were a month past expiration.


Evaporated Milk Expiration Dates

So what to do with all of this milk? Throw it away? No way!

Evaporated milk or powdered milk is great to keep in the pantry for emergencies because it has such a long shelf life. Evaporated milk is generally good for up to two years after its expiration date. Technically, it is still safe to drink beyond that time, but the milk will decline in taste and nutritional value the longer it is stored.

Once you open a can of evaporated milk you must refrigerate it immediately and use it within 15 days. Store unopened cans of evaporated milk in a cool place for the longest shelf life.

Benefits of Powdered Milk

Powdered milk can be used for years after expiration as well. You can extend this shelf life even further by freezing it. When powdered milk begins to turn yellow or has a rancid odor it is time to discard it. Mixing powdered milk with cold water makes the powder dissolve more easily.


Liquid milk that has been prepared with powdered milk should be refrigerated immediately and be used within 2 weeks. Powdered milk should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for the longest shelf life. Light and heat cause early spoilage and can degrade the milk’s vitamin content.

To prevent moisture in the air from spoiling the powdered milk you can also store it in smaller air-tight packages such as ziplock or mylar bags. Then you can use small amounts of the milk at a time without exposing the entire box of milk to air.


Tricks for Achieving the Best Flavor

A lot of people have a negative image when it comes to powdered or evaporated milk. However, these are not milk substitutes, they are no different from the milk found in your grocery store’s dairy section. The only thing that has been altered in these forms is the water content of the milk.


In evaporated milk, some of the water has been removed, while all of the water is removed in making powdered milk. The problem with evaporated and powdered milk is that processing gives the milk a flavor which is a little different from traditional refrigerated milk.

This flavor can be off-putting for traditional milk lovers. This happens because heating the milk causes it to become slightly caramelized. This is also what gives it a darker more yellowish color than fresh milk.

If you find the flavor of evaporated or powdered milk to be off-putting you can add flavor syrups to them to make them more palatable as a drink. I mixed up a batch with chocolate syrup and I could no longer detect the caramelized flavor. To drink evaporated milk it must be mixed with an equal amount of water.

B101 Homemade Chocolate Milk using Powdered or Evaporated Milk

You can also stretch your milk and disguise the flavor of evaporated or powdered milk by mixing half a gallon of regular milk with a half a gallon of prepared evaporate milk (1/4 gallon water + 1/4 gallon evaporated milk), or a half-gallon of reconstituted powdered milk.


You can also use evaporated or powdered milk in any recipe which calls for milk. I substituted regular milk for evaporated milk in mac ‘n’ cheese, no-bake cheesecake, and cream of broccoli soup. Most cannot detect an “off” flavor when using these recipes.

I did slightly less than a 50/50 mix of milk and water. Adding less water to the evaporated milk made all of my recipes come out creamy and delicious. Use evaporated or dry powdered milk in place of regular milk in your cooking often to ensure that milk in your emergency stockpile is used before expiration.


More ways to use Powdered & Evaporated Milk

Here are some other ways to use up powdered milk and/or evaporated milk:

  • To hydrate and nourish skin try using powdered milk to make a face mask or bath soak.
  • Face mask- use water and powdered milk to make a thick paste. Spread the paste on your face and let it sit for 15-25 minutes. Rinse paste off when finished.
  • Bath soak-Add two cups of powdered milk or a can of evaporated milk to your bath and soak.
  • Make powdered hot cocoa mix. This is great to drink or give as a gift in a mason jar.
  • Use in place of creamer in coffee (add little or no water to the powder or evaporated milk)
  • Polish and hydrate leather-you can make leather purses or shoes look like new again by rubbing them with evaporated milk or reconstituted powder milk using a small amount of water.
  • Remove ink stains from clothes- To remove ink stains from clothing, soak them in a milk bath overnight and then wash normally.
  • Make your own homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk to use in your favorite recipes

Where to Purchase Powdered & Evaporated Milk:

Evaporated Milk, Powdered Milk & Instant Dry Milk can each be purchased at your local grocery store or online.



More Grocery Savings here:

23 thoughts on “Why You Should Keep Powdered & Evaporated Milk on Hand”

  1. over the years, i’ve nearly always had them both on hand.. they are just fine for cooking.. undiluted evaporated milk works great in cream style soups, and i have used the powdered nonfat milk in my fabulous mashed potatoes …everyone always loves them..

    i put the dry milk powder (a half to 1 cup) in the potatoes after I break them up with my mixer, mash a little, then add butter, then just enough hot potato water to whip them up to a heavenly fluff.. works best with russets, and don’t forget the salt in the cooking water. If you don’t salt them before cooking, they never taste good.
    I also use the dry and the evaporated milks diluted (or not) for most any cooking uses.

    • Thanks, that was very helpful, never thought to use the potato water. I will have to try your way and see what the family says 🙂

  2. i always have powder milk and evaporated milk in the cupboards, i do not hoard this type of milk for drinking at all. i use powder milk for all of my baking needs, and the evaporated milk for cooking dishes that require milk, i buy whole evaporated milk, it makes wonderful sauces, scalloped potatoes, mash potatoes mac n cheese. if a recipe calls for milk i do not use our drinking milk i use canned milk, i use the store generic or aldi’s brand and it is wonderful.

    cakes that require milk i use powder, not to mention i use powder a lot in the winter time to make hot chocolate mix, and oatmeal packets. there is more uses for these types of milk other than drinking.

    • I have been thinking of having powdered milk on hand and now you have given me a reason why, I can’t believe how expensive the powdered milk has gotten but it’s a good idea to use that for the baking and saving the drinking milk. Thank you for the tips!!

      • I have been thinking of having powdered milk on hand and now you have given me a reason why, I can’t believe how expensive the powdered milk has gotten but it’s a good idea to use that for the baking and saving the drinking milk. Thank you for the tips!!

        if you can’t find a good deal on powdered milk try shopping at bulk stores like bj’s or sam’s club. i shop at bj’s a lot.

        i split the cost of the membership with my mother so i only pay about $25/ year and I save thousands of dollars on my groceries every year!

  3. growing up, we always used canned (evaporated) milk for our mashed potatoes and for the gravy. unfortunately, i’ve gotten out of the habit but need to do it again. i also like to have a little bowl of peaches for dessert and pour a little canned milk on them.

    it’s a comfort food for me 🙂
    my mom gives me her senior commodities powdered milk that i turn around and use for my hot chocolate mix.

  4. i was raised by people who suffered through major hardships during the world wars 1 & 2. The tips and tricks that they used were more or less forgotten as time went on and the conveinece factor of “modern times” took over. Time savers such as packaged food mixes…your pasta, sauce mix all in one box, just add meat and microwaved foods etc caused many of the things our Grandmothers and Mothers did to economize fell by the wayside.

    I worked outside the home for way too many years and went from canning my own produce and fruits, making my own bread, to convient meals and products. We had a small “kitchen sized” lidded garbarge can full of powdered milk I used in cooking and baking… ALWAYS used evaporated or canned milk while coooking.

    Also flour, oats, rice , beans were purchased in bulk.

    I remember my Grandmother (born on a farm in 1879) turning up her nose at the “new” cleaners etc. She’d shake her head and say ” waste of money is all! ” her motto was use it up, wear it out, make it do or do with out!”

    i think she would be fasinated by all the current conviences as well as revolted by the many products we’ve been led to believe we can’t live with out.

    i love this site because it is allowing so many families to re-discover some many “old -fashioned” uses of products that often work much better than their modern counterparts as well as the fact that they are also not damaging our environment or polluting our bodies with chemicals designed to make them visually attractive and “smell good”.

    i used witch hazel as a “”face toner” the entire time i was growing up, lemon and viniger rinses on my hair, baby oil for make up remover….. rose water and glycerine or castile soaps to bath and clean my hair.
    i am gradually making my way back to the good old multi use products. i am saving money and feeling “cleaner” without all the chemicals around.

    thank you for establishing this site and making it available to everyone.

  5. i use powdered milk in my homemade bath-salts. i mix epsom salt, rock salt and powdered milk then add essential oil of choice. when giving as gifts, i frequently will add coloring to the salts and then alternate the salt/milk layers in a clear glass jar with label attached.

    makes very quick and easy gifts to have on hand or make at least minute.

  6. i frequently use powdered milk in my homemade bath-salt soaks. when giving as gifts, i color the salts and then layer with the dry milk in a clear glass jar. makes quick and inexpensive (yet individualized) gifts.:2cents:

  7. exactly gramshel. i’ve been fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom, but still ended up turning to more of the convenience foods and lifestyle. i’m now getting “back to basics” as i call it…homemade cleaners, cooking and baking from scratch, and this year back to canning.
    on another note…has anyone tried the morning moos powdered milk alternative from augason farms?

    i picked some up at my local walmart and was actually pleasantly surprised by the flavor.

  8. Thanks so very much for the reminder. When my children were young, I used to always mix powdered milk and regular milk to stretch out the $$$’s. I always made fudge with evaporated milk and also used it in soups and chowders and with hot chocolate.

    It is time for me to use what I have in my pantry and replenish with new milks. Thanks again and have a great St. Patrick’s Day!!


  9. i can’t use aloe for sunburns it gives me a rash, instead i make a thin paste of powdered milk and water and put that on the burn. in the summer i keep a small bowl mixed up in the fridge for some cool relief.

  10. we are rv’ers and i like “convenience” foods when we’re out, but i make my own. i make oatmeal packets (using pb2, cocoa, sweetener for me and raisin spice for dh) and always use dry milk so all i need do is heat some water for the coffee, tea or hot cocoa mix, and oats. the packets are healthier and have few preservatives, they even work for the younger set because they are easy to use.

    i sometimes take along home made powdered alfredo sauce, evap milk, pasta, dehydrated broccoli and tomatoes, and home canned chicken for an easy dinner meal. i even make “hamburger helper” mix bags with pasta and dehydrated veggies and bring along dry canned ground beef. :jar: adding extra milk powder makes the sauces that much richer.

    sometimes i’ll take along just my home canned goods in a divided quart box so all i need do is heat everything through for easy meals. btw, i add additional powdered milk to my “dream pies” to make them set up better and taste creamier-not to mention the boost in nutrition.

  11. i use to know a gal and when she ran out of regular milk she would make the powdered milk for her kids. she would add a little food coloring and call it “magic milk”. her kids loved it.

  12. when i lived in okinawa in the late 80’s, we were unable to get fresh milk and the “filled” milk was nasty. We used dried milk all the time and it was fine. I would sometimes add extra powder to make the milk a little richer.

    Best advice is to serve it ice cold.

  13. somewhere, i have a recipe for making my own pudding mixes with powdered milk. i used to get powdered milk, peanut butter and cheese commodities when my kids were young. i had to find ways to use all the products.

    my children’s favorite was the peanut butter logs. great after school snack.

  14. one thing i learned when making frostings, was when i put in too much liquid and didn’t want to add more powdered sugar, i added powdered milk to thicken it back up. sometimes you don’t need more sweetness. i should use it more often for mashed potatoes……….


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