Powdered Milk Mysteries Revealed

Home / Monthly Specials / Powdered Milk Mysteries Revealed

Powdered milk is a common item that people store for long term emergency situations for many reasons. It has enough nutrients to allow you to sustain life even if it was the ONLY thing you were eating/drinking, you cannot store fresh milk in a powerless emergency, and milk is a very common ingredient in many recipes.

The beautiful thing about having milk in your home storage is that it can also save you in those everyday emergencies, like realizing you are out of milk right in the middle of cooking dinner. I hate going grocery shopping with my kids at all so if I can avoid a mid-week run for milk, I will gladly jump at the opportunity. Using powdered milk for baking and when we run out saves me at least a trip or two to the store a month!

People often have a lot of questions about the types of powdered milk, how to use it, how to improve it, etc. so we are going to cover some of the main questions we’ve seen and take out some of the mysteries surrounding this great storage item.

Powdered Milk Mysteries Revealed:  Everything you need to know about buying, storing, and using powdered milk.

Common Questions About Powdered Milk

What is the difference between instant and non-instant powdered milk?
Instant powdered milk is similar to instant rice in that it is faster and easier to reconstitute than non-instant formulas. Typically instant powdered milk takes about twice as much powder per gallon as non-instant, but it depends on which brand you are purchasing. Thrive Life sells both the Instant Milk and regular Non-Fat Powdered Milk and both are very good.

What is a milk alternative?
A milk alternative is NOT 100% milk. It contains a lot of ingredients to make it taste better including whey, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup. As a result, it can taste better (opinions on this vary), but has way less protein and includes some ingredients which are NOT great for you. If you want to use your stored milk in recipes or to make cheese, etc., they would turn out differently than if you used 100% milk. If you just want to drink the milk alternative as a milk flavored yummy drink, it’s ok. However you will be missing out on important nutrients which are even more critical in a time of emergency.

How can I improve the taste of powdered milk?
One trick to try is mixing a little bit of sugar and vanilla in to your powdered milk and then make sure to serve it cold. This will significantly improve the taste of your milk! If that still doesn’t fool your family, a lot of people have had success with mixing powdered milk with regular milk half and half in the jug and nobody seems to notice or mind the taste. Most people that have tried the Thrive Milk don’t feel that any additives are necessary. It is seriously GOOD powdered milk.

What is the shelf life of powdered milk?
Thrive powdered milk has a shelf life of 25 years if left unopened and stored in optimal storage conditions. Once opened, the shelf life goes down to just two years. Some sources say that nutrient levels will deplete before the 25 years so we always recommend rotating through your stores as much as possible.

What’s the best way to rotate my powdered milk?
Since Non-Fat Powdered Milk is denser and more difficult to “mix”, it is best used in baking. You can take any recipe that calls for milk and substitute with powdered milk. You don’t even need to mix it together first. Simply add the powdered with the dry ingredients, and the necessary amount of liquid with the wet ingredients. The Instant Milk was specifically developed for it’s flavor and for ease of mixing. Keep this on hand for the days you want to avoid the “milk runs”.

One thing we especially love using powdered milk for is substituting it in recipes that call for buttermilk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, etc. Here are some tips for making those substitutions:

Buttermilk: Mix up one cup of powdered milk. Add 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar to the milk. Stir it in and wait for 5 minutes. Use in any recipe that calls for buttermilk!

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Add the following ingredients to your blender. 1/2 cup of hot water, 1 c. of powdered milk powder, 1 c. of sugar, 1 T. of butter. Blend very well.

Evaporated Milk: Mix 1 1/2 c. water with 1/2 c. + 1 T. powdered milk powder. Whisk together thoroughly. Add to any recipe calling for evaporated milk!

What are some good recipes using powdered milk?
Super Cherry Pie (make your own sweetened condensed milk using powdered milk)
Buttermilk Cornbread (make your own buttermilk using powdered milk)
Blender Wheat Pancakes (uses wheat, powdered milk, and powdered eggs!)
German Pancakes (use powdered milk and you won’t notice a difference)
Ricotta Cheese (make with powdered milk)
French Toast (uses powdered eggs and powdered milk)


Thrive Non-Fat Powdered Milk is one of the BIG DEAL SPECIALS. The cheapest way to buy it is in a bucket but we always recommend getting some smaller sizes so you can practice using it without opening an entire bucket.

- Jodi and Julie


  • Kristin Fish

    Thank you for this review on Thrive powdered milk! I’ve recently been looking into keeping powdered milk on hand, particularly for emergencies. I would prefer to have a powdered whole milk, though, and I feel like most options are for nonfat milk! If life needs to be sustained in an emergency situation, it seems like a few fat calories would be handy–why is it so hard to find a quality whole powdered milk? Do you have any recommendations for whole powdered milk? I’ve found a few brands, but I feel like they often have additives. Thank you.

  • Shirley

    If a recipe calls for X-Amount of non-fat dry milk and you are using Thrive Instant Milk, is there an adjustment in the quantity you should use? Would you use more or less of the Instant Milk in the recipe?

    • admin

      The regular non-fat is 3 T. per cup and Thrive Instant is 2 T. per cup. So I would use 2/3 the amount of powder called for in the recipe if you are using the instant milk instead. Hope that helps!

      • Jona

        Your answer is confusing to what is posted above.
        “Typically instant powdered milk takes about twice as much powder per gallon as non-instant,”

        That said if a recipe calls for X-amount of regular-nonfat milk and you want to use instant milk then I would think you need to add more of the instant milk to work in place of the regular non-fat milk.

        Can you please clarify for Shirley and myself.?

        • admin

          I realize that contradicts. The problem is that every brand has a different ratio to mix, so you really just have to determine your own equivalent based on what YOUR brands use as their “recipe”.

        • Shirley

          As I understand, both milks are instant… One is more for drinking and the other for cooking. Is that correct? I have Instant Milk, not Instant non-fat powdered dry milk. I think the confusion lies in the products being called different names.

          So, I understand that I would use 2/3 as much instant milk as I would instant non-fat powdered dry milk.

          • admin

            They are not both instant milk. They are both non-fat powdered milk, but the INSTANT variety is easier to mix and tastes better. If your instant milk is THRIVE brand then yes you would do 2/3’s the amount called for. If you have another brand I would double-check on your can. I’m going to look into this more with a few brands. Because it does seem off to me that they would need six tablespoons for just 1 cup. The “doubling” thing is just a traditional recommendation we’ve seen all around the internet.

          • Shirley

            OK… But my milk (Thrive) says Instant Milk on the side. It’s the one that’s more for drinking. I just wanted to know how to adjust the recipe if it calls for non-fat dry milk or powdered milk. It’s all so confusing…the different names used for the milks.

  • Rhoda Edwards

    Hello, I am new to your lovely site. Thanks so much for posting the butter milk recipe I do appreciate it as it is hard to find in my grocery. When we do get some it is gone in a few days. That problem is now fixed. Happy. Have a great weekend.

    • Geraldine Brandt

      My mom always used powdered milk in her bread as I do now. She would put regular milk into the powdered milk for serving.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *