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How to replace evaporated milk

With its creamy texture and slightly sweet flavor, there are so many ways to use evaporated milk. It's a must for pumpkin pie or tres leches cake, as well as a wide array of other desserts, sauces, and even soups.

By Cookist

Evaporated milk is made by removing the water from milk then heating it up. This gives evaporated milk its characteristic texture. There are plenty of reasons why you might need to replace evaporated milk in a recipe. Maybe you've just run out or perhaps you're lactose intolerant, trying to eat less protein, or on a vegan diet. Whatever the reason, there are loads of great evaporated milk substitutes you can use.



To achieve a similar richness, you can use cream as an evaporated milk alternative. It's a fantastic substitute for everything from tarts and pies to soups, casseroles, and custards. You can swap out an equal amount of evaporated milk for cream. One thing to note is that cream is high in calories. This makes it good for anyone trying to eat more calories, but should be avoided if you're looking to cut calories.


Regular cow's milk can be used as a quick substitute for evaporated milk in most recipes. One of the benefits of using milk is that it's lighter and has fewer calories. It can be used in sauces, soups, and desserts. You may need to use a dash of cornstarch or flour to get the same thickness.

Half and Half


If you're looking for an evaporated milk replacement that's not as heavy as cream by a bit richer than milk, half and half is the perfect option. It's a 50/50 blend of milk and cream, and it's actually slightly thicker than evaporated milk. People usually enjoy half and half in coffee but it's also used in a variety of recipes. It's a good alternative to evaporated milk because it has fewer calories and less sugar, but the same richness.

Powdered Milk 

Another ingredient that's often used in baking, powdered milk is another top alternative to evaporated milk. It's made by removing the water from milk to increase its shelf life. If you decide to use powdered milk instead of evaporated milk in a recipe, just add some water to rehydrate the milk. Use a little less water than is called for in order to get a similar thickness to evaporated milk.

Soy Milk


Made from soaking soy beans in water, soy milk is a popular plant-based milk alternative that's packed with a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients. You can make evaporated milk from soy milk in the same way you would if you were using regular milk. Use it in desserts, soups, or sauces.

Nut Milk

Whether you prefer almond, hazelnut, pecan, or cashew, there are a huge number of nut milks out on the market. Nut milk is a healthy dairy milk alternative made by soaking nuts in water. It's nutritious, filled with protein and vitamins but low in calories. You can reduce nut milk to make a evaporated nut milk which can be used in your favorite recipes the same way as regular evaporated milk.

Oat Milk


Packed with fiber, iron, and beta-glucans which may lower cholesterol and help you control your blood sugar levels, oat milk is a great, incredibly nutritious evaporated milk substitute. If you decide to use it in your cooking, remember you may need to add a thickener or a pinch of sugar to get the same texture and flavor as evaporated milk.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is a popular dairy-free milk alternative thanks to the fact it can be consumed by those with dairy, nut, and soy allergies. If you're using it as a substitute for evaporated milk, whisk some cornstarch or flour into the rice milk before adding it to a recipe – this will help you mimic the thicker texture of evaporated milk.

Hemp Milk


With its high levels of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp milk can be an excellent non-dairy milk to add to your diet. Although it's made from a type of cannabis plant, hemp milk is not made from any psychoactive ingredients and won't give you the “high” feeling associated with marijuana.  If you opt to use it instead of evaporated milk, you can stir in some cornstarch to help thicken it up.

Flax Milk

Low calorie, protein-rich flax milk is ideal if you're looking for a neutral tasting evaporated milk alternative. You can even reduce it to get a similar consistency to evaporated milk – just whisk in a little sugar to get closer to evaporated milk's inherent sweetness.

Coconut Milk


Coconut milk has a wonderful subtle coconut flavor which can be a phenomenal addition in certain baking recipes. It's naturally thick, so you won't need to reduce coconut milk prior to using it as an evaporated milk alternative. While coconut milk is rich in various micronutrients, it's important to note it's also high in calories.

Quinoa Milk

One of the newer plant-based milks to enter the market, quinoa milk has a thicker texture which makes it a brilliant vegan-friendly substitute for evaporated milk. You'll only need to reduce it a little to achieve a similar texture to evaporated milk. Its taste is similar to rice milk, so if you're a fan of rice milk and want to try something slightly different, quinoa milk is for you.

How to Make Evaporated Milk


To make evaporated milk yourself at home, bring 2 ¼ cups of milk to a gentle boil over medium heat. Stir it frequently. Cook for 10 minutes or until the volume of the milk reduces by half. This will yield 1 cup of evaporated milk. This method works with plant-based milk, as well.

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