If you’ve ever had a Malteaser, you’ll already be familiar with this delicious but sometimes elusive powder, which brings a sweet and nutty flavor to your baked goods and adds some well-needed crunch when you’re making candy.
Invented in England by the Horlick brothers in 1873, who immigrated to Wisconsin and brought malted milk powder to the USA, it started off serving as a supplement for the sick and has gradually found its way into many popular recipes worldwide.
Most famously, it’s the primary ingredient in a classic soda shop treat, the malted milkshake, which is likely where you’ll recognize it from. Here are five of our favorites available right now, available in different sizes to suit a variety of needs.
Malted milk powder is a nostalgic, versatile, and delicious ingredient that has been a staple in pantries for generations. Traditionally made from a mixture of sprouted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated whole milk, this versatile powder offers a distinctive, malty flavor. Its unique taste and properties make it an ideal addition to both sweet and savory dishes - from classic milkshakes, cookies, and pancakes, to rich, comforting soups and stews.
In recent years, interest in malted milk powders has been rekindled, leading to the introduction of numerous brands and varieties on the market. Each product offers its own unique blend of ingredients, flavors, and textures suited to different uses and personal preferences. In this article, we'll explore some of the best malted milk powders available today, examining their qualities, pros, and cons, to help you make an informed choice when selecting the perfect malted milk powder for your culinary needs.
Peruse our handy Buyer’s Guide for more information on exactly what this mysterious, delicious powder is, as well as to discover some other culinary uses, which could make it a staple in your pantry for years to come. We've tested them all in our kitchen.
You’ll also find answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions from your fellow customers, so if you find yourself with more queries, it’s possible we’ve already solved them for you. As always - bon appetit!
Want To Be Certain You’ll Secure Some Sweetness? Here’s Our Top Pick:
OUR TOP PICK
Reminiscent of the good old days, this malted milk powder from Soda Fountain is available in three sizes: 1lb, 2.5lb, and 0.63lb, arriving in a resealable tub that keeps everything fresh. Consistent 5-star ratings secured this one our number one spot.
Containing just five basic ingredients - Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Extract Dry Whole Milk, Sucrose, Salt, and Sodium Bicarbonate - with no additives, it revives those classic malt shop flavors without succumbing to excessive amounts of sugar.
Unlike Ovaltine or Carnation powders, the natural ingredients used mean it doesn’t dissolve naturally in plain milk, so you might want to invest in a milk frother if you’re planning on having some sweetened bedtime beverages.
You’ll also find that recipe for a basic vanilla malt, traditional style, is included right there on the canister, ensuring you get the perfect ratio of ingredients to enjoy the classic as it should be made.
Who needs Google with this thoughtfulness!
- Great malty flavor, ideal for shakes
- Multiple sizes to suit your needs
- Resealable container to maintain freshness
- Difficult to dissolve in milk as is
If you’re really keen on reliving your childhood milkshake fantasy, invest in 1.5lbs of old-fashioned malted milk powder from Hoosier Hill farm, bringing its distinctive taste to a whole bunch of recipes in your repertoire
Consisting of barley malt, wheat, milk and just a little pinch of salt, it's a simple recipe that can last for a good long time in your cupboard, so when the mood suddenly strikes you to whip up a malty treat, you’re good to go!
It’s carefully packaged in a resealable plastic jar, completely airtight to preserve freshness on its way to you, direct from northeast Indiana.
Every single HHF product is made fresh there, with wholesome ingredients safe for the whole family to enjoy.
Many customer reviews suggest that, unlike competing brands they have tried, this powder doesn’t lose its flavor over time, and should stay as tasty as it is the first time you open it up.
Be aware that, as with other malted powders, it won’t dissolve in milk!
- Simple ingredients for a long-lasting, delicious product
- Strong malty flavor to bring back fond memories
- An excellent addition to many baked desserts
- Reportedly difficult to blend with milk
Prefer to get your ingredients from common household names?
Check out this malted milk powder from Nestle’s Carnation brand, ideal for blending into milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream sundaes and other traditional favorites.
Made from kosher dairy, with less than a hundred calories per serving (three tablespoons), it’s also an excellent addition to cookies, cakes and pancakes, and can even be used as part of dietary compliance therapy.
Containing only wheat flour, malted barley extracts, dry whole milk, salt and sodium bicarbonate, a deceptively basic recipe makes for a surprisingly rich flavor.
Do bear in mind that it’s made using equipment that also processes soy, if you’re allergic!
With a shelf life of up to 450 days inside it's easy to stack and shelf-stable sealed can - provided you store it in a cool, dry place - you’ll have it on hand for whenever the mood strikes you or your loved ones.
- From a brand with over 100 years of experience
- More than a year of shelf life
- Delicious and kosher friendly
- Will only mix into milk if blended
Promising to deliver a classic malt flavor that actually mixes well into your milk, Ovaltine mix is not just tasty, but a great source of more than 12 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including iron, zinc and vitamins A, C, D and E.
Despite a few more ingredients to help the dissolving process and strengthen the taste, there are no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and it has a third less sugar than the leading syrup brand when prepared in a cup of milk.
You’ll find this doesn’t just taste wonderful in hot or cold milk, but it also works wonderfully in baked goods and sprinkled over rice milk.
And vegans rejoice! This powder mixes great in soy, almond and rice milk, so you can join in too.
Their new design utilizes less packaging but offers the same great seal, whilst retaining its previous number of servings; if you’re determined to stock up through the long hard winter, you can even get a pack of six tubs.
- Flavorful AND dissolves easily in hot or cold milk
- Amazing addition to your baking
- No artificial preservatives or flavors
- More sugar than competing brands
Delivering the key ingredient in those memorable malted milkshakes, this powder from King Arthur Baking Company (who have rebranded, hence the varied packaging!) is great blended into drinks to achieve that diner-style sweetness.
In a cute little resealable plastic jar, it stays fresher for longer and won’t go stale once opened, with just six ingredients responsible for such a distinctive and concentrated malty flavor! No additives or preservatives here!
As a 100% employee-owned business and also a founding B Corporation, you’re supporting a traditional, homegrown brand that provides quality products. It might cost a little more than competing brands, but the investment is worth it if you can.
Where competing manufacturers dilute their malted milk powders with a whole lot of added sugar, King Arthur prioritize their malted barley, for a deeper, richer flavor. You can tell because it retains that classic pale yellow color!
- Arrives in convenient reusable plastic container
- Can be added to shakes AND bakes - versatile
- From an indie business that you can rely on
- Pricier than other offerings on our list
Best Malted Milk Powders Buying Guide
What Is Malted Milk Powder?
Fine in consistency and light-yellow in color, malted milk powder has a mellow flavor, exuding natural sweetness and a nutty aftertaste.
Where does the malt come from? It’s typically a grain that has been sprouted and quick-dried.
This grain, typically barley, is then ground down to a powder, serving as a base to which milk powder and wheat flour are also added.
Manufacturers and brands have their own ingredients lists, some choosing to add sugar, preservatives or flavorings.
You’ll typically find it by the powdered milk in your local supermarket, though the official Horlicks brand (popularised as a nighttime milky drink in the United Kingdom) is very difficult to find in the US.
If you opt for the branded Ovaltine, or the more widely distributed Nestle Carnation brand, be sure you choose the type that’s clearly labeled as “malt”, otherwise you could end up with plain sweetened milk powder!
Much as MSG serves to add a kick of umami to a savory dish, malted milk is here to do the same for your sweeter foods and desserts, as well as providing the malty kick in the brewing of certain beers, like darker lagers and pale English brown ale.
Malted Milk In The Kitchen - A Myriad Of Uses
If you’re whipping up a batch of frosting or buttercream, adding flavored malted milk powders (chocolate and vanilla are your best bet) can intensify the flavor and do some of the work of sugar, so you can use a little less!
When whipping up bread, cookies, cakes and other baked goods, a good dash of malted milk powder adds a whole new dimension of flavor, bringing out the sweeter aspects of each dish and cutting through them with some additional richness.
One of the most common uses for malted milk is adding it to your favorite milkshake, usually two or three teaspoons’ worth, for a creamier, nuttier flavor, or to amp up a hot chocolate or chocolate milk.
You can also make a delightful bedtime drink by stirring some of the powder into a cup of warm milk, especially enhanced if you have the chocolate kind, and it has the added bonus of helping to make you feel sleepy if you struggle to drift off.
To broaden your ice cream horizons or amp up some plain vanilla, you could sprinkle some straight on top of your sundae, and introduce your kids (and grandkids, and so on) to the soda shop flavors you remember fondly from childhood. The malted milk ball of your youth has turned into malt milk powder in your kitchen. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use milk powder instead of malted milk powder?
Malted milk powder actually contains milk powder itself, so it can usually be substituted with a plain milk powder, yes.
It does mean, however, that you’ll miss out on the nutty flavor, but it shouldn’t impact the stability of your recipe.
Be aware that this doesn’t work in reverse, so if a recipe calls for milk powder, we wouldn’t recommend substituting with malted milk powder.
You’re free to do what you like, of course, but it might not work out very well!
Is malted milk healthy?
You might be surprised, but malted milk powder is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which certainly boosts your immune system and helps you to access all of the good stuff you need to function as part of a balanced diet.
Be careful not to opt for an especially sugary brand (each will differ in the amount of sugar they add to their powders) as this can prove counterproductive to the healthful benefits that malt powder combined with powdered milk can offer.
How can you stop malted milk powder from going hard?
You’re going to want to keep it in a sealed container, airtight and preventing the chemical reaction that causes it to form one solid mass.
Most powders will arrive in a container like this, so don’t transfer it to a different one unless it’s equally as good.
For added protection, place the whole thing in a sealed ziplock bag, and be sure to store in a cool, dry cupboard for as long as you have it.
Exposure to moisture and sunlight will cause those lumps you’re trying to avoid!
Malted Milk Powders: Our Best 5 Picks
- Soda Fountain Malted Milk Powder - 1lb Canister
- Hoosier Hill Farm Old Fashioned Malted Milk Powder - 1.5lb
- Nestle Carnation Malted Milk Mix - 40 oz can
- Ovaltine Classic Malt Flavored Milk Mix 12 oz
- King Arthur Flour Malted Milk Powder - 12 Ounces Packaging May Vary
Use in or with your favorite recipe.