Have you ever made cheese before? What about yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk?
Well, if you’ve ever done any of those things you’ve probably noticed that a thicker residue gathers at the top of the dish when the milk begins to separate. That substance is known as whey.
Truthfully, most of us probably just toss it down the sink, but the more I jump into the frugal lifestyle and the homesteading lifestyle, I find myself always looking for ways to use everything, which includes uses for whey.
So that brings me back to this post. We are going to discuss all of the different uses you could potentially have for whey.
Two Kinds of Whey
Before we get started on uses of whey, if you’ve done much research on whey, you’ll realize that there are two different kinds. The first is acid whey. This whey is produced from cheese where you used an acid to urge the curdling process to take place. A lot of times people will use vinegar or lemon juice.
But the other type of whey is known as sweet whey. It is produced from cheeses where rennet was used in the cheese making process to encourage curdling to take place. Sweet whey is very versatile where acid whey is best used for composting or feeding to animals.
So just keep that in mind as we go over these uses for whey.
1. Ferment Your Foods
I’m just now starting to embrace the idea of fermenting foods. This is not something that I grew up knowing a lot about.
But I’m starting to realize that a healthy gut equates to a healthier body. Fermented foods play a role in that. The uses of whey can actually play a role in fermenting your foods too. So it all goes hand in hand.
2. Soak Your Grains
As I’m learning more about fermenting foods, I’m also learning how important it is to soak grains before use. This makes it much easier for our bodies to digest them.
Plus, I also keep this in mind for my animals as well. We raise fodder to feed to them, and they love it. So why not soak the grains in whey instead of water? That way no whey goes to waste.
3. Soak Your Dried Beans
Beans are really good for us. I never realized that until I was older because growing up we didn’t eat a lot of dried beans.
But now that I’m older (and I married a man that loves beans) we eat them regularly. So why not take them a step further and soak the beans in whey prior to cooking? These uses for whey should also help the beans become easier for my body to process as well.
4. Soak Different Nuts
We actually don’t eat a lot of nuts around our house. Peanut butter is usually as far as it goes because of how large our family is and how expensive nuts have become.
But if you eat a lot of nuts, you might want to consider soaking them in whey prior to eating. It will help with the digestion of them.
5. Use it in Your Pizza Crust
You are going to learn throughout this list that the uses of whey includes using it as a substitute in almost any recipe that calls for water, milk, or buttermilk.
So if you enjoy the taste of sourdough, then you might want to try subbing out whey in your pizza crust. It should give it a sourdough flavor.
6. Use it in Your Bread
The same thought goes towards your homemade bread recipe. Most recipes call for water or milk, but instead of using those items, you can use whey. It is free and just sitting there.
So don’t let it go to waste. Instead, let it give your bread a little different flavor profile. You might enjoy it.
7. Add it to Smoothie Recipes
My husband and kids love smoothies. I wish I did, but I don’t unfortunately. Either way, again, where water or milk are called for, you can usually substitute whey in its place.
So if you want to give your smoothie some gut healthy properties, then consider adding whey in the mix.
8. Condition Your Skin
I found through research that a lot of people actually use whey on their skin. Some use it as a facial toner. They just dab a cotton ball in the whey and apply.
Others, add a little whey to their bath so it can soak into their whole body. While some even make a face mask out of it. You just mix it with raw honey and apply.
9. Add it to the Dog’s Breakfast
Dogs like a little variety in their food. My mom actually adds pumpkin to her dog’s food and it gives him a really shiny coat.
Well, you can add whey to your dog’s food and make it have a little extra pep in its step that day.
10. Use it in Dog Treats
While we are discussing dogs, you could certainly use whey to create great dog treats. Dogs love treats, and I’m sure most dogs would enjoy the taste of whey.
So why not mix the two and use your excess whey in the process? Here is a great recipe for dog treats.
11. Fix Your Soil’s PH
If you garden, then you know that your soil’s pH is pretty important to the health of the vegetables and fruits that you grow there.
You can add whey to plants that love acidic soil to give it the boost they need. Here is a great resource to help you with using whey in your soil. Remember, you’ll want to stick with sweet whey for these methods.
12. Compost It
As mentioned earlier, acidic whey is really powerful stuff. So it is difficult to use in a lot of these scenarios.
However, you can use it when composting. So if you use an acidic method to create cheeses, then keep your compost pile in mind.
13. Water Your Plants
You can actually use whey when watering your plants. Again, be sure to use sweet whey so it doesn’t overpower your soil and throw everything off.
But you can add a little to your watering can, then add some water, and go about and make your plants healthy and happy.
14. Use in Place of Most Kinds of Milk
Oh no! You have a recipe that you are making, it calls for milk or buttermilk, you go to the fridge only to find that you don’t have enough.
Well, don’t sweat it. If you have whey on hand, just use it as a fast and cheap substitute. You may decide that you like the recipe better that way.
15. Use it in Risotto or Rice
When boiling rice or risotto we usually boil it in water. Well, if you have whey, you can boil the rice in it and give it a new and flavorful taste.
Just remember that when you boil whey you ruin some of the healthy properties it provides. So it will still add flavor, but not as much health as it would otherwise.
16. Use it in Stock
Did you know that whey can be used to make some really delicious stock? Well, it can. Here is how to make chicken stock. You can substitute whey for the vinegar and some of the water.
So the next time you make cheese, realize that you are going to have a full day of cheese and stock making.
Whenever you make homemade gravy you always need to thicken it. Instead of having to pull out the flour, butter, and heavy cream, you can just sub out whey.
So just mix whey with some cornstarch, and you should be well on your way to having a thicker gravy.
18. Sub Juice Out for Whey
Whey is acidic, which means if you are using a recipe for baking or a drink mix that calls for any type of citrus juice, you can probably get away with using whey in its place.
19. Meat Tenderizer
Whey can be used in the place of most vinegars in recipes. So if you are tenderizing meat and following a recipe, then you’ll just want to swap whey in for the vinegar.
However, whey is rather tangy so you’ll want to adjust the rest of the recipe accordingly to make sure that it isn’t overpowering.
20. Make Different Beverages
The internet is flooded with drink recipes that whey can be used in. You can make ginger ale, lemonade, and even sodas with whey. Who knew all of that could come from the whey that has been getting poured down the sink for years?
21. Homemade Ricotta Cheese
I use to really not like ricotta cheese at all. Yet, lately, I think I’m finally over it. I used some last night in a pasta dish I made for a dinner party we had and it was delicious.
So I’m happy to tell you that if you like ricotta cheese, you can now use whey to make your own.
22. Throw it in the Freezer
Let’s go with something super simple for a moment. You’ve been making cheese, you’re tired, and the last thing you feel like doing is creating more concoctions out of the whey left over from cheese or yogurt making.
Well, then don’t. Not today at least. Just toss the whey into a freezer baggie and freeze until you are ready to use it at a later date.
23. Dress Up Your Sandwich with It
We are mayo fiends in my house. It is actually funny because as a kid, I hated mayonnaise. Then I got married to a southern guy who lives on mayo.
And guess what? I’m now a mayo fiend. So it’s great that you can use whey to create your own mayo.
24. Cook Your Pastas with Whey
Whey has a lot of great qualities health wise that really helps aid your body in digestion. So if you are making pasta why not help your body out?
Instead of boiling it in only water, add some whey to it. Then you can have a great dinner with some added health benefits and flavor.
25. Add it to Your Soups
You can add whey to your soups. As mentioned before, any recipe that calls for milk, buttermilk, vinegar, or water, you can always add some whey to substitute.
So if you want to add some gut health to your soups or stews, then toss some whey in the mix.
26. Use it to Feed Your Livestock
Oh man, do our livestock love whey. You can feed it to your chickens or your pigs, and they’ll love you forever.
So before you toss your whey away in the future, think of those little critters outside that would love a special treat.
27. Use Whey as a Marinade
If you would like to give your meat a little added tang, and you also want a way to keep your whey from going to waste, then just allow your meat to marinade in it.
Personally, I use Italian dressing a lot as a marinade for the tangy quality. You could use whey and add some different desired seasonings to get a similar tang I would imagine.
28. Lemon Whey Pie
My family loves lemon treats, and I love making pies. There is something about it that just makes me feel old fashioned.
So if you like lemon or pie, then consider this recipe to put your whey to use.
29. Make a Sweet Cheese
Do you like different varieties of cheeses? When I was younger I was a little leery, but now I love to try different varieties of cheeses.
And I especially love it if I can make them myself. If you feel the same, then consider this cheese recipe for a sweet cheese created from whey.
30. Use it to Fight Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew can impact any number of plants in your garden. It is a pain and can really leave your harvest in a mess.
So why not use whey to stop the mildew from attacking your garden? Just spray whey onto the leaves and it will change the pH level of the plant. This should deter powdery mildew. Who knew, right?
31. Use Whey for Baking
I’ve already mentioned a few recipes where whey has been used in baking of bread recipes. But have you ever considered adding whey for a tangier flavor to any of your favorite baking recipes?
Also, you could add whey to your pancakes to give them a little sourdough flavor too.
32. Let it Become Your New Favorite Beverage
Did you know that you could actually drink whey? I haven’t, and I’m sure it is an acquired taste.
But you know, a lot of people drink buttermilk and enjoy it. So if you like a tangier drink, then give it a go and see what you think.
33. Cook Your Oatmeal in It
I love oatmeal. It is a great, inexpensive breakfast that will stick with you all the way through the morning.
So you can cook your oatmeal in whey, add some fruit to it, and have a great breakfast.
34. Make Pickles
When creating pickles, you know it is all about fermenting and pickling a cucumber or any other vegetable.
That creates a tangy little treat. Well, you can easily place whey in the mixture of any pickle recipe in place of the vinegar.
35. Make a Fermented Bean Dip
Do you like bean dip? I’ll tell you what I really like about it. I eat beans and am growing fonder of beans, but they still aren’t my favorite thing to eat.
But if I can have it in a dip, then I’m more likely to eat more of it. So this bean dip is great because it also includes whey.
36. Make an Alternate Arnold Palmer
My husband and children love the Arnold Palmer drinks where you mix part sweet tea and part lemonade and then mix it up in a glass.
Well, you can also create this with whey. Just instead of adding lemonade, you add some whey for a similar tangy flavor.
37. Add it to Your Protein Shakes
I’ve said it again and again that whey is great for your gut health. So as you are downing your daily protein shake, why not add a little whey to it?
That way you can enjoy the benefits of the protein and whey to help give your body that boost of nutrients it needs to power through the day.
38. Make Milkshakes with Whey
Anywhere that you need milk, you can add a little whey to the mix. Well, milkshakes are no different. Except these milkshakes will be made with a free by-product and also give you some needed vitamins for your day.
39. Turn Whey into a Cocktail
If you drink then you might like the idea of adding whey to your cocktail. Any drink that requires lemon juice, can have whey put in its place.
Here is actually a great idea for a cocktail that includes whey.
40. Make Applesauce
I would have never thought of turning whey into applesauce until I read this recipe. Now, I’m inspired and think it sounds wonderful.
So needless to say, I’ll probably be giving it a go in the near future.
41. Make Horseradish
I love horseradish on a roast beef sandwich. I think that is probably one of my favorite meals.
So if you like horseradish too, then why not make it from whey? You can follow this recipe.
42. Brine Your Turkey
When it is Thanksgiving and the turkey is coming out of the freezer, you might be looking for a different way to brine it.
Well, instead of doing the same brine you do every year, try brining it in whey. Who knows? These uses for whey could become your new favorite way to brine your turkeys.
43. Turn Whey into Caramel
Whey can be turned into caramel. Who would’ve ever really thought that?
So you’ll just need to add some salt and sugar to it, and you should have a pretty tasty caramel treat.
And that is the end of ‘The Tour of Whey.’ You can now have over 40 unique uses for whey for your leftover whey!
Hopefully, you are now inspired and can find a few go-to uses for whey the next time you are being overrun with whey in your kitchen.