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What to Do with Sour Milk

sour milk cake by flickr user somethingsoclever

Once in awhile, your milk goes sour before you can drink it. But wait! Before your throw old milk out, check out our ideas for using up sour milk. It doesn’t have to go to waste. And don’t be grossed out — sour milk is perfectly fine for cooking. Before the 20th century, no self-respecting mama would throw it out! She would use it to whip up all kinds of special recipes. It’s just our modern excess of wealth and disconnection to where our food comes from that has allowed us to turn our noses up — literally and figuratively — at sour milk!

When you have milk that isn’t good for drinking, how about:

  • Make a batch of waffles, pancakes, or muffins: When I have sour milk, I like to use it in waffles or pancakes (make a big batch and freeze the extras for a quick and convenient meal or snack later) or homemade muffins. I swear these are better than those made with plain milk!
  • Use in place of buttermilk or sour milk in recipes. When I don’t have legit sour milk, I make my own with plain milk & a bit of vinegar or lemon juice. But if you have the real stuff, you can skip this step for making faux sour milk.
  • Make Ranch dressing: this ranch dressing recipe can be kept on hand for 2 weeks
  • Substitute for milk in casserole-type recipes such as scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or mashed potatoes.
  • Make all kinds of baked goodies: This list of 14 sour milk recipes from includes all kinds of yummy-sounding recipes, including: Boston brown bread, biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, cottage cheese, graham bread, sour milk gingerbread, and cream spice cake.
  • Use in recipes along with baking soda to add lightness: This suggestion was in the comments at Thrifty Fun:

I often add naturally soured milk to my sourdough pancake batter, to my sourdough dough in bread baking and to make scones or girdle cakes with. For the last two add a level teaspoon of baking soda to the mix before mixing in the sour milk. The acid of the milk reacts with the baking soda to effervesce, forming carbon dioxide bubbles which acts as a leavening agent. This method of leavening has been used since at least the 1800’s.

  • Use in basically any baked or cooked recipe that calls for milk.
  • Make cheese: Paneer. Paneer is an indian soft, fresh cheese. Sour milk works great for paneer, which is a very mild cheese. Once you have the paneer, add it in cubes to dishes such as Saag Paneer (a yummy spinach sauce).

A note about safety:

When I was researching this topic, there were a lot of different opinions about using sour milk. A lot of opinionated folks dismissed using sour milk, saying that instead of being pleasantly sour, modern milk only spoils. These people advised just throwing the milk out. Now here’s the thing. These were random people on message boards who are not doctors or scientists. Just people passing along unverified rumors and old wives’ tales. (Have you noticed how the Old Wives Tale is alive and well, even in this internet age? Thank goodness for and other sites that take the time to find out what is true and what’s not! But back to the milk.)

According to my research, cooking with sour milk is fine. If you see mold or any discoloration in the milk, DON’T use it, but instead, discard it. If you end up drinking sour milk, you could get sick (similar to any food poisoning), but when you cook it, the bacteria that can make you sick is heated to the point of killing the bacteria.

Photo licensed by flickr user somethingsoclever. Check out her chocolate cake recipe!


This post may contain affiliate links or other sponsored material. Opinions are 100% the author's.

One Response to What to Do with Sour Milk

  1. L.A. Smith says:

    Sour milk is soured by the WRONG bacteria, especially if it’s been pasteurized! It is decomposing milk and your first clue is the smell. Are you a doctor or a scientist?

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