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

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

yogurt made with whey drained from yogurt

Making yogurt at home is not an exact science, which means it can be accomplished seemingly a million and one ways. If you’ve never tried to make yogurt before, see this post or watch the video below to get started 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 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


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

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


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

Instead, you can enjoy eating every last drop.


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.


No lumps.

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.

Click here to get a FREE printable cheat-sheet for making Greek yogurt when you sign up for my FREE 6-day email course: “How To Make the Yogurt of Your Dreams.

Related to this question but not the same

How long does whey stay fresh enough to be a starter?

Traditional yogurt starter needs to be used at least once a week to ensure the most vigorous starter. I’m assuming the same goes for whey.

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 privately: paula at

Thank you for visiting!

What would you like to read next about making yogurt?

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Frosted Lemon Cookies with Greek Yogurt


Thursday 16th of July 2020

Can you make greek yogurt using the homemade Greek yogurt that you make before?


Friday 17th of July 2020

Cynthia, Yes. Usually, you can. It depends somewhat on what starter you used to make the original Greek yogurt. You can read more about this here.

Bonnie Toney

Friday 19th of June 2020

But does the whey have the same probiotics as the yogurt you are adding?

Instant Pot Greek Yogurt | Kitchen Essentials | MyIndianStove

Thursday 4th of June 2020

[…] this but I gather that you can use the leftover whey to use as a yogurt starter. Paula, of the blog Salad in a Jar, has used whey instead of yogurt as a starter […]


Friday 24th of April 2020

You say that left over whey can be used as a starter .. awesome. So how do I store it for the 2 weeks before use? Thanks for your time.


Friday 24th of April 2020

It's always best when you re-use starter at least once a week. So in the case of the leftover whey, perhaps you could try freezing it since you want to store it for 2 weeks. I've done it with yogurt but never actually tried freezing whey. Just a thought.


Wednesday 1st of January 2020

We use all our whey in waffle batter. Generally, I don't feel well after eating something sweet with syrup for breakfast, but when I use whey in the waffle batter, the added protein makes all the difference and I feel fine. My kids call them WHEYfuls.


Thursday 2nd of January 2020

WHEYfuls? That's cute. Reminds me of Chaffles. Good idea!