I have fallen in love with raw milk. It tastes so much better than processed milk. Raw milk is not pasteurized or homogenized. Because the milk is not homogenized, the cream will separate from the milk. Also, pasteurization or homogenization changes the flavor of the milk so the milk does not taste as good. Homogenization breaks up the fat cells.

I buy three quarts of milk at a time. As I use the first quart, the cream is well mixed in the milk. By the time I open the second and third quart, the cream has separated from the milk and settled at the top of the bottle. How do I keep the cream from separating? I suppose I could shake each quart each day, but that is more trouble than it is worth.

Once the cream has separated, it requires a lot more effort than shaking to get the cream to mix back in. I have to stick a knife through the opening at the top and break up the cream. Then, I have to shake vigorously.

  • You could get the milk homogenized. Which, as I understand it, is just shaking it up to break up the fat particles so they remain dispersed in the milk.
    – The Photon
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 22:30
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    If shaking is more trouble than it's worth, then basically raw milk is more trouble than it's worth. There was a time when there was no such thing as homogenization, so you're kinda going back to that time. The main difference being your milk isn't delivered to your doorstep in the morning. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 23:05
  • 2
    @ThePhoton for real homogenization (fat broken up in very small particles to stay permanently suspended) you need equipment the average household doesn't have.
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 5:28
  • The problem with homogenization is that it changes the taste of the milk. Unhomogenized milk tastes much better. This is why I switched to raw milk.
    – Nathan
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 15:11
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    @JamesMcLeod Excellent point! You are right. I only compared raw milk to milk that is pasteurized and homogenized. I did not compare to milk that was only pasteurized or homogenized but not both. I edited the question to remove blaming homogenization for changing the flavor.
    – Nathan
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 0:16

4 Answers 4


A very quick option is to buy less milk at a time - unless there's a very specific reason to by in bulk, picking up a quart only when you're ready to use it may solve the problem, since it seems mixed when you buy it. Additionally, raw milk has a shorter shelf life than pasteurized, so buying fresh may be better anyway.

If you did have a reason to buy in bulk, you might try mixing the whole (separated) quart when you first open it, and perhaps every few days when using. Shaking may take more effort, but pouring into a container and using, say, an immersion blender may very quickly mix the milk well enough to keep for a few days while using.

If you get hold of a little milk frother (works kinda like a very very tiny immersion blender) it may be useful to mix the milk still in its container, at least as long as the liquid is high enough to be reached.

Another possibility, one I've no idea if it will work or not, is that depending on the shape of the milk containers, you might be able to stand them on their heads, say, every other day. Cream rises upwards, having that upwards change direction every so often might keep the cream in suspension longer without requiring a lot of physical effort. I've heard it works to keep peanut butter from separating (even on longer timescales, flipping once per week or month), but then peanut butter is so thick and the timescale it takes to separate so much longer I'm not sure if milk will work the same way.

I don't recall how long this kind of mixing will stay un-separated - I tended to shake just before use and that was effective enough for me - but it may help, even if you have to do it periodically.

  • The milk comes out the cow with the cream and milk mixed well together. When I buy the milk, the milk came out of the cow that same day. As for shelf life, the raw milk will last about 2-3 weeks. I will look into flipping the milk.
    – Nathan
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 15:58
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    Raw milk lasting 2-3 weeks? Seriously?
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 21:23
  • @Stephie I do not know if the milk lasts 3 weeks every time, but this last time I bought the milk and it did not develop any funny taste until 3 weeks later.
    – Nathan
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 14:49
  • I am able to lay the milk jugs on their side. This spreads the cream out and makes it easy to shake the cream back into the milk.
    – Nathan
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 15:13

Homogenization is the process that breaks down fat particles in milk so that they will not separate. The least expensive hand-held homogenizer I found on Amazon is over $700US. I would say your options are (a) buy a homogenizer, (b) agitate your milk regularly, (c) buy less milk more often, (d) skim off the cream and use in another way, or (e) ignore the separation.

  • Homogenization changes the flavor of the milk and practically the whole point of buying raw milk. So, option a is out. The other options are good ideas.
    – Nathan
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 15:55
  • @Nathan all options, including homogenization, either change the taste of the milk, or do not prevent the cream from separating, making them not really meet the requirements you described in the question. "Agitate regularly" is just a homebrew version of homogenization, which does not really prevent the separation very well, but to the extent it does, it works exactly like industrial homogenization, resulting in the same type of taste change.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 20:06
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    You may have better luck storing the milk on its side. The cream will have much more surface area, making it easier to break up during a quick shake.
    – Derrick
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 23:55

If the cream had turned to a solid then you buying to much at a time as it takes time for it to change form a liquid to a solid that requires you to use a knife or something to stir

  • Do you actually know of a way to prevent the cream/milk from seperating? Or is your "answer" to buy a smaller quantity more frequently? How long does it take to seperate (you seem to know)?
    – elbrant
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 1:08

A good way to homogenize milk is to store the milk bottle on its side (as long as it is done early enough), the fat will stick to the side of the milk (or now the top, whichever way you look at it) then when ready to use just give it a good shake. A 1 minute shake should result in completely homogenized milk (fridge must be cold!).

  • That's what I do now. I shake it vigorously to mix the cream back in and it will separate over time.
    – Nathan
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 16:51

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