Skip to Content

Clabber Milk-What It Is, Why You Should Eat It And How To Make It

I may receive commission if you purchase through links in this post.

Learn all about the health benefits of Clabber Milk and how to make it.


What Is Clabber Milk?

Clabber milk is a naturally fermented milk product that can be eaten raw or used in recipes.

It also has a little leavening power all on its own so it’s great to add to baked goods.

Raw cow’s milk is full of naturally occurring beneficial Lactic Acid Bacteria and when that bacteria is supported with a warm environment it will ferment the milk creating something similar to a cross between yogurt and kefir. Eventually, if left to ferment long enough the clabber milk will separate into curds and whey.

Fermenting or souring milk is VERY different than having milk spoil. Spoiled milk only occurs if the beneficial bacteria found in clean raw cow’s milk has been killed by pasteurization thus allowing mold spores or other contaminants to flourish.

In a fermented milk product the Lactic Acid Bacteria have soured the milk with the lactic acids they produce while consuming lactose. The higher acidity of the souring process keeps other microbes (that can be harmful to humans) from forming. It is very important that you use only high quality raw milk from clean grass fed cows when making clabber milk.


Clabber Milk-What It Is, Why You Should Eat It And How To Make It

Clabber milk with honey


Why Should I Eat Clabber Milk?

In Harold McGee’s book On Food And Cooking, The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen he elaborates on “The Health Benefits of Fermented Milks” stating:

The standard industrial yogurt and buttermilk bacteria are specialized to grow well in milk and can’t survive inside the human body. But other bacteria found in traditional, spontaneously fermented milk-Lactobacillus fermentum, L. casei, and L. brevis, for example-as well as L. planetarium from pickled vegetables, and the intestinal native L. acidophilus, do take up residence in us. Particular strains of these bacteria variously adhere to and shield the intestinal wall, secrete antibacterial compounds, boost the body’s immune response to particular disease microbes, dismantle cholesterol and cholesterol-consuming bile acids, and reduce the production of potential carcinogens.

Mr. McGee makes a good case for eating a variety of fermented foods other than commercially produced products.

Making Clabber Milk

The process is very simple.

Start by sterilizing a glass jar and lid in boiling water.  to do so, fill your jar with hot tap water to avoid shattering the glass with the heat difference. Add the lid directly to the pan of boiling water, empty the jar of the warm water and pour boiling water into the warmed jar and let it sit for a few minutes. Empty the jar and air dry the lid and jar on a clean towel. Let the jar and lid cool completely before using.

Add your raw milk to the sterilized jar and secure the lid loosely.

Ferment your raw milk at room temperature until the milk sours and starts to separate. This can take between 1-5 days depending on the age of the milk, the temperature in your home and the natural bacteria in the milk itself.

When the clabber has solidified it can then be skimmed of the clotted cream, used for baking, eaten like yogurt, or it can be strained to separate the curds from the whey.

After straining the clabber the whey can be used as a starter for any lacto-fermented project from veggies to grains and is especially useful for starting a new batch of clabber milk. Using a tablespoon of clabber whey in the new batch of milk will speed the fermentation process along considerably. The curds will thicken and sweeten with straining and take on a cream cheese like texture.

If you loved learning about Clabber Milk you might want to learn everything about Sourdough!

Start with this free guide,

Demystifying Sourdough – Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Sourdough Starter – Why It’s Better For You – And How To Start One

Sourdough starter that is active and fresh makes wonderful artisan bread!



Easy Homemade Classic Caesar Dressing
Easy Classic Caesar Dressing-With Simple Salad Instructions
Dutch Oven Whole Chicken With Root Vegetables And Mushrooms
Dutch Oven Whole Chicken With Root Vegetables And Mushrooms


Thursday 14th of January 2021

My grandmother used to let her cream clabber before she made butter, why?

Butter For All

Sunday 17th of January 2021

Hi Connie,

Just as you see cultured butter in fancy shops now, clabbered butter has a depth of flavor, is nutritionally superior, and has a longer shelf life. She was probably acting off of a traditional wisdom passed down through the generations. Clabbered cream may also turn to butter faster than sweet cream. When you have to make it by hand, this could influence the technique.

Hope that helps answer your question!



Sunday 29th of November 2020

Hi Courtney, I clobbered some raw cream last week before I found your post today. The problem is that I did not use a sterilized jar. It was clean but I did not put the boiling water in it before using. I have had it in the refrigerator since it clabbered trying to decide how to use it. Do you think it is safe to consume?


Monday 30th of November 2020

@Butter For All, Thank you for your response. It actually smells and looks okay and I took a tiny taste and it tasted good. I make raw milk kefir smoothies every morning so I may use it to make the cream cheese..sounds good!

Butter For All

Monday 30th of November 2020

Hi Beth!

I can't really advise without seeing it myself. BUT, If it doesn't smell or taste off, and there are no visible signs of contamination, it should be ok. I always trust my nose on this one. You can use it in smoothies, cultured Ice Cream, or even strain it to make cultured cream cheese!

Hope these ideas help,



Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Hello! How long and where can I keep the strained whey for the next batch of clabber milk? And also, how can I use the clotted cream? Is it similar to sour cream? The milk I got recently has a very thick layer of cream on top so I wouldn't want to waste it :)

Butter For All

Thursday 8th of October 2020

Hi Natalia,

You would keep whey in a clean jar in the refrigerator. It will last many weeks, but will eventually get very strong and alcoholic. Correct, clotted cream can be used just like sour cream, on berries, in smoothies, ice cream, butter, etc. Or you can skim the cream prior to clabbering and use it sweet. Hope that helps!



Saturday 26th of September 2020

We buy raw cow milk. The other day someone left the fridge door ajar overnight (the fridge is on our front porch) and the milk was warm by morning. We put it in another fridge to cool back down, but found that after 5-7 days, it is a turning bitter and separating. I thought this was the beginning of it clabbering. After reading though and seeing that it should be left out for several days, I am wondering if its doing something different. I'd love to still use it (there were 5 gallons in the fridge...). Any help would be appreciated.

Butter For All

Sunday 27th of September 2020

Hi Vicki!

It does sound like it's clabbering, but I imagine it's just taking longer in the cooler temp. You could try gently heating it until the curd separates from the whey giving you cottage cheese. You can use it in baked goods, and it makes great animal feed. The problem with clabber is you never know which bacteria are proliferating, just make sure you trust your nose on this one. If it smells off and makes your stomach turn it isn't good to drink. If it smells tart and sour, like yogurt, then it is probably fine. This is why I generally sour my milk with a continuous yogurt culture, I've found I get better more consistent results that way. But I understand you had no choice in the matter this time... I sure hope you don't have to dump all that milk! Wishing you the best, Courtney

Johney Freeman

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Enjoyed all of your great knowledge and comments on clabbered milk. Thanks

Butter For All

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Thanks, Johney! Happy to hear it 😊