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18+ Uses for Yogurt Whey You May Not Have Thought Of Yet

Sneak Preview: Check out this extensive list of uses for yogurt whey–the yellowish liquid strained from 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 whey straight up, but my husband doesn’t think much of that idea.

I once offered him a glass of lemonade leftover from a party. 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.

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. Unfortunately, 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 derives from yogurt or sour cream. Whey drained from cheese-making is referred to as “sweet whey.” The origin 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


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.


Add whey to protein shakes.


Keep feta cheese fresh.

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


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

The whey promotes fermentation along with some salt.


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.


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.”


Make Crème Fraîche.

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

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


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


Use it for cooking quinoa.


Boil your oatmeal in whey.

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


Make lacto-fermented pickles.

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


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.


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 and then rolled them in seasoned flour for some fabulous fried chicken.

When I don’t have buttermilk in the house, I like to use whey and dry milk solids as a substitute in this soft white Blue-Ribbon Buttermilk Bread Machine recipe. It’s easy to mix up in a bread machine, then bake in your oven.


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)


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

yogurt course

Bonus tip

Make a sourdough starter with yogurt whey (or yogurt) and flour.

How to use and maintain the starter:

  1. When you are ready to make bread, discard all but ½ cup of the starter. Add equal amounts (in weight) 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 ½ cup (120 gr) of whey (or spring water if you don’t have yogurt whey) and 1 cup (120 gr) of bread flour. Stir.
  3. Place your starter in a warm place and let it sit until bubbly on top and spongy throughout. It should double in size (or more) when your starter is vigorous.
  4. Measure out the amount of starter you need.
  5. Add another 1/2 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 if not using in the next few days.
three stages of sourdough starter
LEFT: Stir the grayish transparent liquid layer back in before you use it. MIDDLE: Starter has been stirred but not fed. RIGHT; Starter is ready to use. Note the tiny air bubbles on the sides.

It’s best to feed your starter at least once a week. Once a month is a minimum.

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

If you want your sourdough bread to taste sourer, use whey instead of water when feeding your starter.

Need a good sourdough bread recipe? Check out these recipes: Sourdough Dinner Rolls, Sourdough Bread Machine Bread (A Simple Loaf). Sourdough Bread Machine Bread – No Yeast.

Are you looking for more ideas? Then, 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. You can also email me: Paula at

Thank you for visiting!


Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Hi. Should I heat the milk if it's starting out raw? And the whey is from yogurt made in an instant pot with that raw milk? the milk is probably pasteurized bc the IP heats it to boiling first so the yogurt whey IS pasteurized. Thank you for your reply!


Sunday 31st of October 2021

@Paula, hi and thanks for your reply. My Instant Pot yogurt comes out perfectly every time. After it's heated (not sure if it's to boiling temp or not, but the directions are to pressure yogurt button and then press adjust, which heats the milk), I cool the milk to less than 110 degrees, or as others had mentioned, put your finger in it and if you can hold it there for 3+ seconds without discomfort, it's cool enough to not kill the probiotics. In my case, I just add store bought plain greek yogurt without any additional ingredients beyond milk and bacteria.

In re-reading my comments, I guess I should clarify that I get raw milk, so I could follow your instructions and to a tee because raising the temp of the milk (I guess to get the yogurt and whey to activate) is understandable and if I raise the temp of the milk to 100 degrees it's probably not going to kill off the good bacteria.

My main question then, is pasteurized/Instant Pot recipe made whey acceptable in your recipe?


Tuesday 26th of October 2021

If you are boiling the milk before you make yogurt, then the whey IS pasteurized. Normally, I would not recommend boiling the milk to make yogurt. As long as it comes to 165-170˚F and stays there for at least 15 seconds, that's all it needs. Boiling the milk can make your yogurt grainy. Have you had this happen?

Luanne Reich

Tuesday 6th of April 2021

I freeze in ice cube tray I also use in my thin hair to give it great body and volume. Pour onto hair let sit while showering rinse, shampoo. wa la.


Tuesday 6th of April 2021

Interesting. Thanks for sharing Luanne.

Jane Stewart

Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Hi Paula,

I use it for watering my blueberries. The berries are huge and plants are very happy.

Kay Stern

Sunday 9th of May 2021

@Jane Stewart, Great idea! I'm going to do this!!


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

Great idea, Jane. Sounds like your blueberries must like an acidic drink of water.


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.


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.


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?


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.