How to Make Liquid Whey and Greek Yogurt

Liquid whey is used in many recipes for real food and is a versatile ingredient! You can:

+ Soak flour, grains, and beans.
+ Making lacto-fermented condiments.
+ Make beverages or drink it straight.
+ Freeze in ice cube trays to use as usual.
+ You can even feed it to Fido and many other pets.

Liquid Gold Whey

So what is whey? The Weston A. Price Foundation offers an excellent explanation:

“Whey is the tart, golden liquid known to the Greek doctors of antiquity as ‘healing water.’ In fact, Hippocrates and Galen, two founding fathers of medicine, frequently recommended whey to their patients.3 Whey from fully fermented milk no longer contains lactose, and with its dose of probiotic organisms will help maintain a synergistic balance of the inner ecosystem and encourage repair of gut dysbiosis. Whey also contains a fair number of minerals, particularly potassium, and a notable amount of vitamins, especially B2.4″ (source)

In summary, whey is good for pre-digesting foods to make it easier on your tummy. It also provides wonderful (good) gut bacteria and enzymes for maintaining a healthy digestive tract. You can’t buy liquid whey from the store and the powdered stuff you find in the bulk section is not your friend (it is overly-processed and, for lack of a better word, dead)!

So follow these easy instructions to get your own liquid whey right at home. It will last  6 to 7 months in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge. There are many ways to obtain whey (from buttermilk, kefir, sour cream – really any cultured dairy); I use Organic Plain Whole Milk yogurt from the store. Right now my favorite is Nancy’s brand, which you can check out here. My husband and I do make our own yogurt from occasion to occasion, but it never comes out quite the way we want. We are working on perfecting it, but for the time being we are buying our yogurt (though, when you do use homemade cultured dairy – you do get a TON of whey).

After extracting the whey, you will get thick, rich, and decadent greek yogurt! It would also make a great cream cheese-type spread.

Liquid Whey & Greek Yogurt

1 – 32 oz container Organic Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
strainer
big bowl (glass if possible)
cheese cloth/paper towels
towel or lid to loosey cover bowl

1. Place the strainer in the big bowl. Then line the strainer with the paper towels or cheese cloth.

2. Scoop the yogurt into the lined strainer. Place a lid or towel over the bowl and then place in the fridge for 8 to 16 hours.

Making Whey

3. The next day, the whey will have strained into the bowl, pour into a mason jar via a funnel and then tightly cover.

Liquid Whey That is Done

4. Remove the yogurt from the strainer and you have delicious thick greek yogurt (perfect with honey)!

Greek Yogurt

I would recommend straining this into a glass bowl and avoid plastic if possible. I am still on the hunt for a big enough glass bowl to do this in. If you have any tips or tricks for making whey – please share below!

Please visit the Weston A. Price Foundation’s article “Enjoying Little Miss Muffet’s Curds and Whey” for some excellent additional information.

Until next time,

Katie

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I am Katie P. - the girl behind Girl Meets Nourishment. I am a twenty-something who lives in Montana, I am a proud born and raised East Coast kid who moved out West toward the setting sun. In the time since I have trekked from coast to coast: I have acquired a degree in Psychology, an amazing husband who I love with all my heart, and wonderful new perspective on life & food. I love all things nourishing, (from the inside out), real, organic food, and unprocessed living. I am so happy you stopped by!

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64 Thoughts on “How to Make Liquid Whey and Greek Yogurt

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  6. karen on April 10, 2013 at 6:20 am said:

    Looks interesting, only problem is that paper towels are laced with chemicals! Don’t think I want my food “seeping” thru that.

    • I have cheese cloths on my wishlist, and I recommend using those or a thin towel if you have them. :)

      – Katie

      • Sarah on April 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm said:

        One can also use coffee filters- about 4 big filters are enough to do yogurt made from 1/2 gallon of milk. Yes, I make my own yogurt…. One can use natural filters (non-bleached)….

  7. Wendy on April 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm said:

    I’m going to try this with coffee filters, since I don’t have any cheesecloth. Have you ever tried that?

    • I have not tried coffee filters, but I have heard that it works great! I just purchased some cheesecloth this weekend and I am so excited to try it for the first time. I hope that your whey/greek yogurt making is smooth sailing! ;)

      – K

      • It worked great! I can’t believe how easy this is. I just made some fermented ketchup with the whey. I can’t wait to try it! And some Greek yogurt for lunch. Yum! Thanks for the post!

  8. Heather on May 14, 2013 at 10:45 am said:

    Katie,

    Although not a bowl, this glass container (with a glass lid) is a great size for draining: http://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Hocking-1-Gallon-Heritage-Glass/dp/B0000DDVN7/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1283890669&sr=8-2

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  10. Laura on June 11, 2013 at 1:26 am said:

    On a different but related note, I made some chicken stock for the first time the other day and it went well until I had to pour the strained broth from the large glass bowl into the jars. I used a funnel but the liquid ran down the side of the bowl as I was pouring and made a huge mess, along with wasting some of that precious stock! I would like to know what the trick is to pouring without making a mess? This would be helpful to this situation as well I would imagine. Thanks!!

    • I have experienced the massive spilling of precious stock myself – and it stinks! We started setting the bowl up in the sink and then we really slowly pour it, we still spill a little but it’s not as much as when we did before. I don’t have a super eye-opening answer, but I think with practice you’ll be a pro-broth pour-er in no time!
      :) K

    • Janelle on December 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm said:

      I dip a pyrex liquid measuring cup in the bowl and then pour into the jars. Works great!

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  12. I can’t find my cheesecloth….have never done liquid whey before….how many coffee filters do some of you use?? thanks :)

  13. Kristee on June 14, 2013 at 6:11 am said:

    My trick for pouring broths is to transfer from the cooking pot to a large 4 cup glass measuring cup. From there I pour into containers. It’s one more dish to wash but prevents spillage and is worth it!

  14. Aleena on June 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm said:

    Oh Man!! I’ve been dumping the liquid whey off my yogurt for months! Who knew it would be so useful to make your lovely pickles and kraut! I sincerely have been enjoying your site (brought here because of eczema issues) and cannot wait to try all the amazing natural foods you discuss. Consider me your newest fan!

  15. Maureen on July 4, 2013 at 10:58 am said:

    I’ve been making yogurt for a few months, and have been straining it to get Greek yogurt because it’s so much yummier. I’ve been saving the whey, but not straining it too well… but I do have cheese cloth so I will start doing it your way! Thanks – I only just discovered your site and I’m so excited! I am seriously getting into whole nutrition since reading “Nourishing Traditions” but getting the family on board (teenagers, set in their ways) is an uphill climb – more like a sheer rock face…!

    • I know what you mean, Maureen! And welcome aboard! I am happy you like the site, and hopefully I will continue to share lots of good information for you. :)

      Good luck!
      Katie

  16. Christina M on July 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm said:

    Thanks for this post! How long does the whey last for in the fridge?

  17. John on July 24, 2013 at 8:04 am said:

    It seems like if you take regular yogurt and strain out all (or most) of the whey protein, then you are going to get a byproduct with significantly less protein than the original yogurt. The principle characteristic of Greek yogurt — other than its yummy-ness, of course — is its high protein content. Something doesn’t add up…

    • Hello John,

      My understanding that if you strain out the liquid whey, you concentrate the solid portion of the yogurt which contains casein – the milk protein. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Katie

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  19. Can I use whole milk curd instead of the yoghurt for the Whey extraction? All the yoghurts where I live have ton of additives and I generally avoid them.

  20. I stay away from dairy unless it is raw, and was wondering if the whey you made here from organic yogurt is ok for people who need their dairy to be raw (as well as organic)? Wondering why ‘raw’ isn’t mentioned when choosing the yogurt. I have heard ‘IF IT ISN’T RAW, IT ISN’T MILK’ and I assume it would be the same for any form of dairy. So, is it still ok if it isn’t raw and why?

    • Hi Rose,

      I live in a state where raw milk and raw milk products are illegal, so I can only use products like the best quality organic yogurt I can find. If you can find a trusted, raw yogurt – you can most definitely use that for making the whey. A lot of states have made raw milk illegal so it is tough for us, and we must do what we can and make the best of what we got.

      Hope this helps,
      Katie

      • Angelique on October 8, 2013 at 6:54 pm said:

        I hear ya Katie! I live in Missouri. It can be really hard to get certain things here. And to make matters worse I live in a very rural part of Missouri, so even getting organic can be a serious challenge. I sometimes have to go to St. Louis to get certain items, which is over an hour away!

  21. Michelle on October 7, 2013 at 9:53 am said:

    I’m wondering if I can use sour cream instead of yogurt. I seriously can’t stand the taste of yogurt so I never buy it. But we use sour cream in various dishes and I’ve seen liquid forming on top of it. I personally stir the liquid back in but my guy pours it off. Is that whey?

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  25. Ed Fives on December 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm said:

    Thank you for the information. Can you add this to a smoothie for additional protein? I am looking for an alternative to powders.

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  28. Alicia on March 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm said:

    Thanks for the post! Very useful, as I am about to start making my baby goats milk formula,.which calls for liquid whey! I guess we will be eating a lit of yogurt or using it to bake with, because I will need 1/4 cup liquid whey per day for the formula!

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  30. Laura Singer on April 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm said:

    Hi Katie, I don’t know if you have heard the GA.P.S. Diet(Gut And Psychology Syndrome) by Dr. Natasha Campbell MacBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition) but her son was born with severe autism, so she said out too figure out how to make him better,and by doing the gaps diet he is completely normal, no sign of autism whatsoever. it is all about cleaning the gut and rebuilding the gut I am just now starting this diet myself, in addition to the gaps diet I am also taking Standard Process Organic whole food supplements.

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  32. Anita Smith on April 29, 2014 at 7:37 am said:

    does the whey left over from making mozzarella and ricotta work for a ferment- or does the cooking affect it?

    • Hello Anita,

      I have never personally tried using the whey from making leftover cheese, so I am not sure if it would work or not. From most of the research I have done, signs point to it not working the same as “raw” whey” I personally always use yogurt, sour cream, kefir, or something similar to extract my whey. Since the whey from cheese-making is usually heated above 90 degrees and has some different properties than “raw” whey, I believe that the whey would not work the same as whey from yogurt and the like. :)

      Hope this helps!
      Katie

  33. For straining my homemade yogurt, kefir, liqueurs, wines, etc, I highly recommend these towels from WalMart: Mainstays 5pk Flour Sack Kitchen Towel, White – you get 5 for under $5. They have an amazingly tight weave (for holding flour), and much more effective than squares of t-shirts or even linen. I only use cheese cloth now for things like covering the top of the quart canning jar when I make kefir, or placing fresh herb sprigs in soup or stew.

    Someone earlier asked about needing a larger bowl. You can buy a huge 4 quart glass bowl at WalMart for about $5. It says lists it for $18 on their website for some strange reason, but it was around $5 in the store.

  34. Cecilia Yung on May 3, 2014 at 12:38 am said:

    Thank you for sharing! I always assumed that Greek yogurt was just strained, but didn’t know the benefits of the whey. I happened to be reading a health article and someone mentioned adding whey to his oatmeal, (I’m assuming powder) that’s when I saw your site. Glad I found it! I’ll be trying this soon! I’m glad that I’ve recently found an inexpensive yogurt at Walmart that has live and active cultures w/probiotics in it and is cheaper than the generic brand when I get the larger size. Karoun Dairies in So. Cal. It’s pretty thick already which makes me wonder if there’s still whey available.

  35. Cecilia Yung on May 3, 2014 at 12:38 am said:

    Thank you for sharing! I always assumed that Greek yogurt was just strained, but didn’t know the benefits of the whey. I happened to be reading a health article and someone mentioned adding whey to his oatmeal, (I’m assuming powder) that’s when I saw your site. Glad I found it! I’ll be trying this soon! I’m glad that I’ve recently found an inexpensive yogurt at Walmart that has live and active cultures w/probiotics in it and is cheaper than the generic brand when I get the larger size. Karoun Dairies in So. Cal. It’s pretty thick already which makes me wonder if there’s still whey available.

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