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17 Ways To Substitute For Evaporated Milk

Need a substitute for evaporated milk? Here are several easy ideas, including dairy and lactose-free options and a recipe to make your own!

Evaporated milk is an essential shelf-stable ingredient in many of our favorite recipes like pumpkin pie and tres leches cake. You may also see this ingredient in savory dishes like burger bundles and meatballs.

If you happen to run out of evaporated milk or need a non-dairy option, there are several alternatives you can try.

Here are 17 ways to substitute for evaporated milk, in a pinch!

Evaporated milk in can next to measuring cup on a burlap cloth.

Common Substitutes for Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is just regular milk with 60% of its water removed. It’s high in protein and great for adding a little extra something to smoothies and teas.

It’s a simple ingredient to replicate or replace with other dairy products. Though it’s hard to create an exact replacement for its slightly toasted, caramelized flavor, here are 5 common diary-based substitutes that work great in a pinch!

NOTE: Don’t confuse evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk, while they go through a similar concentration process, condensed milk has a LOT more sugar added!

1. Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is poured into glass of liquid milk with tiny wooden spoon.

If you have powdered milk on hand, you can easily make a substitute for evaporated milk. Simply mix 1 1/2 cups of dry milk with 1 1/4 cups of water until completely dissolved.

This mixture will yield about 1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk, which is the same as a store bought can.

2. Half and Half

Half and half is poured into mug of coffee sitting on a white saucer.

Half and half is 50% milk and 50% cream. You can use this as a 1:1 substitute, though it is slightly thicker than evaporated milk.

3. Milk and Heavy Cream

Milk and heavy cream mixture in a large glass measuring cup next to baking ingredients.

If you have some cream on hand, you can turn your regular old milk into half and half and use that as a 1:1 substitute for evaporated milk. You’ll just need to make sure the ratio is 50% milk and 50% cream.

Again, this mixture will be slightly thicker than regular evaporated milk, but will work just fine as a stand-in!

4. Cream

Cream is poured into a container and makes a splash sending up bubbles.

You can use cream (heavy cream) as a substitute on its own if you don’t have any milk to thin it with. Your recipe will have a much more rich texture, though, and you may miss some of the sweetness from evaporated milk.

You should also note that heavy cream isn’t the lowest fat option out there, so be sure this replacement works with your dietary needs.

5. Milk

Milk in glass jar and glass cup with straw on burlap cloth.

You can also use traditional milk as a substitute for evaporated milk, but you may need to add a thickener. Regular milk is much higher in water content, but it does have a lot less calories.

Make sure to add some cornstarch or flour if replacing in a sauce, and for baking, you may need to increase your dry ingredients and add a bit of sugar.

Dairy Free & Lactose Free Options

If you’re allergic to milk or lactose, follow a vegan diet, or simply don’t like the taste, there are plenty of diary and lactose free options out there.

Here are 11 ideas to add to your arsenal!

6. Soy Milk

Soy milk in glass jars next to large wooden ladle filled with soy beans.

Soy milk originated in China and is made from soaked and ground soybeans. This alternative is the closest in nutritional value to regular cow’s milk.

You can reduce soy milk by boiling it to half its original volume to mimic the consistency of evaporated milk. It will have a slightly different taste and won’t be sweet, but can be used as a 1:1 substitute for savory and sweet dishes.

7. Nut Milk

Nut Milk in drinking glass next to wooden bowl filled with nuts.

Nut milks can be used in the same way you would soy milk. These include almond milk, hazelnut milk, and cashew milk.

Almond milk and hazelnut milk are more suited for sweet dishes, but cashew milk can be used for both savory and sweet recipes.

8. Rice Milk

Rice milk is poured into glass next to rice on wooden spoon.

Rice milk is another great, dairy free alternative which is made from ground and soaked rice. It’s a great substitute for those who have an allergy to dairy, nuts and soy.

You can heat rice milk until reduced by about half the same you would soy and nut milks. It has a sweet taste, so it works particularly well for desserts and baking.

9. Oat Milk

Oats on large wooden spoon next to glass of oatmilk on wooden tray.

Oat milk is made by blending oats with water and can even be made at home. It has lots of nutritional benefits, including aiding with digestion, lowering blood sugar, and lowering cholesterol.

Reduce it by half to use as a 1:1 substitute. You can add a thickener like cornstarch or flour if needed and a little sugar, depending on your recipe.

10. Flax Milk

Glass of flax milk sits next to bowl and wooden spoon filled with flax seeds.

Flax seeds are great for your health. They provide vitamin B12, calcium omega 3’s and more. Flax milk is made by blending flaxseed oil with water.

It is the most neutral in flavor of all the dairy-free milk alternatives. Follow the same instructions as oat milk to use as a 1:1 substitute.

11. Hemp Milk

Hemp milk glass sits next to bowl of hemp seeds and miniature wooden ladles.

Hemp is made from the hemp plant which is a variety of cannabis. Though it’s related to a certain drug, hemp and hemp seeds have no THC and are completely legal.

Hemp is a great source of omega 3’s and is great for health.

You can reduce hemp milk the same way you would other non-diary options, but it is a bit more watery, so you’ll likely need to use a thickener to achieve a suitable texture.

12. Quinoa Milk

Glass jug of quinoa milk next to bowl of grains and wooden ladle.

Quinoa milk is a newer non-dairy milk alternative. Those who are used to drinking rice milk may find it similar in taste.

It can be used to substitute for evaporated milk without being reduced. It is naturally thicker than regular milk which allows it to serve as a great 1:1 stand in with minimal effort.

13. Coconut Milk

Whole and halved coconuts sit next to small glass of coconut milk.

Coconut milk has a similar thickness to evaporated milk. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes. Coconut milk does have a unique coconut flavor, so be sure this will work with the dish you plan to make.

14. Store Bought Options

Woman looks for a substitute for evaporated milk in the diary aisle.

There are also a few commercial, non-diary evaporated milk alternatives that don’t require additional effort. Here are some great brands to try:

Make Your Own

Homemade evaporated milk boiling in large stock pot with wooden spoon on top.

It’s easy to make your own evaporated milk at home.

Here’s a recipe that will yield the same amount as a store-bought can:

ADD 2 1/2 cups of milk into a sauce pan and HEAT over medium heat. STIR occasionally until it’s starts to boil. COOK until the milk has reduce by about 60%; it doesn’t have to be exact. COOL and use as desired.

NOTE: This recipe should work with whole or skim milk, though 2% is the ideal.

What To Do With Leftover Evaporated Milk

Have leftover evaporated milk? You can store it in your refrigerator for up to 5 days and use it up in other dishes:

  • Throw it in a smoothie or tea
  • Add it to popsicles
  • Use it to make a creamy dressing for salads
  • Add water to create regular milk

Recipes with Evaporated Milk

And, here are some easy recipes that call for evaporated milk that you can use to try out your homemade substitute or any of the other evaporated milk alternatives.

The Easiest Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Two bowls of creamy chicken noodle soup on green plates with crackers and spoon nearby.

Smooth and Delicious Marshmallow Fudge

Several pieces of marshmallow fudge on a white rectangular serving platter.

Inside Out Burger Bundles Recipe

Blue plate with Inside out burger bundle with stuffing on a pile of mashed potatoes.