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Home » 18 Useful Ways To Stop Wasting Whey Drained from Yogurt

18 Useful Ways To Stop Wasting Whey Drained from Yogurt

Sneak Preview: Check out this extensive list of ideas and suggestions for using whey leftover from straining regular yogurt to make Greek yogurt.

If you like to strain regular yogurt (homemade or store-bought) to make Greek yogurt, you may be asking yourself, “What can I do with all this whey?” Some people claim to drink it straight up, but my husband doesn’t think much of that idea.

Recently, I offered him a glass of lemonade leftover from a party. He gratefully accepted. Later in the day, he went searching for more lemonade. After a quick survey of the fridge, he spotted a lemonade look-alike in a quart-size mason jar and unwittingly poured himself a big glass of whey-on-the-rocks.

Unfortunately, I missed the show, but I heard he couldn’t get to the sink fast enough.

Up until now, I’ll admit that I didn’t have much use for whey. But hey! I’m not the only whey-waster. The majority of you who participated in my survey on Facebook said the same thing.

I invite you to check out the 18+1 ideas presented below. Don’t miss the bonus idea at the end if you are a sourdough bread maker.

#1 and #17 are my personal favorites.

18 Ways to Use Whey--a By-Product of Greek Yogurt - Whey in a Mason Jar
Whey is the yellowish liquid strained from regular yogurt to make Greek or Icelandic yogurt.

Updated November 2020

Inspiration–Thanks to You

In preparation for writing this article, I browsed through the comment section of my post about making Greek yogurt at home. Y’all gave me some great ideas. It will take me a while to try all of them.

 Although I have not yet tried all of these ideas, I’m putting them out there because one of you said it worked.

yogurt with whey gathered at the top near the pour spout
Notice the whey gathered at the pour spout.

How is yogurt whey different from cheese whey?

Acid whey is drained from yogurt or sour cream. Whey drained from cheese-making is referred to as “sweet whey.” This makes a big difference in how you can use it and of course, the taste.

Please note that some of the suggestions in the comments are more appropriate for sweet whey, not acid whey.

showing the process of separating or straining whey from yogurt

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    #8 

    Feed whey to outdoor plants.

    Reportedly, tomatoes especially need and benefit from the extra calcium. If you have pink hydrangeas, you can reportedly pour whey on the soil around them to turn the blooms blue.

    #9 

    Mix whey and half-and-half with iced tea (or grape juice or orange juice.)

    One person called it an “Arnold Palmer without the lemon-aid.”

    18 Ways To Use Whey–a By-Product of Greek Yogurt

    #1 

    Substitute whey for other liquids when baking.

     For instance, it gives bread and pancakes a unique sourdough-ish flavor. I have often used it as the liquid in My Favorite Pizza Dough and this Crusty French Bread. It adds a delicious taste to the crust.

    #2

    Add whey to protein shakes.

    #5 

    Keep feta cheese fresh.

    Submerge your chunk of feta in whey like they often do in Greek delis.

    #6 

    Whey makes excellent sauerkraut, fermented bean dip, beets, etc.

    The whey promotes fermentation along with some salt.

    #10 

    Make Crème Fraîche.

    Creme Fraiche made with yogurt or yogurt whey in a dish with a spreader

    Get the extremely simple directions for making crème fraîche here. It’s the most extravagantly rich and slightly tangy condiment you can imagine.

    #11

    Thin out a batch of homemade hummus or pesto with whey.

    #12 

    Use it for cooking quinoa.

    #13

    Boil your oatmeal in whey.

    Then top with dried Montmorency cherries reconstituted in (you guessed it!) whey.

    #14

    Make lacto-fermented pickles.

    The cookbook Nourishing Traditions explains how to use whey along with a brine.

    #15

    Make ricotta cheese using whey

    toast with ricotta and fresh peaches on top

    Try whey instead of the more traditional lemon juice or vinegar. Just so you know, the process will produce even more whey, but at least you won’t have to buy lemons.

    #16

    Think of whey as transparent buttermilk.

    This idea resonated with me, so I started envisioning how I could do this with fried chicken. I marinated my chicken breasts in whey, then rolled them in seasoned flour for some pretty fabulous fried chicken.

    #17 

    Make light, flaky, and tender biscuits using whey as the liquid.

    Based on suggestion #1, I recently made the flakiest, lightest, and most tender biscuits with whey.

    Check out the recipe for Flaky Cinnamon Biscuits or the Glazed Flaky Biscuits Made with Whey (or Buttermilk)

    #18

    Many people feed whey to their pets and claim they love it.


    Bonus tip

    Make a sourdough starter with yogurt whey and bread flour.

    How to use and maintain the starter:

    1. When you are ready to make bread, discard all but 1/2 cup of the starter. Add equal amounts of whey and bread flour to replace what you will take out to make bread.
    2. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 cup of starter, add 1 cup of whey (or spring water if you don’t have yogurt whey) and 1 cup of bread flour. (Some people use less liquid than flour for a thicker starter.) Stir.
    3. Place your starter back in a warm place and let it sit until bubbly on top.
    4. Measure out the amount of starter you need.
    5. Add another cup of whey or spring water and 1 cup of bread flour to the original starter. Stir, cover loosely and let it sit in a warm place (70˚F) until it starts to bubble. Refrigerate.
    three stages of sourdough starter
    LEFT: The grayish clear liquid layer you see on top should be stirred back in before you use it. MIDDLE: Starter has been stirred but not fed. RIGHT; Starter is ready to use. Note the little air bubbles throughout.

    It’s best to use your starter once a week. Once a month is minimum.

    If at any point, you see mold or funky colors appear in your starter, throw it away and start over again.

    Need a good sourdough bread recipe? Check out these Sourdough Dinner Rolls that are too good to miss.


    Looking for more ideas? Be sure to read the comments. My readers are the best!


    What do you do with whey?

    Unless you like to drink yogurt whey straight-up, what have you tried that’s not listed here? Please share.

    Happy Yogurt-Eating!


    What would you like to read next?


    If you have a question or problem you need help with, please write it in the comment section below so I can respond back. You can also email me: paula at saladinajar.com.

    Thank you for visiting!
    Paula

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          Clare

          Friday 20th of November 2020

          I have a very minor use for whey, it really doesn't make a dent in the amount of whey I have, but the results are incredible - I use it on cotton pads to cleanse my face with then rinse off with warm water. I feel my skin tighten up right away and the acne I've had for quite some time is clearing up so well!

          The idea wasn't mine and I completely forget where I read it, but I just thought some readers might find it useful.

          Paula

          Friday 20th of November 2020

          Hi Clare,

          Appreciate you taking the time to share what has worked for you. Of course, anybody who wants to try this should check with their doctor first.

          Louise

          Sunday 25th of October 2020

          Does whey have to be refrigerated? I have Celiac Disease and make my sourdough starter using mashed potato flakes instead of flour. What would happen if I substituted whey for the water in the starter? Will it spoil?

          Paula

          Sunday 25th of October 2020

          Hi Louise,

          That's a great question. Yes, straight whey does need to be refrigerated. However, I make my sourdough starter with whey and it's acid enough to set out for a few days to get it started. Whenever you are ready to bring it to room temperature to make bread and afterward as you rebuild the starter is fine, too. I have NOT made a sourdough starter with mashed potato flakes and whey, only bread flour and whey. But it's worth a try.

          I would love to hear back from you if you try it and it works.

          Kelly Klassen

          Friday 16th of October 2020

          I use it in my smoothies It gives them and awesome flavour

          Yogurt -

          Thursday 10th of September 2020

          […] The whey can either be tossed or put in a jar or container. There are plenty of ways to use it! Check some out here. […]

          Laura

          Friday 28th of August 2020

          Substitute whey for the water when you cook your Thanksgiving cranberries!

          Paula

          Saturday 29th of August 2020

          Laura, This is a brilliant idea! Thank you for taking the time to write.