Instant and Non-Instant Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is an amazing addition to your pantry.  It’s great for food storage, but it also helps with frugal living and cutting your grocery bill. It’s especially helpful when you use it in recipes that call for milk.  But powdered milk can be tricky.  There are 2 different types of powdered milk – instant and non-instant. However, you want to be sure you know the difference BEFORE getting started with cooking. If you use the wrong powdered milk, your recipe might not come outright.

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Difference between instant and non-instant powdered milk?

Both powdered types of milk allow you to cook with, drink, and use for making yogurt. After the powders are mixed, there isn’t a difference in texture and usability. The nutritional value is the same in both since they are both made from non-fat milk.

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This is the powdered milk you can buy at the stores in boxes.  Instant is best used for “drinking” milk.  Things you need to know about instant powdered milk: 

  • It is light weight, more so than the non-instant
  • Fluffy- this takes up more space on your shelves
  • It dissolves quickly into cold water to drink
  • Usually more expensive than non-instant
  • If you want to use this type of milk for cooking, you’ll need to add about 1/3  c powder per cup of water (check your box to be sure the conversions are the same)
  • Tastes more like “regular” milk from a jug.


This milk is a little bit harder to find.  You can buy it from any “food storage” store (Thrive, Honeyville, Augason Farms, Home Storage Center, Emergency Essentials/BePrepared, ect).  You are able to drink this milk, but typically it is used for cooking purposes.  Here are some things you need to know about non-instant powdered milk: 

  • Heavier than instant, but not by too much
  • It is a fine powder substance
  • Best to dissolve in warm water using a blender or whisk.   If you want to drink it you’ll need to cool it first.
  • Uses only 3 Table spoons powder per 1 c water for cooking
  • Cheaper than instant powdered milk.

I have read recently read that the Home Storage Center has changed their powdered milk formula, and it tastes pretty good.  I am not brave enough to try it yet… I’ll stick to cooking with it.

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In Conclusion

Both, instant and non-instant powdered milk may come in #10 can sizes, so be sure to compare them.  Instant only makes about 2 gallons of milk, vs non-instant makes 3 1/2 gallons of milk per #10 can.  The pricing may look cheaper, but after doing further digging, you’ll probably find the non-instant milk is cheapest.

Doing research, people typically recommend storing 1 cup milk per person to drink per day.  I only store non-instant powdered milk because I know my family won’t drink powdered milk.  So in order to get the nutrients we need, I cook more meals including dairy.

What type of powdered milk do you use?

Further Reading:

22 Recipes for Powdered Milk

100+ Food Storage Recipes

Store This, Not That-Book

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4 thoughts on “Instant and Non-Instant Powdered Milk”

  1. Great information, do you have any on powdered buttermilk? I hear that it can also be bought but do not know where. Any info would be helpful. Thank you

    1. I don’t have any info on powdered buttermilk, but you can make it from regular powdered milk. Make 1 cup of powdered milk as directed then add 1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar. I use this all the time with non-instant powdered milk.

  2. I love this, I used to think non instant milk was not healthy for drinking but I understand better now.

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