6 Substitutes for Evaporated Milk That Will Save You a Trip to the Store
We've all been there. You're one step away from baking seven-layer bars, fudge, or pumpkin pie when you find that the recipe calls for evaporated milk. Your stomach sinks as you head to the pantry and see the inevitable: You're completely out. Rather than giving up on your recipe altogether or making a run for the grocery store, swap in one of these simple evaporated milk substitutes.
DIY Evaporated Milk
Make your own evaporated milk by heating 2 ¼ cups of regular milk and gently boiling it down until it reduces to 1 cup. Evaporated milk is most commonly made with 2 percent milk, but whole milk, 1 percent, or skim will also work. This is the exact method used to make evaporated milk for commercial retail.
You can also follow this process using dairy-free milks like soy, almond, or oat milk.
If you're under a super tight deadline, you may substitute the same amount of half-and-half for evaporated milk (i.e., 1 cup of half-and-half for 1 cup of evaporated milk). While you won't get the same slightly caramelized flavor that evaporated milk has, the creamy consistency of half-and-half is a close mimic.
With its very similar consistency, 1 cup of heavy cream can replace 1 cup of evaporated milk in sweet and savory dishes. While the flavor will be more bland than evaporated milk's unique caramelized tones, the texture will be noticeably richer. It's not the lowest fat option, but there are times when we'll do whatever it takes to avoid last-minute baking stress.
Powdered Milk is a preserved milk product that is made by evaporating and spray drying regular milk. The result is a long-lasting, nutritious milk substitute. You can create evaporated milk by mixing 1 cup of powdered milk with 1 ½ cups of warm water; stir until the powdered milk has dissolved completely. The water will thicken enough to resemble the same product as what's inside that classic 12-ounce can.
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Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk
Dairy-free cooks don't have to be deprived of the luscious, rich flavor and consistency that comes from evaporated milk. Nature's Charm is a producer of plant-based ingredients that include evaporated coconut milk. Nestle Carnation, the most well-known maker of evaporated milk, created a dairy-free almond cooking milk that also serves as the perfect substitute for evaporated milk.
Lactose-Free Evaporated Milk
Nestle Carnation designed a lactose-free evaporated milk from milk, lactase, and a small handful of other additives.
Note that none of these options is a picture-perfect substitute for evaporated milk, so expect some variation in your finished recipes.