Freeze Drying Milk

Milk has such a short shelf life and so many uses that it seems we are running out or having to buy it every week. Prices have soared and until we buy our own dairy cow (soon™) this will probably keep impacting our budget.

We have used dehydrated or powdered milk many times and we keep it on hand to supplement us at times when we aren’t or can’t go out. It’s an excellent replacement and can be rehydrated in minutes or even used directly in recipes.

In our testing Whole, 2%, and 1% skim milk all worked really well and it seemed that during reconstitution the amount of water could then let you make it as thick or thin as you prefer. If going this route we suggest only freeze-drying Whole milk and then reconstituting it to your preferred thickness. Raw milk has not been tested by us but we will update this article when that happens.


We only suggest freeze-drying milk if you have access to fresh milk, cheap milk, or if you have more than you can use before it expires. The cost of running the freeze-dryer for a possible 40+ hour cycle, purchasing the milk, and packaging can be higher than buying dry milk in #10 cans. If this is only for short-term term mason jar storage in your cupboard, freeze-drying could save you a few dollars over buying pre-dried.

Regardless of processing this yourself or purchasing we always suggest storing it in Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers to extend its life for long-term storage.

Processing and Reconstitution

Each tray for our Medium Harvest Right Freeze Dryer will hold 1 quart of liquid. With 4 trays we are able to process 1 gallon at a time. The Large Freeze Dryer from Harvest Right will process 2 gallons and the newer X-Large should easily handle 4+ gallons.

Handling liquids to freeze dry in large trays can be nearly impossible without spilling it everywhere. Through our trial and effort, we have found the following steps that help us not spill a drop and save money!

If you are limited on freezer space and relying on putting the liquid milk directly into your freezer dryer, make sure that you level your freezer dryer and/or tray holder. The milk will be thicker in areas, spill, and otherwise cause a mess. Our method is to first level our freeze dryer and when working with solids we place a block of wood under the front legs. When working with liquids we remove the block until it is finished processing and replace this to ensure when it defrosts the removed water properly runs out of the machine.

Freeze Dried Milk

Instructions to make and reconstitute Freeze Dried Milk
Yield: 1 Gallon



  • 1 Gallon Milk Whole, 2%, or 1%


Freeze Drying Milk

  • Clean your trays and remove your silicon non-stick mats or dividers.
  • Clear a section of your freezer for your trays and if you have purchased stackers for your trays it’s the perfect time to use them.
  • Pre-separate your milk into jars or containers that will fit each of your trays. We use 4 cups or 1-quart jar for each tray (which is easier to handle).
  • Pour each portion onto a tray and freeze overnight.
  • Pre-freeze your freeze dryer to get its temperature down for about 30 minutes.
  • Place the frozen trays into your freeze dryer and process normally for 24+ hours. Ours allows us to skip the pre-freeze of 8 1/2 hours and go directly to drying.
  • Let the pressure off and check for cold spots on your trays. If any are found you will need to either extend the processing time or run it again or the moisture content will cause spoilage.
  • Remove the trays and using a spatula place the chunks into a blender. Blend until a fine powder to make reconstitution and storage easier.
  • For short-term usage place it in a mason jar with a tightly sealed lid. For long-term storage place it in a mason jar or mylar bag with an oxygen absorber that will keep your milk fresh for 5+ years.

Reconstituting Freeze Dried Milk

  • Using a quart jar add 2 cups of cold water first then 2 cups of milk powder.
  • Place a watertight lid or a ring and lid (the lid can be reused since you aren’t sealing it).
  • Shake it as if you have never shaken anything in your life! This part is crucial and check often to make sure none has stuck to the sides or bottom.
  • If you prefer your milk colder place it in a fridge for 4 hours minimum and it will also enhance the flavor some.
  • Enjoy your milk!


A 1:1 ratio of milk powder and water is suggested and that is what we have used when the milk is very finely powdered. If it is not finely powdered you may need to adjust the water down to get a good ratio. The following is what we have found works best:

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