Evaporated milk is the concentrated form of milk. It is processed by boiling so that around 60% of the water evaporates. This form of milk has a creamy texture with a slight caramel flavor and is just right for making soups, sauces, desserts, cookies, and cakes. You could also use it in tea, coffee, or to make smoothies. However, if you can’t tolerate or don’t like the taste of dairy products, or, simply ran out, you can use substitutes for evaporated milk that lend their own flavor the dish.
Dairy Substitutes for Evaporated Milk
If you need concentrated milk for a recipe and don’t have the time to run out and get the real thing, try the next best alternative you have handy. Here are some options and how you can use them:
- Powdered milk is the dried version of real milk and has a longer shelf life. To convert into evaporated milk, add water until you get the consistency you’re looking for depending on the recipe. Keep in mind that different brands may need you to adjust the water according to the level of dehydration.
- 1 cup or 250 ml of evaporated milk is equivalent to 1 cup half-and-half/ 1 cup heavy cream/ 1 cup whole milk
You can also make your own evaporated milk by adding 2 ¼ cups of milk into a thick-bottomed pan and simmering until the milk reduces to 1 cup.
Non-Dairy Substitutes for Evaporated Milk
In case you’re cooking for a person who is lactose intolerant or vegan, try these options that won’t cause allergies and are loaded with nutrients:
- Soy milk is a readily available substitute for evaporated milk. If you get the basic variety, you can always make your own evaporated version by simmering about 2 ½ cups until it reaches the consistency you want. Incidentally, soy milk is made by soaking soybeans and then, grinding them with water. After straining out the liquid, you’ll have soy milk.
- Oat milk is also made by blending oats and water and filtering out the liquid. While you can get regular oat milk at your grocery store, you may have to boil it to get the right consistency you need. Oat milk has the added positive of containing fiber unlike evaporated dairy milk.
- Hemp milk also makes an excellent substitute for evaporated milk. However, each brand will have a different thickness. You can always adjust the consistency by adding cornstarch and bringing to a boil. Alternatively, simmer like you would soy milk or oat milk.
- Quinoa milk is one of the newest alternatives to dairy milk. You can soak the grains and grind them in water to extract the liquid milk. To get a thicker version, you can lower the amount of water you add. And, to answer your question, it is available in grocery stores. Simply adjust the thickness as needed.
- Rice milk is made just like you would prepare quinoa milk. To thicken it, you can adjust the amount of water you add or boil with cornstarch. Although safe for people who are allergic to dairy and soy products, diabetics might want to drink it with caution. This product has a high glycemic index.
- Store-bought flax milk is created by blending flaxseed oil with water. At home, you can blend the seeds in water and strain to extract the milk. Thicken as the recipe needs.
Nut Milks as Substitutes for Evaporated Milk
You can extract milk from nuts. But, people who are allergic to nuts may want to use these products with caution. Like all the other alternatives to dairy milk, you can purchase almond milk, hazelnut milk, or cashew nut milk from the store. If you like, you can also make the milk you need at home by soaking the nuts in water, grinding into a paste, and straining to get the thickness you need. Coconut milk is another option you can try, but check with your medical practitioner for information on whether or not you can safely have it.
The next time you run out of evaporated milk or need a substitute, know that there are lots of options to choose from.