Can you substitute evaporated milk for milk? (+ 9 alternatives to use)

In this article, we will show you If and how you can substitute evaporated milk for fresh milk, and make mouthwatering recipes without compromising on taste.

Can you substitute evaporated milk for milk?

Yes, you can absolutely substitute evaporated milk for regular/fresh milk. There could be various reasons as to why you want a replacement. Either you do not like the slightly cooked/burnt flavor of this creamy liquid or you want to opt for a low-calorie option or you are lactose tolerant. Evaporated milk is a high protein and high fat food so it might not be an appropriate choice for people with health problems, such as cholesterol issues. Evaporated milk is concentrated milk which can be homogenized and sterilized. Milk can be concentrated up to 2.6 times, beyond that the heat stability of milk will be affected (2).

According to an estimate, 15% of European consumers avoid dairy products for a variety of reasons, including medical reasons such as lactose intolerance, cow’s milk allergy, cholesterol issues, as well as lifestyle choices like a vegetarian/vegan diet or concerns about growth hormone or antibiotic residues in cow’s milk (1).

Read on if you want to know everything about substituting evaporated milk.

What is evaporated milk?

As the name indicates, evaporated milk is made by evaporating about 60% water from fresh milk. Evaporated milk, contrary to regular milk, is a shelf-stable product because heating reduces the water activity and the microbial load of milk, in turn, extending the shelf life of milk. Evaporated milk contains 7.5–8.0% fat, 6.5–7.1% proteins and 9–10 carbohydrates (2).

After heating, the milk is canned, the fat of milk is homogenized and the can is heat sterilized. This way milk can be transported safely to far-off places without spoilage. Additives are added to prevent milk solids from settling down.

What can I use instead of evaporated milk?

There are plenty of replacements for evaporated milk. They can be categorized as dairy and non-dairy alternatives. Many people want to use a non-dairy alternative for their recipes because of either animal/environmental welfare or due to religious concerns. Others opt for non-dairy because of lactose intolerance or have a bad milk allergy.

Fresh milk

Use fresh milk instead of evaporated milk. But fresh milk has a thin consistency and if you want to add a creamy texture to your soup/stoke, use cornflour or cornstarch. If you want to substitute it for a baked good, you can level up the amount of flour and sugar just until you reach the desired thickness.

When starch is heated in water it forms a viscous, opaque paste. The paste forms semi-solid gels upon cooling. It is used in sauces, gravies, puddings, pie fillings, and salad dressings. The typical usage level is 1–5% (3).


Cream is a high calorie and rich flavor substitute for evaporated milk. This high-fat substitute adds a lot of texture in terms of richness and creaminess to your desserts, soups, sauces, curry, and puddings. 

Cream is obtained by the separation of the fat fraction of the milk to concentrations ranging from 18 to 40% fat. Cream is labeled according to the fat content: heavy whipping cream has a minimum of 36% fat; light whipping cream has 30–36% fat; and light, coffee, or table cream has 18–30% fat. The lower fat creams are usually prepared by blending a high-fat cream with milk. Cream is used in ice cream mix, whipped toppings, and sauces (3).

Part this Part that

Use part milk and part cream. This high fat and low carb substitute is perfect to make coffee. A commercial product is half-and-half, which is a mixture of milk and cream which contains between 10.5 and 18.0% milk fat (3).

Mix powder milk with as much water as you want to get the desired consistency. Powder milk is also made from fresh milk after dehydration and dropping the water content to about 6%. Removal of water to such a low level that the product becomes solid (dust) like is called drying. Drying is usually applied to make a product that is easy to handle and,  after reconstitution with water, is very similar in properties to the original material (2).

Soya milk

Soy milk has gained popularity as an apt non-dairy alternative for evaporated milk. This milk not only has a similar composition to dairy milk but also looks the same with slight differences in taste. Use soya milk by evaporating some of the water.

Avoid using if you have a soy allergy or refrain from using products made from genetically engineered crops.

Soy milk contains proteins and fiber. Isoflavones that are found naturally in plant-based milk alternatives, especially in soymilk alternatives, decrease cancer risk (4). Soy milk is a source of essential fatty acids, considered good for cardiovascular health. It has therapeutic properties and protective roles against several age-related diseases (6).

Rice milk

Rice milk has a pleasant sweet taste and is made by soaking and grinding rice with water and filtering the fluid from it. This low fat and low protein alternative can be heated to the desired consistency or add cornflour or cornstarch to it. People with diabetes should not go for this option because of its high GI(Glycemic Index) value.

Rice milk contains nearly twice as many grams of carbohydrates per serving as cow’s milk, including about 10 g of sugars per serving. It is recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to limit intake of sugar-containing beverages. In contrast, low-fat or skim cow’s milk are free of added sugars and thus are healthful choices. The glycemic index of rice milk is also about twice that of cow’s milk, meaning it leads to a higher increase in blood glucose after consumption (5).

Nut milk

Nut milk extracted from nuts like almonds, cashews, and hazelnut is very popular. Nut milk has lesser calories and low protein content, therefore, good for people who are watching out for weight gain. Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which are considered useful for weight loss and control (6). Heat it to get the desired thickness needed for the recipe. Avoid using it if you have a nut allergy (7).

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is an excellent non-dairy alternative. This high calorie and high protein milk is made by grinding coconut fruit and is a rich source of minerals and lauric acid which are important for brain health, immunity, and blood vessels. However, it contains a high amount of saturated fat (7).

Oat milk

Oat milk is made by grinding oats with water. This alternative is packed with fiber and beta-glucans which promotes good digestion and fights bad cholesterol (7).

Flax milk

Flax milk is made by mixing flaxseed oil with water or grinding flax seeds with water and filtering the residue. This omega 3 fatty-acid rich alternative is responsible for increased immunity and brain function (6).

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

Does almond milk froth?

How long does it take for milk to curdle

How long does almond milk last once opened?

Is evaporated milk the same as condensed milk?

No, these are two different canned products. Evaporated milk doesn’t have any added sugar in it. It tastes sweet because the milk sugar, ‘lactose’, is concentrated through evaporation giving a pronounced flavor.

While condensed milk contains added sugar and longer shelf life than evaporated milk.


In this article, we showed you If and how you can substitute evaporated milk for fresh milk, and make mouthwatering desserts without compromising on taste.


  1. Mäkinen, Outi Elina, et al. Foods for special dietary needs: Non-dairy plant-based milk substitutes and fermented dairy-type products. Crit rev food sci nutr, 2016, 56, 339-349. 
  2. Mehta, Bhavbhuti M. Chemical composition of milk and milk products. Handbook of food chemistry. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015. 511-553.
  3. Igoe, Robert S. Dictionary of food ingredients. Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.  
  4. Aydar, Elif Feyza, Sena Tutuncu, and Beraat Ozcelik. Plant-based milk substitutes: Bioactive compounds, conventional and novel processes, bioavailability studies, and health effects. J Funct Foods, 2020, 70, 103975.
  5. Lamothe, Meagan, Daniela Rivero Mendoza, and Wendy J. Dahl. Plant-Based Milks: Rice. Food Sci Human Nutr, 2020, 50, 1-4.
  6. Zandona, Laís, Caroline Lima, and Suzana Lannes. Plant-based milk substitutes: factors to lead to its use and benefits to human health. Milk Substitutes-Selected Aspects. 2021.
  7. Sethi, Swati, S. K. Tyagi, and Rahul K. Anurag. Plant-based milk alternatives an emerging segment of functional beverages: a review. J Food Sci Technol, 2016, 53, 3408.