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Dessert Recipes With Evaporated Milk

Updated on September 7, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Pumpkin pie topped with persimmon slices and pomegranate seeds.
Pumpkin pie topped with persimmon slices and pomegranate seeds. | Source

Evaporated milk or dehydrated milk is a canned milk product in which approximately 60% of the water has been taken out of fresh milk. Sweetened condensed milk is made in a similar fashion except that it has added sugar. Evaporated milk is a common ingredient in an extensive range of dessert recipes. If you bake often or enjoy whipping up other sweet treats, it's worth keeping a few cans on hand. Whether you're interested in branching out from your usual dessert recipe rotation or you want to use up an excess of evaporated milk that you've collected in your pantry, think about trying one or more of the following recipes.

What can you cook or bake with evaporated milk?

Pumpkin pie and other pumpkin recipes
Tres leches cake
Whipped cream
Ice cream
Butterscotch sauce
Popsicles / fudgesicles
Coconut bars
Vanilla cake
Lemon fluff

If you bake with evaporated milk frequently, consider stocking up in bulk online.

Tiny molasses spice pumpkin pies. Click the source link for the recipe.
Tiny molasses spice pumpkin pies. Click the source link for the recipe. | Source

Pumpkin pie and other pumpkin recipes

If you make pumpkin pie on a regular basis, most likely you already know that evaporated milk is a key ingredient in virtually every pumpkin pie recipe. Pumpkin pie and other custard based dishes call for milk or cream to create their iconic soft texture. Evaporated milk has slightly more calories and carbohydrates than cream but has a lower fat content and offers more nutrients including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. The taste of the two ingredients is virtually indistinguishable. Of course it's hard to go wrong with the classic Libby's pumpkin pie recipe. If you want to make some new pumpkin recipes this year, try pumpkin pudding from Good Life Eats or slow cooker pumpkin cobbler from My Mommy Style.

Tres leches cake with fresh strawberries.
Tres leches cake with fresh strawberries. | Source

Tres leches cake

A tres leches or pan tres leches cake is a sponge cake or butter cake soaked in three types of milk: heavy cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk. When prepared correctly, the cake will absorb the milks like a sponge, creating a moist cake that isn't too soggy. If you're looking for a simple variation, add fresh or canned sliced fruit. If you're using canned fruit, add a bit of the juice, too. Grab the traditional recipe from All Recipes or try tres leches cupcakes from Taste and Tell or tres leches bread pudding with vanilla cream sauce from Chef in Training.

Freshly made whipped cream, still on the beaters.
Freshly made whipped cream, still on the beaters. | Source

Whipped cream

Did you know that you can use evaporated milk to make whipped cream? The process is exactly the same as making whipped cream with heavy whipping cream. For best results, chill your bowl and beaters ahead of time. Some people also recommend chilling, or even freezing, the evaporated milk for half an hour, too. Add 1/4-1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and one teaspoon vanilla extract to sweeten the whipped cream. As with any freshly made whipped cream, it's best served immediately.

How to make Whipped Cream from Canned Evaporated Milk | Christy Jordan of Southern Plate

Homemade ice cream is simple and delicious. You can make evaporated milk ice cream with or without an ice cream maker.
Homemade ice cream is simple and delicious. You can make evaporated milk ice cream with or without an ice cream maker. | Source

Ice cream

Evaporated milk ice cream takes the concept of making whipped cream with evaporated milk one step further. The only ingredients that you need are evaporated milk and powdered sugar, and you don't even need an ice cream making machine. While it's a little time consuming to whip the mixture multiple times, otherwise this recipe is extremely straightforward. Evaporated milk ice cream is less dense and rich than ice cream made with condensed milk and heavy whipping cream. Instead it has more of a fluffy, soft serve consistency. Get the full instructions at Crunchy Creamy Sweet.

Homemade peanut butter fudge.
Homemade peanut butter fudge. | Source


Among varying methods for making fudge, one popular method involves bringing evaporated milk and other ingredients, such as butter and sugar, to a boil or near boil on the stove. Once you've mastered the basic concept of making fudge, there are endless ways to customize your treats. Christy at Southern Plate has a great basic recipe with step by step photos that has variations for chocolate, peanut butter, and cinnamon. You should also check out cookies 'n cream fudge at Very Best Baking, snickerdoodle fudge at Premeditated Leftovers, and cinnamon roll fudge at Simply Gloria.

Baked lady apples with vanilla ice cream, rum soaked raisins, toasted pecans, and butterscotch sauce.
Baked lady apples with vanilla ice cream, rum soaked raisins, toasted pecans, and butterscotch sauce. | Source

Butterscotch sauce

Most people have no idea how to make butterscotch sauce and are astounded when they learn that it's such a simple process. The most important aspects of making butterscotch are to keep an eye on the pan at all times and to stir continuously. You can make butterscotch sauce for a specific recipe or you can simply whip up a batch and keep it on hand for cooking, baking, and topping ice cream. Pick up the recipe at Frugal Antics.


Popsicles and fudgesicles

There are lots of popsicle and fudgesicle recipes that call for evaporated milk to provide a desired creamy texture. Making your own frozen desserts gives you full control over the ingredients, ensuring that you're eating delicious treats free of preservatives and artificial sweeteners. Think about making four ingredient fat free chocolate pops from Two Healthy Kitchens, banana fudge pops from, and fruit and milk popsicles from Disney Baby.

With a few simple kitchen tools and a handful of great recipes, making popsicles at home is fun and easy.

Lemon coconut bars.
Lemon coconut bars. | Source

Coconut bars

Coconut bars are an obvious dessert choice for anyone who loves coconut. Evaporated milk adds just the right amount of creaminess to the texture. Check out a four ingredient coconut bar recipe at Martha Stewart. You'll also find a lot of layer bar recipes that call for both coconut and evaporated milk as well as lots of other tasty ingredients like chocolate chips and pecans.

Vanilla cake with marshmallow frosting.
Vanilla cake with marshmallow frosting. | Source

Vanilla cake

It's hard to go wrong with an iconic cake like vanilla cake. The original vanilla cake recipe at Rock Recipes calls for evaporated milk to add moisture and an extra layer of flavor. Always use real vanilla extract, and finish it with her marshmallow frosting.

Lemon fluff.
Lemon fluff. | Source

Lemon fluff

Lemon fluff looks fancy but couldn't be more simple to throw together, especially since you most likely already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Just make sure that you allow enough time for all of the refrigeration steps. If you're pressed for time the day of a big event, make it up to 24 hours in advance. Pick up the recipe at Taste of Home.

How to Make Evaporated Milk | Simple Cooking Channel

You can make your own evaporated milk!

Evaporated milk is inexpensive and readily available in grocery stores, making it a convenient choice for baking. However, you can also make it yourself. There are two common methods for making evaporated milk. The first method is to boil milk down to half of its original volume. The second method is to measure out water and stir in powered milk. To equal one 12 oz can of evaporated milk, measure out 1-1/4 cups water and stir in 1 cup dry milk powder. [Source: The Make Your Own Zone]

Are you looking for a substitute for evaporated milk for your recipes?

For various reasons, some people would rather use an evaporated milk substitute when they're baking. For the equivalent of one 12 oz can of evaporated milk, you can substitute 1-1/2 cups half and half or cream or a combination of the two. You can also use any type of milk. If you're baking pie or making another recipe that requires the mixture to set, add one tablespoon of cornstarch with your spices and sugar. [Source: My Recipes]

© 2016 Rose Clearfield


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    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      2 years ago from USA

      These are all great ideas for using evaporated milk. Thanks for sharing. (I love tres leches cake!)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I didn't realize you could use evaporated milk to make whipped cream. It's a whole lot cheaper than heavy whipping cream!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      4 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Wow! I did not even know that I can make ice cream from evaporated milk. Thanks for sharing this informative hub.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      4 years ago

      I don't use evaporated milk very often Rose so this was interesting to me. Thinking I'm going to have to try a tres leches cake. Yummm...

    • sbconcepts profile image


      4 years ago

      Oh so delicious!!! Can't wait to give these a try. Brings back some great memories of helping my mother or grandmother bake during the hoidays. There was always at least one can in the pantry. Thanks for sharing some great ideas on the delicious ways to use evaporated milk!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      These dessert recipes all sound yummy and seem simple enough. I like the taste of evaporated milk over some other forms and types of milk. I also like coconut and those coconut bars sound tempting. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no idea when I had evaporated milk last. We used to always have it in our cupboard growing up....odd how tastes or buying habits changed. Anyway, interesting read.


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