Evaporated milk is imperative for a typical kitchen. This is due to its versatility in most recipes. In case you are confused about what even is evaporated milk, here is the explanation: it is canned milk with about 60% of the water removed from the milk. It is appropriate for enhancing different types of foods including hot chocolate, soups and cheese.
It is creamy and high in protein. The process of obtaining evaporated milk involves the use of heat. This comes up with a caramelised variant of milk. With this in mind, evaporated milk may not suit everybody. Due to its lactose content, some individuals are intolerant. Nevertheless, is there a substitute for evaporated milk?
Luckily, you can use different dairy and non-dairy alternatives of evaporated milk, as you will learn below.
Why You Might Want a Substitute
There are many reasons why someone will need to use a substitute for evaporated milk. The most common reasons is due to the lactose intolerance problem faced by several individuals. Here is a comprehensive list of the most common reasons people have to abandon evaporated milk:
This is the primary reason why many people avoid evaporated milk. A whopping 70% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. If you do not know what this means, it implies that these individuals cannot digest the sugars in milk effectively. This can lead to stomachaches and discomfort, among many other problems.
Around 5% of children in the world have a milk-related allergic reaction. Another 0.5% of adults have the same problem. Such individuals cannot use dairy alternatives for evaporated milk, as they also contain milk proteins.
Taste and Preferences
Some individuals are neither allergic nor lactose intolerant but do not prefer the taste of evaporated milk. For such individuals, there are both dairy and non-dairy substitutes to use.
To Reduce Protein Intake
This is for those on a diet or weight loss program that requires a reduction of protein in the body. As evaporated milk is rich in protein, it is imperative to avoid it from your diet. You will need to use another option with lower protein intake.
For the vegans, animal products are a no-go zone. There are different reasons why vegans avoid animal products. Some of the best-known reasons include health matters, for the welfare of the animals and due to religious or environmental reasons. For such individuals, a plant-based alternative is the most appropriate to use.
Due to The Calorie Content
This can go either way, depending on whether you want to gain or lose weight. If you aim to gain weight, then you will need an alternative with higher calorie content. On the other hand, if you want to lose weight, then you will need to use a substitute with lower calorie content.
12 Best Substitutes for Evaporated Milk
For those who cannot use evaporated milk due to the reasons stated above or more, then there are alternatives. Split into dairy and non-dairy substitutes; there is something for everyone. Some of the dairy options that you can use to replace evaporated milk include powdered milk, regular milk, cream, lactose-free milk and half- &-half. Here are twelve of the best alternatives to use for evaporated milk:
Cream adds to the richness and density of any mixture you are preparing. It is an appropriate option for soups, sauces, pie fillings, baking and casseroles, et al. You should use it under a 1:1 ratio.
It contains more calories, as it is thicker and higher in fat content. Therefore, it is the best fit for those looking to gain weight. A single 240ml cup of cream has 821 calories. Due to this high-calorie content, it is inappropriate for those trying to lose weight or reduce their overall calorie intake.
2. Half and Half
This is a mixture made of half milk and half cream, hence the name. You come up with the dough by combining 50% of milk with an equivalent percentage of cream. You will then blend the mixture for the best results.
Half-and-half has a thicker texture than evaporated milk. You can use it in coffee or any other recipe that needs the use of creams. It is lower in carbs but higher in fat content when compared to evaporated milk. However, they are both nutritionally similar. A single 240ml cup of half-and-half has 315 calories.
Milk is the most common dairy product ever since the inception of dairy items. The conventional milk is an excellent alternative to evaporated milk. A single 240ml cup of ordinary milk has 146 calories. Whole milk is more abundant in calcium than evaporated milk. Even though it is not as sweet as evaporated milk, it is thinner and has higher water content.
If you are to use milk as an alternative in sauces, then you need to thicken it using cornflour or regular flour. However, when baking, you will need dryer ingredients and more sugar to get the exact texture and flavour.
The best part about whole milk is that you can transform it into evaporated milk quickly. You can do this quick and straightforward process at the comfort of your home. Here is the process: heat whole milk in your saucepan over medium heat, allow it to boil evenly as you stir, and then after ten minutes, you can remove it from the heat source. In case you are lactose intolerant, then you will find lactose-free milk very convenient. The milk is different because it has an enzyme known as lactase that breaks down the sugars in the milk. Lactose intolerant individuals are unable to digest these sugars.
4. Powdered Milk
This simply dehydrated milk has thoroughly no water. It is similar to evaporated milk in the sense that it has an extended shelf life. You can transform powdered milk back into whole milk by adding the right amount of water. You need to check what percentage of water is enough to add so that you avoid diluting the taste.
For recipes such as pancakes and cookies, it is best to use dry powdered milk with no water content. Generally, you will need to reduce the amount of water you usually use in evaporated milk recipes. This ensures that the mixture is thick enough when you use it in your cooking.
Since different brands have distinct needs when it comes to water, you may have to experiment each to get a better consistency. Based on the amount of powder you use, this milk variant has the same nutritional content as evaporated milk.
5. Coconut Milk
It is high in calorie content and has a great flavour that makes an effective alternative to evaporated milk. In most cases, you will find this alternative in the Caribbean, South American and Southeast Asian cuisines. As it is already thick, you do not need to dilute it so that you can use in the place of evaporated milk. You can use a 1:1 ratio when using this substitute.
Aside from being rich in fat content and calories, coconut milk is equally rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and zinc. A cup of coconut milk has 445 calories. Besides, coconut milk promotes brain development due to the presence of lauric acid. This acid equally helps to develop the immune systems and blood vessels. As if this is not enough, it is rich in vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant and essential for the skin. As much as you can use it in both sweet and savoury dishes, it has a peculiar flavour and taste, which you might want to consider beforehand.
6. Quinoa Milk
This is yet another impressive substitute for evaporated milk. As much as it has not stood the test of time, it is a promising alternative. You obtain it from soaking or cooking quinoa in water. You can do this procedure at the comfort of your home. A 240ml cup of quinoa has 67 calories. It is a healthier option than quinoa milk due to the lower presence of protein, fat and calories.
The taste of quinoa milk is almost similar to that of rice milk. It is mostly palatable for those who are used to taking plant-based pints of milk. You can use it without thickening or reducing, as it is already thicker than whole milk. To make your quinoa milk even thicker, consider adding less water instead when soaking.
7. Hemp Milk
From the name, this alternative emanates from the hemp plant. You can create it using water and hemp plant mixture. Hemp is cannabis, for those who have doubts. However, it is a less-potent variant. This one is legal, and so, you do not have to worry about that. It is also not associated directly with marijuana as many may wonder. It does not contain psychoactive THC. Do not imagine that using this substitute will make you intoxicated.
A 240ml cup of hemp milk has around 83-140 calories. It is also a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6. When you heat hemp milk, you reduce it to the level of evaporated milk. Aside from its unique sweet taste, it equally has a watery texture that many people prefer. You might want to thicken the final mixture using any thickening agent.
8. Flax Milk
This is a commercially made combination of water and flaxseed oil. You can equally make it at home using water and flax seeds. However, the commercial variants are most advisable due to their excellent low-calorie content and no protein presence. Additionally, they are rich in vitamin B12, Phosphorous and calcium.
A 240ml cup for flax milk has 50 calories. Flax milk reduces the risk of stroke and heart-related diseases. This is due to the richness in omega-3 fats. It has a neutral flavour, which is one of the best comparing non-diary substitutes. It is equally the closest to whole milk in taste.
9. Oat Milk
This product comes from oats combined with water. You can either make it at home or opt to buy commercial variants. However, making it at home is better because you control the thickness and texture of the final product. It has dietary fibre, making it one of the few alternatives with this vital nutrient. Dietary fibre is essential for proper digestion and easing of bowel movements.
The only downside of using homemade versions is that they do not have additional nutrients. Most commercial variants have calcium, iron and vitamin D added to their composition, which is vital for growth and development.
Oat milk has enough beta-glucans that help in digestion, lower cholesterol levels and bring down blood sugar. A 240ml cup of oat milk has 125 calories. It is similar to whole milk in terms of calcium, but lower than evaporated milk. You can use this alternative in most of the recipes where evaporated milk applies. To achieve similar consistency that evaporated milk has in a mixture, consider sweetening and thickening it.
10. Nut Pints of Milk
These are pints of milk obtained from hazelnuts, cashew nuts and almonds. You get them by grinding nuts blended with water. Afterwards, you will need to filter the mixture to get the desired product.
They are low in calories but rich in other nutrients. They have low protein content for those who do not want an excess of this macronutrient. A 240ml cup of almond milk, for instance, has 39 calories. This means that they are lower than evaporated milk in calorie content.
Besides, almond milk is rich in calcium, vitamin E and D, which are all essential to a decent living. Evaporated milk has more calcium, however, but this does not mean that nut milk is not nutritionally stable.
Almond milk is most appropriate for sweet dishes, as cashew nut milk is best for either savoury or sweet dishes. Heating nut pints of milk reduces their water content in a similar way it does to whole milk. Heating also makes it less thick than it is.
An important note is that you should not use these pints of milk in case you have an allergic reaction towards nuts.
11. Rice Milk
From the name, you can already guess the source. This milk is accrued from soaking and grinding rice with water. It is the best pick for those allergic to soy and cow’s milk. It has lower protein and fat content than evaporated milk, which is excellent for those who want a product with lesser calories. A 240ml cup of rice milk has 113 calories.
The only note about rice milk is that it has a high glycemic index. Therefore, be wary of its blood sugar spiking abilities. One dairy-free alternative has this sensitive effect. Just as you do with whole milk, you can reduce the water content of rice milk through heating. This will make it easier to use in place of evaporated milk. The only trouble is that the result may not be as thick as you may expect it to be. Therefore, you might need to use a thickening agent such as cornstarch. It is specifically great for desserts and baking due to its sweet and delicious taste. Try it out in recipes that need evaporated milk as an alternative.
12. Soy Milk
Last but not least is this fantastic substitute for evaporated milk. It is one of the most ancient alternatives for evaporated milk. The Chinese people used it over 2000 years back. You make it by soaking dried soybeans in water and grinding them. Afterwards, you will need to filter the mixture and leave the more significant parts aside. The final product should look like dairy milk does.
Compared to other non-dairy substitutes, it is the only one with the closest resemblance to whole milk, in terms of nutritional content. This is based on the level of calories, digestibility and protein content. Commercial varieties, however, tend to have added vitamins, minerals and calcium.
A 240ml cup of soy milk has 109 calories. This represents 1/3 of the calories present in evaporated milk. It also represents under ½ of the protein found in evaporated milk. You can reduce the water content in soymilk through heating. This makes it similar to whole milk.
Even though the taste of soymilk is a bit peculiar, it often goes unnoticed in most recipes. It is ideal for both savoury and sweet recipes, most of which evaporated milk can apply.
Note that 14% of children with milk or dairy allergies will have similar symptoms to soymilk. Therefore, you might want to consider this first beforehand. Besides, other people prefer not to use soymilk due to the genetically modified crops mentality. Whichever the case, soymilk is an excellent alternative if you do not want to use evaporated milk.
The above substitutes are available in most of the local shops, or you can buy them online. They are great for those who want to avoid evaporated milk.
What to Consider When Choosing a Substitute
While you are at liberty to select any of the above substitutes for evaporated milk, you still need to consider other factors. For instance, price, nutritional content and availability are some of the main factors to look at. You cannot buy an expensive alternative if you are working on a minimal budget.
Conversely, you cannot leave an alternative with higher nutritional content for one that has little, unless it is a matter of preferences. The availability of the substitute is equally a factor to keep close to mind. Generally, you need to make sure that you evaluate the following:
You are not jumping from the frying pan to the fire. In case you are allergic to evaporated milk, also check if the same applies to other substitutes. Your choice of what alternative to use should not cause you the same problems you are evading. Mostly, soy and nuts cause allergies to many people.
The number of calories in the alternative you pick matters. Depending on what you want to achieve, you will either need to choose low or high-calorie substitutes. For instance, if you are looking to lose weight, then you will need to consume alternatives with low calories. Therefore, cream and coconut milk may not be suitable.
Dairy or soymilk options are the best to use when you are looking to increase protein content. Otherwise, the remaining alternatives will achieve the opposite.
This is an integral decision-maker in this process. You need to pick a substitute that does not affect the final taste of the food. Some will affect the flavour, such as in coconut milk.
The level of sugar in the substitute is also a factor to consider. Mostly, you might want to use unsweetened alternatives.
Pick the one that will not give you a hard time preparing together with your recipe.
You need to pick a substitute that is rich in most if not all, of the primary nutrients.
Wrapping up, you have seen that evaporated milk is excellent to use when you need to make tasty recipes. It is rich in different nutrients and is best to use in pancakes and cookies. However, for some reasons, several people cannot use this product in their recipes. Luckily, there are several alternatives for such individuals. The twelve substitutes above are some of the best known to use in place for evaporated milk.
Besides, you have seen what you need to check to ensure that you pick the right substitute. Keep in mind that the final decision of which substitute for using is yours. Therefore, the ball is now on your court.