6 Uses for Leftover Evaporated Milk

Pouring milk into coffee

 Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

When a recipe calls for evaporated milk, you might not always need to use a full can. That may leave you wondering what to do with the leftover. Fortunately, evaporated milk is an incredibly versatile product, and there are a number of ways that you can use it up.


Evaporated milk will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator. Before placing your leftover evaporated milk in the fridge, transfer it to another container with a tight-fitting lid. This will prevent a skin from forming on the milk.

Use It in Recipes

Depending on how much evaporated milk you need for the recipe, you can also find something else that requires it. Evaporated milk is called for in pumpkin pie, fudge, tres leches, and other dessert recipes. Beyond sweets, it's also used in creamy salad dressings, pasta sauces, and soups. You can even mix it with eggs to create a great dipping liquid when breading fish, meat, and vegetables.

Use It as a Substitute

Evaporated milk is a valuable substitute for other dairy products, so it's handy to have a can or two around. For instance, it works especially well in mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cream soups. It's cheaper than heavy cream and half-and-half, and significantly lower in fat (heavy cream is 36 percent fat, while evaporated milk is only about 6.5 percent). Just know that evaporated milk may not be the best stand-in if you need to whip cream.

Evaporated milk can take the heat, too. Many dairy products curdle at high temperatures but evaporated milk won't. It's even possible to use it as a substitute for the water called for in some bread recipes, such as hot cross buns. The milk will add to the flavor and boost the nutritional value.

Add It to Hot Drinks

Common in Mexico and Asia, evaporated milk can be added to coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. It will lend a creamy richness to your favorite hot drink without adding a lot of fat. Use a splash instead of creamer for coffee and tea or heat it for cocoa, splitting it with regular milk if you need more volume.

Reconstitute It

Evaporated milk is nothing more than milk with 60 percent of the water removed. This means that you can reconstitute it by adding enough water to double the volume and use it like regular milk. It probably won't taste as good as a fresh glass of milk, so consider using it as an ingredient rather than as a stand-alone drink.

Whip It

Evaporated milk can be used as a substitute for whipping cream. Since it has a much lower fat content, it won't whip as readily. To get around that, place the evaporated milk and the beaters you intend to use in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Then, beat it at high speed until it turns stiff and flavor it with sugar and vanilla, just as you would regular whipping cream. Be sure to use it right away because it won't hold its shape for very long.

Make Dressings or Sauces

Make an egg-free dressing for coleslaw, pasta salad, and potato salad. When you combine cold or room-temperature evaporated milk with an acid like lemon or vinegar, it thickens. However, don't add it to an acidic dish that you'll be heating because this is one instance when evaporated milk will curdle.

Another option is to use the evaporated milk to whip up a basic white sauce for thickening sauces and soups.