What's the Difference Between Evaporated and Condensed Milk?

And, more importantly, how to milk them for all they're worth
The Important Distinction Between Evaporated and Condensed Milk
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

Most of us are familiar with the uses for a can of condensed milk: A drizzle into your cold brew results in refreshing Vietnamese iced coffee, it's the base of a rich dulce de leche, etc. But there's another dairy superstar hiding behind it in your pantry: evaporated milk.

Evaporated milk is sweetened condensed milk without any added sugar.

Both these shelf-stable products are made with milk that's had about 60 percent of its water removed, with sweetened condensed milk being—you guessed it—sweetened.

So how can you use that extra can of evaporated milk from last fall's pumpkin pie session all year round? The absence of water means the intense milky flavor is a superb substitute when you don't want to spring for heavy cream. The evaporated milk-making process also makes it resistant to curdling—perfect for adapting your favorite chowder recipe for an Instant Pot. This quality also lends itself to an ethereally silky stovetop mac and cheese—one that won't separate or require a block of Velveeta. 

And if you're still having trouble using up that can of evaporated milk, there's always a famous holiday pie recipe calling your name.


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