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Jan 11, 2008 09:10 AM

Mac 'n Cheese With Evaporated Milk?

Can I substitute evaporated milk for regular milk in a mac and cheese recipe?
It’s one of Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) recipes found on the foodnetwork site. I thought the evaporated milk might make for a creamier dish but if anyone has any input on this or has tried this recipe using regular milk, please let me know. Thanks!

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  1. Evaporated milk can be diluted so it has the consistency of regular milk, though it still has a 'cooked' taste. But undiluted evaporated milk is often used to provide a creaminess or body without the fat of real cream.

    I am not familiar with the recipe that you have in mind, but most call for making a cream sauce (flour, butter, milk), and adding the cheese to that. Evaporated milk can be used in making that sauce base.


    4 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Does the "cooked taste" of evaporated milk really matter since you're going to cook the macaroni and cheese anyway? Fresh milk would get "cooked."

      1. re: MakingSense

        Right, the cooked taste of evaporated milk is only a problem if you are drinking it, and for kids who grew up on it (say in the tropics) it might even be what they expect. In a savory sauce, or even a sweet one, it shouldn't be noticeable.


        1. re: paulj

          Not just the tropics. I used to turn up my nose at recipes that included evap. milk until an older friend of mine who's a writer and fab cook told me to take a second look at those recipes. In much of America, particularly the South, many people didn't get to stores as often as we can and a lot of people lived without electricity. No refrigeration. Rural. Small "iceboxes" in cities. Pet Milk was shelf stable and everyone used it for cooking so a lot of "authentic" American recipes specify it. The best classic caramel cake icing. Soul food makes frequent use. Sometimes the recipes turn out better using it than substituting fresh milk or other dairy.

          1. re: MakingSense

            i've been using evap milk in my coffee for years now in lieu of 1/2 & 1/2

            cheaper, keeps longer, and just as creamy

    2. I have adapted a recipe for mac and cheese from America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook that calls for evaporated milk and a eggs. It was excellent!!! Here it is --

      Cheesy and Gooey Mac and Cheese

      8 ounces of pasta
      1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
      1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
      1/2 to 3/4 cup evaporated milk
      2 eggs, beaten
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/2 teaspoon pepper
      1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
      1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
      1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
      4 tablespoons butter, divided

      Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, combine 1/2 cup of the evaporated milk, eggs, salt, pepper, chicken bouillon, mustard and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir to melt. Add the egg mixture and 1/2 of the cheeses and stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the remaining butter, cheeses, and the evaporated milk to adjust to the right consistency. Enjoy!

      my blog

      1. Cookillustrated's verion of mac and cheese uses evap milk...VERY creamy and well recieved.

        1. I love the CI recipe as mentioned above that uses evaporated milk and eggs but it looks like Ina's recipe is one with a white sauce so I'd dilute evaporated milk first.

          1. Ina's recipe calls for 1 quart of milk so I really don't know how much evaporated milk I would sub with. Any ideas?
            Also, the CI recipe looks very straightforward and simple and with all the positive reviews, maybe I'll use this one instead. Thanks all.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Augusta

              I'd probably use half of a quart of evap milk and equal amount of water. The CI recipe is really creamy mac and cheese and much easier than doing a white sauce.