What To Do With Spoiled Milk

Dec 12, 2022 | 3 comments


Milk is the 2nd most wasted food item in the UK.

I was a bit baffled by this one. With the way milk is homogenised in modern times, it stays usable for ages. To try and see in my minds eye, just how much waste we are talking about, I worked out how much we are wasting every hour of every day. Its, are you ready for this ……… over 673 glasses, of milk, wasted, every HOUR! I’ve got a feeling there are going to be a LOT of exclamations in this post!

Using up leftover milk that’s still good to use

Using up leftover milk - a glass jug of milk, with a glass of milk beside it

There are many variables on how long milk will last before spoiling – has it sat on the kitchen counter or the doorstep and been warmed; has it been kept cool in the fridge; has it been in and out of the fridge and left for a while on the counter for a little while each time etc etc

As long as milk has been stored in a cool, dry place, which is usually the fridge, milk that has not yet been opened will stay fresh for 5-7 days past its use by date. If the milk has been opened, it will tend to last another 2-3 days past its use by date.

So if you buy milk, and it doesn’t get used before going off, here are some ideas on using up leftover milk that’s still good

    • If you don’t think you will be using it before it goes off, pop it in the freezer. It won’t come to any harm.
    • Make a crumble with some apples, the number 5 most wasted food item, and make some custard to go with it.
    • Do you like milk puddings? Rice, semolina or anything like that? They will use up lots of milk that’s still good.
    • Make some Yorkshires to go with tonights dinner, always popular, a good yorkie.
    • Make some pancakes, savoury or sweet, there are 101 ideas to have with a pancake or two

A pile of pancakes on a plate

Drinking spoiled milk

You are unlikely to drink much milk that has spoiled, it has a very unpleasant taste and texture. Milk that has gone bad has been made that way because it has bacteria in it which could cause a myriad of gastric symptoms ranging from a mildly upset stomach to full blown food poisoning. Not be advised, and unlikely to happen.


What’s the difference between sour milk and spoiled milk?

what to do with spoiled milk - yogurt being made

I think of milk that has gone off as sour milk rather than spoiled milk, but sour milk is not the same thing at all. Sour milk is a dairy product that can be purchased, or you can make it yourself by adding a souring agent like lemon juice or vinegar. The increase in acidity causes the milk to have a sour taste and to congeal. The congealing helps to stop the growth of bacteria that you don’t want, making the sour milk safe to consume, and indeed, many cultures preserve milk from their domestic animals in this way.

Spoiled milk on the other hand must be cooked to render it safe as it probably contains bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

What to do with sour milk

Milk that has gone sour can replace buttermilk or sour cream in any baked items. Combine soured milk ‘buttermilk’ with breadcrumbs, and you’ll get the lightest of light results. The soured milk acts as a leavening agent, lifting and lightening the baked item. The sourness also adds a very pleasant tang too, similar to adding yogurt.

Soured milk is a great resource to use in scones, farl, soda bread, biscuits, muffins and cakes.

Benefits of sour milk

When milk has been soured and has fermented, consumption is good for the digestive process. Regular consumption has been found to help the microflora in our intestines. Many fermented products are now recommended for this purpose including live yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut.

The lactic acid in fermented milk products is good for the intestines and helps to avoid constipation.

Scones with sour milk

scones made with sour milk

Sour milk makes the most divine scones and cakes, light, fluffy and delicious. When I was growing up and it was usual not to have a fridge, milk was often left on the doorstep in the sun for a couple of hours before being brought inside, it went off very quickly. Our milk was left on the doorstep in glass bottles and stored in a metal biscuit tin that had been buried in the garden up to its lid to try and keep it cool. Milk wasn’t homogenised then either. In the summer, milk went off particularly quickly and my Mum would use it to make pastry, cakes and scones that would be super light because of that sour milk that was in them. So even if it’s already gone off, if you don’t want scones etc now, make them and freeze, or freeze the milk until you do.

Savoury muffins recipes

You could use up milk still good, or milk that’s gone sour in these delicious savoury muffins, wonderful with a bowl of lunchtime soup, or gently warmed in the microwave for hungry youngsters home from school.

Vegetable Muffins


Savoury soda bread recipes

Soured milk, like yogurt, is a great addition to a soda bread, giving it extra lift and a lovely subtle tang.

Tomato & Chive Soda Bread



  1. Joyce Wiggett

    Very useful

  2. KazH

    I make cheese or mustard sauces with milk that’s a little sour. They freeze well – but don’t over-thicken as they go thicker after freezing IMO. Also make and freeze macaroni cheese (with green beans, cauliflower and potato cheese or vegetable bakes.

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