Can I change sweetened condensed for evaporated milk? (Uses)

In his brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can I change sweetened condensed for evaporated milk?” and will discuss the main differences between them. Moreover, we will discuss the main uses of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.

Can I change sweetened condensed for evaporated milk?

Yes, you can substitute sweetened condensed milk for evaporated milk. The main difference is that sweetened condensed milk is made with sugar as a preservative and is not heat sterilized, while evaporated milk is unsweetened and undergoes heat sterilization.

Consequently, you can replace them in equivalent quantities without substantial alterations, as any disparity in sugar content can be compensated for by adding sugar. (1)

Is there a difference between condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk?

Yes. There are some major differences between these products.

Sweetened condensed milk.

To create sweetened condensed milk, sugar is introduced to whole milk, followed by the removal of water, which reduces the milk’s volume to about half of its original amount.

This concentrated blend is then packaged in cans or other containers without undergoing sterilization, as the sugar added serves as a natural preservative. To comply with international regulations, sweetened condensed milk must contain at least 8% milk fat and a minimum of 28% milk solids.

Unsweetened condensed milk.

Unsweetened condensed milk or Evaporated milk is produced by removing the water from milk without incorporating sugar or any additional preservatives. This resulting product is then sealed in cans and exposed to heat sterilization, typically within a temperature range of 118°C to 122°C for a few minutes.

Alternatively, it can be packed in other containers suitable for sterilization. Evaporated milk must possess at least 7.5% milk fat content and a minimum of 25.0% milk solids content. (2)

What are the main uses of evaporated milk?

Evaporated milk (EM) main use is to preserve the nutritional value of milk, allowing for storage without refrigeration for months, and sometimes even years. Its resilience makes it an ideal choice for long-distance transportation, particularly in regions with limited milk production, notably in tropical climates.

Evaporated milk has diverse applications, from enhancing coffee and tea to being used as a versatile cooking ingredient. It can be used as a beverage, typically diluted with an equal amount of boiled water.

This results in a product with a slightly higher Solid-Not-Fat (SNF) content and a different fat-to-SNF ratio compared to regular 3.5% fat full-cream milk. Evaporated milk, in small quantities, imparts a creamy texture and a desirable whiteness to coffee, cocoa, or tea.

The Maillard reaction in evaporated milk enhances the color, giving beverages a pleasing yellowish hue. Its smooth consistency also makes it a valuable ingredient in various culinary creations, including puddings, sauces, and gravies, enhancing the taste and texture of mashed potatoes, pasta, quiches, soups, and a wide variety of savory and sweet recipes.

Evaporated milk is an important component in the production of ice cream because of its high Total Milk Solids (TMS) content. Additionally, it plays a key role in the preparation of chocolate, as well as a wide range of bakery and confectionery products. EM can also be blended with milk and cream to create coffee creamer. (3)

What are the main uses of sweetened condensed milk?

Owing to the high sucrose content of > 40% and its viscous consistency, this product is frequently used as a jam-like bread spread. An early, but no longer popular, use of sweetened condensed milk was to dilute it with water and consume it as a drink. Presently, coffee or tea whitening and sweetening is the major use of sweetened condensed milk.

In many countries, it is also used in combination with cocoa or other milk modifiers in the preparation of homemade drinks. A growing application is in sweet dessert preparations like ice cream, cakes, cookies, etc. Specific to the Latin American continent is its use for Dulce de Leche, basically a caramelized sweetened condensed milk obtained by boiling the can in water for 2–3 h.

Different applications vary from country to country and from one geographical region to another, according to traditional consumption habits. (2)

Is evaporated milk healthier due to having less sugar?

Yes, the high sugar content in condensed milk may be detrimental to health as diets rich in added sugars contribute to several metabolic diseases through both direct and indirect mechanisms.

Directly, the presence of fructose in sugar disrupts the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Indirectly, sugar promotes a positive energy imbalance, leading to weight gain which, in turn, disrupts lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.

Extensive epidemiological studies consistently link the consumption of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages with adverse effects on lipid profiles, insulin sensitivity, the development of fatty liver, Type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, visceral fat accumulation, and hyperuricemia. (4)


In his brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I substitute sweetened condensed milk for evaporated milk?” and discussed the main differences between them. Moreover, we discussed the main uses of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.

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SHARMA, Prateek; PATEL, Hasmukh; PATEL, Ashok. Evaporated and sweetened condensed milks. Dairy processing and quality assurance, p. 310-332, 2015.


Hess, H. J. CONDENSED MILK. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 1574–1581. 2003.


Kalyankar, S. D., Deshmukh, M. A., Khedkar, C. D., Deosarkar, S. S., & Sarode, A. R. Condensed Milk. Encyclopedia of Food and Health, 291–295. 2016.


Stanhope, K. L.  Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 53(1), 52–67. 2015.