Sour Milk for Cooking

Use this expert advice to help determine how you can use that slightly soured milk and ensure nothing goes to waste.

  • Sour Milk White Sauce
    Do you have slightly sour milk in the refrigerator? As long as it doesn't smell bad, you can turn it into a delicious white sauce!

  • Sour Milk White Sauce

Is sour milk the same as buttermilk? I have half a quart of gooey milk to do something with.

Lorene Straka
New York, New York

When a recipe calls for “buttermilk,” it is usually referring to the buttermilk sold in supermarkets, which is a processed food made from low-fat milk. (True buttermilk is the liquid portion that remains after cream is churned into butter. It’s not usually sold in stores.)

If your gooey milk tastes tangy but pleasant, then you can probably use it in recipes that call for buttermilk or sour milk (some recipes call for adding an acid — usually lemon or vinegar — to make sour milk). If your sour milk tastes or smells unpleasant to you, then you should simply toss it. Sometimes “good” bacteria will have inoculated the milk and the result will be a tangy, yogurtlike flavor. Other times, bacteria that produce unpleasant flavors will have gotten the upper hand, and when this happens, it’s too late to salvage your milk. If you decide the milk in your refrigerator smells OK and is all right to keep, one traditional thing to do with (slightly) sour milk is make pudding. You can also use sour milk in cream sauces — you could try making enchiladas in a creamy, cheesy sauce, or bake a chicken breast or fish fillet with milk and herbs poured over it.

To learn more fascinating things about milk, I highly recommend the book Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages by Anne Mendelson.

— Tabitha Alterman, food editor

KC Compton
2/19/2010 2:24:31 PM

I wish I had read this before I threw out that gallon of organic milk that had gone tangy last week. I bought it to make paneer and ... time slipped away. For future reference ... Cheers, KC

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters