10 Best Powdered Milk With An Extreme Shelf Life For Emergencies

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: April 22, 2021

Best Powdered MilkPowdered milk – it’s an essential part of any well-rounded emergency food storage plan.

Why? Because milk has many amazing health benefits.

And while it’s possible to live without milk, it’s more challenging. And we often forget just how fast liquid milk spoils.

What’s your plan if the grocery store is out of liquid milk for the foreseeable future? How can you get milk’s vitamins and minerals in a long-term crisis?

Powdered milk! If you planned ahead…

So today, I’ll share with you everything I know about powdered milk, specifically:

**Note: If you just want to know our top brands, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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Heap of Milk Powder (selective focus) on an old wooden table

What Is Powdered Milk (Dehydrated Milk)?

Powdered milk is milk that’s had most of its liquids removed. This process creates a solid, powdery substance sometimes called:

  • Dried milk
  • Milk powder
  • Or Dehydrated milk

Powdered milk is not new and has been referenced as far back as the 11th century. Commercial production of powdered milk began in the early 19th century.

Since then, it has been a widely produced and popular product available worldwide.

You can make powdered milk out of almost any type of milk you can think of. This includes:

  • Nonfat skimmed milk
  • Other skimmed milk (like 1% or 2% milk)
  • Fortified milk
  • Whole milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Almond milk
  • Soy milk
  • Etc.

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Portion of Milk Powder (close-up shot) on wooden background

6 Reasons Why You Should Stock Up On Powdered Milk

There are many reasons to include powdered milk in any food supply. They include:

1. Excellent shelf life

Simply put, powdered milk is a nonperishable food and will last. As we will explain below, some types of powdered milk can last for up to 25 years when stored the right way.

Long-lasting staples are essential for a well-rounded pantry. Powdered milk is one of them.

2. Excellent ingredient for cooking

Milk is a key ingredient in many recipes, including creamy sauces, soups, and desserts.

Having access to powdered milk increases the number of recipes you can make. This variety helps stave off boredom and keeps mealtime fun, nutritious, and delicious.

3. For coffee, tea, cocoa, and cereal

Some people cannot drink their coffee or tea without milk. With powdered milk, they won’t have to.

The same is true for other hot beverages, such as cocoa and breakfast foods.

Most food stores include hot and cold cereal since they also have long shelf lives. Though you can eat cereal without milk, most people would far prefer to eat it with milk.

Keeping a supply of powdered milk gives you that option.

4. Make your own dairy products

Dairy products like cheese and butter are often perishable. Meaning they won’t last long without refrigeration.

In a scenario with no working electricity, it’s essential to know how to make do.

Powdered milk can make many different types of dairy products. These include some types of cheeses, butter, sour cream, yogurt, and even ice cream.

5. Easy to transport and prepare

There are many reasons powdered milk is easy to store and take with you. For one, it takes up far less space than it’s equal in fresh milk.

You can also take it with you wherever you go with ease. It is lightweight, and all that you need to prepare it is water.

It’s so easy to transport and prepare that you don’t even need to wait for an emergency to use it.

Whenever you go camping, you can use it to improve classic fireside camping meals.

6. A potentially valuable commodity

In an emergency scenario that disrupts supply lines, access to dairy will be hard to come by. Even without total disruption, milk prices rise during droughts and times of crisis.

These swings in price make milk an excellent commodity to have during trying times.

Stocking powdered milk means you’ll have a supply of a valuable commodity when you need it most.

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10 Best Powdered Milk Brands On The Market

Powdered milk is a staple of prepping and building food stores. You can tell by the sheer number of options that come up on a basic search for the term.

It’s hard to make heads or tails of things in the face of so many brands. That’s why we did the research for you!

Here’s our list of the top recommended brands:

1. READY HOUR Powdered Whey Milk

Ready Hour Powdered Whey MilkReady Hour Powdered Whey Milk is designed to stay fresh for up to 20 years if unopened!

This means it’s essential to your survival food kit, providing you and your loved ones with critical nutrition even in a crisis.

It requires no refrigeration, and all you need to do is add water. This item comes in a big #10 can size, about five times the size of a normal soup can.

2. READY WISE Whey Milk Alternative

ReadyWise Powdered Milk BucketEach Ready Wise powdered milk bucket contains 120 servings.

Each individual bucket contains durable mylar pouches of powdered whey milk that can be rehydrated in a matter of minutes by simply adding water.

This product promises to be a nutritious and delicious addition to your survival foods and guarantees a 20-year shelf life!

3. NUTRIENT SURVIVAL Powdered Vitamin Milk

Nutrient Survival MilkNutrient Survival is known as the world’s most nutrient-dense survival food.  Nutrient Survival is for you if you are looking for the highest quality, healthiest, and best-tasting long-term food storage options.

You don’t have to sacrifice during survival situations with its 25-year shelf life guarantee!

Now you can get your daily milk and your daily vitamins in one! 13 essential vitamins, including biotin, folate, and riboflavin, plus all the key antioxidant superstars, will keep you thriving all day long.

4. AUGASON FARMS Country Fresh Instant Nonfat Dry Milk

Augason Farms MilkEvery food storage enthusiast should check out Augason Farms. They offer a wide range of emergency food products, from basic supplies to specialties.

One of their most popular products is powdered milk.

Augason Farms powdered milk is available in a whole range of sizes, from 1 lb packages to 14 lb sealable pails.

When sealed, it has a shelf life of over 10 years. Once opened, it can last for over a year.

The milk itself is tasty and fortified with extra calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D.

For “Chocoholics,” they also make a low-fat chocolate milk alternative called Chocolate Moo.

5. LEGACY FOODS Powder Milk

Legacy Foods Powdered MilkLegacy Foods, another emergency prep mainstay, also has great powdered milk.

Their Grade-A powdered milk is high-quality, RBST-free, and enriched with vitamins and minerals.

It is also excellent for long-term storage.

The packaging has preservation technology, including mylar pouches with oxygen absorbers.

This gives Legacy Foods powdered milk a shelf life of over 5 years.

6. SARATOGA FARMS Powdered Milk

Saratoga Farms Instant MilkSaratoga Farms powdered milk is a great choice if you’re looking for extended shelf life.

Packed in double-enameled #10 cans, it has a staying power of over 20 years when sealed.

It’s also a great value item, especially if you catch one of the company’s storewide sales.

7. VALLEY FOOD STORAGE Instant Non-Fat Milk

VFS has been making emergency food stores for some time, and its products reflect that.

Their powdered milk has no fillers, GMOs, or artificial ingredients. It is also fortified with vitamins, minerals, and calcium.

Valley Food Storage is your best bet if you’re looking for a long shelf-life.

Their products have some of the longest shelf lives in the business. This includes their powdered milk, which has a 25-year guarantee!

8. Bob’s Red Mill Non-Fat Dairy Milk Powder

Bob’s Red Mill is something of a gold standard for what powdered milk can be.

Made from all-natural milk with no hormones, Bob’s has definite cred for its authentic taste.

Unfortunately, it is unavailable in bulk and is usually sold in 22 or 26-oz packages. While some preppers see this as a downside, it may actually be a benefit.

Smaller packages are one way to be creative about space. They also prevent widespread food loss in the event of contamination.

Bob’s also sells an excellent Sweet Cream Buttermilk Powder, which can be an excellent addition to recipes.

9. PEAK DRY Whole Milk Powder

This Dutch powdered whole milk has all the benefits of Holland’s organic agriculture system and high-quality dairy.

The milk is consistently good and high-quality. It is also 100 percent hormone and antibiotic-free.

Peak is not usually sold in bulk quantities and is also not available for bulk prices. Still, the cost is quite reasonable.

For the price of a gallon of organic milk at the grocery store, you can get a container of Peak powdered milk that will make 3 gallons.

10. Hoosier Hill Farms Whole Milk Powder

This powdered milk is a staple among many preppers. It comes in a range of sizes, so you can pick what size best works for your storage area.

Made in the heartland of Indiana, it has a stellar reputation.

This is in large part owing to its high-quality milk and how easy it is to work with.

Hoosier Hills’ production process makes a very water-soluble product.

This makes it a dream in the kitchen when compared to less-soluble alternatives.

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Whole Powdered Milk On A Spoon

How Is Powdered Milk Made

Now that you know the best-powdered milk brands – you may be interested in a few different ways it’s made.

The primary method of making powdered milk used to be drum drying. Drum drying starts by coating a heated drum with a thin layer of milk.

The heat causes the water in the milk to evaporate, leaving behind a solid product. The solid product is then scraped off and processed into a powder.

The drum drying method does have some downsides.

Drum-drying milk can be labor-intensive and can give the powder a cooked or even burnt flavor. This led to the development of newer technologies.

These days, spray drying is the most common method used to produce powdered milk. The process starts by evaporating milk down to approximately 50% milk solids.

The concentrated milk is then sprayed through an atomizer into a heated chamber. Extra streams of hot air then evaporate the moisture in the milk. The final product is a powder that you can use or store.

Another way to make powdered milk is by freeze-drying, also known as cryodesiccation. This process starts by freezing milk in a pressure and temperature-controlled container. You then lower the pressure in the container. The lowered pressure causes a process called sublimation.

Sublimation removes the ice (i.e., the moisture) from the milk. This process leaves behind a final powdery product.

Most survival food kits are now made up of freeze-dried foods to preserve them for long-term storage.

And there is a way to turn regular fresh milk into powdered milk at home – for those into DIY:

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Powdered Milk Shelf Life

How Long Does Powdered Milk Last?

Powdered milk’s shelf life depends on several factors. Many brands have a “best-by” date of approximately 18 months.

This is more of a taste-based suggestion than a hard limit. Many brands will last between 2-10 years before going bad. Other brands can last for up to 25 years.

The fat content of powdered milk also contributes to its lifespan. As a rule, the less fat it contains, the longer it lasts.

Powdered whole milk and powdered buttermilk tend not to last as long as powdered skim milk.

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Dry Foods On A Shelf

Tips For Extending Your Powdered Milk’s Shelf Life

Smaller packages are better.

Lots of preppers think the larger your packages, the better your supply. This motto isn’t always true.

When it comes to powdered milk, it’s generally better to have a larger number of smaller packages. Instead of having a smaller number of larger packages. The more packages you have, the less you lose due to contamination.

Contamination, such as insects, rodents, mold, or moisture.

Keep it sealed.

Exposure to oxygen reduces the lifespan of powdered milk. Make sure to buy it in containers intended for long-term food storage. This strategy is important.

Many bulk products come in containers that look sealed or airtight but aren’t. If you’re sure a unit is airtight and sealed, keep it in its original packaging until it’s time to use it.

Removing it from its original sealed packaging before you need to can reduce its shelf life. You can repackage if a package isn’t sealed for long-term storage.

You should also make certain secondary containers are carefully sealed.

Make sure to re-seal.

Of course, you’ll need to open sealed packages of powdered milk when it’s time to use them. But you’re unlikely to use the entire package at once. This means the rest of it needs someplace to go.

If you can fully re-seal the original packaging, do it. If you decide on a secondary container, make sure that the container is totally sealed. You may want to invest in a vacuum sealer for this purpose.

Label your containers.

Make sure to label all your containers with pertinent information. Include any best-by or expiration dates. If you have different types of powdered milk, make sure to be clear about which one is which.

Keep away from light.

Powdered milk lasts longer if not exposed to sunlight. So keep it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or a root cellar. If your storage area isn’t dark, you can keep it in an oblique container or bag. This helps offset some potential damage done by light.

Keep it cool.

The ideal storage temperature for non-frozen powdered milk is around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can keep it at somewhat cooler and warmer temperatures, but this may reduce its shelf life.

Know when it goes bad.

There are many reasons powdered milk might go bad. Sometimes this happens unexpectedly, so it’s important to know the signs. When it goes bad, it usually develops an unpleasant odor and/or starts to yellow.

If it’s gone bad, it’s important not to use it. Spoiled powdered milk may harbor bacteria and mold that can be harmful to your health.

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children eating healthy food at home or kindergarten

What Makes Powdered Milk So Nutritious?

Powdered milk is an ideal addition to any long-term food cache. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that powdered milk gives you an excellent bang for your nutritional buck.

Some of the nutritional attributes of milk include:

Good source of calcium and vitamin D.

Powdered milk is rich in these two nutrients. We need both to build strong bones and teeth and to prevent disease.

Good source of other vitamins and minerals.

It’s packed with many of the vitamins, minerals, and other good things we need to stay healthy. It is an excellent source of:

  • Vitamin A (good for vision, immune system health, and tissue health.)
  • Iodine (strengthens the thyroid and the endocrine system.)
  • Vitamin B (needed for energy production, nerve health, red blood cell health, and healthy cell division.)
  • Potassium (regulates heartbeat and blood pressure and helps cells absorb nutrients and expel waste.)
  • Vitamin C (helps protect cells, skin, and cartilage and helps boost the immune system.)
  • Magnesium (supports muscles and nerves, maintains blood sugar and blood pressure, and helps make protein, bone, and DNA.)
  • Vitamin E (protects skin, prevents cell damage, and reduces the risk of certain cancers.)
  • Phosphorus (aids the growth of bones and teeth in children, helps digestion, and promotes cell and tissue health)
  • Vitamin K (encourages blood clotting, wound recovery, and bone health)

Packed with amino acids.

Powdered milk contains over 20 different types of essential amino acids. Amino acids are crucial to maintaining health. They are, in essence, the building blocks of proteins. They also help synthesize and produce hormones and neurotransmitters.

It may prevent osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that can cause cartilage loss, pain, and joint damage. Studies have shown that consuming milk may reduce the risk and severity of the condition.

It may prevent diabetes.

Several studies show milk may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults. This may be because milk proteins and sugars help to balance blood sugar levels.

It may improve heart health.

Besides containing heart-healthy nutrients, milk can also raise levels of HDL cholesterol. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

If your powdered milk comes from grass-fed cows, it may also contain omega three fatty acids and linoleic acid. These beneficial fats protect both your blood vessels and your heart.

Good source of protein without excess calories.

Powdered milk is very rich in protein. Unlike many other protein-rich foods, it is also low in calories. One cup of skim milk has only 80 calories but around 8 grams of protein.

If you are looking for higher-calorie milk, you can also seek out whole milk, which has more calories. However, if you are looking for a low-calorie, high-protein food, skim milk is an excellent choice.

As always, be safe, and happy prepping!

Lana Alder

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