Best Powdered Milk for Long-Term Food Storage

Whether you are baking a recipe tomorrow or packing your pantry for the long term, powdered milk is always nice to have on hand. All powdered milk isn’t the same, however. The best powdered milk is worth finding, since it has the best taste, longer shelf-life, and is a great value. There are several options to consider when it comes to powdered milk for your pantry: nutritional content, quality, shelf-life, etc.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best powdered milk, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and a bulk option. If you need some quality milk powder in your pantry, one of our recommendations will keep you cooking.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Legacy Food Storage Powdered Milk

The Best Powdered Milk

Legacy Powdered Milk

Quality, Long-Lasting, and Tasty

Massive shelf life and great taste make this the brand to beat when it comes to milk powder.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Legacy Food Storage is a well-known long-term food storage brand that takes the top mark in our brand-wide review. They typically provide consistent quality, great taste, and extremely long shelf life.

We found that their powdered milk was no exception, and provide all of this at a great value. It is one of the few freeze-dried options (rather than spray-dried), which slightly improves taste, reconstitution, and shelf-life when compared to the rest.

Here is how milk measures up:

  • 2.55 pounds
  • 40 servings
  • Single-ingredient: nonfat milk
  • Industrial freeze-dried
  • Resealable stand-up gusseted pouch w/ oxygen absorbers and nitrogen flush
  • 5-year shelf life
  • Made in the USA

Legacy is typically the brand to beat for long-term food storage, so it made sense that their Legacy Powdered Milk is the best option.

Judee's Whole Milk Powder

Budget Powdered Milk

Judee’s Whole Milk Powder

Size Selection, Tasty, and Inexpensive

Great for baking or long-term storage, this one takes the cake at a budget price.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Judee’s is a great option if you are baking or looking to grab a smaller size to store. They print a one-year shelf-life on the pouches but estimate that their spray-drying process combined with the packaging and oxygen absorber will keep it shelf stable.

It tastes great and is easy to reconstitute by adding 1 part water to 1/3-1/4 parts milk powder.

Here are the specs:

  • 11-ounce package shown above
  • 9 servings
  • Single-ingredient: whole milk
  • Industrial spray-dried
  • Resealable stand-up gusseted pouch w/ oxygen absorbers
  • 1-year best-by date (est. 3-year shelf life)
  • Made in the USA

Pick up Judee’s Whole Milk Powder to expand your food storage on a budget.

NIDO Fortificada Dry Whole Milk

Bulk Powdered Milk

NIDO Fortificada

Bulk Packaged, Nutrient Dense, and Inexpensive

The cheapest powdered whole milk is easy to stock up on in bulk, plus it has added vital nutrients.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Nestle cranks out some milk powder for the masses around the world, making it easy to stock up on fortified powder with added nutrients. They have a whole suite of milk powders designed to support kids’ development, but this one is the cheapest and best option for everyone 4 and up.

The can gives it a great shelf life. While it is printed with a best-by date about a year out, it claims at least a 5-year shelf life in cold and dry storage.

Here are the details:

  • 4.15 pounds
  • 53 servings
  • Added Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D3
  • Industrial spray-dried
  • Resealable can
  • 1-year best-by date (est. 3-year shelf life)

If you are looking to pick up some milk powder in bulk, grab NIDO Fortificada Dry Milk Powder.

Everything We Recommend

Legacy Food Storage Powdered Milk

Legacy Powdered Milk

Massive shelf life and great taste make this the brand to beat when it comes to milk powder.

Where to Buy

$23* at Legacy

*at time of reviewing

Judee's Whole Milk Powder

Judee’s Whole Milk Powder

Great for baking or long-term storage, this one takes the cake at a budget price.

Where to Buy

$11* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

NIDO Fortificada Dry Whole Milk

NIDO Fortificada

The cheapest powdered whole milk is easy to stock up on in bulk, plus it has added vital nutrients.

Where to Buy

$16* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Milk We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to the several powdered milk brands that we tested: Legacy, Augason Farms, NIDO, Judee’s, Readywise, Valley Food Storage, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We focused on traditional powdered milk, rather than dairy mixes or protein powder. Both of those have their place, but we wanted to compare similar products and focused on the real deal.

We’re always looking for new and better vittles for food storage, so if you have some powdered milk that you swear by let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested reviews annually, so we can always get it in the next roundup round and see if it makes the cut and we can see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best milk powder has several important features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Nutritional Content
  3. Quality
  4. Preservation & Packaging
  5. Shelf-Life

When you get the right blend of these, you can find powdered milk that will give you reliable long-term protein. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the different milk powders that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like powdered milk shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. Don’t go overspending or overdo it. If you only have $100 to get your prepper pantry started, going with a budget pick isn’t the end of the world. Budget according to your risk and your needs rather than just spending lavishly.

On the flip side, you don’t want to go too cheap or just plain get the wrong thing. Dairy blends and other alternatives are typically not as good to rely on for consistent calories in your pantry.

Nutritional Content

Milk powder inherently has plenty of nutrients and nutritional value, but not all milk powder is created equal. Some powders lose nutrients (and taste) through the drying process. Others have nutrients added for specific applications, like fortified supplements for kids.

Milk powder contains all 21 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), giving it massive amounts of protein by weight.

Non-fat vs whole milk content can have its pros and cons, with the nonfat being even higher protein by weight but with lower calories.


Your food storage should have consistent quality. Going through the trouble of storing and/or packaging food just to open it years later to find issues can be a huge let letdown.

While we can only test batches we have on hand, online feedback makes it easy to discern the quality of brands that have been around for a while.

Plus, many of the other features we discuss can tell us about a brand’s commitment to quality, including what packaging and preservation techniques they use.

Preservation & Packaging

There are three main ways to produce powdered milk: freeze-drying, spray-drying, and drum-drying. Here are the main differences:

  • Freeze-drying – This less common and more time-consuming method, freeze-drying usually involves pouring (or freezing) milk on a tray, and then placing the tray in a freeze dryer. This slightly improves taste and provides a longer shelf-life versus spray-drying. It can also be done at home with your own freeze-drying equipment.
  • Spray-drying – The most common method for dehydrating milk involves preheating the milk to reduce the liquid and then spraying it into a chamber to dry. The powder forms and leaves the chamber with the air continuously.
  • Drum-drying – Milk is poured on a heated drum and scraped off as a solid powder. This can break down nutrients and alters the taste, however.

Almost all providers package the dried milk powder into plastic or mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to further increase shelf life. If they don’t, they use metal cans for an airtight seal. Mylar bags are preferred for longer shelf-life, as we’ve hammered home in our mylar bag review roundup and the ability to reseal them.


There is a wide range of shelf-life labels on powdered milk because it comes in different packaging, with mylar or metal cans being the best as we just mentioned above.

With the right packaging and storage in a cool, dry area milk powder can stay edible almost indefinitely.

Is Powdered Milk Better for You?

No, nutritionally it is almost indiscernible to fresh milk. Powdered milk has had the moisture pulled out of it through a drying process, which you reintroduce when you ‘reconstitute’ it.

Some powdered milk is cooked in the drying process, which can break down certain proteins and amino acids. This means that powdered milk may have slightly less protein than fresh milk- and if you are looking for protein that may mean that they are not better for you.

Powdered milk is also very soluble with added nutrients, though. Critical vitamins are added to support growth in children, and vitamin D is required to be added in Canada.

Does Powdered Milk Taste Like Real Milk?

Powdered milk is ‘real milk’, so it tastes similar to fresh milk when it is reconstituted. Those with discerning taste will be able to notice a difference, especially in texture. This difference depends on the brand, how the milk was dried, and how well you reconstitute (add water) the powder.

Some brands have slightly better quality, which can affect the taste. Freeze-dried milk typically tastes the most similar to real milk (versus spray-dried), but it is not very common outside of small vendors and homemade projects. Getting the water ratios to reconstitute the milk can be tricky, and varies from different brands. If you don’t add enough water or stir properly, you can get grainy milk. If you add too much water, you get a soupy watered-down milk. Follow the directions on the package to make sure it is just right.

Who Needs Powdered Milk?

Powdered milk is pretty darn useful, whether you have a recipe calling for them or not. Preppers will enjoy the ability to store protein for years, which makes milk a staple for a prepper pantry.

Powdered milk is suggested for these kits:

Pack some protein power in your food storage plan with milk that has a serious shelf-life. It also works well for those looking to make emergency baby formula.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to find the best powdered milk are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical military and prepping experience:

Reh, C., et al. (2004). Determination of water content in powdered milk. Food Chemistry. Volume 86. Issue 3. Pages 457-464. (Source)

Moros, J., et al. (2007). Evaluation of nutritional parameters in infant formulas and powdered milk by Raman spectroscopy. Analytica Chimica Acta. Volume 593. Issue 1. Pages 30-38. (Source)

Uwatse, O., et al. (2015). Measurement of Natural and Artificial Radioactivity in Infant Powdered Milk and Estimation of the Corresponding Annual Effective Dose. Environmental Engineering Science. Volume 32. Issue 10. Pages 838-846. (Source)

The Final Word

Powdered milk is a versatile baking and food-storage staple, plus a necessity for preparedness with infants. You can find some in bulk, with long shelf life, and with great taste. Protein is always an important part of food storage plans, and milk can help you hit your marks.

Here are a few other reads our subscribers have also found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Legacy Powdered Milk to be the best option given its value, nutritional content, preservation method, packaging, shelf-life, and quality.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Powdered Milk

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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