Already have an account?
Get back to the
Food & Recipes

How to Make Evaporated Milk: Chef’s Tip Is So Easy It’ll Save You A Trip to the Store

You just need 1-ingredient and a little know-how

Evaporated milk does wonders for creating a tasty batch of mac and cheese or creamy pie filling. So there’s nothing more frustrating than going to make a recipe and finding you’re out — argh! Luckily, you can save yourself a grocery store visit by making it at home with just one ingredient: regular milk. And while that may seem obvious, there’s one key trick to creating a similar flavor and texture as the canned variety. Keep reading for tips on how to make evaporated milk and the secret that guarantees perfect results with very little effort.

What is evaporated milk?

Evaporated milk is simply whole or skim milk that’s had about 60% of its water content removed. This is typically done by heating the milk to a high enough temperature that the water evaporates into steam. The end result is a creamy white liquid that’s slightly thicker than milk and boasts a subtly sweet flavor.

Evaporated milk vs. condensed milk

It’s easy to confuse evaporated milk with condensed milk as they both come in similar-sized cans. However, condensed milk is heated until half of its water has evaporated before sugar is added. This process creates a syrupy, off-white liquid with a sweeter taste than evaporated milk — making it ideal for desserts. (Click through for delicious ways to use condensed milk.)

In contrast, evaporated milk being less sugary means you can use it in sweet or savory recipes. “Evaporated milk is versatile and can be used in various dishes, including creamy soups, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and creamy sauces,” Norah Clark, pastry chef and editor at Boyd Hampers, explains. “It’s also a key ingredient in classic desserts like pumpkin pie, flan and rice pudding.” Truly an all-in-one pantry staple!

How to make evaporated milk

To make homemade evaporated milk in a pinch, follow Clark’s method below. The secret to best results? Use whole milk. Its rich fat content produces a creamier and more flavorful evaporated milk than low-fat varieties. From there, you’ll let the milk do its thing as it’s being heated and turned into evaporated milk.

Homemade evaporated milk

A bowl of evaporated milk for a recipe demonstrating how to make it


2 cups milk


  • Total time: 25 to 45 mins + cool time
  • Yield: approximately 1 cup
  1. Pour milk into heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat milk over low to medium-low heat, stirring continuously to prevent scorching. 
  2. Simmer milk gently until reduces to about half its original volume, about 25 to 45 minutes. 
  3. Remove from the heat when reaches desired consistency, resembling thickness of cream. Cool before using in recipe or transferring to airtight container and storing in fridge. 

    Note: Use homemade evaporated milk within 3 to 5 days to maintain its freshness and flavor.

2 recipes using evaporated milk

Our test kitchen loves using evaporated milk to give dishes rich flavor, and these recipes ensure you’ll get the most use out of this homemade staple. Try them out the next time you’re in the mood for a hearty chowder or indulgent chocolate cake!

Corn ’n’ Ham Chowder

A recipe for Corn and Ham Chowder as part of our guide on how to make evaporated milk

Velvety and delicious with specks of fresh chives, our creamy chowder is sprinkled with turmeric for a boost of flavor and color.


  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, 12 oz., peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1  small onion, chopped
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans lower-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ of 1 (8 oz.) ham steak, diced
  • Chopped chives


  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Active: 4½ hrs
  • Total time: 4 servings
  1. Coat 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add corn, potatoes and onion.
  2. Stir in chicken broth and thyme. Cover; cook on high until potatoes are fork-tender and onions are soft, about 4 hours.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk evaporated milk, cornstarch, turmeric, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper until combined. Stir ham and evaporated milk mixture into slow cooker. Cook until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped chives.

Strawberry Chipotle-Chocolate Cake

A recipe for Strawberry Chipotle-Chocolate Cake as part of our guide on how to make evaporated milk

Our mix-easy spin on Mexican hot cocoa is extra tasty with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chili pepper.


  • 1 (15.25 oz.) package devil’s food cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. ground chipotle chili pepper
  • 1½ cups chopped strawberries
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, melted
  • 2 cups thawed frozen whipped topping, from 8-oz. container
  • 6 whole strawberries
  • Mint sprig (optional)


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 2 hrs, 30 mins
  • Yield: 16 servings
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. On low speed, beat cake mix, 1 cup water, eggs, oil, cinnamon and chili pepper until blended, about 30 seconds; on medium speed, beat 2 min. With spatula, fold in chopped strawberries. Divide evenly between pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pans 15 minutes. Transfer from pans to racks and let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, for chocolate filling and topping, in blender on high speed, blend evaporated milk and chocolate until thickened, about 30 sec. Transfer mixture to bowl. Cover bowl loosely and let stand until thickened, about 1 hour.
  3. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Spread half of chocolate mixture over top; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining chocolate mixture over cake top. If desired, transfer whipped topping to pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe or dollop whipped topping around top edge of cake and in center. Slice whole strawberries in half vertically. Just before serving, top cake with strawberries and, if desired, garnish with mint.

For more on other sweet and savory pantry staples, click through:

What Exactly Is a Caper + Why You Want to Have a Jar On Hand If You Love Italian Food

This Extra-Creamy, Extra-Easy Caramel Sauce Takes Your Cakes From Good To Great

Chef’s Secret For Swapping In Light Cream for Heavy Cream in Your Favorite Recipes — Without Sacrificing Creaminess

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.