A standardized descriptive language for skim milk powder and dried dairy ingredients was developed. The lexicon was initially identified from a large sample set of dried dairy ingredients (138). A highly trained descriptive panel (n = 14) refined terms and identified references. Dried dairy ingredients (36) were then evaluated using the developed language. Twenty-one descriptors were identified for dried dairy ingredients. Seventeen flavors and tastes were identified in skim milk powders (2 7) with nine flavors/tastes observed in all skim milk powders. Dried dairy ingredients were differentiated using the language (P < 0.05). There were flavors common to all dried dairy ingredients while other flavors were specific to particular products.