How to Make Unpasteurized Milk Safe to Drink at Home


Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high temperature in order to kill bacteria such as Escherichia coli, listeria or campylobacter. Some individuals such as the elderly, young children, immunocompromised patients and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to food contamination. Pasteurizing raw milk at home doesn’t require any special equipment or expertise. Several common kitchen utensils provide the means to heat milk to proper temperatures necessary to eliminate potentially dangerous microorganisms.

Things You'll Need

  • Raw milk
  • Medium size pot
  • Large heat-resistant glass bowl
  • Clean jar
  • Fill the pot one-third full of water and bring to a rolling boil.

  • Place the glass bowl over the pot of boiling water and fill it with milk. Use a clean metal spoon to stir the milk constantly, ensuring it heats evenly. The boiling water should not touch the bowl, it is the steam that will heat the bowl of milk and not the water.

  • Monitor the temperature of the milk using a candy thermometer. Once the milk reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain it at that temperature for 15 seconds, which is sufficient for home pasteurization, according to Oregon State University.

  • Set the bowl of milk into a sink filled halfway with ice water. Stir the milk, replacing the water as necessary, until it cools completely.

  • Pour the milk into a clean jar or pitcher and refrigerate immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Heating the milk in a double boiler will prevent the milk from scorching and help it to heat evenly.

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