The Best Vegan Substitute for Evaporated Milk

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From the savory to the sweet, there are plenty of recipes that call for evaporated milk. This can be problematic for those of us trying to follow a plant-based diet. Luckily, there are a number of easy ways to make your own vegan alternatives right at home. 

Here are three of the best vegan substitutes for evaporated milk.

The Best Vegan Substitutes

There are a few commercially available vegan evaporated milk substitutes out there. But these can be hard to find and are more expensive than they should be. Instead of wasting your time and money hunting for a substitute at the store, here are three easy and inexpensive alternatives to try out.

Option #1: Dairy-Free Milk

Since evaporated milk is just milk heated down, it makes sense that you should be able to make vegan evaporated milk by heating dairy-free milk.

This is one of the simplest recipes we’ve found, but it does take a good deal of time to complete. 

You can use the method outlined below with just about any type of non-dairy milk including hemp, oat milk, and cashew milk. However, not all types cook down as easily as others, and not all taste as good. For that reason, we recommend using almond milk when possible.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups unsweetened soy or other dairy-free milk

How to make it:

1. Pour the milk into a medium-sized pot and place it over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer.

Simmering down plant-based milk in a small pot to make evaporated milk
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

2. Simmer for about 40 minutes, whisking the milk occasionally, until the milk reduces by about half.

3. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. If you’d like, strain the evaporated milk to remove any film that might have formed on top.

Straining out solids that form when simmering plant based milk to make evaporated milk
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Be sure to use the evaporated milk as soon as it is done, or put it in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge for up to one week.

You can find a printable version of this recipe at the bottom of this post.

Option #2: Canned Coconut Milk

One of the simplest ways to substitute for evaporated milk requires no cooking or preparing at all!

Lite canned coconut milk has a thicker texture than most plant milks and a sweetness level that is similar to evaporated dairy milk. Coconut cream makes it the perfect no-prep, one-to-one substitute for evaporated milk.

This method works best in sweet dishes, curries, and other dishes where that hint of coconut flavor won’t be too noticeable. But I have also used it to create an amazing savory potato soup. For these dishes, just up the garlic, onion, and spice levels a touch to drown out that extra flavor.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can of lite coconut milk

How to make it:

  1. Use lite coconut milk at a 1-to-1 ratio with the amount given in the recipe.

Option #3: Powdered Rice Milk

Another super simple substitute for evaporated milk is to use rice milk powder. This option is especially good if you only need a small amount of evaporated milk or are in a hurry and don’t have any canned coconut milk on hand.

This recipe works with most types of powdered vegan milk varieties, but our favorites to use are rice and soy milk. Both are easy to work with, fairly easy to find, and have the most milk-like flavor.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water
  • 1 cup rice or soy milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter

How to make it:

  1. Add all ingredients to your blender.
  2. Blend until well combined.
  3. Allow the steam to escape slowly before removing the lid completely.

Use the vegan evaporated milk immediately or store it in the fridge for up to one week.

Know the Difference: Evaporated Milk vs Sweetened Condensed Milk

Evaporated milk, which is known as condensed milk in some countries, is different from sweetened condensed milk. 

The two products are made using the same process of heating dairy milk, but sweetened condensed milk has sugar added to it before it is canned. 

This sweeter version is popular in many dessert recipes, as a tasty addition to coffee, and as a sweet treat. Evaporated milk, on the other hand, is common in a wide variety of dishes from sweet to savory. It can also be added to smoothies and coffee as a thickening agent and to add just a hint of sweetness.

If what you are after is a vegan version of sweetened condensed milk, you’ll want to check out our article on the best vegan substitute for sweetened condensed milk.

FAQ

Is evaporated milk vegan?

As the name suggests, no, evaporated milk is not vegan. This canned product is made by exposing dairy milk from cows to high temperatures to reduce the liquid concentration by about 60%. This produces a thicker liquid that has more flavor than traditional milk.

Can I make evaporated milk from regular milk?

Yes, you can make homemade evaporated milk using regular milk. To do so, you need to condense the milk by boiling it until about half the volume has evaporated. You can do this with plant-based milk as well as regular milk.

Are heavy cream and evaporated milk the same thing?

No, these two dairy products are not the same thing. However, with their thick consistencies and mild flavors, they can often be swapped in recipes. If you’re looking for vegan alternatives for heavy cream, check this article out.

Other Vegan Substitutes You Might Need

If you cook a lot, you’ll likely need more than just vegan substitutes for evaporated milk. Here are some other vegan substitute articles worth bookmarking.

If you need more tips for cooking vegan, make sure to sign up for our newsletter. Each week, we deliver vegan recipes, cooking tips, and green living articles you’ll love.

What Is The Best Vegan Substitute for Evaporated Milk?

The best evaporated milk recipe to use is the one that doesn’t require a special trip to the grocery store. Since most of us usually have some plant-based milk on hand, our go-to recipe is the one featured below.

What is your favorite sweet or savory recipe that uses evaporated milk? Let us know in the comments section below.

Vegan Evaporated milk dripping off a spoon into a jar

Vegan Evaporated Milk Substitute

Learn how to make this one-ingredient vegan evaporated milk for dairy-free dressings, sauces, soups, pumpkin pie, and more. Make it with soy milk, almond milk, or your favorite plant-based milk.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
19 Ratings
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: dairy free evaporated milk, evaporated milk substitute, substitute for evaporated milk, vegan evaporated milk
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 40kcal
Author: Sara Seitz

Ingredients

  • 3 cups soy milk or other plant-based milk

Instructions

  • Pour the milk into a medium-sized pot and place it over medium heat. Bring the milk to a simmer.
  • Simmer for about 40 minutes, whisking the milk occasionally, until the milk reduces by about half.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. If you'd like, strain the evaporated milk to remove any film that might have formed on top.
  • Refrigerate the milk in an air-tight jar for up to one week.

Notes

  • You can also use almond milk, coconut milk, or your favorite plant-based milk.
  • If the milk starts to bubble or boil, reduce the heat. Boiling the milk might burn it.
  • Depending on your milk, it might take more or less time to reduce by half. 

Recommended Tools & Products

Small pot
Strainer

Nutrition

Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 348IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!
Sara Seitz

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