From the savory to the sweet, there are plenty of recipes out there that call for evaporated milk. This can be problematic for those of us trying to follow a vegan diet.
Luckily, there are a number of easy ways to make your own vegan evaporated milk substitute right at home.
We tested several recipes to find the best vegan substitutes for evaporated milk. These recipes are all easy to make and require ingredients you likely already have on hand.
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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.
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While evaporate milk may not be vegan, there are plenty of great ways to create your own vegan version of this product at home.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Replace 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:
- Add all ingredients to your blender.
- Blend until well combined.
- 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.
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.
The Best Recipe to Use
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, this is our go-to recipe. It works with any type of plant-based milk. Enjoy!
Vegan Evaporated Milk Substitute
- 3 cups soy milk or other plant-based milk
- 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.
- 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.
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About the Author
Hi and thank you for wanting to get to know me and my passions.
I’m a professional freelance writer with decades of experience learning about and living a green, clean life.
I grew up in Colorado under the influence of three generations of knowledgeable women who knew their way around the garden. I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in English. A year before graduation, my life was upended by an unexpected diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.
Facing the reality of living with an incurable autoimmune disease I left to reflect hard on my lifestyle. While this type of diabetes cannot be cured or treated with diet, I was certain that focusing on her health and fueling her body with clean food would help her better manage her condition. As a lifelong animal lover, it wasn’t difficult for me to transition fully to a vegan diet.
Inspired by the changes I felt after going vegan, I sought out a community of like-minded plant-based eaters, gaining knowledge and experience that would fuel my future career.
In 2018, I brought my daughter into the world. Wanting the opportunity to be home to raise her, I decided to pursue a career as a freelance writer, starting my own company in 2019. http://penandpostwriter.com
Today, I’m lucky to have a long list of clients who pay me to write about my many passions. At the top of that list is gardening and eating a clean diet for the sake of my health, the planet, and all the animals I love.
When I’m not constructing articles for clients, you can find me wrist-deep in dirt in my vegetable garden, hiking with my dogs, or back in front of the computer creating imaginative worlds in my quest to become a published fiction writer. More articles by Sara.