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Can I Use Whey From Straining Yogurt to Make More Yogurt?

Preview: Have you ever thought about using whey as a yogurt starter to make more yogurt? I’ve tried it. Here’s all the information you need to know.

Making Greek yogurt produces a lot of whey in the straining process. Many people ask if they can use whey to make more yogurt. Let’s talk about it.

I’ve tried it. Here’s all the information you need to know.

yogurt made with whey drained from yogurt

If you’ve never tried to make yogurt before, see this post or watch the video below to start using my method.

After you’ve made a successful batch, come back and read about this variation. Here is my answer to lots of questions I’ve received lately about recycling whey.


What is yogurt whey?

Whey is that yellowish liquid that rises to the top of yogurt. Many people stir it back in, but I prefer to drain it off. The result is Greek yogurt and lots of leftover whey.

whey drained from yogurt

Can I use yogurt whey to make more yogurt?

YES! Add 2-3 tablespoons of whey to 2 quarts of heated and cooled milk.  (More or less whey may also work–this is just what I do.) Whisk it well and incubate as usual.

In the picture below, I made the yogurt on the left with whey as the starter. I made the yogurt on the right with my homemade yogurt as a starter. The results were identical in taste and texture.

comparing yogurt made with whey as the starter and yogurt made with yogurt starter

Why you might want to use whey as a yogurt starter:

#1

 If you make very much Greek yogurt, you will have more whey than you can use.

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If you need some ideas, read this post for more than 18 Ways to Use Yogurt Whey.

#2

You won’t have to “waste” any of your precious homemade yogurt by using it as a starter.

Instead, you can enjoy eating every last drop.

#3

Always save a little whey to make your next batch.

Consequently, you won’t have to worry about keeping some yogurt back to use as a starter. It’s also good insurance if somebody inadvertently eats the last of your previous batch of yogurt.

#4

Perfectly smooth texture

If you use a grainy or lumpy yogurt as a starter, you are sure to make more grainy or lumpy yogurt. Start over again by using whey.


FAQ about Yogurt Whey Used as Starter

1. How long does yogurt whey last?

I get a lot of questions on this subject. In my experience, it’s good for at least three weeks, but I’ve read it can last for six months. Although it may last longer, since I make yogurt twice a week, there’s no reason for me to keep it around.

The next question is related to this question but not the same.

2. How long does whey stay fresh enough to use as a starter?

Use a traditional yogurt starter at least once a week to ensure the most vigorous starter. I’m assuming the same goes for whey.


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If you have any questions or suggestions, email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

What would you like to read next about making yogurt?

Patrick

Friday 5th of November 2021

PS. I also use the whey in my nutty wholemeal and rye breads instead of water, and in my scones and wheaten bread. I'm sure it can be used in just about everything where liquid is required.

Patrick

Friday 5th of November 2021

Hi. I make my yoghurt from unpasteurised, non-homogenised full cream milk, using starter from my previous batch. I heat it to finger warmth then put it in Kilner jars in my picnic cooler box, with 2 hot water bottles. I usually put about 12 crushed cardamom pods in at the beginning of the process. I surround the Kilner jars with newspaper, then leave overnight. It makes really tasty, creamy yoghurt. The whey is great to drink, with maybe some pineapple blitzed into it.

Paula

Friday 5th of November 2021

Hi Patrick, I love to hear how people make their yogurt. You are one privileged person to have access to full cream milk. The cardamom pods are a new idea to me. Sounds fabulous. And pineapple added to the whey also sounds delicious. Can't wait to try that.

You're right about using whey in bread. As long as you remember it is "acid" whey and not "sweet whey" like you get from making Mozzarella cheese, you can use it in things that are OK with the bitter/sour taste.

Thanks for taking the time to write and joining into the conversation.

Scott

Thursday 25th of March 2021

I’ve made two batches very nice. Making it to low fat I drained off half as whey.i had frustrating losses when transferring after straining , got your tip on a conical strainer thanks. Scott

Paula

Thursday 25th of March 2021

Scott,

Here's another method I really like. How To Strain Yogurt with Paper Coffee Filters This method with commercial coffee filters loses the least solids. Easy clean-up.

Jenny

Thursday 17th of December 2020

Hi i tried to use the whey leftover from last yogurt making fed days ago (i used 1 gallon wholemilk plus 2 pints of heavy whipping cream) for some reason it didn't worked it cured but still very runney. I tried to reheat it and put in some more culture through yogurt it still didn't worked.8 hours. Wondering if it's because of the heavy cream in the whey? Thanks for your help

Paula

Friday 18th of December 2020

Hi Jenny,

I'm sorry the whey didn't work for you. How old did you say the whey was? It's best if less than a week old. How much whey did you add? I've never made yogurt with that much heavy whipping cream but it sounds delicious. I have made creme fraiche with whey and heavy cream only and it worked great. What happened when you reheated your milk mixture? Did you reheat all the way to 180˚F? If so, the milk should have curdled? If it didn't, that's a sign the whey didn't have many live cultures working in it. Since you added yogurt and it still didn't work, that tells me something else is going on here.

I'm curious. Are you using my directions for making yogurt or something else? I could be more helpful if I knew more details about your process. Hope to hear from you again soon.

Louise

Saturday 31st of October 2020

Great Yogurt. I froze a cup of fresh whey, thawed it in the fridge and made yogurt overnight in the Instant Pot. It took a little longer than usual to set. It is just right and tart enough after 19 hours. I’m happy with it. I used 52 oz. Fairlife Low Fat Milk, 1/2 c. Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk and 1 c. thawed whey. Next step is straining it using your coffee filter method. Thank you for the information about using whey as a starter.

Paula

Saturday 31st of October 2020

Congratulaions Louise. I do a little happy dance every time I make yogurt successfully. I can tell you feel the same way. Even better that you made it with whey. No need to waste any precious yogurt.