18 Ways to Use Whey– a By-Product of Greek Yogurt

whey in glass jar on vintage towel red

Glass canning jars make good storage containers for whey.

Recently, I made some punch for a party resulting in leftover lemonade. I offered my husband a glass which he gladly accepted. A few hours later, he went looking in the fridge for more lemonade. He spotted some yellowish liquid in a quart-size mason jar and poured himself a big glass– over ice for maximum enjoyment.

You guessed it. He was mortified when the liquid hit his tongue and he could barely get to the sink fast enough to spit it out. It was actually whey from some homemade yogurt I had recently drained. He claimed it was the most vile stuff he had ever tasted. I promptly informed him it was supposed to be healthy but he was unimpressed.

whey and strainer

Whey is the by-product produced when straining yogurt to make Greek yogurt.

Up until now, I felt the same way about the yellow liquid called whey. I threw it away, just like the majority of you who participated in my survey on Facebook. (If you aren’t a fan yet, click the button in the right sidebar so you can see all the latest happenings in my kitchen and/or participate in the occasional survey.) But after a little research and experimentation, I won’t be doing that any more.

In preparation for writing this article, I browsed through the comment section of my post about making Greek yogurt at home and collected all your great ideas. Except for the last two, I’m not endorsing or recommending any of these ideas . . . just putting them out there because one of you said it worked.

Flaky Honey Butter Biscuits-close up old pan red

Flaky Honey Butter Biscuits made with whey– recipe coming soon

  1. Substitute for other liquids when baking — gives breads and pancakes a nice sourdough-ish taste.
  2. Add to protein shakes.
  3. Lacto-fermented veggies and fruits
  4. Use for soaking whole wheat flours.
  5. Keep feta cheese fresh by submerging it in whey like they often do in Greek delis.
  6. Makes great sauerkraut, fermented bean dip, beets, etc and the whey helps the fermentation along with some salt.
  7. Use whey for boiling noodles or cooking rice.
  8. Feed it to outdoor plants, tomatoes particularly need and benefit from the extra calcium.
  9. Mix it half and half with iced tea — sort of an “Arnold Palmer without the lemon-aid.”
  10. Grab some whey any time a recipe calls for chicken broth, or even as a replacement for wine in some cases. (I’m not recommending this one for all soup. I tried it with potato soup. BLECH! We had egg sandwiches for dinner that night.)
  11. Use it to thin out a batch of homemade hummus or pesto.
  12. Use it to cook quinoa.
  13. Boil your oatmeal in whey. Top with dried Montmorency cherries reconstituted in (you guessed it!) whey.
  14. You can use it as the liquid in pizza dough, and it adds a wonderful flavor to the crust.
  15. You can use some of the whey to make lacto-fermented pickles. The cookbook Nourishing Traditions explains how to use whey along with a brine.
  16. Some have mentioned using it in skin care products. Sorry, I have no idea how to do that!!
  17. Someone suggested thinking of whey as clear buttermilk. This idea resonated with me so I started envisioning how I could substitute whey for buttermilk. I marinated chicken breasts in whey, drained and then rolled them in seasoned flour for fabulous fried chicken.
  18. Based on the principle in #17, I made the flakiest, lightest and most tender biscuits to ever come out of my kitchen last week. Very soon, I’ll share the recipe for the biscuits you see here and a variation for Flaky Cinnamon Biscuits substituting whey for buttermilk so be sure to save the whey from your next batch of yogurt. (Update:  To see this recipe, click here.)

In case you landed on this post from Mars and don’t know much about Greek yogurt, you can see the process from beginning to end here.

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