Evaporated milk and condensed milk are both shelf-stable canned products that make an excellent substitute for fresh milk in many recipes. The two products are similar in appearance and taste, but there are some notable differences that set them apart. This article explores the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk, how they are made, and how they can be used in cooking and baking.
What is evaporated milk?
Evaporated milk is milk that has been heated to remove nearly 60% of the water content. This process involves simmering fresh milk in a vacuum pan until it has thickened and some of the water has evaporated. The end result is a thick, creamy liquid that is similar in consistency to heavy cream.
How is evaporated milk used?
Evaporated milk is an essential ingredient in many recipes, particularly in recipes that call for a rich, creamy texture, such as custards or pumpkin pie. It can also be used as a substitute for fresh milk in soups and sauces, as it has a longer shelf life and doesn’t spoil as quickly as fresh milk.
Evaporated milk can also be used as a coffee creamer, as it adds a creamy texture to coffee without diluting the flavor. It’s important to note that evaporated milk is not the same as sweetened condensed milk, which is much sweeter and thicker than evaporated milk.
What is condensed milk?
Condensed milk is also made by simmering fresh milk, but it is sweetened with sugar before the water is evaporated. The sugar in condensed milk caramelizes during the cooking process, resulting in a thick, sweet syrup. Condensed milk contains around 40-45% sugar by weight, which makes it much sweeter and thicker than evaporated milk.
How is condensed milk used?
Condensed milk is most commonly used in sweet desserts, such as fudge or tres leches cake. It can also be used as a sweetener in coffee or tea or as a topping for pancakes or waffles. Condensed milk is not usually used as a substitute for fresh milk in recipes, as the sugar content can change the texture and consistency of the finished product.
Differences between evaporated milk and condensed milk
While both evaporated milk and condensed milk are made by heating fresh milk to evaporate some of the water content, there are some significant differences between the two products:
- Ingredients: Evaporated milk contains only fresh milk with no added sugar, while condensed milk is made with fresh milk and sugar.
- Consistency: Evaporated milk has a thick, creamy texture, similar to heavy cream, while condensed milk is much thicker and sweeter, like a syrup.
- Sugar content: Evaporated milk is unsweetened, while condensed milk contains added sugar.
- Uses: Evaporated milk is used as a substitute for fresh milk in recipes or as a coffee creamer. Condensed milk is used as a sweetener in desserts or as a topping for pancakes or waffles.
- Shelf life: Both evaporated milk and condensed milk are shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature for several months.
Comparison of nutritional values
|Evaporated Milk (1 oz/28g)||Condensed Milk (1 oz/28g)|
|Calcium||8% DV||10% DV|
Both evaporated milk and condensed milk are good sources of calcium and protein. Evaporated milk is lower in calories and sugar than condensed milk, making it the healthier choice if you’re watching your sugar intake. However, condensed milk can be a good source of energy and is often used as a quick source of calories in emergency situations.
- Is evaporated milk the same as heavy cream?
No, while both evaporated milk and heavy cream have a similar thick, creamy texture, they are not the same product. Heavy cream has a much higher fat content than evaporated milk and is often used to add richness to dishes like soups, sauces, and desserts.
- Can I use evaporated milk in place of heavy cream?
Yes, you can use evaporated milk as a substitute for heavy cream in many recipes. However, be aware that evaporated milk has a lower fat content than heavy cream, so the finished dish may not be quite as rich or creamy.
- Can I substitute condensed milk for evaporated milk?
No, condensed milk is much sweeter and thicker than evaporated milk and should not be used as a substitute in recipes that call for evaporated milk.
- Can I make my own evaporated milk or condensed milk?
Yes, you can make your own evaporated milk by simmering fresh milk on the stove until the water content has evaporated. To make condensed milk, simmer fresh milk with sugar until the mixture thickens and darkens in color.
- How long does evaporated milk last?
Evaporated milk is a shelf-stable product and can be stored at room temperature for up to a year, as long as the can is unopened. Once opened, refrigerate the remaining contents and use within 5-7 days.
- How long does condensed milk last?
Condensed milk is also a shelf-stable product and can be stored at room temperature for up to a year, as long as the can is unopened. Once opened, refrigerate the remaining contents and use within 5-7 days.
While both evaporated milk and condensed milk are shelf-stable canned products that make an excellent substitute for fresh milk in many recipes, the two products have some notable differences. Evaporated milk is unsweetened and used primarily as a substitute for fresh milk, while condensed milk is sweetened and used mainly in sweet desserts. Although similar in appearance and taste, the two products should not be used interchangeably in recipes. Understanding the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk can help you choose the right product for your cooking and baking needs.