A common ingredient in many recipes, evaporated milk is a dairy product that has been evaporated to remove most of the water. It adds thickness and richness to desserts, sauces, soups and more. However for some reason, if the evap milk you are using is old and expired, you may have a hard time achieving the same effect.
To help solve this problem and prevent disappointment, here are 11 Best Substitute for Evaporated Milk to help you cook your favorite recipes.
What Is Evaporated Milk?
Evaporated Milk is a liquid milk product which has been processed by removing water from it. It will typically be ready for consumption in from ten seconds to five minutes. Evaporated Milk is made by adding small amounts of heat and pressure to the milk. It can be used in many different dishes especially desserts like ice cream, puddings and custards. This is because the process of removing the water from the milk leaves a higher concentration of fat in the product resulting in a richer taste.
Evaporated Milk Vs. Condensed Milk
The two most common types of milk in the United States are evaporated and condensed. Evaporated milk is not as fresh as condensed because it is not made from fresh whole or skimmed cow’s milk that can be stored longer than a few days.
In order to make a product like evaporated milk, you need to boil the dairy, remove the water, then cool it before heating it again with an evaporation process. When the cheese making starts after a few hours of cooling time, sugar is added on top and stirred while heating to create what we know as evaporated milk. Condensed by contrast requires no boiling or adding sugar before cooking so doesn’t taste twice sweet like other varieties of dairy products. It consists of the water and milk fat left over from what you would otherwise get before the making of evaporated milk.
The great thing about condensed milk is that it actually gives you all the nutrients found in whole and skimmed dairy. While evaporated milk doesn’t have any real nutritional value because of its boiling process, condensed milk contains most of the nutrients and vitamins normally found in whole or skimmed milk. Evaporated milk is basically just a thickened form of non-fat liquid dairy or cream, so there is no protein or calcium being added during its making process.
Condensed milk can be used in cooking just like any dairy product. It has a higher level of fat, so it is great for use in recipes that require cream or butter. If you add evaporated milk to your recipes, they won’t exactly taste the same though.
Great Substitutes For Evaporated Milk
The best substitutions for evaporated milk are used in several recipes. These substitutes often have different purposes for using them, and can help to enhance any recipe. Here is a list of the top 11 substitutes for evaporated milk
#1 Regular Milk
Regular milk is an alternative to evaporated milk. It is a type of non-dairy cream that has become widely available at grocery stores in many countries. It is lower in fat and calories than other dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, or coconut milks. However, it can still be high in sugars so these may be associated with weight gain if too much is consumed.
#2 Non-Dairy Milk
There are a variety of non-dairy milk options that you can use to create your own version of evaporated milk. Some possibilities include soy, rice, oat, and almond milk. Each of these comes in vanilla and plain flavors, as well as different fat contents. Experiment with the different non-dairy milks to find what works best for your recipe, depending on the taste you’re going for and the type of recipe you’re making.
You can also use powdered non-dairy milk or beverage mixes like Nesquik in place of evaporated milk. You’ll want to mix the powdered mix with water before adding it to your recipe if using powder or a beverage mix like Nesquik, since this is how it is prepared when served by itself.
#3 Heavy Cream
You may be familiar with heavy cream as being a dessert ingredient, but it can also serve as a passable substitute for evaporated milk—with or without sugar. Pure heavy cream will not work as a substitute for evaporated milk in recipes that do not require heating; the milk fat will separate out of the liquid. If your recipe does, simply add water to the amount of heavy cream called for (usually 1½ times the volume, so 2⅔ cups of water for 3 cups of heavy cream). Like evaporated milk, you’ll need to simmer this mixture until it reduces to half its volume. The result will not be completely like evaporated milk, however—heavy cream is richer and heavier, which makes it a little less workable in recipes that require heating.
Heavy Cream as a substitute for evaporated milk. Make heavy cream with milk to replace evaporated milk and add it where called for in the recipe. Heavy cream is best used in sauces and when cooking desserts or other dishes not requiring melting.
#4 Powdered Milk
Powdered milk, if it is to be used in place of evaporated milk, is crucial to bake cookies. The density of powdered milk allows for the batter and dough for cookies to have a better consistency. The density also provides a large network that aids the mixing that helps create even and consistent dough on the cookie sheet.
The property of stability allows for the bake time on such processes as rising times and dough processing times to decrease. If using powdered milk replace 2/3rds with evaporated, you would need half as much evaporation time (less baking time).
#5 Half And Half
You can substitute half-and-half for evaporated milk in recipes. Half-and-half is a product made by emulsifying the whey and cream. Half-and-half is popular in the United States because it’s more affordable than evaporated milk, and because it has a milder taste than evaporated milk.
The main difference between evaporated milk and half-and-half is that half-and-half has often been used as an ingredient in baked goods to substitute for evaporated milk–so if you don’t have any of this product on hand, you can use regular whole or 2% milk instead.
#6 Sour Cream
The sour cream substitute for evaporated milk is because sour cream has a similar consistency and texture that of evaporated milk. Sour cream also has the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat content as evaporated milk. For a recipe that uses evaporated milk, mix sour cream with water or milk to get the consistency needed for your recipe. You can also use a substitute for evaporated milk that is drinkable like yogurt and add in some milk to make your food tasty.
#7 Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk is a vegan alternative to evaporated milk that can be used in any recipe calling for the use of cow’s milk or soy milk. It’s often used in baking and offers plenty of nutritional value, as well, having high levels of potassium, calcium and protein. Coconut Milk’s delicate flavor makes it a wonderful choice for most recipes without altering the taste significantly from traditional dairy recipes. Coconut Milk is also among the least processed, thus offering great health benefits as well.
If you are looking for a great substitute for evaporated milk, coconut milk should be at the top of your list. Made from grated fresh coconut meat, coconut milk is lighter in texture and flavor than regular cow’s milk but results in having a similar consistency to evaporated milk and even some soy or rice milk. Some vegan recipes may call for soy or rice milks as an alternative to dairy-based products like evaporated milk or sour cream, but it’s possible to make them with coconut milk too — just check the recipe carefully.
#9 Oat Milk
Oat milk is a substitute for evaporated milk in some recipes, such as in desserts. This is because it contains the same amount of protein and fat and it has a similar, though nuttier taste than evaporated milk.
Nevertheless, oat milk does not contain any saturated fats which make it healthier but also more expensive. On the other hand, evaporated milk is cheaper but less healthy than oat milk because of its higher levels of saturated fats.
Oat milk may be considered healthier than evaporated milk for people with lactose intolerance because it does not contain lactose which can cause digestive troubles for people with lactose intolerance when consumed with sugar due to its sugar-binding properties. However, this is not a reason to avoid oat milk because in some recipes, it is used to enhance the natural flavors of the food rather than as a replacement of milk.
#10 Rice Milk
Rice milk is a substitute for evaporated milk in many cases. It can be used in cooking, baking, and in homemade ice cream. Rice milk does not have the same amount of protein as cow’s milk but it has its own unique flavor. The taste of rice milk ranges from sweet to savory, depending on the variety of rice used.
To use Rice Milk Substitute for evaporated milk, you will need to use less or none at all of water in your recipe. To replace one cup of evaporated milk, you will need to use 3/4 cup of rice milk.
Some recipes call for the use of evaporated milk, but not to the consistency of heavy cream. Rice milk is a good substitute for that application as well. To replace 1/2 cup evaporated milk, you will use 3 tablespoons Rice Milk.
If using rice milk in your recipes is a new experience for you, remember that it will thicken when heated too much or too quickly. You may need to adjust your recipe accordingly.
#11 Soy Milk
Soy milk is one alternative for evaporated milk, which can be found in the grocery store. Soy milk is made from pureed soybeans and water. The vitamins and minerals of soy beans are added to make up for any lack of nutrients that evaporated milk offers. Soy milk has a different taste and texture than evaporated milk, so some people find it hard to get used to it at first.
In addition, soy is a legume, which means that there are more carbs in the product than there are protein or fat making it an option only if you need less calories in your diet or have special dietary needs such as lactose intolerance or veganism.
Home Made Evaporated Milk Recipe
What You’ll Need
- A quart jar with a lid
- A bowl or pot to use as a double-boiler
- Lightly flavored milk – this may be any other kind of milk other than skim or low-fat milk – it can also be whole milk, evaporated and condensed, half and half, heavy cream, buttermilk etc.
- A cooking thermometer
- A small shot glass or other measuring device
- A grater set for shaving the cheese in small pieces
- A useful tool to grind the cheese – a nutmeg grater is good
- A pan or bowl to heat the milk in while heating the double boiler
- Cheesecloth or paper towels (to line the jars with to prevent the milk from splattering)
Note: Your choice of cheese is up to you – try Parmesan, Romano, stringy gruyere, goat cheese, etc. You may also use any of your favorite cheeses as long as it is not hard. For these recipes I used local cheddar, but you may also use mild Swiss. If you don’t like Parmesan, you may use plain romano or gruyere.
How to Make Evaporated Milk from Scratch
- Start by washing and cutting the cheese into small pieces. Grind the cheese in a nutmeg grater – this will help release the whey more quickly. Put one cup of water in a small pot and add two teaspoons of sugar, yes two teaspoons! This is important to dissolve the sugar so that there is no lumpy or gritty texture in your milk when it comes out of the double boiler.
- Put a cooking thermometer inside the boiling water and bring it to a simmer (do not boil). Line a wide-mouth quart jar with cheesecloth and pour the water, dissolved sugar and grated cheese into the jar. Stir until all of the cheese is in the water (it should resemble crumbled feta or pecorino). Put the lid on and let it sit for 15 minutes. You will have to stir it occasionally.
- In a small pot, heat one cup of milk (any type except skim or low-fat) to a simmer (do NOT boil). While you are waiting for this to happen, prepare another quart jar with cheesecloth (for air pockets) and set aside. When your 15 minutes is up, place your double boiler over low heat – be careful not to let it splash or burn you.
- When the milk is hot, remove the jar from the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. The juice that drips out will be milky and in between liquid and semi-solid consistency. While you are waiting for your 10 minutes to come to an end, slowly add a few teaspoons of the cheese-water mixture into your second jar. You may need to do this extremely slowly – or as gently as possible – you do not want to splash or splash out boiling hot water onto yourself or your counter.
- Once you have poured in all of the cheese water, cover and let it sit another 10 minutes while you prepare your milk mixture. When the cheese water has cooled and thickened, use a spoon to carefully pour it into your hot milk mixture. Stir very gently until all traces of the cheese water are gone.
- When your 10 minutes is up, carefully pour it into the jar you have lined with cheesecloth and put the lid on top. Set this jar aside to sit another 2 hours while you prepare your next quart of milk.
- When that is ready, add it to your jars by filling them half-way with milk; then place the lids on top. Make sure you have a layer of water so that the jars do not get too hot. When it is finished soaking in your jars for 2 hours, put them in the refrigerator and let them sit for 4 to 5 days before you decide to open and try the milk.