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How to Use Up Three Gallons of Milk in One Day

Guest Post by Katie from Kitchen Stewardship

Have you bumped into an incredible markdown on milk that expires tomorrow but you’re out of freezer space because you just completed a fabulous once-a-month cooking adventure with your favorite blogging mamas?

You don’t have to walk by that incredible deal for lack of freezer space!

Here are a few ideas for successfully using up a few gallons of milk in a day’s time:

Homemade Yogurt

I cannot say enough about the benefits, both nutritionally and financially, of making homemade yogurt. I make almost a gallon a week for my family of 3-and-a-half (you know how toddlers eat, so I can’t count her as a full serving). I figure I save at least $200/year on just this one make-from-scratch endeavor, plus my family benefits from a readily available snack choice and probiotics to boot.

Many bloggers sing the praises of making yogurt in the slow cooker, but I just can’t bring myself to wash that insert so often. My method creates zero dishes other than the jars used to hold the yogurt. You can do it with no special equipment and just a little courage; you will be growing bacteria, but don’t let that scare you!

It’s this easy:

  1. Heat the milk to 180 degrees.
  2. Let it cool to 110.
  3. Stir in 2 Tbs plain yogurt per quart of milk.
  4. Keep it in a picnic cooler with a pot of hot water for 4-16 hours.
  5. Done. $10 worth of yogurt for $2, and that’s if the milk is regular price.

Want to know my no-dishes secret? Here is my homemade yogurt guide, with pictures and hand-holding advice to make it ultra simple. Not sure how to use plain yogurt? Here are some ideas for yogurt recipes.

Cream of Vegetable Soup

You can use varying amounts of milk and chicken broth to make a cream of vegetable soup, so obviously to use up your clearance milk you will make a heavy-on-the-milk version. It’s one of my favorite soups for both palate and pocketbook.

I keep a bag in the freezer for random unfinished steamed side veggies, and when it gets half full, it’s time to make “leftover” cream of vegetable soup. It’s always a bit different!

You can use just potatoes or any veggie you have sitting in your fridge or freezer. See my cream of vegetable soup recipe for all the details.

Whole Grain Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is a dessert from my childhood that ranks among my very favorite. Now that I’m a mom, I love the recipe even more because it’s short on ingredients and prep time and huge on versatility.

1 cup rice
2 cups boiling water
4 cups milk
1/4-3/4 cup sugar, to taste
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbs butter

Boil rice in water for 15 minutes (brown rice) or 3 minutes (white). Drain off water. Add milk and bring carefully to a boil, medium heat, cover off, stirring often. Turn to low, cover and cook 60-90 minutes (brown) or 15-30 minutes (white) until pudding is thick and milk seems to have all been absorbed. Don’t stir too often during this time, but watch for scorching on the bottom of the pan. The finished product will have the consistency of a thick tapioca pudding, but it will gel up a bit after cooling. Turn off heat, then add sugar, vanilla and butter. Garnish with cinnamon.

You could easily make a double batch to knock out an entire half gallon of milk. Your family will thank you.


Many pancake and waffle recipes call for a cup or two of milk, so this is not rocket science, but it’s definitely a way to use up the last bit of your gallons. Our family’s go-to pancake recipe involves an overnight soak, so you could really get rid of the milk before the next day if you wanted to show off your frugal skills and truly accomplish “three gallons of milk in one day.” A double batch takes 4 more cups of milk, and they last fine in the fridge for easy breakfasts throughout the week.

Cream of {X} Soup

If you have a smidge of room in your freezer, you can make cream of {x} soup and freeze in flat plastic bags to use in casseroles that call for cream of chicken or mushroom soup.

If not, you can make the soup right away, and it should keep for the week as you incorporate it in various meals. I made three casseroles in one hour for last month’s modified once-a-month cooking, which used 6 more cups of milk. You can find the recipe for cream of {x} soup and all three casseroles here.

Katie Kimball blogs at Kitchen Stewardship, where she offers weekly Monday Missions to help you baby step your way to balancing all God’s gifts while working in the kitchen. She wants to be the Flylady of the kitchen for you. Get the scoop on nutrition, environmentalism, budget and time management, as well as family-friendly, real food recipes and a dose of random humor. And yogurt. Lots and lots of yogurt.

What are your favorite ways to use up extra milk? Tell us in the comments!

photo credits: calliope; Longiee; Strausser

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  • Katherine says:

    Another way to incubate the yogurt, if it’s warm and sunny outside – put it in glass jars (old mayonnaise jars work well), wrap each in a dark colored towel, and leave in the sun for 8 hours. I learned to make yogurt this way in Tanzania, and it works well in the summertime here in Dallas, but the weather needs to be at least about 80 degrees and sunny.
    Thanks for the hot water in a cooler suggestion! I just bought a big tub from the store last week because I’d gotten so frustrated trying to keep my oven the right temperature when making yogurt in the winter. Can’t wait to try it!!

  • allyson says:

    We use our extra milk for yogurt and cheese making as well. When we make yogurt we only heat the temp. to 110 degrees. Anything above 110 kills off the good bacteria that is in raw milk. I suppose if using pasteurized milk, though… it has already been heated way past that point by the big companies to kill everything good, so it doesn’t matter to reheat it higher.
    But, for anyone using raw milk, it’s best to only heat it to 110 to get the best nutrition from your yogurt. Local raw honey mixed in the yogurt with some granola and fresh fruit makes a delicious, wholesome snack. 🙂

    • @allyson, I actually get raw m ilk, too, but I had a terrible time getting a nice consistency in my raw yogurt b/c of the competing bacteria. It turned out like cottage cheese, gross for eating but alright for smoothies. I ended up just pasteurizing my raw milk for yogurt, b/c then it’s delicious and still better than store milk b/c of the grassfed and organic parts. If only I could afford the raw milk for yogurt! 😉 Katie

      • Sarah says:

        @Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship, I use raw milk for yogurt and sometimes it turns out good and sometimes watery with globs of sour “stuff” floating around. I’m trying to find a pattern to see what causes this problem. At least part of the problem seems to be caused by how warm the yogurt is kept during incubation. I use an electric heating pad wrapped over a towel around a glass jar. This insures a steady temperature. I think perhaps using too much home-made yogurt starter in a row might be a cause too. It seems like I have to buy some yogurt from the store to use as starter every few weeks.

        Also, whether your yogurt is runny or not, you can try draining it overnight suspended over a bowl in a bag made of several layers of cheeseclothe. This makes Labneh, a middle eastern creation with a cream-cheese like consistancy. It’s tarter than cream-cheese, though, so adding a bit of salt or sweetner can help.

  • linda casper says:

    I use extra milk in gravy. You can make meat gravy with bits of torn chipped beef, browned hamburger or smoked salmon or whatever you like. Then serve it over toast, cornbread, biscuits, rice, potatoes again about anything and presto—a meal.

  • niki says:

    I think your basic rice pudding recipe looks great!

    Here’s a question for you, for people with allergies do you think you could use soymilk and margarine in place of milk and butter?

    • @niki, I could only guess, but I would think any liquid would work – is soy milk creamy? I would use coconut oil as the fat instead of margarine b/c I don’t do fake fats. It’s an easy recipe to experiment with!
      🙂 Katie

    • Flo says:

      I would never encourage adding transfats to any recipe–when you read the word ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ in the ingredient list, turn away from that product. Even if the label says ‘no trans fats’, processors are allowed to have up to a certain amount in each serving and not have to list it. Be suspicious if the serving size seem awfully small. I like the coconut idea if that is not one of the allergies. Most baking recipes can substitute applesauce or pureed prunes as the oil/fat ingredient.

  • Julie says:

    Just a little bit envious here. Milk prices in my state are tightly regulated and milk is never marked down.

  • emily says:

    Bread pudding! Great for breakfast with fruit or for dessert.

  • Frugal Momma says:

    I use up our milk by making our little girl fruit/veggie smoothies. I know it SOUNDS gross, but she loves them and gets only pure fruit, vegetables and milk. I make several batches and freeze them in tupperware. Take out a day before you want to use it and it’s glorious for a fast-little treat!

  • Reanne says:

    I use extra milk in oat scone recipes and bread. I have a multigrain bread recipe where you make a porridge with the grains first then make the bread (the recipe uses yogurt and water usually, I just substitute the same amount that would be yogurt and water with milk instead).

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