Why You Should Try Evaporated Milk in Coffee

Evaporated milk enhances your coffee in a different way than regular milk. Here's how.

Evaporated milk being poured in coffee

Last Updated on December 9, 2023

Some people who add milk to their coffee may want to look for another product that offers a similar or slightly sweeter taste to their brew. When considering possible alternatives, you may wonder if evaporated milk in coffee gives an improved taste.

Coffee drinkers may be familiar with evaporated milk as a popular ingredient for other dishes. Others may have noticed the small cans of this product on store shelves and never given them a second thought.

Can of evaporated milk that can go in coffee

Can You Use Evaporated Milk in Coffee?

Yes, evaporated milk can be used as a creamer in coffee. Similar to milk, sugar, syrups, traditional coffee creamers, half-and-half and soy milk, evaporated milk provides a wonderful way to add flavor to any cup of plain and black coffee, as well as flavored varieties.

The taste of evaporated milk varies slightly from the taste of whole, low-fat, and other traditional milk products. Evaporated milk offers a creamy and rich alternative to the regular milk in your refrigerator. Great for smoothing the taste of bitter coffee drinks, evaporated milk has a thicker, less watery texture than regular milk.

Comparing Regular and Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk has a similar taste to traditional milk. Due to the dehydration process that removes a substantial amount of water content, evaporated milk has a higher proportion of sugar and a slightly different, somewhat sweeter flavor. Both products have lactose and saturated fats. To use evaporated milk as a substitute for regular milk, simply mix it with water in equal proportions.

If you have used evaporated milk for other recipes, but never in coffee, or have never tried it before, below is some useful information that compares regular milk with evaporated milk.

How Much Evaporated Milk Should Be Used To Replace Milk in Coffee?

Bowl of evaporated milk that can go in coffee

Since evaporated milk is created by removing more than half of the water content, you should generally use approximately half of the amount you would usually use if you had regular milk.

Does Evaporated Milk Offer Greater Health Benefits Than Regular Milk?

Since it is dehydrated milk, evaporated milk is not technically a healthier substitute for regular milk. Unless you purchase a lactose-free product, evaporated milk has the fats, lactose and other properties of milk, only in a thicker, more concentrated form.

Is Evaporated Milk Naturally Sweeter Than Regular Milk?

Yes, due to the high lactose content and added thickness that occurs after dehydration. You will need less sugar or less of your favorite sweetener in your daily coffee drink if you choose to add evaporated milk.

Does Evaporated Milk Curdle if Added to Coffee?

Evaporated milk does have the tendency to curdle if added to very hot coffee or to some brands of coffee with high acidity. Keep this in mind if you’re going to add evaporated milk to coffee.

Can You Create Regular Milk From Evaporated Milk?

Since evaporated milk is dehydrated milk, you can reconstitute the original milk characteristics by combining nearly equal amounts of water and evaporated milk. This makes evaporated milk a great alternative when camping or in other areas with limited refrigeration, as long as you plan to use all of the product in the can at one time.

Beyond Black Brew: Enhancing Specialized Coffees

Evaporated milk has great versatility that takes it beyond a simple milk substitute for traditional black coffee. You can add either chilled or warm evaporated milk to either cold brew coffee or hot coffee.

If you want to add evaporated milk to an iced coffee creation, mix it in equal parts with water to reconstitute the milk before adding the milk base to the coffee.

Evaporated milk works wonderfully in cappuccinos, frappes, lattes, iced and hot coffees, and other drinks. When refrigerated, evaporated milk creates a great whipped cream. If you like creamy lattes, you may enjoy the rich taste of froth created from evaporated milk.

Another perfect coffee for evaporated milk is Vietnamese iced coffee, often listed on restaurant menus as “cà phê sữa đá.”

Pros and Cons of Evaporated Milk in Coffee

Cup of cappuccino
Next time you make a cappuccino, try using evaporated milk for a different experience.


  • Creamy and rich substitute for either milk or non-dairy creamers
  • Long shelf life prior to opening (usually about 24 months)
  • Easier to transport
  • Requires no refrigeration prior to opening
  • Great source of milk while camping or away from home
  • Slightly sweet flavor may replace sugar or other sweeteners


  • Entire container is rarely used at one time
  • Remaining contents in the open container have a short shelf life (three to five days)
  • Most common brands not suitable for the lactose intolerant

Other Dairy and Non-Dairy Alternatives

Condensed Milk

Can of condensed milk that can be used instead of evaporated milk in coffee

Some coffee drinkers might assume that condensed milk and evaporated milk are identical, especially since they often come in similar types of containers. Both have a similar origin as whole milk with approximately 60% of its water content removed. Some people refer to evaporated milk as unsweetened condensed milk, adding to the confusion. The major difference is a sweet one: sweetened condensed milk has a substantial amount of sugar added. 

You may certainly use condensed milk instead of evaporated milk to enhance your morning coffee. But if you do, remember that this sweetened condensed milk already contains a high level of sugar content. A small amount will go a long way toward sweetening your coffee beverage.

Heavy Cream

Although heavy cream has less lactose, this rich alternative has much higher fat and calorie levels. With nearly twice as many calories and three times the fat content, heavy cream is great for creating whips but may be too rich as a substitute for milk in coffee, unless used sparingly.

Coffee Creamer

Powdered coffee creamer has a different composition than fresh milk, powdered milk and evaporated milk. While the ingredients used vary by the manufacturer and brand, most of these creamers lack milk. Instead, they use sugar, water, vegetable oil, and other items to create the taste.


Creamer being poured in coffee instead of evaporated milk

Although half-and-half has similar fat content as evaporated milk, they have different origins. A combination of cream and milk in equal proportions, some half-and-half products also have an ingredient to keep this mixture stable when mixed in coffee or other hot liquids. Half-and-half froths and whips the same way as evaporated milk.

Dairy-Free and Vegan Alternatives

You might want to avoid dairy products if you have a lactose intolerance, dietary restrictions or if it’s just your personal preference. Plant-based and nut-based alternatives offer a comparable taste, and some have the added benefit of low fat content. Soy milk, almond milk and similar vegetable-based products offer more ways to enhance delicious coffee.

Home-based vegan recipes are also worth considering. To get a comparable sweetness, you may also wish to add honey, brown sugar or maple syrup.

Bottle of almond milk that can be used instead of evaporated milk in coffee
Almond milk

Other Uses of Evaporated Milk

Newbies to the evaporated milk experience should consider this dehydrated milk product as a great tool for creating other tasty drinks and dishes. These include smoothies, chai teas, creamy vegetable dishes, casseroles, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, creamy pasty sauces and creamy soups.

You can freeze evaporated milk as long as you first remove it from the can. This is a great way to preserve a small amount after opening a container if you do not plan to use it within its shelf life of a few days in the refrigerator. Simply seal the evaporated milk in a freezer-safe container. Although the milk may separate after thawing in a refrigerator, a quick whisking will reconstitute it.

Evaporated milk options may also be whipped for certain dishes, as long as you chill it first. By lowering its temperature, the volume and texture become suitable for whipping. 

A Final Sip

Next time you see evaporated milk at the store or in your pantry, consider adding some to your next cup of coffee. You may have to adjust the amount a little, but if you enjoy fresh coffee with milk, evaporated canned milk can be a great alternative to regular milk.

Creamy, rich delight,
Evaporated milk blends,
Coffee's bitter notes,
Softened in each steaming cup,
A sweet, velvety embrace.

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