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12 Ways to Use Up Whey

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You know what they say: Where there's a will (to make homemade ricotta, mozzarella, or labneh), there's a (lot of leftover) whey. But just because it's leftover from the making of your yogurt or cheese doesn't mean whey is a "waste product"—in fact, it's one of the most versatile kitchen liquids there is. Here are a few ways to use up all that whey:


  • Bake, bake, bake! Use whey instead of water or milk in bread (like this whole wheat Pullman, a favorite in our test kitchen, or a loaf of challah), pancake or waffle batter, cornbread, flatbreads (Panfusine makes roti and paratha with it), pizza dough, and quick breads. We love these molasses biscuits, which also call for whey.
  • Whey also makes a great substitute for milk in béchamel sauce.
  • Add whey to boiling water for pasta or potatoes (or replace all the water with whey), says petitbleu. Or make your morning oatmeal or grits (or polenta, or rice) with whey.
  • And then mash those whey-boiled potatoes and thin the mash with some more whey.
  • Use whey as a marinade for meats.
  • You can also use your whey to make more ricotta (which will make more whey, from which you can make more ricotta...)
  • Whey makes for a very refreshing drink (many people drink it post-workout). Gulp it down "neat" for a tangy drink, or add a bit of honey, maple syrup, or juice—or add it to a smoothie.
  • You can also add it as part of the liquid in a pot of soup or stew. AntoniaJames likes to make Merrill's saag paneer with whey.
  • Thesugarchef turns whey into dessert: She both caramelizes whey and freezes whey into sorbet.
  • Try pickling things in it! This is called lacto-fermentation.
  • If you have whey way more than you think you'll use in one go, pour it into a plastic container or jar (or ice cube tray) and pop it in the freezer to use gradually. Or, says Savorykitchen, water your plants with it!
  • Want more ideas? The Hotline has lots of whey-cool discussions about whey. 

Photo by James Ransom

What are your favorite ways to use up whey? Weigh in in the comments.

Tags: whey, yogurt, ricotta, bread