A bowl with powdered milk in a table

An Emergency Guide – How to Store Powdered Milk Long Term?

Dried milk is supposed to be the easier alternative to keeping regular milk, the foolproof way of keeping milk long-term. It’s powdered, so it’s not supposed to go bad, right? Well, wrong. If you don’t store powdered milk right, it’ll go bad within three weeks!

That’s because powdered milk isn’t anything like other powdered substances; it’s made up of vitamins and minerals that need extra care if you want to keep it fresh for longer. Normally, if you’re just keeping dried milk to use during a month, you’d just keep it in a dry, dark area, and it should be able to survive, but if you’re a prepper, you need to take extra steps to ensure that every single thing you are keeping stored away, is stored away correctly.

In this post, we’re going to be digging deeper into everything that goes into making sure that your stored powdered milk lasts you a long time. So once you’ve put it in your survival kit, it stays there, waiting for you whenever you need it!

Shelf life of The Different Kinds of Powdered Milk

Before we get into how you can store dry milk long-term, we have to go over all of the different types of milk there are. Generally, you can find two types of powdered milk:

Full-fat milk

Full fat, or full cream milk, has a much higher concentration of natural fat than other types of dry milk. This type of milk has at least 30-35% of the whole cream in it, which is what makes it creamy. Basically, with this type of milk, you just take the milk and evaporate it until it turns into powder.

Low-fat milk

Low-fat milk goes through the same things that regular, full-fat milk goes through; however, before all of that happens, the “fat” from the milk is removed. This doesn’t mean that there is no fat left in the milk; there’s just a much lower concentration of fat compared to regular, full-fat milk. So, the nutrients are different overall.

Learn how to make your own powdered milk at home with this guide.

What Can Cause Powdered Milk to Spoil

a bowl full of spoiled milk

Even though it might seem unlikely that powdered anything would go bad, powdered milk does go bad because of lots of different reasons. However, here are some of the top reasons why dry milk might end up spoiling:


Temperature is one of the biggest factors that affect the shelf life of powdered milk. You can’t store powdered milk at room storage temperature; it’s integral that it’s stored at least 75° F, otherwise, it will go bad within the month.

If it’s not possible to store the milk at that temperature, switch out the container every month, or every six months to make sure you never have spoiled milk on your hands.

If you are able to maintain 75° F temperatures, you can store the powdered milk for years, without a problem.


Humidity can make any type of food go bad fairly quickly. This is why it’s important that no matter what you’re dealing with, you’re keeping it away from excessive humidity. If humidity gets to it, it’ll spoil almost immediately.

That’s because powdered milk attracts absorb moisture, and even if the package isn’t open all the time, if it’s in a humid place, it might eventually soak up the moisture content in the area and go bad before you even have time to use it. So keep the humidity levels under 50% for best results. There is a possibility that you are dealing with mold or bacteria.

Bad packaging

Powdered milk can even be stored for 25 years or indefinitely, but for that, you need to keep it in an air-tight package. That keeps it away from the elements, and only then is it able to maintain its freshness. If you’re using the wrong type of packaging, your powdered milk might not even make it through the month itself. No plastic containers or polythene packaging would do here. You need tins or any other sturdy airtight packaging that can keep the powdered milk safe.

We also recommend you to store oats. Check our guide about how to store them long-term.

Storage Methods for Powdered Milk

Here are some of the best storage methods for storing powdered milk.

Mylar bags

Mylar bags are by far one of the best ways to store dried milk. It’s a way that works great even if you don’t need to be storing the milk away for emergencies. These bags are very convenient to find, and you can easily use them yourself. Just add a desiccant at the very bottom of the bags with oxygen absorbers at the top, and the fresh milk will stay as long as you keep it all sealed up.

Oxygen absorbers

Oxygen absorbers come in tiny little paper packets and soak up any additional moisture from inside a container.

Glass Containers

Glass is great for air-right packaging, which is why it used to be used for storing regular milk too!

Vacuum Sealing

While glass jars are great for storage, to ensure that they’re actually air-tight, you still need to get jars that have a vacuum sealer on them. That way, you can seal all of the air inside, and out while keeping the powdered milk as safe as possible!

Oxygen absorbers

Just like the mylar bags, oxygen absorbers can be used with glass jars too to keep the dry milk powder inside the canning jars safe from any moisture that might come in contact with the milk.


Cans are a great way to store powdered milk. However, it’s important to make sure to keep the can sealed for the milk to stay good long-term storage.


Freezer bags can be used to put the powdered milk in the freezer and leave it there for as long as you need. Make sure that if you’re planning on using any of the milk, separate it all using mylar bags into little sections. That way, you can take a mylar bag out, use it, and the rest of it can stay frozen until needed. Thawing and refreezing will make the milk go bad too.

Find out the right way to store flour long-term here.

Best Kind of Powdered Milk for Long-Term Food Storage

Different brands of powdered milk on the supermarket's shelfs.

There are lots of different types of powdered milk out there, however, not all of them are good for long-term food storage, so you need to make sure you’re using the right type of powdered milk before storing it.

Here are some of the best kinds of powdered milk for long-term food storage:

Low-Fat Powdered Milk

When you’re storing powdered milk, it might be tempting to get full fat, full cream milk because it seems like it would work for more recipes, but that’s usually not the best for being stored.

It’s much better to get low-fat powdered milk as it’s been skimmed and the milk fat is removed, and the fat-free or low-fat versions have the minerals and vitamins that are easier to store than full-fat powdered milk. As fat is less stable than protein, nonfat powdered milk lasts longer than powdered whole milk or buttermilk. It should be used within five days after reconstitute nonfat dry milk and storing it in the refrigerator.

Nestlé Nido Milk

For children, it’s best to keep Nestlé Nido Milk on hand. This one doesn’t have the longest shelf life, but with proper care, it can easily last you around a year.

LDS Powdered Milk in Cans

The LDS Powdered milk might seem like one that wouldn’t taste like “real milk,” but it totally does bad taste! This one comes in cans, and there’s a version that comes pre-packed in Mylar pouches. Go for whichever option works best for you!

Is It a Good Idea to Store Powdered Milk for Emergencies?

Yes. Keeping powdered milk in storage for emergencies is always better than getting regular milk because you can keep it for years on end without worrying about it going bad. While liquid might be preferable for most people, it can go bad within a day at times, and can’t be stored for emergencies.

Nutritional Value of Powdered Milk

Powdered milk has all of the same nutritional elements as regular milk. The only difference between the two is that one is in liquid form, and the other has been evaporated.

It Can be Used for Emergency Cooking Recipes

If you’re in an emergency and can’t get fresh, liquid milk, you can easily use a few teaspoons of powdered milk and turn it into a liquid to use in cooking recipes as well.

How to Know if Your Powdered Milk Has Gone Bad

Powdered milk might always look like it’s fine from afar, but when you come closer, you’ll realize that it actually does go bad. If the powdered milk you have is starting to turn yellow, or has started to smell bad, it’s gone bad and you should discard it.

Add pancake mix to your emergency food pantry. Learn how to store pancake mix that last for years here.

How to Make Stored Powdered Milk Taste Better

Below are some of the ways you can make stored powdered milk taste better:

Add a Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a great addition to just about any sweet food. With milk, it adds the hint of vanilla that gives the milk a nice taste, and masks any other flavors or odors there may be.

Add Some Sugar

If regular powdered milk is too plain for you, add some sugar to it! The sweetness offsets the bland yet heavy taste that bothers some people.

Can of Shelf-Stable Cream

If you like your milk extra creamy, but the powdered milk isn’t getting you there, try adding shelf-stable cream to it, and it’ll taste like fresh milk again.

Chocolate Powder

If all else fails, go for some chocolate powder. It’ll add taste and color to the milk and make it super easy to drink.

Other Alternatives to Powdered Milk

UHT Boxes of Milk in Supermarket Shelfs

If you don’t want to store regular powdered milk, try one of these alternatives instead:

Media Crema

While Media crema isn’t “milk,” it’s a table cream that can be used in most milk-requiring recipes, and once it’s all mixed up, you won’t even be able to tell the difference.

UHT Milk

Ultra-high temperature milk is sterilized and extra clean, but the most important part of it is the fact that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated unless you open it. So you could get these, store them in a cool, dark place and be good for a long time!

Shelf-Stable Soy or Almond Milk

Each pack of shelf-stable soy or almond milk will last around a year if it isn’t opened. However, even if the “Best before” date passes, this milk is usually good for another couple of weeks. If you open it though, you’ll have to finish it within the week, or it’ll go bad.


Powdered milk can be a major blessing when you’re storing away supplies for an emergency. It has the minerals and vitamins one would need to survive for a long time, but the only catch is that you need to make sure that the powdered milk you have on your hands hasn’t gone bad.

That is usually where the problem lies. But the good thing is, as long as you know what type of milk you’re working with, and how to store it, it will stay with you for a long time.

Throughout this post, we’ve talked about everything you need to know about storing milk powder long term, you will be able to store every type of powdered milk in the most optimal way possible!

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