How to Make Gjetost Cheese with Leftover Whey

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

gjetost cheese

My friend Mary recently mentioned to me that she was drowning in whey.

She had a gallon or two of raw milk that had soured and she wisely decided to allow it to naturally separate on the kitchen counter.   She then strained the clabbered milk into cream cheese and whey.

The raw cream cheese could be blended with a bit of maple syrup and strawberries to make a lovely raw spread for a morning bagel, but what about all that whey?

Some of the whey could be used for fermenting probiotic loaded vegetables and fruits but Mary said she had so much, there was no chance she would use all of it for that purpose.


In cases where you have a lot of whey to use up and no idea what to use it for, try making the traditional Norwegian gjetost cheese (pronounced “yay-toast”).

This simple cheese is made by boiling down whey for a number of hours until it is reduced to a quarter or less of its original volume.  When the gjetost cheese is almost ready with the whey almost boiled down, you add some cream to enhance the smoothness and flavor.

Believe it or not, that is all there is to it!   Gjetost cheese tastes somewhat like cultured butter with some cheddar overtones and can be served as a sauce for pasta similar to an alfredo sauce.

You can also use gjetost cheese to flavor vegetables or enhance the flavor of soups.

The idea is to boil it down to the desired consistency for the appropriate culinary use.

You may use the whey from either cow or goat milk to make your gjetost cheese.  Know that if you make it from goat whey which is the traditional way to do it, it will definitely taste a bit goaty.

Gjetost Cheese

Makes about 1 pint of gjetost cheese


1/2 gallon whey (the fresher the better – NOT whey left over from cheesemaking)

1/2 cup cream


Pour the whey into a large pan and bring to a low boil.  Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours stirring frequently until the whey has been reduced to the texture of thick gravy and is about 1 pint in volume.

* This is a great task to start right after breakfast and it will be done by lunchtime.

Stir in cream and continue to simmer stirring often until desired consistency is reached.

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.   Blend the gjetost cheese with a stick blender to enhance creaminess and serve immediately as a pasta sauce or pour into containers to refrigerate for later use.

Gjetost cheese will last for about 1 month in the refrigerator.

More Information

How to Make Ricotta Cheese
How to Make Whey and Cream Cheese
Cheesemaking:  Common Problems and Solutions
How to Make Yogurt Cheese
Perfect Cottage Cheese


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit


Comments (83)

  1. Hello. I used whey leftover from batches of yogurt I make from pasteurized skim milk I get from the grocery store. The product I ended up with is so terribly salty, I don’t think that it is consumable. Any ideas?? I am wondering if I should try to reduce it some more because it is still very thin. I used half gallon whey and when it had reduced almost down to 1 cup or so, I added the cream.

    I cannot get over the saltiness of the flavor. I’m thinking of pitching it out, but it would be a waste.

    Any ideas of what I can do?

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. Thanks for the simple recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I hear it’s excellent on waffles. Use whey in place of buttermilk in your waffles, and you shouldn’t be drowning in whey anymore!

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  4. Can you put it on super high fire to make it eveporate really fast?? I can keep stirring it non stop to prevent scorching :-)

  5. Why shouldn’t you use whey that was the by product of making cheese? I make a simple farm cheese by heating my raw milk to 190-200F, then I put about a half a cup of apple cider vinegar in it and it makes a lovely cheese for lasagna, etc. I have plenty of whey left over and was going to try this recipe, but you specifically say NOT leftover from cheese making. Why?

    • i wonder the same thing because i made this out of the whey i had used from making cheese..
      I made mozzeralla then with the whey heated it back to 200 degrees and got some ricotta out of it THEN put it back on the stove and made This above cheese. My only issue is it was very sour. But i assumed it was because it was unpasturized goats milk that sat in the freezer for a year. I have more on the stove right now that was milked from my goat this AM. I already made Cheese and now im making this. Its not as sour but it is still sour. so wondering if thats why… idk

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  7. It is not possible to make gjetost out of cow’s mile, or cream. Why? Because gjetost is made from goats milk, by definition. It is a Norwegian word. In Norsk, a gjet is a goat, and ost is cheese. Gjetost is goat cheese.

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  10. Hmm… the gjetost I’m familiar with is similar to what is described in some of the comments above. Something that can be slides and is carmelized/sweet. (Love it with apples!) Still, this sounds interesting. Might have to give it a try! :-)

  11. Hi, I tried to make this with left over riccotta whey and it tasted great when it was at room temp – creamy. I put it in the fridge and it became grainy and not as great. How can I stop this from happening? eat it straight away?

  12. I made ‘gjetost’ last week with whey left over from making batches of milk kefir ‘cheese’, my resulting product was so salty I had to throw it out,ant ideas what I did wrong? I have been making milk kefir for awhile and love it! I also have growing kombucha and water kefir (which is not my favorite,but, tolerable.

  13. I read that whey (made from clabbered milk) will last about 6 months in the refrigerator. But it already smells sour so what if it smells more sour now that’s it been in there for about 2 months?

    How will I know when it’s bad?

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  15. What would the difference be if I didn’t use the whey from my other cheeses compared to using yogurt whey or my raw milk whey?

  16. I make this using whey from other cheese like mozzarella. I do not understand why you have not from cheese-making?

  17. Since I am a Norwegian, I feel an urge to join the “name-discussion”. Gjeit means Goat, therefore you can’t make Gjeitost from Cows milk. Cheeses made from whey with added cream goes by the name: Fløtemyseost. Fløte = Cream, Myse = Whey, Ost = Cheese. All cheeses made from whey are mostley called “brunost” = Brown cheese, as they all have brown color. “Normal” cheese made from the curds are refered to as “hvitost” or “gulost” = White Cheese or Yellow Cheese. Gjeitost can be both white cheese and brown cheese, dependending on wether it is made from goats milk whey, or goats milk curds.

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  19. How long is the whey good? I make a soft cheese spread with some of the kefir I make & I wasn’t sure what to do with the whey. I froze some & kept some in my fridge. How long is it good in the fridge?

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  22. Thank you MacLaren Scott for replying! Man I sure was worried there they were messed up. I just put them in some fresh milk awhile ago and the little grains are soooo tiny and not holding together like cauliflower. :( BUT it did get really thick but it took more than 24 hours to do so. It is sour to but not to the point like lemons. lol I just HAD to taste it to see how it tasted. Yesterday evening was my 24 hour mark and this morning I woke to some thick mass in the jar. I strained it as best I could with a clean cloth and I had about 3 good tbl. of stuff to put back in the new batch. I tried my best to get all the larger pieces of grains that I could out of the jar. I’ve never even heard of kefir until about 3 weeks ago! I can’t wait to have enough to make cream cheese or other things with it. I put my whey in the jar I used so I could shake it up and get all the goodie out of the jar and then stuck it in the fridge.
    Thank you again for answering my questions! I sure hope my grains get larger soon and start clumping together.

  23. I have a question. I just ordered some kefir grains and this is my first time to do this. I wanted to start making kefir to. When I got my grains yesterday it was a tablespoon of them. They came in a ziplock and I followed the directions to a T. Read them and then REREAD them just to be on the safe side. AFTER I get the stuff in the jar with the two cups of milk and the cover of a coffee filter over it I sit down and look at my receipt that was also sent with the grains. ON the recipe it says to wash the kefir and I was like now the direction page didn’t say anything about washing it NOR did it say to pour off the juice stuff that was in the bag with the grains. :-( So here I have poured the liquid stuff and the grains in my 2 cups of milk. Will it be OK now? That was at 5:20 yesterday evening and my 24 hours will be this evening. I picked the jar up looking at it and it doesn’t appear to be getting thicker. Although I do see a line around the top of the jar that looks a little thick but it’s just on the jar. Also they were put into my mail box and sit out there in that hot mailbox for probably a good 2 hours and they were MEGA HOT when I opened the package. I had NO IDEA when they would come since they said June 13th. I let them cool off on the counter before I added the milk to them.

    • This is not really my place to reply as it is not my blog, but I am a kefir fanatic and make kefir daily from grains that I have had for a long time. Keifr is one of the most forgiving things to make that I have ever experienced. It really doesn’t seem to care about moderate temperature fluctuations, can sit at room temp in my dark cupboard for 2-4 days (winter or summer) and still be just fine, although the longer it sits, the thicker and tangier it gets. If i forget about it for a few days and it gets super thick, I strain out the grains and then plop it into a butter muslin or cheese clothe and let it drip for a bit to make kefir cheese. I have never had the grains make decent kefir after just 24 hrs though – it always takes longer here (7000′ may make a difference). And we keep our house on the cool side. Sometimes I rinse the grains and sometimes I don’t and it has never made a difference. The only thing that reduces it’s potency is making too many batches of coconut kefir in a row, or storing it in water in the fridge for too long. But I have given grains I thought were dead to a friend and she was able to bring them back to life. She split them again and gave them back to me and they are growing like crazy in my fresh, raw goat’s milk. I even shipped grains to Hawaii and that friend says they are doing great. I say give them time and they will be fine. :)

      • Hi MacLaren, Would you be interested in sending me some kefir grains? And do you ship goat’s milk? I am needing either cow or goat milk badly. I am having cow milk shipped from a long distance and the shipping is really hurting my finances. I am in Wyoming . Thank you .

        • Hi Linda,
          I can totally ship kefir grains to you – no problem! But I would not be comfy shipping goat milk as it is raw and I only have one goat. I can not even keep up with the demand of my family’s needs and those of a few local friends. I have found facebook to be a real boon in networking. Here in Taos I would be able to find goat milk quickly by posting it on FB. Can you try that? Send me an email to and we’ll figure out how to get the grains to you.

        • Glad that was OK Sarah. I’m actually shipping some grains off to Linda today. It’s fun to share with strangers. And I am incredibly impressed at how many comments you have received on this post! I hardly ever get comments on my blog! :)

  24. Do you know why you can’t use left over whey from cheese making? Why will it wreck the baby formula? I think I used it when I made formula and never noticed any problem, but if I ever have to use the homemade formula again, I would really like to know why I can’t use the leftover whey from making fresh mozzarella.

  25. I grew up on Gjetost as I am from Norwegian descent. The Gjetost we had was a harder type cheese that had to be sliced and was very creamy in taste and brown in color. What you’re describing is not what we ate.

  26. How long does whey last? For some reason I can’t remember, I had a couple of gallons that soured in the refrigerator almost 2 years ago. I still have them in the back of a second fridge in the garage. They are mostly whey with some solids at the bottom of the gallon. They smell just like fresh whey and I used some in place of buttermilk for pancakes (not soaked) which were great. Has it lost any nutritional value even though it tastes fine and doesn’t cause problems? Would it work for this cheese? Thank you!!

  27. Pavil, the Uber Noob May 14, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I don’t make as much regular whey because of my focus on dairy kefir, however, when I did have a surplus, I simply poured a glass, added salt and pepper, & down the hatch.

    The gjetost-cheese is intriguing, though.

    Pavil, the Uber Noob

  28. Im having real issues now. My husband is butting heads with me with almost everything that has to do with changing our eating habits. We’re starting the GAPS diet and besides him showing little interest in hearing anything Im reading him, he told our 2 yr old he didnt have to drink his stock with dinner if he didnt want to. When I tried to give my son his fish oil my husband said I should stop because our son didnt want it. Yes, its not the most pleasurable thing but its not bad at all and hes already taken it the last 3 days! Our son just felt like being difficult and then my husbands gonna argue with me about all this right in front of the kids! Has anyone else been met with resistance from family, in particular your husband, when trying to implement all these new things into your diet?? This is rough!

    • Definitely a difficult situation. I would suggest a private conversation after the kids have gone to bed where you can come to some sort of a compromise about it. The absolute hardest thing to deal with when trying to heal with food is resistance from a spouse.

    • I have been looking to this lately, as I’m just starting cheese making, and *ALL* the other recipes I found made the assumption that you WERE starting with whey left over from making cheese. Some even discussed the fact that different types of cheeses leave slightly different whey, and will result in flavor variations.

      One site even suggested making your cheese (like Chevre), then making Ricotta from your leftover whey, THEN making gjetost from the whey leftover from THAT!

  29. Happy to see this as I adore Gjetost. Tried it tonight with 1 gallon of fresh whey left from today’s batch of goat chevre. Got the entire gallon to reduce down to 1 pint, with a splash of cream, and it is still quite thin in texture. Not at all gravy like. Any thoughts? And how might I get it to the dark ochre, hard block I buy in the market?
    Thanks for your post!

    • To get the dark stuff you need to have the caramelized milk solids which would result in a sweet end result.

      If your pint was still too thin, keep reducing it down. You said you added a splash of cream, try a bit more … a full 1/2 cup.

        • Oh dear, now I am confused. How do you end up with whey (fresh or stored) unless it is leftover from cheesemaking? I can get whey from my kefir and yogurt making, but not as much.

          Tasted the gjetost last night and it tasted like I had dumped a 1/4 cup of salt in! INTENSE. Not at all good (although I could discern some hint of the gjetost blocks I buy). And still thin after refrigerating. I’ll try again with more cream and reduce further, but I am afraid of even more saltiness with further reduction. Makes me wonder how much salt is in my goat’s feed as I NEVER add salt to my chevre. BLECK! But I am determined….

          Thanks for your response!

  30. I pay twice as much for raw milk as it costs to buy pasteurized milk at the grocery store. Before we started eating real food, my family and I had some issues with allergies and autoimmune disorders, so just to be on the safe side I make all of our milk into yoghurt. We end up with quite a bit of whey left over, especially when I drain it into Greek style yoghurt. Because it’s so expensive, I never throw my whey away. I’ve recently added grain back into our diet by fermenting it into sourdough bread, so I use some whey to make up the bread. And as others have mentioned, I keep a jar of whey in the fridge to add to my homemade condiments to ferment them. Sometimes the whey jar gets full (it’s a half gallon jar), so I will leave it to collect and try this recipe. Thank you! Regardless of whether or not it’s traditional gjetost cheese, it sounds lovely and I’m sure my children will love it!

    I’m so grateful for your blog!!!

    • Hi Louise,

      I make homemade bread from freshly milled flour all the time. Can you tell me how you use the whey leftover from yogurt cheese to make sourdough bread. I’m so intrigued! I would live to try it. I, too, make homemade yogurt and strain it sometimes for yogurt cheese spread. I’ve used leftover whey to cook with chicken and such, but haven’t tried it with veggies, for condiments, or bread making. I know you posted this over three years ago, but I’m hoping you might see my comment. Thanks!

    • Late to the party, but I just made a batch yesterday in my slow cooker. It’s hot hot here so I didn’t want to cook in the house. It took 12 hours to get reduced down, but worked just fine. I finished the cooking on the stove top to get to the desired consistency which took about 15 minutes. I like it soft and creamy and served with fruit. Or on my spoon. :-)

  31. Gjete – goat ost – cheese. I have had many varations of it, when I lived in Norway, and all of them used goat milk. Very tasty, but strong.

  32. Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook May 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I make yogurt almost everyday as well as clabbered milk and aside from using the whey to make kimchi and fermented ketchup, I find myself drowning in whey also.

  33. Perfect timing on this post! Recently, I’ve started making my own greek yogurt with raw milk which is awesome but I’m accumulating more whey than I know what to do with. I’m beginning to experiment with soaking rice & grains, your Lacto-Fer Lemonade and condiments! Can you provide other uses of whey? Is safe to put in smoothies for added protein? Soups? Broth? I ditto Linda’s comment, YOU HAVE CHANGED MY HEALTH & LIFE!

  34. Where did this come from? Gjetost cheese is a sweet almost caramel tasting brown cheese made of GOAT milk, whey, and cream. It shouldn’t be liquid at all and definitely doesn’t taste like butter. I don’t know what you made because it’s not even prim. Gjetost is very specific. At the very least, you should find out what it is that YOU made so people won’t go running around calling it gjetost . . . which it definitely is not. Just like you call that stuff you make ‘cream cheese’, when it isn’t. Well, part of it may be. Just not all.

      • The result is not liquid at all if you choose to cook it way down. It is of course, your choice how you want the consistency to be which you control with the cooking time.

        I prefer a more sauce-like cheese. I learned this from a cheese class I took years ago. It is also called whey cheese (but that name is really boring wouldn’t you agree :)) and there are a number of other names from other countries.

  35. My past experience with Gjetost cheese was at a cheese tasting class in Home Ec studies. It was a hard slicing cheese and had a sweet cartelized taste. Unusual taste for cheese but I liked it very much. Is this sweet or carmelized in taste?

  36. I have a question …. I almost said a ‘stupid’ question but then no question is ever stupid right? How can i get just the cream out of my plastic jugs of raw milk?

      • Oh my gosh thank you Sarah! That’s almost a ‘duh’ question. I just didn’t think of it myself. Thanks for all the wonderful things you do and how you have literally changed my life! :)

        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

          No worries :) We are all in the process of relearning this wisdom that our grandparents knew as easily as tying their shoes. We have all gotten very dumbed down when it comes to food in the past 70 years or so.

      • I prefer a different method. I wait to see the cream and milk separate, then I use a thumbtack and punch 3-4 holes at the bottom, i take off the lid and I put it over a glass jar, and watch the milk stream out. As soon as it starts to drip it is the cream, or you can see the cream line has made it all the way down. Then I take off the lid and pour the cream out.

    • I remember as a child watching my Grandma strain her fresh milk through a cloth (like a tea towel or thin cloth diaper or something of that sort. It was much thicker than cheese cloth with a much tighter weave, but it didn’t have loops and pills like terry cloth. I asked her why she did it, and I distinctly remember her answer as if it was 5 minutes ago. She told me she was separating the cream from the milk. At that time, I had no idea what she was talking about but that stuck with me for some reason.

  37. I’m just commenting on the goaty-tasting goats milk. I raised dairy goats and my milk never had a goaty taste and made the best kefir I ever tasted. So not all goat milk is equal I guess…lol

    • I have to say that I think some folks are unable to taste the goatiness of goat cheese. I have never tasted a goat cheese that I couldn’t detect the goatiness. I have extremely sensitive taste of smell and taste though. Our goat milk has no goat taste when it is very fresh but making any sort of cheese with it always has a slight goaty flavor which some enjoy. I am not particularly fond of it though.

      • I get a share from a goat farm. Sometimes it tastes goatie and sometimes not at all. I think it can depend on several things. If the does are running with billies. What they are eating in the field. Both play into the time of year. Spring milk seems better than fall milk to me. I did not like the cheese I made last fall. I plan to try cheese again this week as I’m getting extra milk.

  38. Thank you for this. I just had my very first milk sour since I started getting it. Raw milk that is. I will be trying this! :)

  39. I’ve used whey on my face and postpartum belly, since it has astringent qualities! It really works. I think it had some type of detoxing effect on me, too. I have also let it sit in my hair for a deep conditioning treament before rinsing out. It has done very well getting rid of any itchiness I have. I will definitely have to try the gjetost, especially since there is a lot of Scandinavian blood in my husband’s side of the family (and, ergo, my kiddos). Thanks for the post!

  40. Hi Sarah,

    Can whey also be frozen for future use of lacto fermentation, soaking grains, etc.?

    Thank you,


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