Evaporated milk is a popular ingredient when enriching gravy, creamed peas, pasta, cream sauce, English-style ice cream, tea, and coffee.
Let’s discuss evaporated milk, how to use it in coffee, and how to differentiate it from condensed milk, heavy cream, and half-and-half.
Did you know that over 170 million Americans used evaporated milk in 2020 with over a third (66.97 million) of them using carnation evaporated milk?Jump to Recipe
What is Evaporated Milk and How is it Made?
Evaporated milk resembles cream in texture and contains about double the lactose content in regular whole milk. It is made by dehydrating regular milk or a mix of milk powder, milk fat, and water to remove about 60 percent of its water to concentrate it.
It is sold as either whole, skim, or low-fat evaporated milk.
The process of making evaporated milk starts by heat-treating milk to stabilize it and reduce bacteria. The treated milk is piped into an evaporator where it is concentrated.
After evaporation, the milk is homogenized and cooled. It is further stabilized by adding stabilization salts. These salts improve the milk’s heat stability. It is also fortified with vitamin D by exposing it to a series of UV lights.
Finally, evaporated milk is either UHT-treated and aseptically packed in paperboard packages or piped into cans and vacuum sealed. The cans are then sterilized in an autoclave where they are heated while in a continuous motion to even heat distribution.
In the autoclave, the cans are exposed to a temperature of about 110-120°C for 15-20 minutes. This causes a browning reaction that gives evaporated milk its distinct light-brown color.
The cans are then cooled and stored.
What is Evaporated Milk Coffee?
Adding evaporated milk to your coffee instead of regular milk makes a creamier drink. Simply add the amount of evaporated milk that you desire to hot, cold, or frozen coffee. Evaporated milk froths superbly so you can use it for your creamy lattes.
It is naturally slightly sweeter than regular milk due to the higher lactose content, so you may want to skip the sugar or add a little amount to evaporated milk coffee.
Canned evaporated milk is ideal for coffee when camping as it is shelf stable and the cans are not bulky.
Although evaporated milk is concentrated milk and most people use it as an ingredient, you can drink it plain. However, you may want to keep away from evaporated milk if you have lactose intolerance.
5 Ways to Add Evaporated Milk to Coffee
- Add warm or chilled evaporated milk to hot or cold coffee
- Froth evaporated milk to make lattes
- Use evaporated milk in frozen coffee instead of regular milk for a richer and fluffier texture
- Whip evaporated coffee and top your coffee with the whip. Dust ground nutmeg or cinnamon for a savory finish.
- Swap regular milk with evaporated milk in whipped coffee
Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk
Although evaporated and condensed milk are quite similar in that they are both dehydrated to remove at least half of the initial amount of water, they are totally different products.
Their manufacturing process starts the same and then differs along the way.
For starters, evaporated milk is also known as unsweetened condensed milk whereas condensed milk usually refers to sweetened condensed milk. Here are the three main differences between evaporated milk and condensed milk:
- Sugar. Sweetened condensed milk is highly sweetened (up to 45 percent of the milk is sugar) whereas evaporated milk has no added sugar. The high concentration of sugar inoculates condensed milk and makes it last longer. For example, a serving of 40 grams of the Rainbow condensed milk in the picture below has 18 grams of added sugar. This means that 36 percent of the milk is added sugar.
- Texture. Sweetened condensed milk is much thicker and gooey than evaporated milk. You can test this by shaking unopened cans of both types of milk. The can of sweet condensed milk is fairly quiet whereas you can feel and hear the evaporated milk moving inside the can when you shake it.
- Color. Sweetened condensed milk is yellowish in color whereas evaporated milk is cream white.
How is Sweetened Condensed Milk Made?
The process of making sweet condensed milk differs slightly from that of making evaporated milk. Sugar is added to the milk before evaporation (dry sugar) or after evaporation in the case of sugar syrup. The amount of sugar is so high that it can make up to over 40 percent of the concentrate.
The high amount of sugar creates osmotic pressure which kills and inhibits the growth of micro-organisms in the concentrate. Therefore, sugar prolongs the shelf life of sweetened condensed milk.
The sweetened evaporated concentrate is flash-cooled and seeded with fine lactose crystals to form minute lactose crystals while undergoing vigorous agitation.
Lactose seeding prevents the formation of large crystals which would make a gritty product. The concentrate is further cooled after crystallization.
Finally, sweetened condensed milk is packed in pre-sterilized cans and vacuum-sealed or aseptically packed in paperboards.
Unlike evaporated milk, condensed milk does not need UHT treatment or sterilization after canning as the high sugar content makes it shelf-stable.
Can You Substitute Evaporated Milk with Condensed Milk?
Yes, you can substitute evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk but you may want to use very little of the syrupy condensed milk. For example, a teaspoon or two will make your coffee sweet and creamy.
The best way is to use evaporated milk as a substitute for regular milk or creamer and condensed milk as a sweetening and creaming add-on. There is no doubt that you can use condensed milk alone but if you are trying to minimize your sugar intake you may want to add just a little of it.
You can also mix evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk to make homemade creamer that is healthier than store-bought non-dairy creamer.
Evaporated Milk vs Heavy Cream
There are four key differences between evaporated milk and heavy cream.
- Fats and Calories: Heavy cream is much richer in fats and calories than evaporated milk. Heavy cream has a fat content of about 36 percent whereas evaporated milk has about 12 percent fat content. Evaporated milk is a healthier substitute for heavy cream to prevent the undesired effects of saturated fats. A 100ml heavy cream has about 348 calories as compared to about 146 calories in a similar amount of evaporated milk.
- Lactose: Heavy cream has nearly zero lactose whereas evaporated milk has more lactose than regular milk. Small amounts of heavy cream may be tolerable for lactose-intolerant persons.
- Shelf life: Evaporated milk is shelf-stable and only requires refrigeration after opening unlike heavy cream which requires refrigeration before and after opening
- Whipping: Heavy cream whips easily and makes a stable whipped cream. Evaporated milk takes longer to stiffen. Some people prefer adding butter when whipping evaporated milk.
Evaporated Milk vs Half and Half
Evaporated milk has nearly the same fat content as half and half. They both whip and froth the same way. The main differences between the two are that evaporated milk is shelf-stable, has more lactose, and is usually fortified with vitamin D.
How to Make Evaporated Milk CoffeeCourse: DrinksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This a simple recipe for a creamy evaporated milk coffee that you can make at home, office or when camping.
100ml evaporated milk
1 tablespoon of sugar
- Brew coffee. I used a French press but you can use your choice of coffee maker
- Milk. Heat up the evaporated milk and add it to the coffee. Adding cold milk cools the coffee just enough for drinking. You can also froth it at home and add it to coffee.
- Sugar. Add sugar to taste
- You can add your chosen amount of evaporated milk to coffee.
- Evaporated milk may be unsuitable for lactose-intolerant persons as it has about double the lactose in regular milk.
Evaporated Milk Coffee Recap
Evaporated milk is concentrated and has about 60 percent less water than regular milk. You can add it to coffee as an equal substitute to regular milk. Whether you are making whipped coffee, latte, or cold coffee, you can use evaporated coffee instead of regular milk, creamer, or cream.
Evaporated milk is can last about 12 months in the pantry when opened and 3-5 days in the fridge after opening.
FAQs About Evaporated Milk Coffee
How Long Does Evaporated Milk Last?
Unopened evaporated milk lasts about 24 months in the pantry. Opened evaporated milk should be refrigerated in a closed container and it lasts 3-5 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Evaporated Milk?
Yes, you can freeze evaporated milk in sealed freezer-safe containers. Avoid freezing evaporated milk in cans as the cans are likely to swell and warp along the seams and allow air in.
Frozen evaporated milk separates after thawing but can be reconstituted by blending or whisking. Frozen evaporated milk is good for cooked or baked recipes. You can thaw the milk in the fridge or add it to the other ingredients before thawing so that it is melted during cooking.
Can You Whip Evaporated Milk?
Yes, you can whip evaporated milk but be sure to first chill the milk, the beater, and the bowl otherwise it will not whip. Chilling the milk also improves the texture and volume of the whipped cream.
For rapid chilling, add evaporated milk to the ice tray or freezer-safe container and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes before whipping.
Is Evaporated Milk Good for Coffee Creamer?
Evaporated milk is an excellent substitute for non-dairy creamer as it has no artificial sweeteners. Adding evaporated milk to sweetened condensed milk is a great way to make sweetened coffee creamer at home.
Start with a ratio of 4:1 for evaporated to condensed milk and add more condensed milk to further sweeten and thicken the creamer if necessary. The creamer will last 3-7 days in a closed bottle in the fridge. Be sure to shake or stir before using the creamer.