Ways to Use Leftover Whey

August  2, 2014

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Where there's a will, there's a whey -- here's how to use it in everything from biscuits to braised meat. 

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The milk has curdled, the curds have been strained, and fresh mozzarella is ready to be sliced, diced, and added to everything on the table. For now, we'll ignore the three quarts of cloudy whey in the kitchen, storing it in the fridge and telling ourselves we'll put it to use another day. A week passes, and the mozzarella has been used up -- but the whey remains. 

Like stone fruit pitsbread loaf heels, and other seemingly useless leftovers, whey -- a byproduct of making cheese and yogurt -- has a suprising number of uses. Prompted by Maricela's question on the Hotline, here are our community's tips for cooking with whey. 

Creamy Homemade Ricotta

  • Yvette Lukoff makes ayran (a cold yogurt beverage) with whey instead of water for added protein and flavor.
  • Substituting whey for buttermilk in biscuits yields a lighter, fluffier end product. Our Assistant Editor Sarah Jampel swears by this recipe for drop biscuits from one of our Test Kitchen Managers, erinmcdowell.
  • Fresh mozzarella not enough to satisfy your cheese cravings? Use the whey leftover from the cheese-making process to whip up a batch of fresh ricotta, as HalfPint and lem monade suggest. Start by swapping whole milk with an equal amount of whey, then proceed with the recipe as usual.

Making Perfect Caramel

  • Kimhw suggests substituting whey for milk in dairy-braised meat dishes. This technique tenderizes tough cuts of meat while imparting a unique, rich flavor to the dish.
  • Thesugarchef makes caramelized whey and even whey sorbet.
  • Susan feeds whey to her dogs for added protein, claiming they love the flavor. (We bet they'd like whey even more paired with homemade peanut butter dog biscuits.)

Have you uncovered any unique uses for whey? Tell us in the comments or join in the coversation over on the Hotline!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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sarabclever August 4, 2014
I find you can often use whey instead of buttermilk. I use whey in pancakes, for example (much as the recipe for whey drop biscuits does--and by the way those are great!) I've also used whey in blueberry muffins.
Sarah August 3, 2014
Whey is a great substitute for water in cooking any type of grain. I made risotto last night using whey and the result was super creamy and delicious!
AntoniaJames August 3, 2014
See also this Hotline discussion, and the second earlier discussion linked therein:
Count M. August 2, 2014
I like it in smoothies, in bread and waffles, or to water my tomatoes.
a R. August 2, 2014
Excellent sub for water when cooking dried beans or making Jim Lahey (or any) bread, and a pretty great sub for stock in any whizzed green soup!
em-i-lis August 2, 2014
I like to make rice pudding and/or grits with mine!
M August 2, 2014
I always make crepes with my leftover whey - yum!