9 Uses for Leftover Evaporated Milk

Pouring milk into coffee

John Manno/Getty Images

Often, when a recipe calls for evaporated milk, it doesn't call for a full can. If you are left wondering what to do with the leftovers, prepare to be amazed by the possibilities. Evaporated milk is an incredibly versatile product. Here are some ideas to help you finish off that can.

Whip It

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

Add It to Hot Drinks

Evaporated milk creates a special treat when you add it to coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. It'll lend a creamy richness to your favorite drink without adding a bunch of fat. It's traditionally used for this purpose in Mexico and Asia.

Use It in Recipes

Substitute the water called for in bread recipes—such as hot cross buns—to boost the nutritional value. Mixing it with eggs will create a great dipping liquid for breading meat and fish. Evaporated milk can also be used for making pumpkin pie, fudge, tres leches, or other desserts that specifically call for evaporated milk.

Use It as a Substitute

Evaporated milk works especially well in mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cream soups. It's cheaper than heavy cream and half-and-half, and it's lower in fat (heavy cream is 36 percent fat, while evaporated milk is only about 6.5 percent). Evaporated milk can take the heat, too. Many dairy products curdle at high temperatures but evaporated milk won't. Just know that evaporated milk may not be the best stand-in for heavy cream if the recipe calls for whipping it.

Reconstitute It

Evaporated milk is just milk with 60 percent of the water removed. So, add enough water to double the volume. Then, use your new mixture 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.

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. Just don't add it to an acidic dish that you'll be heating—the evaporated milk will curdle.

Or, use the evaporated milk to whip up a basic white sauce that you can use for thickening sauces and soups. If you want to avoid leftovers in the future, learn how to make your own evaporated milk, so you can make just what you need and avoid having to decide what to do with the extra milk.


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