How To Make Evaporated Milk

how to make evaporated milk

A lot of recipes involve some form and amount of creaminess and its associated texture to complete the look and taste. Such recipes are the ones that cannot use egg in some form or the other. Maybe due to it being a vegetarian dish or something like that. In this case, evaporated milk forms the best alternative and ingredient to be used. Apart from the creaminess, it also imparts a rich texture that is thick like ice cream but thick and semi-solid even at room temperatures. This article will show you how to make evaporated milk.

Usually, it’s always best to stick to the original recipe, but sometimes you want to substitute the original ingredients with something as flavourful and sometimes even more nutritious. Evaporated milk gives you the best of taste, nutrition and is also extremely inexpensive to make and store. You have large batches made in advance that you can consume for weeks in the end. The taste is naturally sweet and so it can go as an ingredient or even as a topping, like e.g. for pancakes. Due to the special way it is made, it has a slightly caramelized flavor, which adds to its appeal. Evaporated milk is often confused with condensed milk because the contents are mostly the same. Evaporated milk was created with the sole intention of reducing milk by boiling to reduce water content and aid a longer shelf life. It was always supposed to be rehydrated before use, but in the process, the chefs discovered a unique product.


Evaporated milk has been in use for a long time and is also called “unsweetened condensed milk”. Essentially it is the regular fresh milk from which almost 60% of the water content is removed, thereby giving it a thick consistency and a smooth texture. Due to the evaporation of so much water content, it does not get easily spoilt, and so its shelf life also increases considerably. Evaporated milk can last months and even years, and it all entirely depends on its fat and sugar content. This had made the product extremely popular before refrigerators (became mainstream in our homes) as a viable means to make milk last longer. You can also add water into the evaporated milk to turn it back into milk. In fact, it is added as a milk substitute in coffee in some countries. It has become a safe and proven substitute for fresh milk.

You may have heard of sweetened condensed milk, which contains added sugar to inhibit bacterial growth and therefore requires far lesser processing. This process removes 60% water from the milk and follows a few more steps to make it safe. Instead of buying the readily available evaporated milk, it is advisable to make one of your own as it is more natural, undergoes less processing, and has no added preservatives.

how to make evaporated milk
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Benefits Of Using Evaporated Milk

  • When you heat milk to reduce the water content, the resulting liquid will have a slightly caramelized flavor. This caramelized flavor is ideal for a range of recipes like desserts and custards and it also reduces the amount of cooking needed.
  • When you add acid or salt to the mixture, the milk will not curdle as regular milk does. This makes it even more ideal for sweets and other dishes that can benefit from a sweet milky texture and flavor.
  • It is a healthy and nutritious product, therefore can make the diet more healthy.

Preparing The Evaporated Milk

Preparing the evaporate milk is an easy but time-consuming process. Also, you will not be able to undo a lot of things, if they go wrong. Therefore, pay careful attention to what’s happening and what you should be doing at any point in time. Let’s start with the recipe.

List Of Ingredients

  • Homogenized milk


  • Instant dry milk powder – 240 ml or equivalent 1 cup
  • Water – 300 ml or equivalent 1¼ cup
  • Butter – up to 8 tablespoons (up to 115 grams) – as preferred


  • Milk – 3 parts
  • Half-and-half – 1 part

Today we will take a look at not 1 but 3 ways to make evaporated milk at home. This way, you will have a variety of ways to make the same product and you can also see how they taste and work for you. In the end, you can use the one that best suits your need and purpose. Let’s start with the first one.

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The Traditional Method – Reducing Fresh milk

Always start by measuring the milk first. So you will understand exactly how much has reduced and when you can stop the boiling process. For newcomers, this step is particularly important as otherwise, they can end up with milk that’s overcooked or underprepared. Overcooked milk will have a faint but distinct burnt smell and flavor and can be off-putting.


  1. As specified, you can turn any fresh milk into evaporated by simply reducing 60% water. In short, 10 ounces of milk will make 4 ounces of evaporated milk. Of course, you will not be making such a small quantity, but we wanted to give you a base figure. So 30 ounces of fresh milk will make 12 ounces of evaporated milk, which is just about the same quantity you will get from an evaporated milk can.
  2. You can use either skim milk, reduced-fat, fat-free, or full-fat milk for this purpose. As for the non-homogenized milk (also raw milk), as you heat it, the fat and the milk will separate which is undesired. So unless you use an emulsifier, such as lecithin, the use of non-homogenized milk and raw milk is not recommended.
  3. For heating the milk, we recommend you grab a wide bottom saucepan. The wider surface area of the milk in the pan will ensure faster evaporation. Also, a thick bottomed pan will ensure even heat distribution throughout the pan and so it will prevent burning of milk or milk solids.
  4. Start from high heat and as the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat and bring it to a very low simmer. Watch over the milk as it boils and whisk the milk frequently to prevent any milk skin from forming over the surface. Milk skin will cover the surface and the evaporation will stop. If a skin forms, whisk the milk to tear the skin and dissolve it in the milk again. Use a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon to whisk the milk and prevent damage to the saucepan.
  5. Time required for the milk to reduce will depend on the amount of milk being used, the size of the saucepan, the width of the saucepan, and the lowest temperature setting on the stovetop. To speed up the process, occasionally increase the heat to bring milk to a low boil and keep stirring continuously. This will ensure faster evaporation. But do not continue this for too long else the milk will get a burnt smell.
  6. You can control the kind of flavor the evaporated milk will have. It tastes good both ways and in the end, it’s the individual preference that matters.
    1. If you heat it fast and keep stirring, it will get a very light brown color and a caramel flavor.
    2. If you kept at a low boil, the evaporated milk will have pure milk color and flavor but will take the longest time.
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The Traditional Method – Heating

  1. As the milk reduces, milk solids and milk skin on the milk get formed. Eventually, these sink to the bottom of the saucepan due to their weight and get stuck there. If milk is not whisked frequently, these solids will absorb a lot of heat and will start to burn. So keep an eye out and whisk regularly so that these milk solids don’t scorch.
  2. Also, keep an eye on the amount of reduction that happens over time. Once the milk is slightly less than 50% of the volume you started with, turn off the heat. You can strain out all the solids in the milk by pouring through a fine mesh.
  3. Let the milk cool down completely by itself. Then refrigerate as soon as possible. Due to the lower water content, the reduced milk is more stable at room temperatures but still not recommended to outside storage. Store it in an airtight container or jar in a cold area of the fridge.

The Quick Unconventional Method – Combining Dry Milk Powder And Butter

This method is a shortcut recipe and makes use of milk powders that are easily available. Milk with zero water content turn into powders. We just have to do the reverse i.e. add little water to the milk powder. That’s the basic idea behind this genius recipe.

  1. You will need enough water, dry milk powder, and butter for this recipe. Since you have to remove 60% water from regular milk to get reduced milk, you will have to do the opposite when using dry milk powder. So in this case, we have to add 40% water to the milk powder contents to make evaporated milk.
  2. To make 12 ounces of evaporated milk, take 300 ml of water in a large saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
  3. Add 15 grams of butter for a rich creamy taste. Butter is optional but desirable. You can add up to 30 grams or 2 tablespoons to make an extra rich evaporated milk.
  4. The water would have come to an almost boil by now. To this slowly add 1 cup of dry milk powder and keep stirring to avoid forming any lumps. Ensure all the powder is dissolved completely in the liquid.
  5. Heat the mixture well till reaches the right consistency. If you desire the caramel taste, let it cook for 10 minutes on simmer, and keep stirring frequently till you get the change in color, taste and freagrance.
  6. Cool it down completely, store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

That’s it, your evaporated milk is now ready.

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The Workaround – Using Substitutions in Recipes

The unique taste and flavor of reduced evaporated milk come from the long cooking process. Similarly, even the light caramel flavor comes only from slightly overcooking the milk. There is no way these flavors can be replicated by adding anything to the milk. Therefore, if you use substitutions, you have to understand that they will not be for the taste and flavour, but rather as a replacement for reduced milk. However, they will still have the same level of fat and consistency. However, this substitute works very well in recipes like baked goods and any other recipe where milk is not supposed to carry the main flavor of the recipe.

How To Make Evaporated Milk – The Workaround:

  1. Milk with half-and-half: Substitution is made by combining milk with half-and-half. For those who don’t know half-and-half is a combination of equal parts of cream and milk. However, since the end product has to be thick and rich in flavor to match the evaporated milk, you have to ideally use half heavy cream and half whole milk. For this reason, you will find a larger percentage of fat in commercially available half-and-half and will range from 10 – 18% milk fat. There are 3 different ways in which you can make half-and-half and all of the ingredients are easily available at home. We have shared the information below.

    a. Whole Milk and Heavy Cream Substitute: This is the closest substitute to commercial products. Combine 1/2 cup of whole milk with 1/2 cup of heavy cream to get 1 cup.
    b. Whole Milk and Butter Substitute: Combine a cup of whole milk and a tablespoon of butter or margarine.
    c. Low-Fat Milk and Heavy Cream Substitute: Take 2/3 cups of low-fat milk and combine that with 1/3 cup heavy cream.
  2. Stick to the demands of the recipe. If the recipe needs full-fat evaporated milk, begin by using full-fat regular milk. Unless the recipe specifies, always use full fat evaporated milk.
  3. Half-and-half: Half-and-half is a very close flavor and texture for substituting, and you can make a slight change by using buttermilk if you want a tart flavor in the recipe.
  4. Full-fat cream: You can also use the cream as an extra rich substitute. If you have only whole full fat cream you can use cream with water and adjust the quantity of water and use the combination as a very rough substitute. This is only a workaround and of course, there will be differences in taste. However, it is a substitute for those rare times when you are short of milk. Also, use this only for soups and sauces due to its creamy and highly liquid consistency. It is.

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How To Make Evaporated Milk – Tips

Overall, while you call them substitutes, they do offer an interesting variety of tastes and flavors with various combinations and you must try them sometime. Also, half-and-half is a convenience item and so will be expensive. So it will be great if you can spin one in the kitchen all by yourself in little or no time.


Evaporated milk in itself is a very healthy, tasty, and nutritious product, especially if made at home. Of course, it does take a lot of time, though not so much effort. But the end product and its taste will leave you wanting more. Add to it the fact that it can complement a variety of foods, recipes and preparations are even more awesome. I hope you found the information in this article useful and make a couple of cans of this product. Happy Cooking!

Jillian Noon

Hi, I am Jillian Noon, the owner of this beautiful cooking blog. I create this blog to share my passion for cooking and other kitchen & food tips. I hope you will enjoy it!

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