Thursday, May 14, 2015

How To Dehydrate Milk for Long Term Storage

When we started on our preparedness journey, I tried to be practical. I didn't even know what a "prepper" was. In the beginning I made a list of things I used everyday. Literally from the time I woke up: Water, meds., t.p., coffee, toothpaste, toothbrush and so on and that is what I started storing. You know, store what you use, use what you store. Then I found I wasn't alone. 
Eventually I started dehydrating (and pressure canning) my own milk for long term storage because I taste tested all sorts of instant milks and tried packaged shelf stable milks and found them to be unpalatable for my taste. Plus, when examining how often I cook with milk it quickly became apparent that I needed to find a storage solution that would keep a supply of milk on hand.

This is the journey of storing milk. For my first batch, I used my Oster dehydrator (no longer available, but I also like the Presto dehydrator). I purchased these nifty fruit roll-up trays and  gently poured one cup of milk to each tray. 

Something is not level here. Not, sure if it is the dehydrator or the counter. So I kept turning the trays around to even out the milk.

This took about 12 hours. Longer than I expected. Note the flakiness and the “goopy” parts.

For the second batch of milk, I used the same method by putting the fruit roll-up trays in my Excalibur 9 Tray dehydrator. I have to share, I took me while to save up for the Excalibur dehydrator, but I find it to be worth it's weight in gold. Seriously. The main advantage is it's size & the fact you are able to control the temperatures. 
TIP: I would suggest that you put the round tray on your Excalibur tray INSIDE the dehydrator & then pour the milk into the tray.
Um, I prepped one on my counter top, tried to carry it over and milk spilled everywhere. My furbabies were VERY happy. I wasn't. Then I had to mop my floor.

Temp: Set the temperature between 125-130 degrees (F) and dehydrate until dry and flaky. It takes several hours, so be patient. 
Again, it wasn't level, maybe it's my house. So, every twenty minutes or so, I turned the trays around to more evenly distribute the milk. Turned out better this time.

When each batch came out there were several areas that were “goopy”. So I took my Pampered Chef scraper and gently removed all the dried milk, re-trayed & dehydrated a little more.

After the milk was nice and flaky, I crumbled up the pieces.

Next the pieces were put in the blender.

It really is that simple. 7 cups of instant ½ & ½.

After the jar was full, I vacuum sealed the jar for long term storage. 
It takes very little time, but worth it when it comes to minimizing my storage space. But, I highly recommend that you also read:
How to reconstitute the milk.
Also, you may enjoy these blog posts on pressure canning milk & dehydrating lattes:
Canning White Stuff from Cows I am very serious about my milk, I actually pressure can milk almost every week. I use milk a lot in my cooking, Therefore I store it.
How To Dehydrate Lattes (Yes, I actually store lattes)

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Here are some other great articles from other preppers I work with:

Food Storage


72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags



  1. Thank you for sharing this information. We only really like whole dairy products in our house. I get low fat milk from WIC and we have not been using it up before it goes bad (we also have a milk allergy in the house). I do not like to waste it but there are only so many ways I can think of to use it. I think I will try dehydrating it. In an emergency situation dried low fat milk is better than no milk and it will keep me from wasting it.

  2. Can you use a homemade outside dehydrator?

  3. Are you using store-bought milk or do you have a cow/goat whose milk you use? (Sorry if I missed that somewhere in your post).

  4. There is a couple of black boxes on the right top side of your blog that pop out. It makes it extremely hard to scroll!

  5. Love this! Glad you moved the post, I hate when I click on a pin and it's not the original post!

    I seriously need to do this. I have a 9 tray Excalibur which I love. We drive 2 hours to get raw milk and I hate running out right when I have a milk need!

    I do a ton of canning, and really want to try this with milk, but I'm a little nervous. Maybe dehydrating is a good first step :-)

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Quick question because I have never dehydrated food. How would you turn the flakes back into milk?

    1. It's usually 2 heaped tablespoons per litre, mix and leave to sit in the fridge overnight (the sitting returns the natural flavour).

  7. This is great, I'm glad I found your website! Can you tell us what kind of milk you used in this post (skim, 2%, whole)? Would any kind of milk work? I've gotten the impression that fatty items don't dehydrate well, but I'd love to try tail yogurt made with fatty milk powder rather than skim milk powder.

    1. Nicolette,
      I used 1/2 & 1/2. But that is what I keep on hand.

    2. Can you use cream too? I use it more than milk

  8. Fantastic! From one grandma to another, I really think there are so many things we can pass on to younger people that we probably learned from our grandmothers. Most of these things are lost arts.
    I did much the same thing on deciding what to store. I also used the measure of "What can't I make?" That brought in last ditch medications (with the hope that the bugs wouldn't be resistant), things like scissors, glass jars and lids, files, etc. If I have a needle and scissors, I can make clothing or shoes or close a wound.
    I have land and I actually considered getting a small herd of goats, but I really don't want to milk every day until it is a necessity.
    Thanks for the great info. I will definitely bookmark your site!

    1. R,
      You sound like a multi-skill person, which is great.
      I personally had to learn the vintage skill on my own. I didn't take the opportunity to learn from my grandmother and great-grand mother while there were still here.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. How long can you keep the dehydrated milk?

  11. Why not just buy powdered milk ?

  12. I have dehydrated eggs, but never milk. I have cows and we use raw milk, therefore I would never pressure can my milk since it would kill all of the enzymes in the milk. That being said, I often have to much milk so dehydrating it is a great idea. Thanks for the tip.

  13. How about freeze dried ? Quick freeze the milk with dry ice,dry it under a vacuum (constantly applied) until dry and store it in a jar that's under vacuum (to keep the milk from absorbing atmospheric moisture).

  14. Where did you find the mylar bags and oxygen absorbers?


  16. Milk Storage Plant It is manufactured using the best grade components and innovative technology under supervision of our dexterous professionals. This plant is widely used for processing of milk in large amount and is mostly demanded by dairy clients.

  17. How about whipping cream have you tried to dehydrate it?
    I would love to know