Every baker or cook has been faced with this problem. You're in the middle of a recipe that calls for an ingredient and it turns out you actually don't have one of the important ingredients that the recipe calls for. The great news is, there are many alternatives for certain ingredients, so you don't have to run to the grocery store. For example, if you run out of evaporated milk, there are several substitutes you probably have on hand in your kitchen.
First, what exactly is evaporated milk? It's a pasteurized, shelf stable milk with about 60 percent of the water content taken out through a heating process. Evaporated milk is not the same thing as sweetened condensed milk - that's one thing you can't usually substitute for evaporated milk unless you're making a dessert and the sugar in the condensed milk won't change the taste of the recipe.
Evaporated milk tastes just like regular milk, but has a thicker consistency since some it has less water in it. It's great to use in savory dishes like casseroles and sauces, and in desserts like pumpkin pies, but it also works in anything where you need a dairy product. If you're out of fresh milk for something like cereal, you can mix an equal amount of evaporated milk and water as a substitute.
And if you find yourself all out of cans of evaporated milk, check out these best substitutes for evaporated milk.
8 Genius Substitutes for Evaporated Milk
DIY Evaporated Milk
Make your own evaporated milk by heating 2 1/4 cups of regular milk in a saucepan until it reduces to down to one cup. Skim or whole milk works, but 2% milk is commonly used for evaporated milk.
Powdered milk is milk that has has been dehydrated until completely dry. Like evaporated milk, it has a long shelf life and by adding water, it can be made back into milk. To use powdered milk as an evaporated milk alternative, just add water, but reduce the amount of water you would normally add.
Try mixing together 1 cup of powdered milk with 1 1/2 cups water until it dissolves completely.
If you're really in a pinch, half-and-half can be used in place of evaporated milk. While you'll miss out on that caramelized flavor from half-and-half, it's still got the creamy consistency of evaporated milk due to the fat content.
Heavy cream is one of the best ingredients to have on hand. It's super rich and decadent and makes a wonderful evaporated milk substitute. Use it in place of evaporated milk in recipes for pie fillings, casseroles, soups, etc.
There are plenty of dairy-free milk products that can be used in place of evaporated milk. Soy milk can be heated and reduced until the water evaporates. Of course, the flavor will be slightly different but is perfect for those with a dairy intolerance. Just keep in mind, if you or someone you know has a soy allergy, avoid this option.
Oat milk is very simple to make at home just by blending together oats and water, however, oat milk is available at the store as well. It can be used to replace evaporated milk in recipes and is a great non-dairy milk option. Oat milk is also high in fiber and can help with digestion so that's a huge plus!
If you don't have a nut allergy, ingredients like almond, hazelnut and cashew milks can be used as an evaporated milk substitute. Hazelnut and almond milk are suitable for sweeter dishes while cashew milk can be used in both savory and sweet dishes since it's especially neutral in flavor.
If you don't mind the subtle coconut flavor of coconut milk, you can use it as a substitute for evaporated milk in many recipes. It's already very thick, so there's no need to reduce it beforehand.
We should also note that there you can buy some dairy-free evaporated milks, too, including evaporated coconut milk.
This article was originally published on January 16, 2020.
Watch: Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.