Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk: A Guide to Understanding the Differences

evaporated milk vs condensed milk
14 min reading time

Evaporated milk and condensed milk may look the same in a can, but there is an essential difference between these two popular forms of dairy that can transform recipes from good to great. Knowing the difference between evaporated and condensed milk can help you choose the right ingredient for your recipes, which means delicious treats instead of disappointments. To ensure success in all your baking adventures, take some time to explore and understand evaporated milk vs condensed milk and why they should be used separately according to their intended purpose.

What is Evaporated Milk?

Evaporated milk, also known as canned milk or shelf-stable milk, is a concentrated form of regular cow’s milk. It is made by slowly heating the liquid until about 60% of its moisture content has been removed through evaporation. This process results in a creamy product with a light golden color and a slightly sweet taste.

The main advantage of evaporated milk is that it does not require refrigeration like regular cow’s milk. As long as the can remain unopened, evaporated milk can last for several months on the shelf at room temperature. Once opened, however, it must be stored in the refrigerator and should be used within 5 days after opening – otherwise, it will spoil like regular dairy products.

Evaporated Milk has many uses in cooking and baking; adding richness to baked goods such as cakes and brownies or creating delicious sauces for pasta dishes etc., due to its high protein/fat content compared to freshly produced whole cow’s milk (2 to 3 times higher). Evaporated Milk also makes a great substitute for fresh cream when whipped or blended together with other ingredients – this is called reconstituted evaporated milk which puts you well on the way to enjoying much richer smoothie recipes you may find online!

What is Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk, also known as sweetened condensed milk, is a thick and creamy dairy product made by removing most of the water content from cow’s milk before it has been pasteurized. After the water content is removed, sugar is added to give it an extra sweetness and make it more shelf-stable. In many recipes, it’s commonly used in desserts or as a convenient substitute for fresh milk.

The origins of condensed milk can be traced back to 1856 when Gail Borden, Jr., patented his idea of evaporating fresh cow’s milk until only half the original volume remained. He then added potassium carbonate (a mineral salt) and sugar to improve its flavor and extend its shelf life. Not long after this development, condensed milk quickly gained popularity among homemakers who needed an alternative form of preserving regular cow’s milk without having access to modern refrigeration methods.

Today commercial brands are often used for baking purposes or enjoyed directly with cereal or desserts. Condensed milk contains significantly fewer calories than regular liquid cow’s milk and does not require special refrigeration if stored properly inside airtight containers away from bright light sources. It also makes an excellent substitute ingredient in vegan cakes and other plant-based dishes since it provides a creamy texture similar to that found in traditional dairy recipes but without using any animal products whatsoever!

Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk: What Are the Differences?

evaporated vs condensed milk


Evaporated milk and condensed milk, though seemingly similar, have a few distinct differences in flavour. Evaporated milk has a milder taste than condensed milk due to the added heat involved in evaporating water from it. Its milky taste is more subtle and slightly less sweet than its counterpart. As such, it often finds itself added to other foods or dishes as an ingredient for a smoother mouthfeel without overpowering them with sweetness.

On the other hand, sweetened condensed milk has been cooked down much longer before being cooled and canned; during this process, natural sugars present within the evaporated milk are caramelised, giving it an intense sweetness that intensifies further when heated up or mixed into desserts like ice cream or pastries. This fantastic combination of sugar and fat makes it one of the most popular ingredients!


The most significant difference between evaporated and condensed milk is its sweetness. Evaporated milk contains less sugar when compared to sweetened condensed milk; evaporated milk typically contains around 20 grams per cup, comparable to regular cow’s full-fat offerings.

On the other hand, sweetened condensed milk is much sweeter due to being produced with added sugar before most of the liquid water content is removed by evaporation. This means they contain roughly double (about 45 grams) or more than twice the amount of sugar in an equivalent serving size to plain evaporated milk.


The most notable difference between evaporated and condensed milk is its texture. Condensed milk will be noticeably thicker than its counterpart due to the higher concentration levels. On the other hand, evaporated milk does not have such high levels but will still be noticeable as it retains more moisture than condensed varieties. It has more thickness than regular cow’s or goat’s kinds of milk, making it easier to stir into recipes or drinks.

Health Benefits

evaporated milk has a slightly higher fat content than condensed milk; it is made by simmering cow’s whole milk until about 60% of the water is removed, resulting in a thicker, richer product. This dairy product provides essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and vitamins A & D to help with strong bones and teeth and healthy skin. It also contains protein for muscle growth and development. Additionally, evaporated milk can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life due to its high calcium content.

On the other hand, condensed Milk is produced through a process which removes some of the water from regular cow’s whole or skimmed milk but not all like evaporated milk produces (about 40%). Like its counterpart, it also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium for bone development and maintenance and potassium for heart health. Additionally, because a small amount of sugar was added during production, it provides fewer calories per serving compared to regular cow’s full cream or skimmed milk, making it an ideal choice for those looking to watch their weight gain while reaping some nutritional benefits from dairy consumption.

Storage And Shelf Life

When it comes to milk, many different types are available on the market. Two of the most popular are evaporated milk and condensed milk. These products have a long storage life, making them great to have on hand in your pantry. However, there are some differences between the two regarding shelf life. Evaporated milk has a longer shelf life than condensed milk, lasting up to six months in the pantry. On the other hand, condensed milk has a slightly shorter shelf life of around four to six months. It’s important to note that once these products are opened, their shelf life decreases significantly and should be refrigerated.

Can you use evaporated milk instead of condensed milk?

If you’re in the middle of making a recipe that calls for condensed milk and suddenly realize you don’t have any, fear not! You might have a can of evaporated milk hiding in your pantry that can save the day. Evaporated milk and condensed milk are both canned milk products, but they are not interchangeable in recipes. Evaporated milk is just milk that’s been cooked to remove some of the water content, hence the “evaporated” part. Conversely, condensed milk has sugar added to it, making it thicker and sweeter than evaporated milk. So, while using evaporated milk instead of condensed milk in some recipes is possible, you’ll need to adjust the sugar and liquid measurements to compensate for the difference.

What Are the Uses of Evaporated Milk?

As such, evaporated milk can be stored in its unopened can for up to one year without refrigeration if kept in a cool, dry place.

There are many uses for evaporated milk, including baking and cooking recipes and being consumed directly from the can on its own. The lack of water in evaporated milk helps prevent curdling during cooking and adds a velvety texture when used on hot cereals or other dishes like mashed potatoes. It can also be used as an ingredient that provides creaminess and richness; substitute evaporated milk cup-for-cup for cream in recipes like soups, sauces, or desserts without adding extra fat or calories like heavy cream would!

Evaporated Milk is also often used alongside regular dairy when making delicious treats such as cakes and ice creams. It allows chefs to control how much sweetness they add while still achieving that creamy texture they desire – perfect for those with diabetes seeking sweet treats! Additionally, because these beverages freeze differently than standard whole milk due to higher sugar content, you will need less time waiting for your frozen confections to be ready.

Furthermore, due to its high protein content and naturally occurring vitamins A & D, this product is often added to post-workout drinks/smoothies by people looking to want extra protein after their exercise routines. It provides smoothness while not necessarily having too much excess sugar, which is ideal if your primary aim was bulking/dieting regimes rather than indulging yourself further!

What Are the Uses of Condensed Milk?

The most common use for condensed milk is for making desserts and confectioneries, as its sweetness makes it a great way to add flavor while keeping other ingredients from drying out. For instance, it’s often used in ice cream, fudge, puddings, frosting recipes, and candies like caramels or divinity!

It’s also commonly found in pie fillings such as key lime or lemon meringue. Condensed milk is also an excellent addition to cakes due to its moistening properties – adding it to your cake mix will yield much softer results than just regular cow’s milk or a combination of sugar and butter alone. Many popular breakfast dishes such as crepes and pancakes benefit from the slight sweetness condensed milk can provide when added to the batter. Plus, you don’t need any additional sugar using sweetened varieties! Additionally, some people enjoy substituting condensed milk when making oatmeal or other types of hot cereal by either adding a spoonful on top before serving or stirring it into the mixture upon cooking.

Other popular culinary uses include making drinks such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate more smooth and creamy; adding richness when substituting for heavy cream.

What Are the Substitutes for Evaporated Milk?

Here is a list of substitutes that can be used in recipes and dishes which might traditionally call for evaporated milk:

  1. Cream: Heavy, half-and-half, and light cream all work as 1:1 substitutes for evaporated milk. Note that using one of these options will result in a richer finished product with slightly higher fat content than if you had used traditional evaporated milk.
  2. Coconut Milk: Unsweetened coconut milk or homemade coconut milk will work as an approximately 1:1 substitute for regular evaporated milk when baking sweet recipes such as cakes and muffins. Depending on the sweetness level desired, you may want to add some sugar when substituting coconut milk for evaporated milk.
  3. Almond Milk/Soy Milk/Rice Milk: Any variety of dairy-free alternative milk can be subbed into your baking recipes at a 1:1 ratio for evaporated cow’s or goat’s milk; just make sure they’re unsweetened! They generally have significantly less fat than cow’s classic dairy counterparts but adding some butter, oil or other fats can help recreate that texture factor in your chosen dish.
  4. Condensed Milk + Water: Sweetened condensed plus equal parts warm water creates an equivalent substitute to regular old-fashioned condensed (evaporated)milk; simply stir together until smooth and bubbly before using it in place of the original ingredient called for in your recipe!

What Are the Substitutes for Condensed Milk?

Fortunately, there are several substitutes you can use in place of condensed milk:

  1. Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk is made from cow’s milk and processed so water has been removed. This leaves behind a concentrated form of dairy that you can use as a substitute for condensed milk in any recipe calling for the latter. It produces similar results but is slightly less sweet than regular condensed milk since it does not contain added sugar.
  2. Coconut Cream: Coconut cream has become increasingly popular due to its slightly sweet taste and health benefits such as being lactose-free and vegan friendly; these attributes make it an excellent choice for an alternative to dairy-based condensed milk. When using this option as a replacement, start by substituting one cup of coconut cream for every one cup of evaporated or reduced-fat canned (condensed) milk called for in your recipe; then reduce the number of other liquids such as water by half accordingly – essentially resulting in replacing two cups liquid with just one cup coconut cream instead!
  3. Non-Dairy Milks: Soymilk, almond milk, and cashew milk are all good alternatives when searching out dairy-free replacements for traditional condensed milk – although they may require more tweaking depending on what you are using them within (as some recipes won’t turn out quite right!), adding additional sugar might help compensate this too if needed. Additionally, if needing an unsweetened version, try rice pudding which can serve both hot & cold dishes alike, plus add thickness via its own starch content, thus eliminating the need entirely!
  4. Molasses & Brown Sugar Syrup: Molasses mixed with soft brown sugar creates a syrup that mimics the sweetness of regular canned milk while still allowing dishes more room to adjust levels themselves– though expect final products here to have somewhat deeper hues (especially if recipes happen to involve extended cooking times).

Frequently Asked Question

Which is better milk or evaporated milk?

Milk and evaporated milk have been staples in many households for years. While both types of milk have their own unique benefits, they are not created equal. Milk has a higher water content, making it a better option for hydration and keeping your body nourished. On the other hand, evaporated milk, due to its thickness and creaminess, adds a rich and distinct flavor to dishes like soups, casseroles, and even baked goods. However, if you want to cut back on calories and fat, it is important to note that evaporated milk is more calorie-dense than regular milk. Ultimately, choosing between milk and evaporated milk all comes down to what you are using it for and what benefits you want.

Can I make evaporated milk at home?

Making evaporated milk at home is easier than you may think. All you need is regular milk and a pan. With the right technique, you can have your own homemade version of evaporated milk in no time. Not only will it save you from the hassle of going to the store, but you’ll also know exactly what’s going into it. Give it a try, and you might never go back to store-bought evaporated milk again.

Is evaporated milk easier to digest than condensed milk?

While both types of milk go through a similar heating and processing method, evaporated milk is typically easier to digest than condensed milk. This is because evaporated milk does not contain added sugar and has a lower level of lactose, making it easier for those with lactose sensitivities to digest. Plus, it has a thicker consistency than regular milk, which can help those with gastrointestinal issues, such as acid reflux. So if you’re looking for a milk alternative that is easier on your digestive system, try evaporated milk!

How long does it take to make evaporated milk?

Evaporated milk is made by heating regular milk in a vacuum until most of the water content evaporates, leaving behind a thick and creamy liquid. This process typically takes around 25 minutes to an hour, depending on the quantity being made. It’s a fascinating science experiment in your own kitchen!

Bottom Line

Evaporated milk and condensed milk are both great for a variety of recipes and are an essential staple in many households. Although evaporated milk tends to be thinner and contains more proteins, and condensed milk is thicker with a higher sugar content, both are useful in baking. Ultimately the choice between them comes down to personal preference since the two milks can often be used interchangeably. Those who are looking to cut calories should go for evaporated milk since it contains fewer calories than its counterpart, while those looking for a richer flavor can opt for condensed milk. To fully take advantage of the culinary potential of these products, experiment with both so you can find out which one fits your tastes best.

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