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Evaporated Milk - how do you use it?

I like to add a little in mashed potatoes & also use it to make cream gravy, or add some to macaroni salad, but other than that, I am stumped as how to use the remainder of the can. The small cans of EM (evaporated milk) are no longer available in my grocery store. By the way, I see some generic canned milk - have you used those before?

My intentions are good - the remainder goes in a lidded jar & I make a mental note to use it up during the week. Never happens. Just another waste I would like to avoid.

Does EM freeze well? Perhaps you all could help me use this stuff up so I am not having to throw a half can out. Thanks.

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  1. I generally use up leftover evaporated or condensed milk in my morning coffee. You can also thin out the evaproated milk with a litte water and use it just like regular milk--it's not bad chilled and poured over cereal.

    2 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      oddly i like in coffee but hate the cooked taste when used on cereal.

      1. re: iluvcookies

        I always use it in my tea. in fact, I don't like to have tea anywhere that I can't have evaporated milk in it. I love that it's creamier than milk but not as rich as cream.

      2. I don't care for it in any non-cooked preparation with the exception being mashed potatoes, where I mix it in at the end. I guess the residual heat takes that edge off of it. I keep it on hand though and use it in anything calling for milk that will be cooked.

        I believe you can use it in any recipe calling for heavy cream, except for whipping, of course. The dish won't be as rich though.

        I've never tried freezing it. If no one answers to that, try freezing it and see how it works. If it doesn't do well, then that is no worse than letting it go bad. BTW, I find it has a long shelf life, a good couple of weeks after opening.

        1. Makes a decent base mac & cheese or Alfredo.

          24 Replies
          1. re: eclecticsynergy

            i use it sometimes when i make a baked mac... literally just stir it together with cheeses, salt, pepper, a dash of mustard powder and/or onion powder. sometimes an egg. toss with cooked pasta and bake. sprinkle with a little more cheese in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.

            1. re: Emme

              I make my baked mac&cheese by cooking some chopped onion and poblano pepper (that's optional) in some oil, then adding a 12 oz can of evaporated milk and cooking it down, stirring and scraping until it's about 9-10 oz, then adding three cups of shredded cheese. S&P too, of course, and maybe a bit of dry mustard. Take it off the heat and stir until it's all melted, then stir in 8 oz of macaroni, cooked and drained. Turn that out into a greased casserole dish, top with grated parm or pecorino, and bake until browned and bubbly. I've been using Trader Joe's High-Fiber Penne for this, and it's about as low-carb as the dish can get. Oh, and I also usually cut tops off three Roma tomatoes, get rid of the seeds and liquid, and chop them up into the dish while it's being stirred together.

              1. re: Will Owen

                That sounds really good. I always make a bechamel and love the taste but wish it was more saucey. I am wondering if the abscence of flour would keep the sauce thinner.

                ETA: I have been craving some good mac and cheese. Recently tried CI's stovetop method. It was horrid.

                1. re: MrsJonesey

                  I am back to eat my words. I have since made my usual baked mac and cheese as well as some penne to go with a Swiss steak type dish. I have been using Barilla Plus for a while now and really liked it. Now, it is not tasting good to me. It ruined my baked mac and cheese and I recognized the off flavor that was so prevalent in the stovetop version. Either BP's quality has gone downhill or my tastebuds changed.

                  1. re: MrsJonesey

                    Tastebuds do change over time. I've read somewhere that we are all born with the maximum amount of tastebuds we will ever have. They die or fall off as we age. That explains a lot....

                    1. re: thymetobake

                      Ahhh, one of the many joys of aging......

                2. re: Will Owen

                  I am looking for a holiday macaroni and cheese recipe and planned to do a baked style like my grandmother. She usually uses half and half but I was thinking of using evaporated instead. Does it have a strong effect on the final flavor?

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    I don't think so, but I have always used it in mac and cheese. You know to use equal amounts of water, right?

                    1. re: MrsJonesey

                      Nope, didn't know that thanks for the tip. Should the water and evaporated milk total to the original amount of milk in the recipe?

                        1. re: MrsJonesey

                          Perfect, thanks I think it'll be nice to try it, hopefully it'll work out for our Thanksgiving macaroni and cheese. So just to confirm, if the recipe calls for 2 pints of half and half I'd just need equivalent 1 pint volume of evaporated milk?

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Yes, to sub for 2 pints half and half, use 1 pint evaporated milk and 1 pint water.

                            1. re: MrsJonesey

                              1 part em to 1 part water is equal to milk.

                              1. re: divadmas

                                For some reason I thought evaporated milk was used in recipes like mac and cheese for its thickness, doesn't adding water sort of eliminate that effect?

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  makes sense to me. you can even get low fat or fat free em, i just got some but haven't used yet. sub for cream, nice and thick.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    Thickness, no. I have trouble keeping my mac and cheese saucy enough to suit me, so no, it doesn't thin it out. If you mean richness, as with heavy cream, hmm, I suppose if you wanted your mac and cheese that rich, you could use it undiluted. I will be interested to see what others say about this.

                                    1. re: MrsJonesey

                                      I guess my question would be then why not just use regular milk. I'm just clueless about evaporated so learning :) Is it just more convenient?

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                        Speaking for myself, yes, it is all about convenience. We drink skim milk, but I rarely use it in cooking. I keep cans of evaporated milk on hand. Don't have to worry about it going bad until it's opened and even then, it keeps upwards of a month.

                                        Also, I could be entirely wrong about this, but it seems like once upon a time it was more economical, ounce per ounce, than fresh milk. It certainly isn't now.

                                        1. re: MrsJonesey

                                          I see, makes sense especially for this house as well. I have never actually had a glass of milk so I can't remember the last time I had any in the house.

                                      2. re: MrsJonesey

                                        Well now I figured out why I'm confused, I idiotically asked the wrong question. Our family macaroni and cheese recipe uses half and half and I was wondering if evaporated would be a 1:1 substitute for that as in 1 pint half and half to equal volume evaporated without added water? Sleep deprivation nabs me again.

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          Okay, I wasn't sure so I looked for the answer. According to this, yes sub 1:1 undiluted evaported milk for half and half. http://www.foodsubs.com/Dairyoth.html

                                          Scroll down to the info on half and half.

                                          1. re: MrsJonesey

                                            Yea, I Googled it this morning and that's how I realized my posting error. Thanks for the link.

                            2. re: fldhkybnva

                              No! If you want the maximum creaminess in the cheese sauce, use the evaporated milk straight. The only times I've had a cheese sauce break are when I've been a little short on EM and added a bit of water. Even then, I came nowhere near a 1:1 dilution.

                      1. re: Emme

                        Hi Emme! That's really ironic! In the caribbean we call that macaroni pie. Just slight variation to the seasonings. We add a little fresh hot pepper and cilantro for taste. My mom used to add corn kernels to it also! Delicious!

                    2. If you are just looking to use up a small amount or a partial can, it's quite tasty in coffee in place of milk or half and half.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: janniecooks

                        I was in panic mode this morning when I realized I will not have any cream for my coffee in the morning. Well, guess what? I will try some EM, just trying to get over using that instead of my delicious cream.

                        1. re: cstout

                          I don't use it regularly, but got in the habit of keeping a few small cans in the pantry for those emergencies! I first had EM in coffee in Mexico, where nearly every place we had coffee served evaporated milk as the "crema". Oh, and be sure to use it straight, don't dilute it.

                      2. I sub it for cream in sauces and soups. Its not quite as rich but still delicious and saves me a few calories.