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18 Ways to Use Whey, a By-Product of Greek Yogurt

If you like to strain regular yogurt (homemade or store-bought) to make Greek yogurt, you may be asking yourself what to do with all that whey. Check out these ideas for 18 Ways to Use Whey, a By-Product of Greek Yogurt. #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.

My Whey Story

Recently, I made some punch for a party resulting in leftover lemonade. I offered my husband a glass, which he gladly accepted.

Sometime later, 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 understand he couldn’t get to the sink fast enough.

Do you feel like this?

In telling the story, he claimed it was the vilest stuff he had ever tasted. Of course, I promptly informed him it was supposed to be healthy.  He was unimpressed.

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

Up until now, I felt the same way about whey. Consequently, I threw it out. But hey! I’m not the only whey-waster. The majority of you who participated in my survey on Facebook said the same thing.

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. You all gave me some great ideas. It will take me a while to try all of them.

 I’m not endorsing or recommending any of these ideas. I’m just putting them out there because one of you said it worked.

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

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.

#3 

Lacto-fermented veggies and fruits

#4 

Use for soaking whole wheat flours.

#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.

#7 

Use yogurt whey to make more yogurt.

#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.”

#10 

Make Crème Fraîche.

Stir together 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of whey in a small glass jar with a lid. Loosely cover the jar and let it sit on the counter for 12-24 hours or until it’s as thick as you like. (It will get thicker when chilled.) Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks,

#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.


What do you do with whey?

Have you tried something I don’t have listed here? Please share.

In case you don’t know much about making Greek yogurt, you can see the process from beginning to end in the video above.

Like I always say about making homemade yogurt, “Enjoy your science experiment in partnership with God.” Doesn’t it seem like a miracle?

Happy Yogurt-Eating!


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June Howley

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Thank you for your ideas on using whey. Having just made my first batch of Greek yogurt I searched for uses thinking it could be used in smoothies. I couldn't find a recipe involving 'fresh' whey only the powdered form so threw it down the sink!!!! Now, seeing your article I wish I hadn't been so hasty but will definitely try at least one of them next time as after tasting my home made yogurt I shan't ever be buying it again. Also love your way of putting it in a bag and hanging it. I have several of those bags but never thought of them. I bought some cheesecloth from Ebay. Oh dear, another waste!

Paula

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Yes, powdered whey is a completely different product. Maybe you can use that cheesecloth for.....hmmmm. Can't think of anything but surely something will come up. :-). I also like to use commercial-size coffee filters to strain my yogurt.

Elaine Ross

Thursday 7th of November 2019

Hi! I make a lot of Greek yogurt weekly and we put drained whey in our dog's food. We don't know how much is appropriate, too much and I don't know what will result, too little, what's the point? My four dogs range from 12 pound's to 65 pounds. Thank you so much!

Paula

Thursday 7th of November 2019

Hi Elaine,

Always fun to hear from another Greek yogurt maker. Unfortunately, I know absolutely nothing about dogs. I have never even owned one. Consequently, I'm completely unqualified to answer your question. Maybe your veterinarian?

Deb McLaren

Sunday 29th of September 2019

I took your advice and substituted whey for buttermilk in my brown bread recipe and tasted no different. Thanks for the suggestion.

Paula

Monday 30th of September 2019

Brown bread? Yum! Glad you liked it.

Marcia

Friday 13th of September 2019

I substituted whey for the eggs in my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.... they came out good! I used about 3 Tbs whey per egg, but I may try 2.5 Tbs next time because the cookies flattened out a bit more than usual, though still fine.

Paula

Friday 13th of September 2019

That's a new one to me, Marcia. Thanks for writing.