Surprising Uses
For Sour Milk

The milk's gone sour! But there's no need to throw it out. Surprisingly, there are many uses for spoiled milk that don't involve pouring it down the drain.

Woman smelling milk

Warning:  Don't consume milk if it's curdled because of age. This can make you very sick. Sour milk will not be curdled and is OK to consume.

Typically, milk goes sour about three days after the expiration date. If unopened, it can last up to two weeks past the expiration date. Sour milk has many uses that you may find helpful, and you'll no longer feel the need to rush to consume it all before it expires.

Make cheese

The first thing that comes to mind regarding uses for soured milk is making cheese. After all, the main ingredient in cheese is milk that's gone bad. You can make cottage cheese by cooking sour milk in a double boiler over simmering water until it begins to whey (watery part of milk separates from the curd, or cheese). Strain it through a napkin to remove excess milk and add in some cream, salt and pepper to taste. You can also make regular cheese by lining a colander with cheesecloth and pouring in curdled milk. Gather it into a bundle and hang in the fridge over a bowl. Once it stops dripping, the cheese is done. Enjoy with crackers and wine!

Mixing bowlBake with it

Sour milk is a common ingredient in many pancake, cake and waffle recipes. Once it's cooked, you can't tell that sour milk was used, and it's an easy (and delicious) way to use it instead of having it go to waste. Check out this recipe for lemon bundt cake or this one for a Coca-Cola cake. Note that you can also make your own sour milk by adding vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk.

Other uses

Though sour milk can be delicious in baked goods, desserts (think custards and cheesecakes), eggs and casseroles, there are many other uses for it that don't involve food.

  • Beauty. Sour milk is a common ingredient in facial masks. It's great for the skin — making it smoother and giving it a more even, consistent color. Place sour milk all over the face, let sit, then rinse off with milk (strange, I know), followed by a final rinsing of water.
  • Pets. Use sour milk for pet food — make dog or cat biscuits or feed it to hens once it's curdled (you can sit it outside in the sun to speed up this process).
  • Home and garden. Pour it around plants to keep deer away, put it at the base of rosebushes to help them grow or even pour sour milk over silver and let sit overnight to make it shine.

As you can see, there are many uses for milk that has spoiled, so next time think twice before pouring it down the drain!

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Comments on "In a pickle: What to do with spoiled milk"

Jacquie February 09, 2014 | 12:48 PM

Should seasoning be used when making cheeses from sour milk - if so any suggestions? Thanx

riain george January 30, 2014 | 5:30 PM

I grew up on a dairy farm in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. The only eejit [idiot] here is Raymond... Maybe he should educate himself about bad bacteria and good bacteria. Not to mention HEAT and what cheese actually is!

Ros July 24, 2013 | 4:44 AM

I make pancakes and scones all the time with gone-off milk and have never had any problems. Maybe I have a robust immune system, but the cooking process kills off any bacteria; most food poisoning issues are from uncooked or undercooked egg or meat. Raymond is right that you should not drink milk that has gone off, but there is nothing wrong with using it in food that is well cooked.

Raymond May 01, 2013 | 9:51 PM

You are an idiot. You are going to kill somebody. When you add an acid (lime, vinegar, etc.) to normal milk, you get modern soured milk. Soured milk is NOT the same as spoiled milk. Modern pasteurization kills the good bacteria that traditionally allowed normal milk to ferment into sour milk (called buttermilk because this was the run-off from the butter churning process.) If you drink spoiled milk, you run the risk of food poisoning from unhealthy bacteria which may have found it. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to tell if milk has begun to spoil due to distinct changes in smell, texture, and flavor. Toss it!

Shannon October 21, 2012 | 12:36 PM

I totally never knew there were uses for spoiled milk! I would love to try some of these recipes out next time my milk goes bad. Thanks!

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