Evaporated Milk Vs. Condensed Milk: What Should You Choose?

You may find it hard to distinguish between evaporated milk vs. condensed milk. They have similar looks and names, and they’re usually on grocery shelves.

The difference between these two packaged dairy products is the amount of sugar. Sweetened condensed dairy is sugary, whereas evaporated one is not.

This article will offer you an overview of the key differences between these two products. Then you’ll know which ingredients to shopping for your next meal.

What Is Evaporated Milk?

Evaporated milk is a condensed, shelf-stable dairy delivered in cans. It initially debuted in the 1890s, soon after introducing sweetened condensed products.

People made it by heating the milk at a low temperature until the water content seemed to have been halved. Then, they sterilized it.

This product worked as a shelf-stable replacement to fresh diluted milk with the same quantity of water.

Desserts like cheesecake, ice cream, and puddings need this dairy product to taste best.

What Is Condensed Milk?  

Condensed milk is a concentrated dairy product made by heating milk at low pressure.

After the water has been reduced by half, the manufacturer adds sugar to raise the sugar profile to 55%. The result is a shelf-stable that works best for fudge, custard, and lemon meringue.

In 1861, the United States created packaged sweetened condensed products. On the other hand, Indian dairy sweets have a long tradition of boiling organic milk with sugar to enhance its stability.

Differences Between Evaporated Milk And Condensed Milk  

These are two different forms of thick, dense dairy with around 60% of the water taken. There are a few noticeable differences between these closet basics, though.


The condensed ingredient is sweeter with additional sugar, which serves as a food preservative. On the other hand, Evaporated dairy doesn’t come with many sweeteners.

Since fresh dairy naturally includes around 5% sugar, mostly in lactose, milk is roughly 10% sugar after evaporation. The average amount of sugar in its competitor is up to 55%.


Condensed ingredients do not require heat sterilization owing to their higher sugar content. So, it misses the caramelized taste that its competitor has.

The sweetness is not the same between evaporated milk vs. condensed milk


Due to the accumulation of protein and lactose that arises during cooking, the evaporated dairy has a tan hue.

On the other hand, condensed dairy has a lighter tint because of the significant sugar content.


Vaporized dairy offers baked items like cakes and pies a thinner, airier texture, whereas condensed product gives them a thick creaminess.


Vaporized dairy is cow’s milk with 60% of its water lost, making it shelf-stable.

On the other hand, its competitor has changed similarly but with the addition of sugar.

Both products’ preservatives and stabilizers are available to keep them safe for long-term storage.

The sugar content is different


These ingredients can be your great kitchen assistants since they work well for many recipes. Here are some beautiful cuisines using each ingredient.

  • Evaporated ingredient

This dairy product is excellent for giving savory recipes a silky texture.

Nacho Queso Dip

If you have this ingredient on hand, cook it to be melted with some grated cheese. Combined, they make a smooth and lovely cheese sauce, which is terrific for dipping tortilla chips.

Homemade bread

The diary gives baked dishes like fresh, handmade white bread a richer aroma. The proteins give the bread a greater structure after baking, giving dense, hearty loaves.

Mac “n” Cheese

This dish works on the queso recipe but with more milk for richness. No baking is necessary since the boiled pasta can already go well with the cheese sauce.

  • Condensed ingredient

There are many ideas to try with this ingredient, such as:

Dulce de leche

Simmer the dairy for a few hours. Then, spread it on your toast or cookies. The rich brown paste will make your dish more delicious.

Mocha fudge

Classic fudge needs melted sugar. However, condensed dairy can also bring out the best of your food.

Ice cream

Simply melt your chocolate chips and then drizzle them on the ice cream. Then, enjoy it.

There are many recipes to try

We have compared these products in essential terms. Now, let’s summarize their differences with this table.

Evaporated product Condensed product 
Sweetness 10% 55%
Flavor Caramelized Sugary
Color Tan Lighter
Texture Light and airy Dense and creamy
Ingredients 60% of its water released Added sugar and 60% of its water released
Uses Nacho Queso Dip, homemade bread, Mac “n” Cheese Dulce de leche, mocha fudge, ice cream

Can You Use Condensed And Evaporated Milk Interchangeably? 

These products are shelf-stable, dairy, and share some similarities. However, it’s not advisable to use them interchangeably.

If you substitute the evaporated product with the condensed one, you’ll get a bland dish. Otherwise, using condensed ingredients instead of evaporated will lead to an excessively sweet dish.

Sugar in the sweetened ingredient accumulates during processing, giving it a caramelized taste. It’s not exactly the same as blending evaporated milk and sugar.

We recommend having both types in your cupboard. Then you’ll be ready to create any of the wonderful dishes at any time.

It would be best to have both

Otherwise, you can choose other alternatives to what you miss. Here are some ideas that will help you with your cooking time.

Alternative to sweetened dairy

Boil a mixture of unsweetened milk and sugar over medium to high heat. Then, reduce the temperature, simmer, and wait for it to cool.

As a replacement, you may use coconut cream in a ratio of 1:1.

Alternative to unsweetened dairy

Since this ingredient should be less sweet, you can mix the sweetened one with some salt and heat the mixture over medium heat for about half an hour.


The manufacturing process of these kinds of ingredients is quite the same. However, since they come with different sugar content, they differ in their tastes and appearance.

Using one in place of the other is not a good idea. The outcome may make you disappointed.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading, and see you in the next post!

Staff Writer At Saved By The Max

Matt Cowan is a bartender at Saved By The Max. He graduated from Arizona State University and has been bartending for about 20 years now, starting when he was just thirteen!

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