Great Powdered Milk Taste Test and Review

This post is cross posted from my blog.

Ever wanted to find a powdered milk that tastes good?  You’re not alone.  So just in case you don’t want to go through the expense and hassle of trying out every kind of powdered milk you can find, read on.  I did it for you.

After a comment about the flavor of powdered milk on another post, I hatched a plan to have folks try a bunch of different kinds of powdered milks to maybe find one that tasted good so this reader and anyone else who wants to know (including me) will know which brands would be best to buy because you know powdered milk is not cheap.  I had some super help with this milk experiment from Emergency Essentials, Grandma’s Country Foods, Walton Feed, Blue Chip Group (now Augason Farms), and Honeyville Grain who all donated some of their milk for the review.  Thank you to all of you–we couldn’t have done it without you!

So here’s the basic setup.  I gave each milk a letter A through J.  Yes, we tried 10 kinds of milk.  2 powdered milk alternatives, 2 regular non-instant powdered milks, 5 instant powdered milks, and regular old skim milk in a jug thrown in just for fun and science (but nobody knew which one it was).  There were also two kinds of chocolate milks which I labeled R and S.  A friend and I mixed up each kind of powdered milk and let it chill.  Then we had people taste them and grade each on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being really bad and 5 being really good and let them write any comments they wanted to about any of them.  This happened over two days.  Then I totaled up the scores, divided by the number of tasters, and did some other fancy math statistics tricks I learned from my third grader and came up with the results.  We’ll start with Milk F–the real milk, then we’ll go in order from A to J which were all the regular milks.  I’ll give the review results on the chocolate milks in another post.

Milk “F” was Great Value brand fat free milk from Wal-Mart.  This is the standard.  If we want something to taste “like milk” this is what it should taste like.  No, I don’t think fat free/skim milk tastes like milk any more than you do, but because all of the powdered milks are non-fat, we are using non-fat milk to compare them to.  It’s average taste score was 3.46, with scores ranging from 2-5 and the score chosen most often split equally between 3 and 4.  Okay, for all you parents of grade schoolers, that is “mean=3.46, range=2-5, mode=3, 4″.  Got it?  Ingredients: milk, vitamins A and D.

Milk “A”: Honeyville Milk Alternative. Available from and donated by Honeyville Grain.  $11.99/can

Honeyville’s milk alternative is not 100% milk.  It has a whole slew of ingredients including sweet dairy whey, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, corn syrup solids, and vitamins A and D3.  The instructions say to mix it into warm water.  We used the same mixing pitcher to mix each kind of milk, of course washing it in between.  This one mixed up fairly easily.  It took 2 cups of powder to make a gallon of drink.  It was kind of thin, you might put more than that in.  This one didn’t score too well on the taste.  It average score was 2.09 with a range of 1-4 and the most common choice being 1.  This milk settled/separated over time after being mixed, so you’d want to keep it in a container that you could easily mix it before pouring.

Milk “B”:  Morning Moos Milk Alternative. Available from and donated by Blue Chip Group (now Augason Farms).  Also available at some Utah Wal-Marts and Associated Foods Stores.  $11.89/can.

Morning Moos is the second in our milk alternative group.  This is not 100% milk.  Its ingredients include sweet whey, creamer (including corn syrup solids), coconut oil, sugar, nonfat milk, vitamins A and D.  The can claims great results when using it for cooking due to the high percentage of whey.  I’m not sure I’d use a milk alternative to substitute for milk in a recipe.  I think I’ll stick with real powdered milk.  However, this milk alternative had the highest score among all the milks sampled for taste.  So maybe some for drinking or putting on cereal would be good to have around.  It mixed easily into warm water.  It also took 2 cups of powder to make a gallon of drink.  Morning Moos average taste score was 4 with a range of 2-5 and the most common choice was 4.  I’m kind of partial to real milk, but if I was storing just for drinking and wanting it to taste good, I might get me some cans of Morning Moos.

Milk “C”: Western Family (Store Brand) Powdered Milk. This particular brand is available at Associated Foods stores.  I’m guessing it is a comparable taste to other store brands.  I really didn’t want to test all the store brands I could find, so this is it.

This is an instant powdered milk and mixed up the easiest of all.  It dissolved readily in warm or cold water.  It also didn’t taste very good.  It was the classic powdered milk taste.  Ick.  It is 100% milk–ingredients: nonfat dry milk, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3.  It took 5 1/3 cups to make a gallon.  Wow.  That’s a lot of powder to get a gallon of milk.  Seriously, I had no idea there was as much variance as there is in the amount of powder required to mix a gallon of milk.  The other drawback with this kind of powdered milk is that it is packaged in a box–not good for long term storage.  Average taste score was 2.15, with scores ranging from 1-4 and the most common taste score was 2.  My favorite comment on this one: “Bitter, tastes like old milk.”  There you have it.  So if store brand boxed powdered milk is what you usually buy, I have good news for you–There ARE better tasting powdered milks out there.

Milk “D”: Country Fresh Farms Instant Powdered Milk. Available in my Wal-Mart baking aisle for $9.99/can.

For starters, this stuff was a big pain to mix.  We tried mixing it into warm water and it clumped pretty severely, so then we tried mixing it into cold water which made it worse.  We ended up throwing the whole cold water pitcher out and starting again with warm water.  Holy hassle, Batman.  This stuff repelled water.  We joked as we were fighting with it that it would probably be the best tasting just because it was such a pain to mix.  It actually did turn out to have pretty good flavor.  Its average taste score was 3.29 which was almost as good as real milk.  It is 100% milk–ingredients: 100% real instant nonfat dry milk.  It doesn’t appear to have vitamins added.  It took 5 1/3 cups to make a gallon, so you don’t get very many gallons out of a can.  Probably 2-3 gallons.  So even though the cost of the can isn’t as high as some of the others in the experiment, your cost per gallon is pretty steep.  Taste scores ranged from 2-5 on this and the most common score was 3.

Milk “E” Country Cream Instant Non-Fat Milk.  Available from and donated by Grandma’s Country Foods.  Also available at Utah Macey’s stores and some Associated Foods stores.  $12.99/can.

This milk mixed up easily in warm or cold water.  We used warm for the experiment (after the trouble mixing milk D, we just mixed everything else into warm water), but I have mixed this into cold and not had a problem.  This was a pretty good tasting powdered milk.  I liked it, but one farm lady thought it tasted like calf milk.  It’s average taste score was 2.77, but the most common score chosen was 4.  The few that didn’t like it, really didn’t like it, so that brought the average down.  Scores ranged from 1-4.  It took 3 cups to make a gallon, so a better mix ratio than some of the others.  Ingredients: 100% real instant nonfat milk, vitamins A & D.  I’d buy this milk.  Especially when it goes on sale at Macey’s (too bad there’s not a Macey’s near me–that is one place I miss since we left living in the civilized world).  You  might get a can and test it out before buying a case of it just in case you’re one that doesn’t like it.

Milk “F” was the regular milk in a jug we discussed at the top of the post, so on to milk “G”.

Milk “G”: Rainy Day Foods Instant Non-Fat Milk.  Available from and donated by Walton Feed.  $13.00/can.

The ingredients on this one were nonfat dry milk, lactose, vitamin A palmitate and vitamin D3.  The instructions say you can mix into cold water.  We used warm again and it mixed easily.  This milk had more “flavor” than some of the others.  A common comment was “sweet”.  For some uses, like baking, I don’t mind my powdered milk having “flavor”, but for straight drinking, I don’t like it so much.  It took 5 1/3 cups of powder to make a gallon of milk, so this was on the high end of the mix ratio.  Maybe if you mixed less in it wouldn’t have as much flavor.  The average taste score on the Rainy Day instant milk was 2.81, with a range of 1-4 and the most common score chosen was 3.

There is one more instant powdered milk, but it got out of order in the lineup, so the next two milks are Non-Instant or Regular Powdered Milks.

Milk “H” Rainy Day Foods Non-Instant Dry Milk.  Available from and donated by Walton Feed.  $10.80/can.

Non instant milks just don’t have great “milk” taste, and this one was no exception.  They do, however, generally cost less per can and usually are more concentrated than instant milks so they use less powder to make the same amount of liquid milk.  That all equates to more milk for your money.  When you’re baking or making canned milk substitutes or cheeses, it won’t matter how great your powdered milk tastes as a liquid–you’re not pouring it over your cereal.  I’m all for stocking less expensive non-instant powdered milks for everything but drinking straight.  We mixed this as the directions stated–mix the powdered milk into a small amount of warm water, then add the rest of the water either warm or cold.  Maybe that’s what we needed to do on milk D.  It worked great.  Ingredients: Non-fat milk powder.  The milk was not tasty with an average score of 2.0, scores ranging from 1-4 and a most common score of 1.  One commenter simply said, “Bad!”  Now before you go thinking how low those scores are, of the two non-instant milks we tried, this was the better one.  It took only 2 cups of powder to make a gallon, so it’s really good on the mix ratio also.

Milk “I”: LDS Cannery Non-Instant Powdered Milk.  Available through LDS church dry pack canneries.  $7.05/can.

Okay, this is the least expensive powdered milk right now, and the one I have the most of and use regularly in baking and cooking.  It was also solidly scored the worst tasting of all the milks we tried.  No, I did not use the 12 year old stuff from my food room, I opened fresh stuff canned a month before the experiment.  I had some folks about cry when they found out how bad it tasted because that was the only kind they had stored.  But like I said before, I don’t care how it tastes as liquid milk when I’m making cheese or baking with it.  I actually like the added flavor in my breads.  So don’t despair, all that powdered milk you have from the cannery does not need to be replaced with something else.  Maybe just supplemented with another brand to be used for drinking.  The commenter who called that last milk “Bad!” called this one “Worse!”.   Its average taste score was 1.75 with scores ranging from 1-4 and the most common score chosen was 1.  It took 3 cups to make a gallon, so actually it makes the Rainy Day brand comparable in price for the amount of milk you can make from the can.  Ingredients: nonfat dry milk, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3.

Milk “J”: Provident Pantry Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk.  Available from and donated by Emergency Essentials.  $14.95/can

This milk arrived in the mail in time for the second day of testing, so some of the people didn’t get to try it, but quite a few still did.  It scored best of all the instant powdered real milks with an average score of 3.5 (actually slightly higher than regular skim milk), scores ranging from 2-4 and its most common score was 4.  It mixed easily in warm water and took 2 2/3 cups to make a gallon of milk.  It has a low mix ratio, but is also the most expensive can of milk we tried, so wait for a sale here if you can.  I’d definitely pick some of this up for drinking.

Wow, are you still reading?  Amazing.  We made it through all the regular white milks we tried.  I’ll cover the chocolate varieties in the next post, so now for you visual people, here’s the information in a table.

Milk Alternatives:

Milk Name
Cost/can
Cups/Gallon
Average Taste Score
1=low, 5=high
Taste Score Range
Most often chosen taste score
(mode)
Honeyville
11.99
2
2.09
1-4
1
Morning Moos
11.89
2
4
2-5
4

Instant Powdered Milks (and real milk):

Milk Name
Cost/Can
Cups/Gallon
Average Taste Score
Taste Score Range
Most often chosen taste score
(mode)
Western Family Store Brand
Varies (boxed)
5 1/3
2.15
1-4
2
Country Fresh Farms
9.99
5 1/3
3.29
2-5
3
Country Cream
12.99
3
2.77
1-4
4
Great Value Real skim milk
Varies
n/a
3.46
2-5
3, 4
Rainy
Day Instant
13.00
5 1/3
2.81
1-4
3
Provident Pantry
14.95
2 2/3
3.5
2-4
4

Non-Instant Powdered Milks:

Milk Name
Cost/Can
Cups/Gallon
Average Taste Score
Taste Score Range
Most often chosen taste score
(mode)
Rainy Day Non-Instant
10.80
2
2.0
1-4
1
LDS Cannery Non-Instant
7.05
3
1.75
1-4
1

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  • http://www.jaycehall.com Jayce

    Excellent information. One other brand that I keep meaning to post a review on, that you should try is Nido (http://www.nestlenido.com/) . Great whole milk. Just *DO NOT* get the Kinder type, get the regular.

    I'm a bit of a milk snob, and having lived on powdered milk before, it's nice to see some brands that are actually tolerable now, and some even good.

  • JonnalyhnWolfcat

    *chuckle* I'll agree with Jayce, but then again, that goes along with having grown up oversees on powdered milk-he fortunately doesn't remember the stuff we got in the '70s 'cause he was just a baby, but *Bleah*!

    I buy Nido and use it regularly up in WA. Several of the smaller outlet stores are carrying it in their Hispanic food sections.

  • Lonnie

    Wow, thanks for all your hard work.! You even had a spreadsheet chart with the comparisons. I was hoping for one (yes I am the type of person who gets excited about spreadsheets). Great article.

  • jdb1972

    Extremely useful; thanks! Too bad you didn't test something more readily available, like Nestle Nido or something, though. I've found it not bad with a dollop of vanilla mixed in.

  • http://www.jaycehall.com Jayce

    That taste was bad enough to remember it, and it forever corrupted my view of powdered milk. Or maybe it just helped me understand just how bad it can be.

    As for the Nido, the Wal-Marts around here tend to carry it in the hispanic food section too, at a decent price. The one by us even has the large containers.

  • Kathy

    Best and most thorough dry milk review I have found! Great Job! And thanks for giving us the range of scores not just the average for each milk brand. Thanks for all your effort!

  • http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com Angela

    I've not tried Nido milk. It was mentioned on my blog comments as well. I'll have to check it out.

    Also, here are the approximate cost breakdowns per gallon based on about 11 1/2 cups of powder per can:
    A-Honeyville alternative: $2.08/gallon
    B-Morning Moos: $2.07/gallon
    C-varies–you don't want this stuff anyway.
    D-Country Fresh Farms: $4.63/gallon
    E-Country Cream: $3.39/gallon
    F-regular milk varies widely by location and brand
    G-Rainy Day instant: $6.01/gallon
    H-Rainy Day Non instant: $1.88/gallon
    I-LDS Cannery: $1.84/gallon
    J-Provident Pantry: $3.47/gallon

    • JJM123

      So the best taste is only 12% higher cost than cheapest. Sold, unless the costs comparisons are drastically different 4 years later. Why would you not want to cook with Morning Moos???

  • Heidi

    Wow! Thanks!

  • Deb E

    I find it very interesting that the LDS cannery milk scored so low. When I participated in two separate blind tests just 2 years ago–with 5 varieties tested, one of which was Morning Moos–I preferred the cannery milk to all the others and most in the group did, too…
    I like Nido just fine, but it's pricey. Would like to find it in bulk quantities if more affordable.

  • Patty

    It may just be the people trying it. I wouldn't have thought of it, but I saw the picture of the Walmart Great Value milk. I really don't like it – it is too sweet for me, however I like the non-fat milk from Sams (yes, I would have thought they were the same thing). While reading this blog I thought it would be interesting to see if people who like certain types of powdered milk best liked certain types of regular milk best.

    —————
    Thanks for the review! I'll be sharing it with others. :)

  • Tanya

    Thank you for taking the time to make this comparison. I have used the morning moos for baking for several years now. It works really well. I came across your site as I was trying to decide which powdered milk (or substitute) to store for our families long term storage. Based on your reviews, I think I'll stick with the Morning Moos. Good taste, good price :) Now if I could just buy it locally…

  • poohnda

    I'm surprised that you didn't have Maple Island Milk as one of your brands as everyone I have met that uses their milk swears by Maple Island being the best!! I have not yet tried it, but I would have loved to see how that one fared compared with the rest. I have always wanted to do a taste test, that's awesome that someone finally did it!! :)

  • http://prepperman.com Prepper Man

    Wow. Great collection of info. Never had good luck with powdered milk.

  • Deb E

    Those of you who store the Morning Moo's and other milk alternatives, I know you prefer it for drinking, but don't forget to store some REAL milk for other uses–yogurt and cheese making.

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  • http://www.adriaday.com/ Hotels Novalja Island of pag

    I'm using NIDO milk product… it's very tasty and delicious. how about this product?

  • Dave

    Thank you very much for your willingness to try all the choices out with a taste test!! I appreciate your willingness to do that for the rest of us!!

  • Stan

    Iknow I was trying to buy powdered milk, the only one available was Nido Kinder…It is actually baby formula…I don't know why it doesn't say so.

  • http://www.saltwatercleanse.net/master-cleanse-directions-the-salt-water-flush-recipe-for-master-cleanse/ Master Cleanse Directions

    Please give me more information. I love it, Thanks again.

  • Pm93529

    Thank you for doing this test and sharing the results!!! We live in a remote area of Baja/Mexico…4 hours from fresh milk :( I loved the Morning Moos Instant Non Fat Dry Milk (not the alternative one) and used to buy it from Blue Chip Group…then it and they went away..Augoson doesn’t carry it and says it is no longer available..So I started using Country Fresh…I like it but I do think it has a slight aftertaste…So now I think I will try the Provident Pantry since you liked it so well….Have you been able to find the Moos Instant Non Fat anywhere or know why it disappeared? Thanks…Peggy Magee [email protected]

    • http://www.jaycehall.com Anonymous

      the morning moo’s is just a brand of auguson (was blue chip). They still have it on their site: http://augasonfarms.com/Products/Morning-Moos

      Hopefully we’ll get a chance to review more of their stuff soon.

  • John Malarkey

    I live alone and like a little milk for cooking or oatmeal. I have been using dry powdered WHOLE MILK, from the local mexican grocery.

    Nido brand from Nestle
    $5.79 for 12.6 oz; makes 3 quarts
    tastes like milk
    mixes up pretty good
    the round can is cardboard sides so it needs some help for long term storage. I have some tins of evaporated milk for longer term storage. Remeber to rotate your stock.

    • Cindy

      Many Walmart stores also carry it in the Hispanic aisle.

  • Steve

    Have you tried Nitro-Pak’s instant milk?

  • Dorothy

    Thank you X 1,000 times!!! Ihad given up trying to find a decent tasting powdered milk and was searching for ideas on how to improved the horrible flavor – some people say add vanilla -but it never occurred to me that some tolerable tasting brands exist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1345514717 Aimee Claverie Kincaid

    Thanks for doing this. I had to go back and look at the date when I saw how poorly the Cannery milk rated. My husband was unemployed for more than six months a while back and we had to get food from the Bishop’s storehouse. We got some of the powdered milk and having tried a fair number of powdered milks before my husband and I were both amazed that it tasted SO good. There was no powdery residue in the bottom of the jug and if you mixed it with just a little bit of cream for the milk fat we honestly couldn’t tell the difference. I even had friends try it and they were amazed. Maybe it’s just our area (CA bay area). I certainly hope not. We didn’t get the stuff in the can, but the stuff in the bag that came out like a soft sweet powder.

  • Heather

    Thank you! Great comparison! Very useful!

  • Blakenashley

    Have you tried Thrive powedered milk and instant powedered milks at all? I wonder how they would compare? Thanks sooooo much!

  • Swamper4

    Too much writing and not enough information…

  • Anonymous

    I purchased a 5 gallon bucket of Morning Moo… :o( I tasted it in the store and it tasted great but when I make it at home there is a weird after taste and white deposits at the bottom of the container. I mix it as they recommend with warm water etc. I have even mixed it in my blender thinking maybe I wasn’t getting it stirred up well enough but it still has the deposits at the bottom of the jug. I have a whole lot of milk alternative that I have no idea what to do with it. I don’t want to drink it and my husband is even fussier than I am. I drink powdered milk all the time and have no problem at all with that. I sure wouldn’t recommend Morning Moo to anyone. (I purchased cannery milk today because I can use it for yogurt, cheese, pudding, etc.  I don’t think I can use the Morning Moo for that either…)

  • Janis Higaki

    Wow, Provident Pantry milk is good!  I’ve been drinking store-bought milk for decades and always hated powdered milk, even Organic Valley powdered milk. After reading this very thorough taste test, I had to try PP and am very surprised and very pleased!  No aftertaste!  (although I put in more powder than what is recommended, so I basically make 2% or whole milk).  I would highly recommend this for food storage and/or for someone looking to cut their store-bought milk bill.  

  • LeoS

    I don’t think these brands are available in the stores I go to. Most of them appear to be from expensive yuppie outlets.

  • http://preppypinkcrocodile.blogspot.com/ Preppy Pink Crocodile

    Very interesting!  Did you happen to note which ones had the lowest price per gallon of milk once mixed?

    KK

  • Angi

    I tried the Provident Pantry milk years ago and was amazed by its fresh taste.  Also, if you mix it a little thicker, you can get a taste range from lowfat milk to heavy cream – without actually adding fat.  I would mix it in gallon or half gallon milk containers and, when my nieces and nephew would visit, they’d drink it with no problem – in fact, they loved it!  It is worth the extra money and now that I have a family of my own, I always keep some on hand in case we run out of milk (we live 30 miles from the nearest  big “supercenter” grocery store and our local grocer charges convenience store prices.  Also, with the cost of gas now, I try to only shop for groceries once a month – we buy meats in bulk and then vacuum pack the individual serviings and freeze them.  However, without my Provident Pantry milk, I’d never get milk to last longer than a week or maybe two.

  • Chris

    You stated that it took 5 1/3 cups to make a gallon of the Western Family milk, (thinking that was a lot). Well, that is actually less than most of the other brands. 5 1/3 cups is actually 1 2/3 full cups. You said most of the rest took 2 cups… unless you really meant 2 1/3 cups. Just trying to clarify.

    • JJM123

      Are the directions 5 x 1/3 cups or 5 1/3 (5.33) cups?? The Safeway brand I have is 1 1/3 (1.33) cups for 1 quart which would be 5 1/3 (5.33) cups for 1 gallon.

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  • Scottkathy865

    Nido milk is taste,pretty thoughts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/m.cameron.odell M. Cameron O’Dell

    Cost per can is completely irrelevant, I don’t even understand why you included it. thank you, Angela, for amending the relevant comparison.

  • Cindy

    You should have included Nido by Nestle in your taste test. Nido is dehydrated FULL FAT milk so it has the taste of real milk not skim milk. It also does not have that powdered milk taste that everyone complains about. You can find Nido in the Hispanic aisle and the only complaint I have is it has a short storage lifespan of 1-1.5 years. So Nido can be incorporated into short term/natural disaster shortage supplies planning but not long term. I had been planning to buy the PP superpail for long term storage so thanks for these test results. I make homemade yogurt and bread so I can use the Nido easily before expiration but I’d like to have something that tastes as good as Nido in my long term supplies.

  • Steven Broccolo

    This review was terrific!. Thanks. A few years back when I first became disabled the Church helped us out and I found that the instant milk tasted OK. But mixing it was like your description of “D” so that cracked me up. I resorted to using a blender with some warm water then adding cold water. Also, thank you for the comments. I never thought to look in the Hispanic section for Nido. Duh!. Thanks!

  • S Foster

    This is very interesting, and helpful! I only use my canned powdered milk for baking as well. I have found the LDS Cannery milk to mix up best with slightly warm water.
    thank you!

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