So, you love baking pumpkin pies for desserts, especially during the holidays. Like most people, you use evaporated milk.
But this time around, you want to try something new. Out of curiosity, you’re thinking of replacing evaporated milk with other ingredients.
However, you’re not sure if the pie will have the same mild flavor and pleasant smell. You also fear the replacement might not be good enough to achieve the desired texture.
This post will tell you the different substitutes for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie. More than that, it will show you how to make this holiday treat flavorful, even with these alternatives.
So, get that mixing bowl ready, and let’s begin!
Why Is Evaporated Milk Used in Pumpkin Pie?
Some people don’t know why evaporated milk is used in pumpkin pies. Perhaps, they didn’t ask their grandmas when they were taught how to bake this Thanksgiving staple.
However, knowing why you use this ingredient will help you find the most suitable substitute.
Well, one of the traits this milk has is its minimal amount of water content, especially if compared to other ingredients.
On the other hand, pumpkins are made mostly of water. Thus, using evaporated milk provides a balance and helps you achieve the firmness of a traditional pumpkin pie.
When baking, the oven heat sucks the juices from the pie. The milk counters this by acting as a thickener so the pumpkin pie won’t be a saggy mess.
Evaporated milk also contributes to the richness of the pumpkin pie without making it overly sweet.
On top of that, this ingredient’s riboflavin, Vitamin A, and B12 complement the pumpkin’s health benefits.
Can You Make Pumpkin Pie Without Evaporated Milk?
Now that you’ve seen what evaporated milk can do, maybe you’re wondering if you can make pumpkin pies without it.
The quick answer is yes, you can still make mouthwatering pumpkin pies, even without evaporated milk. In fact, there are several substitutes you can use.
For most people, the first sub that comes to mind is condensed milk. Perhaps you’re also thinking of using regular milk or maybe almond milk.
If that’s so, worry not. We’ll discover in the following sections if they’re any good as evaporated milk alternatives.
Can You Make Pumpkin Pie With Condensed Milk?
Yes, you can, but it might not be the perfect substitute.
Unlike evaporated milk, condensed milk is made of 45% sugar. It could make your pumpkin pie unnecessarily sweet. Despite that, there’s a way to use condensed milk when baking pumpkin pies.
If you don’t want your pie to overflow with sweetness, take the sugar off your usual recipe. Simply put, let the condensed milk replace that sweetener.
Several moms have used condensed milk in baking pumpkin pies. Most are saying that this ingredient provides a dense and creamy texture.
Likewise, their pies still have a firm yet jiggly and smooth center using condensed milk.
To achieve that, try combining condensed milk with other ingredients like pumpkin pie spice, salt, pumpkin purée, eggs, and some butter.
Can You Make Pumpkin Pie With Regular Milk?
Also known as whole milk, regular milk is used for baking and cooking. Despite that, some won’t take chances in using regular milk in pumpkin pies.
However, if what you only have is regular milk, you can use it in baking this holiday staple.
Yet, you need to know that this milk has more water content than its evaporated counterpart. It could compromise the pie’s creaminess and texture if you use it on its own.
The good news is, there’s a way to get around the problem.
To ensure that you achieve that creamy texture, try adding some cornstarch to the regular milk. Let the added ingredient set and firm the pie up.
But what about the sweetness? Well, indeed, regular milk isn’t sweet as evaporated milk. What you can do is add a combination of brown and white sugar to the recipe.
Expect the brown sugar to provide a caramel aroma apart from making the pie sweet.
Can You Make Pumpkin Pie With Almond Milk?
There are several reasons why you should have almond milk in your pumpkin pie recipe.
For starters, almond milk is a plant-based milk. So, if you’re sensitive to dairy products, it’s the perfect evaporated milk substitute for you.
Secondly, this milk offers a lot of nutritional benefits. It’s rich in vitamins E and D as well as calcium and protein.
Additionally, this milk is low in carbohydrates. However, if you want to take it a step further, use unsweetened almond milk instead
It’s a good option if you’re trying to maintain your blood sugar levels.
To make the milk work as a substitute, replace one cup of evaporated milk with a two-thirds cup of almond milk and one-half cup of oil.
For this, you may use canola oil or vegetable oil. Moreover, add some cornstarch to thicken the mixture.
Doing this, you’ll enjoy a pumpkin pie with creamy and smooth fillings even without using evaporated milk.
Other Substitutes for Evaporated Milk in Baking Pumpkin Pies
Want to see other substitutes? Read on to learn more!
Full-fat coconut milk is another evaporated milk replacement. It closely resembles the amount of water that evaporated milk has.
However, just like other ingredients, adding cornstarch to add some texture wouldn’t hurt.
Use a 1:1 ratio. Replace one cup of evaporated milk with one cup of full-fat coconut milk.
Comparable to regular milk, soy milk is another ingredient you could use as an alternative.
Surprisingly, it tastes like evaporated milk. So, your pumpkin pie’s flavor wouldn’t be so much of an issue with this milk.
You may begin using this by simmering around 25 ounces of soy milk until it reduces to about 8 ounces. The reduced amount replaces 12 ounces of evaporated milk.
Skim milk has a higher water content than evaporated milk. Nevertheless, it’s still a good substitute when making pumpkin pies.
To offset the amount of water it has, try combining one tablespoon of cornstarch with 1.5 cups of skim milk.
Adding cornstarch will thicken the skim milk without having to simmer it to evaporate its water.
If you’re not on a strict diet or you’re trying to gain a few pounds, then give the cream a try. This dairy product has higher fat content than evaporated milk.
Yet, what makes this ingredient a good substitute is its ability to make pumpkin pies rich and creamy.
On top of that, you don’t have to worry about complex maths when replacing evaporated milk with cream. Just use the 1:1 ratio, and you’re good to go.
You see, researchers estimated that around 48% of Americans are unable to digest lactose. That being said, lactose intolerants may still enjoy pumpkin pies by using oat milk instead of evaporated milk.
Besides that, oat milk offers several nutritional benefits, such as carbohydrates, calories, protein, and some fats.
To make it work, I suggest that you add three teaspoons of flour for every cup of oat milk. That way, your pumpkin pie will have a thickness similar to what evaporated milk can make.
You may also add sugar to make your sweet tooth happy.
So there it is—the different substitutes for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie.
Looking back, we saw situations that call for a replacement for evaporated milk. The good thing is, there’s a lot to choose from.
However, I’d say that regular milk and cream are the easiest to find. Your fridge may already have these substitutes.
Yet, regardless of what you have, you saw how simple it is to use them as an evaporated milk replacement.
With these subs, you can expect your pumpkin pies to have a silky texture and tasty flavor. You just need to add a few ingredients, such as cornstarch and sugar.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.