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Food & Recipes

How to Make Your Own Evaporated Milk When You Don’t Have Any on Hand

Transform your coffee, desserts, and more.


If you’re a culinary enthusiast who loves to throw together a delicious custard or creamy pie filling every now and then, you’ve probably got evaporated milk in your fridge. But times are, well, different, and most of us aren’t grocery shopping as much as we used to. Luckily, if your recipe calls for evaporated milk and you forgot to stock up, it’s really easy to make at home.

Evaporated milk is, after all, just regular milk that’s had about 60 percent of its water content removed. This is typically done by heating the milk to a high enough temperature that the water evaporates into steam.

To be clear, evaporated milk isn’t the same thing as condensed milk. Condensed milk also has the water content removed through heating, but sugars are added to sweeten it. Evaporated milk contains no added sweeteners, but since the water is removed, it takes on a smoother, creamier texture compared to regular milk. Evaporated milk is used in recipes to add creaminess, thicken up sauces, and more. Since it isn’t sweetened, you can use it in sweet recipes or savory ones. It can also be used as a creamer for coffee and tea!

Since making evaporated milk only requires heating, it’s really easy to make at home. You can use whole milk or low-fat milk, though whole milk will have a creamier end result. 

To start, pour two cups of milk into a large saucepan. Then, place a wooden spoon into the pan, holding it upright. Remove the spoon and mark off the top of the milk line with a small pen or pencil mark. Next, pour another two and a half cups of milk into the saucepan and bring the total four and a half cups of milk to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat to the lowest setting to prevent the milk from burning.

Allow the milk to boil until the milk is reduced back to two cups, which you can measure with your spoon. This means it’s been reduced by about 60 percent. Use a cheesecloth to strain your evaporated milk and pour it into an air-tight container. Your milk will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

We hope this recipe saved you in a time of need or helped you whip up something truly delicious!  

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