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How Do You Store Powdered Milk Long Term?

by | Apr 21, 2023 | Survival Food, Long Term Food Storage | 0 comments

How to store powdered milk (aka dry milk, milk powder or dried milk) long term begins with understanding its unique properties as it requires specific methods to ensure longevity.

Dried milk is milk that has been evaporated to a dry consistency to give it a longer shelf. It also cuts down on space and does not require any refridgeration making it an excellent choice for preppers to stock up on.

Dry milk is a must-have pantry item essential for emergency preparedness and self-sufficiency as it’s a versatile staple that can last years when properly stored.

In this guide, we will discuss the best practices to store powdered milk to ensure its optimal shelf life and quality. So let’s get started!

In This Guide

Can of opened powdered milk with a scoop.

How Long Does Powdered Milk Last?

The average shelf life of dry milk varies depending on its storage method. On average, powdered milk can last 2-10 years or more when stored in a cool, dry place and in an airtight container. Proper containment is crucial to maintain its freshness.

To store it properly, keep it away from light in an airtight container. For long-term storage, use oxygen absorbers or a vacuum sealer to remove air and moisture.

But how do you store dried milk after opening? To store powdered milk, transfer it to an airtight container. Then store it in a cool, dry place away from light and moisture to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life up to 3 months.

Powdered milk cheat sheet.
Powdered milk cheat sheet for combining with water to make different measurements of milk.

Shelf Life Of Powdered Milk

The shelf life of powdered milk is determined by various factors. Generally, it’s recommended to use powdered milk within 18 months. 

Temperature control plays a key role in maintaining its quality for longer periods. So if milk is stored in a cool, dry place and away from heat, it will last long.

Also, the shelf-life of milk depends on the type of milk you have. For instance, nonfat powdered milk usually lasts longer than powdered buttermilk or whole milk because the fat is more unstable.

You can even find nonfat dry powdered milk at some survival stores with a 25-year shelf life. So if you’re looking to store dried milk for a long period, nonfat is the way to go.

If you have dried whole milk, use it up quickly after the “best by” date to get the freshest taste.

Photo of a woman in her kitchen with jars of dry milk on the counter top preparing to store powdered milk.

How To Store Powdered Milk for Long-Term Storage

Proper long-term storage of powdered milk can extend its shelf life and keep it fresh for future use. You may preserve its nutritional value and prevent moisture and contaminants from affecting its quality by taking the following specific measures:

Selecting the Right Storage Containers

Opt for airtight, food-grade containers like plastic buckets or glass jars with tight-fitting lids. For long term storage, use sealed mylar bags to block light, oxygen, and moisture. Storing nonfat, dried milk in mylar bags can make them last up to 15 years.

You can also use #10 cans if you want to store powdered milk in bulk. This is a great way to store dry milk because it is sealed airtight with an oxygen absorber directly from the manufacturer.

Including Oxygen Absorbers and Desiccants

Oxygen absorbers remove the oxygen from the container, which can help prevent spoilage and preserve the flavor of the powdered milk.

Desiccants, on the other hand, absorb moisture and help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which can also spoil the milk.

Use both in combination to ensure that your powdered milk stays fresh and usable for longer periods.

#10 can of nonfat dry milk

Right Storage Conditions

Store dried milk in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a pantry, cupboard, or basement. Avoid exposing the containers to direct sunlight, as heat and light can degrade the quality of powdered milk and shorten its shelf life.

Properly Sealing the Containers

Ensuring that the storage containers are properly sealed is essential to prevent contamination and spoilage. If using mylar bags, use a heat sealer to create an airtight seal.

For buckets and jars, secure the lids tightly to keep out air, moisture, and pests. If you’re using mason jars, you can vacuum seal your mason jars by using a vacuum sealer kit along with your vacuum sealer.

Check out the video below for some tips and tricks on using a vacuum sealer.

H/T to @bluejayprepper6396 for this video: How To Vacuum Seal Dry Goods In Canning Jars.

Labeling and Rotating Your Powdered Milk Supply

Labeling and rotating your powdered milk supply ensures longevity and allows you to keep track of their shelf life.

Rotate your supply by using the oldest powdered milk first and replacing it with newer stock so you always have fresh powdered milk on hand.

Signs of Spoiled Powdered Milk

It’s crucial to know how to identify signs that your powdered milk has spoiled.

Signs of spoiled powdered milk are easily identifiable. A change in color, consistency, or an off smell indicates degradation and potential health risks.

Watch out for these signs before using your dried milk:

  • Smells sour or rancid

  • Yellow or has darkened in color

  • Clumped together or moldy

  • Has a gritty texture

  • Tastes sour or has an off taste

If you notice any of these signs, dispose of them immediately.

Consuming spoiled powdered milk can lead to food borne illness and can be dangerous, particularly for young children, elderly individuals, and those with weakened immune systems.

H/T @@SuttonsDaze for this video: Best Ways To Store Powdered Milk For Long Term Food Storage

FAQs About Long Term Milk Storage

Can I vacuum-seal powdered milk?

Yes, vacuum-sealing dry milk in mylar bags can help extend its shelf life by protecting it from light, moisture, and oxygen.

Should I stockpile powdered milk?

Stockpiling powdered milk is a wise choice for emergency preparedness and long-term food storage, as it is a versatile, nutrient-dense, and long-lasting staple.

Just follow the guidelines on how to store it to ensure you have fresh stocks properly.

What can powdered milk be used for?

There are many uses for powdered milk. Anything you can use regular milk for can also be used with powdered milk. See the list below for a few examples.

  • Regular milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Sour milk
  • Chocolate milk
  • Whipped topping
  • Dry pudding mix
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • White sauce yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Milk baths
  • Thickener for soups and sauces
Photo of butter on a counter.
Photo of two kids enjoying a hot cup of cocoa.

Key Takeaways Of How To Store Powdered Milk Long Term

Storing food, including powdered milk, is important not just for everyday use but also for emergencies. Having a supply of non-perishable food can help you and your family be prepared for unexpected situations.

However, it’s important to always practice safety when handling food. Be sure to properly label and store food and follow food safety guidelines to prevent the risk of contamination or illness.

Pro Tip: Adding a little powdered milk to your baked goods can enhance the flavor and give you a chewier texture. My wife uses a little powdered milk in her chocolate chip cookie recipe and they are a huge hit with our kids.

Photo of a cow next to a container of milk in the middle of a grassy meadow.
Bill Montgomery
Bill Montgomery


Bill Montgomery is the co-founder of Modern Day Prepping. He and his wife Angie have been dedicated to the self-reliant lifestyle since 2008. When he’s not working on the homestead, he enjoys tinkering with electronics and family movie nights with Angie and their two boys. To learn more about Bill, visit the About Us page.

If you want to know how to keep your family safe in the modern world, visit Privacy For Patriots, a sister site that Bill started to help fellow Patriots stay “off the radar” from bad actors and big tech.


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