The 12 Best Substitutes for Evaporated Milk

Medically Reviewed on 7/19/2022
The 12 Best Substitutes for Evaporated Milk
Here are 12 of the best substitutes for evaporated milk

Evaporated milk is a creamy, rich product used in many recipes, made by heating regular milk until 60% of the water is removed. It is often used in baking, soups, sauces, and casseroles and can even be added to coffee and tea.

However, you may not want to use evaporated milk if you are lactose intolerant or simply dislike how it tastes. Here are 12 of the best substitutes for evaporated milk.

Why might you want a substitute?

Although evaporated milk is a canned product, it contains lactose and is an animal byproduct. Therefore, it may be unsuitable for some people for various reasons:

  • Lactose intolerant: Many people are lactose intolerant, which means they are unable to digest the sugar in milk. Milk can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as cramping and diarrhea.
  • Milk allergy: About 0.5% of adults and 2%-7% of children have a known allergy to milk proteins and may need to find non-dairy milk alternatives.
  • Vegan diet: Those following a vegan diet may want to avoid animal products for health or environmental reasons.
  • Low-calorie diet: Evaporated milk is high in calories (338 calories per cup), so you may want to avoid canned evaporated milk if you are trying to lose weight.
  • Low-protein diet: Because evaporated milk is high in protein (17 grams per cup), some people on low-protein diets may need to find an alternative.
  • Taste or flavor: Some people simply dislike the taste of evaporated milk.

12 of the best substitutes for evaporated milk

Dairy substitutes

1. Regular milk

Regular milk can be used as a lighter alternative to evaporated milk in the majority of recipes. If regular milk does not have the desired consistency, it is very easy to make your own thickened version:

  • Add 2 ¼ cups of regular milk to a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat.
  • Keep stirring until it begins to thicken and reduces to the desired volume.

2. Heavy cream

Heavy cream has a thick consistency that can easily replace evaporated milk in recipes for many sauces, soups, pie fillings, casseroles, and custards at a 1:1 ratio.

Because heavy cream is high in calories (821 calories per cup), it may not be the best option for those who are trying to lose weight.

3. Half and half

Half and half is a blended mixture of 50% milk and 50% cream and is thicker than evaporated milk. It can be used in most recipes in a 1:1 ratio. The extra fat in half-and-half will provide a richness to your dish.

4. Powdered milk

Powdered milk is a dehydrated form of regular milk. Although it can be added dry to some recipes, such as cookies and pancakes, it can also be reconstituted with water. Once you have liquid milk, use it in a 1:1 ratio to replace evaporated milk.

Non-dairy substitutes

5. Soy milk

Soy milk is made by soaking dried soybeans in water, grinding them, and then filtering them to create a product that resembles regular milk. Soy milk is the best option for making non-dairy evaporated milk because it has the closest texture to regular milk. It also has the most neutral flavor and is the closest to regular milk in terms of calories and protein content.

6. Almond or cashew milk

Almond milk or cashew milk is made by grinding nuts in water and filtering it to create a liquid that resembles milk. Both types of nut milk are low in calories and protein. However, they may not be suitable if you have a nut allergy.

7. Coconut milk

Coconut milk is made from the meat of grated coconuts and is a rich source of iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Although canned coconut milk can be used in a 1:1 ratio in place of evaporated milk, cartoned varieties (light coconut milk) have a higher water content, which needs to be reduced before use.

8. Oat milk

Oat milk is a delicious substitute for evaporated milk that is rich in beta-glucans, which have been linked to many health benefits including improved digestion, reduced blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol levels.

9. Flax milk

Flaxs milk is a great option when it comes to neutral non-dairy milk since it comes close to regular milk in terms of flavor. Follow directions for reducing the water content and then use in a 1:1 exchange for evaporated milk.

10. Hemp milk

Hemp milk is made by blending hemp seeds with water and makes a creamy, plant-based alternative to evaporated milk that is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Since it is a little sweeter than other plant milks, it is better used in baking.

11. Quinoa milk

Quinoa milk is made by soaking or cooking quinoa and blending it with water. Because it is already a bit thick, it can be used in some recipes without the need for reducing or thickening.

12. Rice milk

Rice milk is much lower in fat and protein than evaporated milk. However, it also has a high glycemic index, meaning it can result in blood sugar spikes and may not be suitable for people with diabetes.


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How to choose a substitute for evaporated milk

Choosing the best substitute for evaporated milk depends on your preferences and dietary needs, such as whether you are lactose intolerant or not. Factors to keep in mind when considering substitutes include:

  • Calorie content: Avoid cream or coconut milk if you are trying to reduce your calorie intake since these are higher in calories.
  • Protein content: Plant milk contains less protein than regular milk, so if you are trying to consume more protein, you may want to choose a dairy alternative.
  • Added sugars: Many substitutes for evaporated milk contain added sugars, so make sure to choose varieties that are unsweetened.
  • Taste: Since some alternatives have a strong flavor, choose neutral options if you do not want to change the taste of a dish.
  • Allergies: If you are allergic to cow milk, soy products, or nuts, choose a milk substitute wisely.
  • Cooking methods: Since each recipe calls for different cooking methods, you may need to try a few different evaporated milk alternatives before finding one that works best.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/19/2022
Image Source: iStock image


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