A Surprising Powdered Milk Substitute You Don’t Know About (+7 Reasons Why You Love It)

Powdered milk was developed out of need. Long before effective refrigeration was invented, people in the West had to resort to immediate consumption of dairy products; and people in the East had to develop a powdered milk substitute because of the genetic in-capacities of Asians in digesting dairy. This “kind of paste,” as it was called, is now known as powdered, dried, or sun-dried milk.

The Evolution of Powdered Milk

The first manufactured powdered milk did not come out until 1802 when Dr. Osip Krichevsky from Russia invented the industrial process. Three more people—M. Dirchoff, T.S. Grimwade, and William Newton—all contributed to perfecting the powder-drying process. Thanks to their contributions, we are now able to enjoy healthy milk without having to worry about expiration, spillages, and/or transport.

The first powdered milk manufactured and distributed in London

The first powdered milk manufactured and distributed in London

Image Credit: Wayne Gisslen

Today, powdered milk production has been standardized based on manufacturing standards. The biggest manufacturers in the world are Switrzerland-based Nestlé, Belgium-based Belgomilk, and Netherlands-based Friesland-Campina. In Europe alone, at least 800,000 tons of powdered milk is exported to North America, South America, Asia, Oceania and Africa in one year.

The manufacturing process is called “spray drying,” where concentrated milk is sprayed under high heat, then forced into an immediate evaporation stage. This process leaves out the milk solids that is then packed in tin foils and aluminum drums.

To see how powdered milk is manufactured, you can check out Germany-based GEA Process Engineering’s sneak peek into their factory:

A rare sneak peek into a powdered milk manufacturing factory

Because of powdered milk’s practicality in terms of use and value, its immediate popularity was phenomenal that it even had its own commercial back in the 1950s. Even back then, commercials were so expensive that to have powdered milk on television goes to show its staying power in the consumer arena.

The first powdered milk commercial (circa 1950s)

The Rise of Powdered Milk Substitutes

However, the rise of powdered milk did not go too well with people suffering from lactose intolerance (those who cannot digest dairy properly and is a common condition among Asians and Africans), the vegetarians (people who do not consume outside the fruit and vegetable categories), and the “milk snobs” (those who just can’t imagine taking milk other than the real fresh-from-the-cow thing).

With the demand in place, people had to find ways on how to enjoy powdered milk without the awful after-effects of dairy; or, to be able to enjoy milk without worrying about the difficulty in storage and transport.

dairy products

Dairy: the root of all problems for the lactose intolerant

The 21st century saw a rise in powdered milk substitutes in the market, and currently, there are seven major categories to choose from. These seven categories are the following: almond milk, coconut milk, flax milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk, and soy milk.

The nutritional values of all seven categories can be found in the table below. As you will see,soy has the most protein, followed by oat, then hemp. As for fat, coconut and hemp both share the top spot with the highest percentage per gram, followed by soy. When we talk about calcium, almond and coconut both emerge as the winners, followed by oat.

Calorie, Protein, Total Fat, and Calcium comparison table for powdered milk substitutes

Calorie, Protein, Total Fat, and Calcium comparison table for powdered milk substitutes

Image Credit: Food and Nutrition

But did you know that there is one more powdered milk substitute that can beat many of the other alternatives available in the market? Some may scratch their head thinking, “This is impossible!” But it’s true. We’ve tried it, and we love it.

So What’s This Powdered Milk Substitute You Don’t Know About?

Have you ever heard of this “complete meal grain” dubbed as the “New Health Food Superstar”?

Quinoa: considered one of the superfoods in the world

Quinoa: considered one of the superfoods in the world

Quinoa, that’s right!

Pronounced as kinwa, Quinoa is originally from the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile where it has been grown for a little over 4,000 years ago. Once an endemic grain for these regions, cultivation has now spread out to the United States, particularly Colorado’s San Luis Valley, France, England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Spain.

Bolivia: still by and large the largest producer of quinoa in the world

Bolivia: still by and large the largest producer of quinoa in the world

Image Credit: United Nations

There is every reason why quinoa is now used as a powdered milk substitute, and the reasons are highlighted below:

1. Quinoa is a complete meal.

We always hear of people saying “Dairy milk is a complete meal.” Well, wait until they try quinoa! Quinoa is not only rich in protein, it is also a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Find quinoa’s nutritional value chart below and be blown away by what it has to offer:

Quinoa milk beats dairy milk any day

Quinoa milk beats dairy milk any day Image Credit: USDA

2. Quinoa has more protein than dairy milk (#3 will make you love it).

While dairy milk has 3.2 grams of protein per 100 grams of serving, quinoa has 4.4 grams of protein with the same serving. It is also a more balanced source of protein because it’s far from the threats of artificial proteins being injected on cows and bovines.

The original “Got milk” commercial: it should have said, “Got Quinoa?”

3. Quinoa helps you lose weight.

With just 120 calories per 100-gram serving, and a rich source of protein and complex carbohydrates, it is no surprise that quinoa can help you lose weight. It is low in the glycemic index, meaning, it does not raise blood sugar quickly. This is good for your insulin levels so you do not develop the fight-and-flight mode with your body, giving it the balance it needs.

With quinoa now available as milk, you can do so much things with it, such as baking desserts and mixing smoothies. Now, losing weight has gone more exciting with quinoa milk at hand!

The versatile quinoa milk used in making these yummy brownies

The versatile quinoa milk used in making these yummy brownies Image Credit: quinoa.com

4. Quinoa is gluten-free.

These days, the gluten-free lifestyle isn’t just confined to people with celiac disease. More breakthrough researches have proven that gluten is one of the key links to answering the puzzles of obesity, lifestyle-induced heart disease, and diabetes. A gluten-thyroid connection also keeps showing up in different medical researches, proving that gluten plays a big role in thyroid, gut and sugar problems.

To replace wheat and rice with quinoa, therefore, is a wise move to try. You can try going on a gluten-free diet for at least three months and see what wonders this change can do for you.

How to cook Coconut-Quinoa Milk Porridge: a healthier protein-rich alternative to any rice porridge

5. Quinoa is rich in riboflavin.

With 0.11 mg (9%) of riboflavin (also called Vitamin B2) per 100 grams of serving, quinoa is one of the best sources of this vitamin. Compared with salmon, kidney beans, and cod, quinoa even has a higher riboflavin content considering it is a grain. Riboflavin helps keep the body’s metabolism in sync, and aids in the regrowth and repair of tissues and cells in the body. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for male adults is 1.3 mg; and for female adults, 1.1 mg.

The best way to reap quinoa’s riboflavin benefits is to have it in liquid form. This way, you get more than the 0.11 mg riboflavin content per 100 grams.

Here is a tutorial on how to make your homemade quinoa milk:

A homemade quinoa milk? Yes, it’s possible!

6. Quinoa milk is lactose-free (#7 will make you want to have it now)

Especially common among Asian and African populations, lactose, the protein found in dairy products, is difficult to digest because of these groups’ genetic ancestry. When dairy is consumed by people with lactose intolerance, they experience acid reflux, bloating, abdominal pains, diarrhea and headache.

This being said, it is no surprise why watered-down and non-dairy powdered milk substitutes are very popular in these regions. Quinoa milk can be a good source of protein and amino acids for those with lactose intolerance, because not only is it safe for them, it is also more nutrient-rich than dairy.

Found below is a graph of which populations are most affected by lactose intolerance. The clear winner is Asians, followed by indigenous populations, then Africans. Caucasians are the least affected by dairy sensitivity.

Lactose intolerance distribution among ethnic populations

Lactose intolerance distribution among ethnic populations

Image Credit: Lactaid

7. Quinoa helps prevent acne

Dairy milk has a reputation of causing acne. While we now know that this highly depends on the quality of the milk source, there are also some studies that prove dairy, whatever the source, causes acne breakouts in some people.

Switching to quinoa prevents anyone’s further exposure to cow milk contamination, which owes largely to the many antibiotics and hormones used in dairy farm production. Quinoa, part of the lower chain in the production-consumption cycle, is not as exposed to contamination compared to other grains and animal sources. That quinoa helps prevent acne just goes to show that the quality of what we eat makes a big difference on the quality of our lifestyle—and looks.

The journey to acne freedom all starts with the plate

The journey to acne freedom all starts with the plate

Image Credit: Youtube.com

Quinoa Milk: Surprising No More

There you have it: seven reasons why quinoa milk is a good powdered milk substitute for your daily, baking and dietary needs. There are healthy alternatives to dairy milk; and quinoa, the most surprising alternative of all, is one of the best options you have.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the list as much as we enjoyed creating it. Please feel free to share the article if you’ve enjoyed it; and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to put your comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Tiffany Watts

I'm a writer, a mother of two lovely little girls. I love cooking, reading, blogging, and spending time with my family. Follow me on Twitter.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments

I never would have thought of substituting powdered milk for quinoa! I also didn’t know that quinoa had so many amazing health benefits. I obviously knew it was good for you to a certain extent, but I had no idea it could help prevent acne or help you lose weight. These are all such amazing benefits. Unfortunately, I don’t eat much of it, but after reading this I definitely think I’ll be changing that. So helpful!


Love every part of this post, very eye-opening, I got captivated when I saw another substitute for powdered milk but couldn’t believe it to be true but after following the instruction it is the best. I have not heard of Quinoa before and I don’t really it has all this great characteristics. You just revealed all the information needed which people a not ready to show women like us. I must appreciate your effort so far, nice written tutorial here…..Keep up the good work!


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