Grocery shopping is already done for the week, but you just realized you forgot to pick up evaporated milk. Dang it! Don't worry, we're here to save the day. Making a substitute for evaporated milk is a piece of cake! Even better? Ours is keto-friendly and dairy-free!

glass canister of evaporated milk, from Shelf Cooking

It doesn't matter how many times you double-check your grocery list. There's always at least one thing you forget to pick up! Hey, it happens to us, too! But here's the thing. You don't have to run out to the store every time you're missing an ingredient!

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From our experience, there's a substitution for just about anything. So, the next time you find yourself wondering what to substitute for evaporated milk, remember this post. You'll be prepared!


Let's start by tackling an all-important question. Is there a difference between evaporated and condensed milk? If so, what is it?

The short answer is: YES! There is quite a big difference. We can understand the confusion, though. Those dang cans and labels look so similar! Here's what you should know:

  • Condensed Milk – Cow's milk that's had most of the water removed and sugar added.
  • Evaporated Milk – Regular cow's milk that's had 60% of its water content removed. Evaporated milk is unsweetened.

Both are concentrated versions of milk, but they serve pretty different purposes. That's why you should be careful not to use the two interchangeably. This leads us to the whole point of the post: what you can substitute for evaporated milk.


glass bowl of powdered milk, from Shelf Cooking

If you don't have a can of evaporated milk in the pantry, you've got a few options! Here are some easy peasy substitutes to try:

  • Milk – If you have regular milk in the fridge, then you're in luck! Just pour 2 1/2 cups into a small pot and stir occasionally over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Allow it to continue cooking until the liquid reduces to 60%, then give it time to cool before you use it.
  • Powdered Milk – Mix 1 1/2 cups of non-fat powdered milk with 1 1/4 cups of water. Stir until dissolved, and you've got evaporated milk!
  • Half and Half – While it's slightly thicker than evaporated milk, it's close enough to use a one-to-one replacement ratio.
  • Milk + Heavy Cream – Combine six ounces of milk with six ounces of heavy cream to create your own half and half, which can then be used as a substitute.
  • Coconut Milk – Because coconut milk is so similar in texture to evaporated milk, you can use a one-to-one ratio.

See? Super easy, right? Now, what to do with that condensed milk? We've got storage tips and yummy ideas for ya!


glass mason jars filled with chia pudding, from Shelf Cooking

Whether you end up with half a can of unused evaporated milk or a little bit of homemade stuff leftover, here's what you need to know. Just move your leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also use your evaporated milk in one of these yummy dishes:

  • Add to Popsicles – Sub some of the juice in this tropical popsicle recipe for a creamier, smoother consistency! It's like a creamsicle on a stick.
  • Blend in Smoothies – If you add a splash of evaporated milk to your next fruit smoothie, you won't be disappointed.
  • Make Salad Dressing – Mix some fresh lemon juice with evaporated milk, and you've got a yummy, creamy dressing.
  • Reconstitute It – Add enough water to double the volume, and voila! You've got regular milk again. We don't suggest drinking it (it won't taste quite the same), but it's perfect to use in other recipes.
  • Serve with Tea – Add a splash or two to your favorite tea, along with a spoonful of honey.
  • Spruce Up Pudding – Instead of using regular milk, add condensed milk to your instant mix or chia pudding for a smoother consistency.

There are plenty of savory recipes that call for evaporated milk, too! Creamy soups are the perfect candidate. Try using evaporated milk instead of half and half to make your favorite recipes (like this broccoli cheddar soup) a little healthier.

Now, if you want to make your own batch of evaporated milk, we say go for it! We've got an easy recipe to share. And bonus… it's dairy-free.


If you have kiddos or family members who are sensitive to dairy, you know the struggle is real when it comes to baking treats the whole family can enjoy. We use a ton of almond milk around here, and now we're going to show you how to turn that sugar-free, dairy-free almond milk into an evaporated milk substitute!

glass canister of evaporated milk, from Shelf Cooking

Evaporated Milk

This recipe makes the perfect substitute for evaporated milk! Skip the canned stuff and try this yummy version.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Course Ingredient
Cuisine American
Servings 12 oz


  • cups unsweetened, unflavored almond milk


  • Measure your almond milk, then pour into a small saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occassionally until it reaches a boil.
  • Continue stirring and allow the almond milk to cook for around 10-15 minutes, or until reduced to 60%.
  • Set aside to cool, then use and enjoy!


This evaporated milk substitute is perfect for baked goods! If you're looking for a dairy-free substitute to use in savory dishes, try soy milk instead. Follow the same instructions outlined here. 

Super simple and super delicious! It goes perfect in any recipe.

How do you use up leftover evaporated milk? Leave a comment and let us know!

Image with text that reads "dairy-free evaporated milk" from Shelf Cooking

Looking for other recipe substitutes?

Now, bake it away!