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What to Do with Your Leftover Evaporated Milk

What to Do with Your Leftover Evaporated Milk

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Got some leftover evaporated milk taking up space in your fridge? Or maybe you have a few forgotten cans at the back of your cupboard, and you don’t know what to do with them.

Look no further. I’ll show you how to make the most of every last drop of your evaporated milk! 

It’s really not that difficult since this type of milk is incredibly versatile and works well in both savory dishes and sweet desserts. You’ll realize how handy a can of evaporated milk can be.

A single splash of evaporated milk adds a hint of sweetness, a dash of thickness, and some much-needed creaminess to every meal you make. Plus, it has much less fat than cream.

With this guide, you won’t have to worry about wasting leftover milk. Instead, you’ll find yourself wondering which recipe to make next! 

How Long Can You Keep Evaporated Milk?

Once you open the can, you don’t have to force yourself to use evaporated milk immediately. 

This type of milk can last for up to five days before it begins to go bad. For best results, cook or consume within 48 hours of opening. 

Note that it’s necessary to keep opened evaporated milk in the fridge to maintain freshness and avoid spoilage. Instead of keeping it in the can, transfer it to an airtight container before putting it into the fridge to make it last longer.

You can also store evaporated milk in the freezer to extend its shelf life. If you have an ice cube tray, fill it with milk and freeze it for a quick fix any time you need it.

Meanwhile, unopened cans of evaporated milk can last up to a whole year, as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry.

Evaporated Milk Substitutions for Everyday Cooking

If you don’t have a specific recipe that lets you make use of leftover evaporated milk, it can serve as a rich and creamy substitute for other dairy products in your regular recipes.

Did you know that evaporated milk can replace regular milk in most dishes? The only difference is a thicker texture because evaporated milk has 60% less water content than regular milk.

You can replace cream in sweet and savory recipes with evaporated milk, too. Many people prefer to use it in place of cream because it is relatively healthier and has a lower fat content.

Evaporated milk also works well as an alternative to sweetened condensed milk if you do not have the latter kind. Just be mindful that it is thinner and far less sweet.

Sweet Recipes for Evaporated Milk


Even if you don’t have a full can of evaporated milk, you can still use leftovers to make delicious sweet treats! Use it as a handy substitute for condensed milk or other dairy products, or try out some sugary recipes that require a bit of evaporated milk. Here are a few sweet suggestions:

Drinks: Evaporated milk adds a hint of creamy richness to coffee, tea, and even hot chocolate. Just add a splash instead of your normal half-and-half or creamer, and enjoy.

Ice Cream: You can mix evaporated milk with regular milk or use it on its own to make indulgent ice cream. The texture of ice cream made with evaporated milk tends to be denser, almost like fudge, and it is less prone to forming ice crystals.

Oatmeal: A splash of evaporated milk in oatmeal will make your breakfast even creamier than when using regular milk. This trick also works with your morning bowl of cereal.

Pie: While most pie fillings call for a whole can of evaporated milk, some recipes only need a splash to add richness and thicken the ingredients. Mix your leftover evaporated milk with another dairy product to get the texture you need.

Scones: You can use evaporated milk to make scones like the ones in this recipe. Either use it as it is or add some water to thin it out to the consistency of regular milk.

Smoothies: Start your day with a quick and healthy smoothie made with evaporated milk mixed with any fruit or flavoring that you want.

Whipped Cream: If you need whipped cream but don’t have any heavy cream at home, evaporated milk will do. However, it doesn’t beat as easily as heavy cream and does not hold its shape for as long, so keep that in mind.

Savory Recipes for Evaporated Milk

Mashed Potatoes

While evaporated milk is mostly used in sweet recipes, it can greatly enhance the flavor and texture of your savory dishes as well. You can use it to make creamy sauces for dinner, dressings for a light lunch salad, a hearty breakfast burrito, and more.

Breading: If you only have a little evaporated milk left, you can use it when you’re breading meat or fish. Just mix a little milk with the eggs for a smoother, richer coating, and then dip into the breadcrumbs like you usually do.

Mac and Cheese: Evaporated milk is the perfect secret ingredient for foolproof mac and cheese. Instead of spending precious time making a roux, create a quick mixture of evaporated milk and cornstarch for a gorgeous, thick cheese sauce.

Mashed Potatoes: If you don’t have regular milk on hand, or you want to use up the last of your leftovers, you can use evaporated milk to make sweet, fluffy, and special mashed potatoes.

Pasta Sauce: Evaporated milk can replace cream in thick pasta sauces such as alfredo or carbonara. Just add it at the end like how you would normally add cream for a full-bodied sauce with lower fat content than usual.

Salad Dressing: Believe it or not, evaporated milk can also work well in creamier salad dressings. Mix it with your favorite seasoning and some vinegar, or follow a tasty and tangy salad recipe such as this one.

Sauces: Evaporated milk isn’t just useful for pasta sauce. It can also replace cream or fresh milk in sauces served with meat or fish main dishes. Use it to make a smooth and sumptuous bechamel sauce, which you can then use in pasta, moussaka, and all kinds of savory meals.

Soup: Many soups, such as cream of mushroom soup, call for a splash of cream to enhance the flavor and thicken the mixture. You can easily replace cream with evaporated milk for similar results. Use evaporated milk in homemade soups, and even canned soups to liven up the flavor.

What If I Have Coconut-Flavored Evaporated Milk?

Coconut Milk

Flavored evaporated milk is just as versatile as the plain version. If you have leftover coconut-flavored evaporated milk, you can use it in place of coconut milk or cream in sweet or savory dishes. You can also simply stir it in your morning oatmeal or in a bowl of warm soup.

Coconut-flavored evaporated milk can thicken curries or sauces without adding the heaviness of full coconut milk. You can also mix it with peanut butter, sweet chili sauce, and soy sauce to make a version of satay sauce for chicken skewers.

When it comes to drinks, you can substitute coconut-flavored evaporated milk for regular milk in an iced chai latte, a strawberry smoothie, or a cup of hot cocoa. To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can use this versatile ingredient in coconut cream pie, coconut cupcakes, and vegan biscuits.

Reconstituting Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is just regular fresh milk that’s been heated to remove around 60% of its water content. You can turn evaporated milk back to regular milk by adding equal parts milk and water.

Originally, evaporated milk was intended to be a special type of milk that could be stored at an ambient temperature for months without going bad. This would make it easier to transport over long distances while having the same nutrients as regular fresh milk.

Eventually, people discovered the numerous benefits of evaporated milk, including how well it worked in recipes. It was only a matter of time before this milk was canned and mass-produced.

You can substitute reconstituted evaporated milk for regular milk in coffee, hot chocolate, cereal, and oatmeal, among others. However, you will notice a slight difference in its taste. 

Additionally, you can use it as an ingredient in recipes where regular evaporated milk would thicken food too much. It also tastes great in baked goods, gravies, sauces, and soups.

How to Tell If Evaporated Milk Has Gone Bad

Checking The Expiration Date

Although evaporated milk can be stored for much longer than most dairy products, it can still spoil or lose quality over time. So, before using leftovers or unopened cans of evaporated milk, ensure that the milk hasn’t gone bad by doing an inspection. 

Always check that your evaporated milk isn’t past its expiration date. If the can is damaged in any way or the lid is bulging, then the milk might be spoiled—it would be safer to toss it out.

If you’re thinking of using some leftover evaporated milk that’s been sitting in the fridge, observe its appearance, smell, texture, and taste first. If it’s turning yellow or brown, develops lumps, has a sour odor, or tastes strange, then it has likely gone bad and you should avoid using it.

If your leftovers have been sitting in your fridge for longer than a week, you shouldn’t use them as they can be a risk to your health. Dairy spoils quite easily and may cause stomach trouble.

What to Do With Leftover Evaporated Milk

Even if you only have a splash of evaporated milk left in your can, you shouldn’t throw it away! There are countless sweet and savory recipes to use every last drop of this versatile ingredient.

With your leftovers, you can whip up rich and creamy main dishes, sides, and appetizers that only use a little evaporated milk. You can also substitute evaporated milk for other dairy products, such as regular milk or cream—your taste buds won’t notice the difference!

Evaporated milk is a useful thickener for sauces, soups, and dressings. For instance, it can help form the base of tasty bechamel sauce, cream of potato soup, or tangy German salad dressing.

Even a little bit of evaporated milk can liven up your favorite sweets, drinks, and desserts. Substitute it for regular milk to make richer and fuller pie fillings, scones, ice cream, and more. Add a splash of it to your morning coffee, smoothies, and cereal for a much creamier taste.

Just make sure that you store your evaporated milk correctly—in an airtight, refrigerated container for no longer than a week. Before using it, check to ensure it hasn’t gone bad. Consuming spoiled evaporated milk, like any dairy product, can cause serious health issues.

Essential Tips for Storing Leftover Evaporated Milk

With these helpful and delicious tips and tricks, you’ll never have to worry about leftover evaporated milk again:

  • Temperature fluctuations can cause evaporated milk to spoil quickly and lose quality, so refrigerate unused milk immediately after opening.
  • Opened tin cans can be difficult to seal properly and may pick up unwanted odors from your refrigerator. Consider using resealable airtight containers as an effective and practical way to maintain freshness and flavor.
  • It’s perfectly acceptable to freeze evaporated milk to prolong its shelf-life, but note that it can cause separation of milk particles and a slight change in its texture.
  • Suitable containers for freezing evaporated milk include freezer-safe plastic containers, freezer bags, and ice cube trays. Label and date your containers for easy tracking.
  • To defrost your frozen evaporated milk, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. After thawing, stir, whip, or mix the milk to restore its texture.
  • The formation of a film or “milk skin” on top of your evaporated milk isn’t a sign of spoilage but an indication of fat separation. Restore your milk by heating and stirring it.

Final Thoughts

Do you have some leftover evaporated milk in your fridge and don’t know what to do with it?

Not a problem! Evaporated milk is an excellent substitute for fresh milk or cream and is versatile enough for sweet and savory dishes alike, making it the ultimate pantry staple.

There are plenty of productive uses for evaporated milk in this guide, from pasta sauces and salad dressings to mac and cheese and mashed potatoes, and even your next cup of coffee.

So, what are you waiting for? Try one of these great ways to use leftover evaporated milk, and don’t let those cans in the cupboard go to waste!

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