Week 18: Evaporated Milk

10 cans of Evaporated Milk

After this week, you should have 10 cans stored. The program goal is 13 cans. We will address Evaporated Milk 1 more time (in week 32).

If your family loves milk, this is one you need to add into your food storage. Evaporated milk can be used for so many things. Drinking, cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, for mashed potatoes, gravies and sauces, in creamed vegetables, creamed soups, cheese sauces, meat loaf, ice cream, cookies, casseroles, chicken coating, scrambled eggs, french toast, puddings, desserts and salads. It can really be used in any recipe as a milk substitute. I recommend you experiment with this a bit as it will not taste exactly like regular milk. The last thing you want during an emergency is to find out you don't like one of your food storage items.

Canned evaporated milk has been around since 1885 and was found to be a great method of storing milk long term without refrigeration. For this reason, evaporated milk has become a popular item to have during emergencies. Evaporated milk is basically fresh whole milk with a little over half of the water evaporated out and then some extra vitamin D added. So when you open a can of evaporated milk, it will be much thicker than ordinary milk. To use it, you simply add water back into it. A ½ cup of evaporated milk will require about a ½ cup of water to reconstitute it back into its original consistency. Basically, just add an equal amount of water to your evaporated milk…it's that simple. Some argue that evaporated milk, because it is canned, can have a metallic taste. While this may or may not be true, if you need milk during an emergency, this is still an excellent choice. So between Evaporated Milk and Powdered Milk (Week 13, 27, and 32), there is really no excuse for not having a milk alternative.


While evaporated milk as well as powdered milk work great as milk alternatives while cooking, you may want to test them out as a viable alternative for drinking. Evaporated milk is going to yield the exact same texture and consistency as regular milk, although you might want to consider the taste. Evaporated milk has an unmistakable caramelized aroma and flavor that lingers on the palate after swallowing, which you might find pleasing or distasteful, depending on your expectations. So if you expect evaporated milk that has been reconstituted to taste the same as regular milk, it won't. I recommend trying this out for yourself so you will already be familiar with the taste, texture and consistency if you ever need to use it as an alternative. Let your kids try it too.

I recently did an experiment using evaporated milk in several things to see if my kids would notice, and not once did they say they noticed a difference. I used it as a milk replacement in cream of wheat, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, hot chocolate, and pudding. The only difference we noticed was in the pudding. We made instant chocolate pudding and noticed that it did not set up as well (it was a bit runnier than normal). This probably had to do with the fact that the evaporated milk is mixed with an equal amount of water, and pudding is not designed to set with that much water. But other than that, I haven't have a single complaint, and a have a couple of picky kids.

Cooking with Evaporated Milk:

While evaporated milk can be used as an alternative for drinking, try this out first. Cooking, however, is a different story. Evaporated milk is a great alternative to regular milk when cooking. To use, just add an equal amount of water. For example, if a recipe lists 1 cup of milk, add ½ cup water to ½ cup evaporated milk. Try it a time or two and see if your family notices a difference. If they don't notice any difference or don't mind the difference, you can now rest assured knowing you have a milk alternative for all of your recipes that will keep for a year or more.

Differences between Evaporated and Condensed Milk:

Condensed milk has added sugar to produce a very sweet product. This is the main difference between evaporated and condensed milk in the US. No sugar is added to the evaporated form. It is merely whole milk from which water has been removed. This is not the case in other countries, where you’ll find many brands of evaporated milk that contain sugar. Sugar acts as an excellent preservative, further extending the life of condensed milk, but it’s important to note this distinction between condensed and evaporated milk, especially when you are baking. While some recipes call specifically for condensed milk, such as quick fudge recipes, other recipes like some pumpkin pies, require evaporated milk. You can’t substitute one for the other unless you want to add or take away from the total sugar in your end product. For example, I started making a homemade ice cream recipe (chocolate marshmallow) a few years ago and everybody loves it. They always ask me what I did different, and until recently, I always said nothing. Well, it turns out that when I first started making this, I used condensed milk instead of what it actually called for, which was evaporated milk. And now I know why it is such a hit. I inadvertently changed the sugar content making it sweeter than normal. Lucky mistake, and now I don't dare to go back for fear that it will not be as good.


Store unopened cans in a cool, dry place off of the floor. Both Pet and Carnation indicate that the storage lives of their milks are approximately one year. In reality, they are probably very conservative in saying one year. Most people say a year and a half to two years is more realistic. But note that once you open a can of evaporated milk, treat it like regular milk. Once opened, refrigerate it and it will keep for 4-7 days. Otherwise, it will spoil just like regular milk. Do not use evaporated milk if the can is rusted, bulging, or dented. Throw it away!

Page updated: 12/10/20