Evaporated milk is unsweetened condensed milk. Manufacturers produce evaporated milk by heating cow’s milk to remove more than 60% of its water content. The heating process also sterilizes the milk, giving it a longer shelf-life.

People often use evaporated milk in beverages, sauces, and soups. A person may consider substituting evaporated milk for dietary reasons, nutritional reasons, or personal preference.

This article considers why individuals may replace evaporated milk and lists some of the dairy and nondairy substitutes available. It also outlines some additional factors to consider when choosing a suitable replacement.

A milk substitute, such as oat milk, being poured into coffee.Share on Pinterest
Maren Caruso/Getty Images

Below are some reasons to consider substituting evaporated milk for alternatives.

  • Lactose intolerance: Evaporated milk contains the sugar lactose. Some people are lactose intolerant, meaning they are unable to digest the substance. For these individuals, consuming lactose may cause unpleasant symptoms, such as:
  • Allergy: Some people are allergic to the proteins in cow’s milk.
  • Calorie control: Evaporated milk contains approximately 134 calories per 100 gram (g). People who are dieting or trying to lose weight may prefer an alternative with a lower caloric profile. They can also opt for a substitute with a higher profile, such as cream, if they intend to gain weight.
  • Nutrition: Evaporated milk contains around 6.8 g of protein and 7.5 g of total fat per 100 g. A person may wish to consume alternatives with a different nutritional profile.
  • Veganism: Some people practice a vegan diet, meaning they avoid consuming animal products. An individual who follows a vegan diet may prefer to substitute evaporated milk with a plant-based alternative.
  • Personal preference: Some people may not like the texture or taste of evaporated milk. Compared to regular milk, evaporated milk is thicker in consistency. It has a similar level of sweetness since it does not contain added sugar.

Below are some dairy-based alternatives to evaporated milk.


People looking for a low fat, low calorie alternative to evaporated milk might consider using whole milk.

Evaporated milk contains 134 calories and 7.6 g of total fat per 100g, while whole milk contains approximately 60 calories and 3.2 g of total fat per 100 g.


People often use cream as a substitute for evaporated milk. It has a thicker consistency and is higher in both calories and fat, with 195 calories and 19.1 g of total fat per 100 g.

Cream may be a suitable alternative for a person wishing to increase their calorie intake.


Half-and-half is a combination of equal parts of whole milk and cream. It has a lower milk fat content compared to cream, and it has a different texture and consistency.

The calorie content of half-and-half is similar to that of evaporated milk, but the fat content is higher. A serving of 100 g of half-and-half provides the following:

  • 131 calories
  • 11.5 g of fat
  • 4.3 g of carbohydrates

Milk powder

Manufacturers produce milk powder by evaporating the water from milk, leaving behind a powdery milk residue. Adding water to the powder turns it back into a liquid, and a person can adjust the amount of water they add to the powder to achieve the desired consistency.

Milk powder has a mild sweetness due to its lactose content.

Due to the manufacturing process, milk powder is a suitable alternative for people who wish to have milk products with a longer shelf-life.

Below are some nondairy alternatives to powdered milk. In most cases, manufacturers produce these plant-based alternatives by soaking or blending the plant in water and straining and filtering the mixture to extract the “milk.”


Soy milk is a popular dairy alternative to regular milk and milk products.

Soy milk contains about 43 calories per 100 g. While the calorie content of soy milk is much lower than that of evaporated milk, the nutritional content is also lower. The exception to this is the protein content, which is similar to that of cow’s milk.

However, some people may be allergic to soy — if they consume it, they could experience symptoms such as:


Oat milk contains sugars called beta-glucans, which may improve digestion. Oat milk is also a good source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from cell-damaging molecules called free radicals. It is also a suitable alternative for a person with irritable bowel syndrome who is following the FODMAP diet.

However, oat milk lacks calcium, so people should look for oat milk products fortified with added calcium.


Manufacturers may use the following types of nuts to produce nut milk:

  • almonds
  • cashew nuts
  • hazelnuts

Compared to other plant-based milk, nut milk is a good source of vitamin E. This vitamin is a potent antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage.

People who are allergic to nuts will require a nut-free plant-based alternative to evaporated milk.


When producing rice milk, manufacturers typically use brown rice rather than white.

A 100g measure of unsweetened rice milk provides the following nutrients:

  • 47 calories
  • 1 g of total fat
  • 9.2 g of carbohydrates

Rice milk also contains molecules called phytosterols. A 2016 review of plant-based milk alternatives notes that phytosterols may help with the following:


Manufacturers produce flax milk by combining flaxseed oil with water.

Flax milk does not contain cholesterol, making it a suitable alternative for people trying to reduce their cholesterol levels.

Flaxseed is also a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid “alpha-linolenic acid,” which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.


Coconut milk is high in vitamins and minerals, including:

Coconut milk also contains lauric acid. According to the above paper on plant-based milk alternatives, lauric acid helps with the following:

  • promoting brain development
  • boosting the immune system
  • maintaining the elasticity of the blood vessels

Compared to other plant-based milk, coconut milk contains a higher amount of saturated fat.


Hemp seed has a similar nutritional content to soy. Both hemp milk and soy milk have a high protein content compared to other plant-based milk.

However, hemp milk appears to be a better source of calcium, iron, and vitamin A compared to the following:

  • soy milk
  • rice milk
  • cow’s milk


Quinoa features a high protein content and contains many essential amino acids. The amino acid profile of quinoa milk is similar to that of dried whole milk.

Quinoa milk is suitable for people who have an allergy or intolerance to any of the following:

Some factors to consider when choosing a substitute for evaporated milk include:

  • Taste: A person can be mindful of the taste of the substitute milk as this can affect the flavor profile. For example, soy, rice, nut, and hemp milk have a nuttier flavor.
  • Sugar content: Many plant-based milk substitutes are unsweetened and may not be as sweet as evaporated milk.
  • Consistency: Plant-based milk will have a thinner consistency compared to cream or evaporated milk.
  • Cooking methods: Some of the substitute milk may not cook the same way as evaporated milk.
  • Nutrition: Unfortified plant-based alternatives will contain fewer vitamins and minerals, meaning they may be less suitable for those with certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Where possible, people should look for fortified options.
  • Allergies: If a person has a specific food allergy, then certain substitutes will not be suitable.
  • Protein: The protein content of each milk varies. An individual looking to increase their protein intake will need to consider a higher-protein milk, such as whole milk, hemp, or quinoa.
  • Calories: The calorie content of each milk varies. People looking to lose weight may want to choose a lower calorie alternative, such as soy milk.

Evaporated milk is heat-treated, unsweetened condensed milk. People often use it in beverages, sauces, and soups.

There are many reasons a person may want to substitute evaporated milk. Examples include allergies or intolerances to dairy products, nutritional or dietary considerations, and taste preferences.

Dairy alternatives to evaporated milk include whole milk, cream, and half-and-half, while nondairy options include soy milk, nut milk, and quinoa milk.

When choosing an alternative to evaporated milk, a person may wish to consider the taste and consistency of the product. This will be especially important if they plan on cooking with the product.