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Evaporated Milk Substitute (Top 9 Choices)

Missing evaporated milk in your recipe? No worries! Discover the perfect evaporated milk substitute that can rescue your culinary adventures.

From creamy desserts to savory dishes, we’ve got you covered with these nine fantastic alternatives that will save the day in your kitchen. If you are allergic to dairy or simply out of evaporated milk, you can still cook your recipes with the help of this list.

Teaspoon filled with evaporated milk inside the bowl.

What Is Evaporated Milk?

Evaporated milk is concentrated cow’s milk. People remove around 60% of the milk’s water content through a vacuum heating process to create this type of milk. The resulting substance has a velvety consistency and a subtle hint of caramel.

Evaporated milk boasts a longer shelf life than regular milk due to water reduction. For this reason, it became a lifesaver when refrigeration is not possible or during outdoor adventures.

This milk is a versatile substitute for regular milk. People use it in pumpkin pies, desserts, soups, and sauces. It lends a creamy consistency and a rich flavor to any dish you add it to.

One advantage of evaporated milk over regular ones is that it can withstand heat well. It won’t curdle as fast as regular milk does. That said, it is a good choice for recipes that require cooking or baking.

Regarding nutrition, evaporated milk has more benefits than regular milk, owing to its concentrated nature.

Best Evaporated Milk Substitutes

Here you’ll find our top substitutes for evaporated milk.

1. Homemade DIY Evaporated Milk

Unsurprisingly, at the top of this list is homemade evaporated milk. Making your own evaporated milk is not difficult. Plus, it ensures that your ingredient is fresh and free of additives.

To make DIY evaporated milk, simmer regular milk gently until you arrive at your desired consistency.

This option is affordable, easy, and customizable, so it is perfect for replacing canned evaporated milk.


Adjust your cooking time to control the consistency of your evaporated milk.

To achieve a thicker consistency, extend the simmering time. Doing so reduces water content even more and results in thicker milk. Conversely, for a thinner texture, reduce the simmering time slightly.

2. Regular Milk

Mason jar filled with milk on top of the wooden board.

As the main ingredient of evaporated milk, regular whole milk is also a viable substitute for evaporated milk.

It isn’t as thick, but this thinner consistency will work in dishes where texture is insignificant. Or you may also reduce the other liquid ingredients in your recipe to compensate.

In addition, regular milk also works if you like a milder flavor than what evaporated milk offers.

Whole milk is widely available, so it is a good choice for replacing evaporated milk when you’re in a pinch.


To make it thicker and more like evaporated milk, gently simmer it on low heat. You may add a small amount of melted butter or cream to the milk. Doing so adds richness and mimics the flavor of evaporated milk better.

3. Powdered Milk

Wooden spoon filled with powdered milk over the jar.

Powdered milk is a convenient and more stable evaporated milk substitute. Unlike evaporated milk, you can store powdered milk for years in a cool, dry place.

The best thing about powdered milk is that you can use it as powder or liquid, depending on your recipe.

Also, you can control its thickness by adjusting how much water you use to dissolve it. That said, it is a flexible option that you can customize according to your needs.

It is nearly as nutritious as regular milk, making it a healthy meal addition.

Powdered milk is also widely available and inexpensive, making it a great option if you’re in a hurry or trying to stick to a budget.


For a better texture match, use less water to reconstitute powdered milk than the package instructions require. Use a whisk or a blender to ensure smooth milk free of lumps.

4. Coconut Milk

Glass filled with coconut milk next to open coconut nut.

If you have sensitivity to lactose, you can use coconut milk to replace evaporated milk.

Coconut milk’s taste is nutty, and it boasts a velvety texture similar to evaporated milk.

The flavor tastes great in sweet and savory dishes. You may use it for ice creams, custards, pies, and puddings. Similarly, you may add it to sauces and soups as well. Expect a flavor shift, though.

Coconut milk is available in most stores, so you can easily find it. If you can access fresh coconuts, you can make coconut milk yourself for an even better outcome.


Before opening canned coconut milk, remember to give it a good shake. Coconut milk tends to separate into two layers, a thick cream layer, and a watery layer. That said, shaking it well ensures a consistent texture. Plus, it allows you to skip the step of mixing it after opening.

5. Oat Milk

Measuring cup filled with oat milk with oats laying next to it.

Oat milk closely resembles the consistency of evaporated milk. For this reason, it makes a wonderful swap as it can lend richness and depth to cooking and baking recipes.

Unlike coconut milk, oat milk’s taste is more neutral and adapts well to different dishes.

Oat milk is also lactose-free, making it a suitable alternative for people with lactose intolerance.

Lastly, oat milk is an equally nutritious option. It contains calcium, vitamins D and B12. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber.


Consider reducing the other liquid ingredients when using oat milk in baking recipes. After all, oat milk is thicker than whole milk but slightly thinner than evaporated milk.

6. Half and Half

Glass filled with half and half milk on the gray background.

The combination of half milk and half cream in Half and Half yields a creamy consistency. Because of its texture, it is an excellent swap to evaporate milk.

You can use it in any dish as it has a neutral flavor that won’t interfere with the original taste of your recipe.

It does lack the rich taste of evaporated milk, but it will work in sauces, soups, and desserts the same.

Also, if you do not have Half and Half in your pantry, you can easily make it at home.

Do note that because of the added fat from the cream, there might be a slight change in the texture of your dish.


Add Half and Half near the end of the cooking process for the best result in cooked recipes. Doing so prevents it from curdling and maintains its creamy consistency.

7. Almond Milk

Glass filled with almond milk with nuts laying next to it.

Another worthy dairy-free substitute is almond milk. This nut milk has a creamy consistency that closely mimics evaporated milk. For this reason, you can use it in creamy sauces, puddings, and custards.

You have to consider that this non-dairy milk has a nutty flavor. This flavor, even when mild, is not present in evaporated milk. That said, you might experience a slight flavor shift in your dishes.

It is still a great option, especially if you seek lactose-free ingredients.


Using the appropriate type of almond milk is crucial. For instance, unsweetened almond milk is best for savory dishes. On the other hand, sweetened varieties are perfect for desserts or recipes that require a touch of sweetness.

8. Other Plant Based Milks

Other nut milks like cashew and hazelnut milk are great vegan evaporated milk alternatives.

These kinds of milk are usually creamy and thicker than whole milk. Though still not as thick as evaporated milk, they are decent alternatives as they can give dishes a richer texture and taste.

These non-dairy kinds of milk are best, too, if you follow a dairy-free diet. They’re also easy to buy and make, so they are convenient choices.

The downside is that they don’t taste like evaporated milk. That said, if your dish relies on milk for its flavor, there are better swaps than these types of milk.


Remember to watch out for individual allergies or intolerances when using hazelnut or cashew milk to replace evaporated milk. Look for other plant-based alternatives on this list if you are allergic to nuts.

9. Heavy Cream

Glass filled with heavy cream on the blue background.

Heavy cream is another excellent substitute for canned evaporated milk. Despite being thicker, heavy cream is a great addition to dishes that usually call for evaporated milk.

For instance, you can use it in soups and sauces. It is also a common ingredient in desserts.

Aside from the texture, another difference you should pay attention to is the fat content. Heavy cream has more fat content than evaporated milk.

There are better choices for people watching their fat intake. However, it is a great option for those wanting a richer taste in their dishes.


While you can use it as a direct substitute for most dishes, thinning heavy cream with water will give you the best texture match. Mix equal parts of heavy cream and water. Then use an equal amount of this mixture as the evaporated milk your recipe calls for.

How To Choose The Best Swap For Evaporated Milk

When selecting the best replacement for evaporated milk, it is crucial to consider several factors. Doing so ensures the desired outcome in your recipe.

Here are some key considerations to bear in mind:

Look At The Consistency and Texture

If your recipe requires a thick and creamy texture, opt for swaps that closely mimic the consistency of evaporated milk. Half and half offer comparable richness, while cashew and almond milk have a thinner consistency. Choose which ones work best for your recipe.

Consider The Flavor Profile

Watch out for how your chosen swap will harmonize with the other ingredients in your recipe. Almond or cashew milk comes with nutty flavors that might change the taste of your recipes. Meanwhile, heavy cream or Half and Half both have neutral tastes. They are best if you want to maintain the original flavor of your dishes.

Look Out For Dietary Restrictions or Preferences

Take into consideration any dietary restrictions or preferences you or your guest might have. Nut or coconut milk is best if you want to avoid lactose and dairy.

Can I Substitute Milk For Evaporated Milk?

Yes, you can, but you have to consider that they differ in texture. For this reason, adjustments might be necessary. You may need to either thicken the milk or reduce the other liquid ingredients for the best outcome.

What Is A Substitute For Evaporated Milk In Pumpkin Pie?

For a pumpkin pie, an excellent substitute for evaporated milk is half-and-half or heavy cream. These swaps ensure that you still get a great texture in your pie. Whole or dairy-free milk is also an option, but you’d need to add a thickening agent to achieve desirable results.

How Many Cups Of Milk Are In A Can Of Evaporated Milk?

There are 1 and ½ cups of milk in a standard can of evaporated milk. Each can usually contain 12 fluid ounces. Using the standard US cup as a reference, 12 fl oz equals 1 and ½ cups.


Finding an evaporated milk substitute for evaporated milk is easier than you might think. If you are not avoiding lactose, a homemade version of evaporated milk is your best bet. Other pantry staples like milk and heavy cream are also great choices.

For people with lactose intolerance, nut milks are great alternatives. In a pinch, even soy milk, rice milk, or condensed milk will work in certain recipes. Explore the list above and pick one or two that work for your recipes.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Teaspoon filled with evaporated milk inside the bowl.

Evaporated Milk Substitute (Top 9 Choices)

Natalia-Flavorful Home
Missing evaporated milk in your recipe? No worries! Discover the perfect evaporated milk substitute that can rescue your culinary adventures.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Drinks, substitutes


  • Homemade Evaporated Milk
  • Regular Milk
  • Powdered Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Half And Half
  • Almond Milk
  • Other Nut Milk
  • Heavy Cream


  • To substitute evaporated milk, several alternatives can work wonders in your recipes.
  • For a rich and creamy texture, consider using heavy cream or half-and-half in a 1:1 ratio.
  • To achieve a dairy-free option, coconut milk and almond milk are excellent choices with similar consistency.
  • Experiment with offered substitutions in your sweet and savory dishes, and you'll discover delightful flavors without compromising on taste or texture.
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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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