HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Leftover milk ideas

Something I seem to end up with repeatedly, it seems. For some reason, every few weeks I have a litre of milk about to expire and no inclination to drink it all in one go. Any ideas for what I can make with it?

In the past, I've made condensed milk (then used to make the rice pudding I like) and dulce le leche from scratch, which I then used in desserts. I still have some of the latter from the last time, so don't want to make that again.

I buy low-fat milk. You might know it better as 2% milk.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Freeze and when you have enough milk product (e.g. milk, half-and-half, cream) thaw and make some ice cream!

    Make yogurt.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nofunlatte

      I don't have an ice-cream machine, and I'm not so willing to do it the long way at the moment :). When I am, I'm happy to buy all of the ingredients.

      I'd prefer not to freeze it and rather use it, as I'll just end up delaying the problem for another day.

      I'm not a big fan of yoghurt since I had a bad case of food poisoning following consumption once... Best avoided.

    2. Rice or bread pudding!

      1. I make ricotta when I have leftover milk. It is pretty easy and the sweet or savory uses for ricotta are endless.

        1. How much milk do you buy at a time? Is the milk pasteurized? Ultra-pasteurized? You can solve the problem altogether by giving the carton a vigorous shake every time you use the milk. It'll last much longer. Besides, expiration dates are meaningless as far as whether the milk is usable/tasty or not.

          Bechamel uses a lot of milk -- so lasagna, mac and cheese, cauliflower (or other veggie)-cheese gratin, milk gravy for fried chicken or biscuits, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LauraGrace

            Good idea. I saw a low-fat bechamel recipe that can be used as a base for lots of dishes, as Laura suggests.

          2. Believe it or not, pork braised in milk is really excellent. I like to do it with shallots and either tarragon or dill.

            1. I make a dessert known as crazy coconut pie, its very creme brulee like, with bits of coconut through the custard. It forms its own crust, so no pastry is needed/ 2 cups of milk, butter, a little flour, sugar, vanilla and coconut. Sometimes when the milk gets to that bottom of the container, its less attractive. This is my perfect solution.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chef chicklet

                chef chicklet -- do you have the recipe for that? It sounds fantastic.

              2. low fat ice cream works for me! Would you like a recipe?

                2 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  I would like a recipe, please, HillJ. I have the same problem as the OP. Thank you.

                  1. re: hippiechickinsing

                    Here's a recipe I just made for my daughter, hippiec. She loved it.

                2. I made a wonderful pastitsio last night, which used 4 c. of milk for the bechamel. Making it requires rather a hefty time commitment, however. It took over two hours to make the components (granted, I'm slow, but still...) and about 45 minutes of baking followed by 30 mins. minimum of cooling before cutting. Delicious though - a huge hit with the people we had over for dinner.


                  1. What I usually end up making with leftover milk is Dulce de Leche / Confiture de Lait.

                    Just over 2 weeks ago, I had some friends over and overestimated the milk and cream I needed for the dishes I was making. And had forgotten I had milk in the fridge. So I had 2-3 litres of milk/cream left over. It had a long expiry date, but I was going away for 2 weeks so made the Dulce de Leche / Confiture de Lait with it.

                    I'm back now, and am faced with 3 or 4 jars of it in the fridge. While I love the stuff, it's probably a bad idea to eat it all that quickly. Any idea how long it should last n the fridge?
                    I had meant to give some to friends before I went away, but didn't get the chance. Reluctant to give it to them now.

                    If you have any ideas for ways to use it up (besides a teaspoon :) ), I'm open to ideas.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: haiku.

                      So many ways to use it up.

                      Mornay + macaroni = mac n' cheese

                      Bechamel+garlic+parmesan and fettuccine = Fettucine Alfredo

                      Remember, when adding cheese to a liquid make sure that it's not too hot or the cheese will become grainy.

                      Pancake or crepe batter

                      Make a ganache with some chocolate and coat some fruit. (2:1 ratio chocolate to cream by weight for a good hard coating.)

                      make creme fraiche

                      Experiment with making cheese

                    2. Are you wanting ideas for the dulce de leche, if so, there was a yumm y sounding apple, dolce de leche cake recipe on this site, I think it was a " what are you baking" thread. I saw the post a couple weeks ago, it sounded amazing. Or a tres leche cake with your milk/ cream leftovers.

                      1. There was a recipe for tapioca pudding on this site that I tried and loved. It uses real tapioca pearls not the minute tapioca. And I adapted it, using a turbinado sugar.

                        But if you like rice pudding, I think you'd like it. My SO who doesn't like most desserts really loved this one.

                        The recipe calls for whole mile but I'm sure you can use low-fat.

                        1. You can make excellent seafood chowder using 2% milk if you thicken it very slightly with a little instant mashed potato. Saute chopped onion in butter. Add the liquid from 2 cans of chopped clams (hold the clams) along with a couple of chopped potatoes. Cook until the potato is done. Add the clams, 2 cups milk for each can of clams, and any combination of shrimp, chunks of any boneless white fish, scallops (the cheap little bay ones that come frozen), and maybe a can or two of oysters plus their liquid. Add a little more milk to taste. Bring almost to a boil. Salt to taste. Thicken slightly with a spoonful or two of instant mashed potato. Gets better if it sits in the refrigerator for a day or so. Freezes just fine.

                          1. I use up spare milk by making it into cheese sauce, which I freeze in 8-oz plastic margarine tubs to add to leftover vegetables. Use a 4-oz stick of butter and 1/2 cup of flour to 4 cups of milk, salt to taste---make a cream sauce then dump in an 8-oz bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and let it melt.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Querencia

                              Let me add possible uses of the cheese sauce, which is incredibly versatile: to use up any leftover vegetable (especially good with cauliflower); mixed with cooked broccoli to top a baked potato; as basis for cheese souffle'; for any oven or broiler open-faced sandwich that you can invent; in an omelet; with crepes; to use up cooked pasta as a quick macaroni & cheese; ditto with leftover cooked potatoes as potatoes au gratin; as a basis of a cream soup; in casseroles. You can't have too much of this sauce on hand.