Evaporated milk and regular milk might both come from the same place, but they’re actually quite different and serve various purposes.
If you’re curious about what sets them apart and when to use them, stick around. I’ll break down the basics of each so you’ll know exactly what they’re all about!
Comparing evaporated milk vs milk
|Evaporated milk||Cow milk (including whole, 2%, skim, etc.)|
Evaporated milk and regular milk are distinct dairy products that come from milk. This means they are not vegan, paleo, or keto-friendly. But they do have some unique uses
Differences between evaporated milk and milk
The main differences between evaporated milk and regular milk lie in their processing methods, consistency, flavor, shelf life, and usage in recipes.
Evaporated milk is made by removing about 60% of the water content from regular milk through a process of evaporation. This is typically done under reduced pressure and at a higher temperature to prevent the milk from scorching.
Regular milk is the fresh milk that comes directly from cows or other mammals. It undergoes minimal processing, such as pasteurization (heating to kill harmful bacteria) and homogenization (breaking down fat molecules to prevent separation). Regular milk has a higher water content compared to evaporated milk.
Due to its reduced water content, evaporated milk is thicker and creamier than regular milk. It’s often used in recipes to provide a richer texture and flavor. Regular milk has a more fluid and watery consistency.
The evaporation process also concentrates the milk’s flavors, resulting in a slightly caramelized and richer taste compared to regular milk. Regular milk has a milder and more neutral flavor.
Types of cow’s milk
Both evaporated milk and regular milk can be found as whole, low-fat, or non-fat. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of cow’s milk you’ll find:
Whole milk: This is the full-fat deal, boasting a creamy texture and about 3.5% milk fat. Perfect for a luxurious latte or as the base for a velvety béchamel sauce.
2% milk (reduced-fat): With a bit less fat at 2% milk fat, this option strikes a balance between creaminess and calorie-consciousness. Great for cereal or a satisfying milkshake.
1% milk (low-fat): Lowering the fat content to 1%, this milk remains a versatile choice, whether you’re baking a cake or enjoying a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese.
Skim milk (non-fat): For the health-conscious, skim milk contains 0% milk fat and is a lighter option for your morning coffee or oatmeal.
Lactose-free milk: Ideal for those with lactose intolerance, this milk is treated to break down lactose, making it easier to digest.
Raw cow milk (whole): Straight from the udder, raw milk retains all its natural goodness. It’s important to note that raw milk carries potential health risks and should be handled with care.
Flavored milk: Strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla – these flavored milks are a delightful treat enjoyed on their own or in creative recipes.
How to use evaporated milk vs milk
Evaporated milk’s richer consistency and flavor make it suitable for adding creaminess to dishes like soups, sauces, and desserts.
Regular milk is a staple for drinking and cooking, especially in recipes where its natural consistency and flavor are essential, such as in baking.
Here are some ideas on ways to use each:
- Creamy pasta sauces
- Rich soups
- Custards and puddings
- Pumpkin pie
- Baking cakes, sweet buns, and more
- Hot chocolate
- Baking cakes, muffins, and cookies
- Pancakes and waffles
- Scrambled eggs
- Mashed potatoes
- Coffee and tea
- Creamy oatmeal
- Homemade yogurt
- Sippable cold glass (chocolate milk, anyone?)
Can you substitute evaporated milk for milk?
Evaporated milk can generally be used in place of milk, particularly in recipes that benefit from a creamier texture and enhanced flavor, such as creamy soups, custards, and certain desserts. However, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind…
Evaporated milk is thicker and richer due to its concentrated nature, so adjustments are needed for consistency. To replace regular milk with evaporated milk, it’s best to dilute it with water to achieve the desired thickness.
Keep in mind that evaporated milk has a subtly caramelized flavor and slightly increased sweetness, which can affect the taste of the final dish.
This substitution works well in recipes that benefit from a creamier texture and enhanced flavor, such as creamy soups, custards, and certain desserts.
Nutrition: Evaporated milk vs milk
Due to its concentrated nature, evaporated milk contains higher levels of protein, fat, and calories per serving compared to regular milk. It also has more sugar.
In contrast, regular milk retains its natural state with essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, while having a lower calorie and fat content.
Note the serving size differences in the table below:
|Per cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (sat. fat)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein||Calcium||Vit D|
|Evaporated milk (2 tbsp.)||40||2 g (1.5 g)||3 g||3 g (0 g)||2 g||4% DV||4% DV|
|Whole milk||160||8 g (4.5 g)||11 g||10 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|2% milk||130||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|1% milk||110||2.5 g (1.4 g)||13 g||12 g (0g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|Skim milk (nonfat milk)||90||0 g||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
How to store evaporated milk and milk
Because most of its water content has been removed, evaporated milk has a longer shelf life than regular milk. It can be stored in a sealed can for an extended period of time without refrigeration. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within a few days.
Regular milk has a shorter shelf life and needs to be refrigerated to prevent spoilage. It can sour and spoil relatively quickly if not stored properly.
Evaporated milk vs milk: Which is better
So, which is better? Like most things, the real, natural stuff is always better. So, my vote is regular milk, as it provides a more balanced nutritional profile and less sugar per serving. However, there are certain cases where evaporated milk might be better for a specific recipe. For example, evaporate milk’s richness and density work great for making things like pie fillings, flan, and custards, where you want all the creaminess of milk without the extra water content.
Evaporated milk is often used as a more concentrated and shelf-stable substitute for regular milk in recipes, providing a creamier texture and richer flavor, particularly in dishes where the reduced moisture content is desired.
No. Evaporated milk and regular milk have similar nutritional profiles, but evaporated milk is more concentrated due to the removal of water, resulting in higher levels of calories, fat, and sugar per serving.
Evaporated milk serves as a shelf-stable milk product with reduced water content, making it a versatile ingredient for cooking, baking, and coffee while prolonging its storage life.