Evaporated Milk VS Condensed Milk: The Difference Detailed

Are there any differences between evaporated milk vs condensed milk? Both of these look and feel pretty much the same. They have the same color and texture, often, they even have a very similar packing. So, why bother with two different product names?

Well, there is a difference between these two types of milk. Some of these differences are subtle, but one makes itself evident the moment you taste these types of milk. Sweetened condensed milk contains sugar and is sweet, while evaporated milk has no added sugar. 

Does that wrap it all? Nope, there’s more to know! Let’s get a closer look.

Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk – All You Need To Know

Differences Between Evaporated Milk And Condensed Milk

As we know, the biggest difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk is the sugar content. Evaporated milk never has added sugar, while condensed milk is generally sweetened. 

At first glance, this might seem like the only relevant difference but there is a lot more going on here. To be fair, most of it comes back to the presence of sugar in condensed milk. Yet, these differences are notable enough to be discussed on their own.

These points are:

Shelf Life

Sweetened condensed milk has an impressive shelf life. Unopened, a can might stay usable for almost two years. The high fat and high sugar content work in its favor. Evaporated milk has a lower shelf life and an unopened can is usually good for about a year to fifteen months.

Once they’re opened, it’s better to use either type of milk as soon as possible. Even so, when properly refrigerated and stored, condensed milk can last up to 14 days. Although, 10 days might be a better number to be on the safer side. On the other hand, an opened can of evaporated milk is usually good for about four days, assuming it’s properly stored and refrigerated.

Is There A Healthier Choice Between The Two?

As the preparation goes, both of these are very similar in terms of milk content. This means they have pretty much the same nutrition content of milk. However, sweetened condensed milk includes a significant amount of sugar. 

Often, the sugar to milk ratio in condensed milk is almost half. A conventional ratio is mixing 9 parts of sugar with 11 parts of milk. Therefore, condensed milk is very sweet and contains a high amount of sugar. This makes condensed milk relatively unhealthy to consume, especially in comparison to evaporated milk.


The presence of sugar affects the color of condensed milk. Evaporated milk has more of a tan color due to the higher presence of lactose. Since a fair amount of weight in condensed milk is sugar, it has a relatively lighter color.

Baking Texture

Both these products respond in different ways to their presence in baked goods. As with most of their properties, this too comes down to the concentration of sugar in condensed milk. In baked goods, evaporated milk brings a light and airy texture. Meanwhile, condensed milk is more about adding creamy goodness to the baked products.

What Is Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk comes from cow’s milk, where much of the water content has been removed. Conventionally, about 60% of the water content in cow’s milk is removed to create condensed milk. A significant amount of sugar is also added to this mix and often forms 40-45% of condensed milk. In some regions, condensed milk is also known as sweetened condensed milk.

Along with the evaporation and removal of water content, the milk also undergoes pasteurization to allow it to last longer. Canned condensed milk can easily last up to 2 years when unopened. It doesn’t need refrigeration as long as the can stays unopened.

What Is Evaporated Milk?

In many regions, evaporated milk is also known as unsweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk is almost the same as condensed milk, with the change that it doesn’t contain any sugar. 

The production process of evaporated milk is pretty much the same as condensed milk. It is cow’s milk, where 60% of the water content has been removed. Before it is canned, the milk undergoes pasteurization or similar processes to remove microorganisms. An unopened can of evaporated milk usually has a shelf life of about 12-15 months.

Is Evaporated Milk The Same As Condensed Milk?

Evaporated and condensed milk are very similar and have near-identical production. However, condensed milk contains a significant amount of sugar, while evaporated milk doesn’t contain any added sugar. The presence of sugar separates evaporated milk from condensed milk.


Can I Use Evaporated Milk Instead Of Condensed Milk?

Evaporated milk is a suitable substitute for condensed milk. It has a similar texture and flavor as condensed milk. What it does lack, is sugar. So be prepared to add copious amounts of sugar to the evaporated milk so that it can work as a substitute for condensed milk.

Commercial condensed milk contains 40-45% of sugar but it’s added during the manufacturing process and might be difficult to replicate at home. Still, don’t hold back on the sugar and try to add as much as possible to evaporated milk. If you can somehow manage to dissolve 40-45% sugar in evaporated milk, it will become near-identical to condensed milk.

Is Evaporated Milk Healthier Than Condensed Milk?

Evaporated milk is somewhat healthier than condensed milk. This is because condensed milk contains a copious amount of sugar (almost 40-45%), while evaporated milk has no added sugar. The lack of added sugar makes evaporated milk a relatively healthier choice as compared to condensed milk.

How Do I Convert Evaporated Milk To Condensed Milk?

Evaporated milk is also known as unsweetened condensed milk. To convert evaporated milk to condensed milk, you simply need to dissolve some sugar into evaporated milk. Usually, 1.5 cups of granulated sugar are good enough to work with one can (12 oz) of evaporated milk.

To convert evaporated milk to condensed milk, add one 12 oz can of evaporated milk to a saucepan and turn the heat to medium. To this, add 1.5 cups of granulated sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely. Once the sugar dissolves, evaporated milk has turned to condensed milk.

What Is Evaporated Milk Used For?

Evaporated milk is a versatile product and finds use in several recipes. It’s very good for baking, thickening and flavoring coffee, adding body to smoothies, and bringing creamy goodness to sauces, chowders, and soups.


In a comparison of evaporated milk vs condensed milk, the results are sugary. It is the presence of added sugar in condensed milk that makes it different from evaporated milk. This high amount of sugar is responsible for the taste of condensed milk, but also affects other properties like the shelf life and color of the milk. 

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