Nonfat Dry Milk Vs. Powdered Milk

powdered milk in a blue spoon
Powdered milk in a blue scoop. (Image: Freer Law/iStock/Getty Images)

Powdered milk and dry milk are the same product. The names are interchangeable. Powdered milk is liquid milk that has been dehydrated and all the moisture removed. It is available as a nonfat, whole and buttermilk product. Dry milk has advantages and drawbacks compared with regular liquid milk.

Identification

Liquid milk is evaporated to make dry, or powdered, milk. The fat has been removed from the nonfat version. Regular dry milk must be stored in a refrigerator because the milk fat is still present. Nonfat dry milk is available in instant or noninstant form. Instant nonfat powdered milk dissolves easily in water, but the noninstant version does not dissolve easily. Once you reconstitute nonfat dry milk with water, you need to refrigerate it.

Benefits

Although dry whole milk has to be refrigerated because of the fat content, nonfat dry milk does not need refrigeration until you add water to it. Once you add water, you should use nonfat dry milk within three to five days. In its powdered form, dry milk has an extended shelf life between one and two years. According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council, dry milk retains the protein and vitamin content of its original milk source.

Drawbacks

Dry milk has very few drawbacks. The most obvious one is taste, which is subjective. Some consumers may feel that powdered milk does not taste as rich as the original product. Whole dry milk and reconstituted nonfat powdered milk need to be refrigerated just like regular milk.

Uses

Powdered milk can be used to make milk, but it has several other uses. Add powdered milk to soups, puddings, cakes and other food items. Liquid milk can make some foods too thin. Adding dry milk helps retain the thickness and texture of the food. You can also add water to dry milk and use it in cereals and milk beverages. This is a good option if you don't use milk regularly, because powdered milk has a long shelf life.

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