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Condensed Milk vs. Evaporated Milk — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 22, 2023
Condensed Milk is sweetened and thick, while Evaporated Milk is unsweetened and has 60% of its water removed.
Condensed Milk vs. Evaporated Milk — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk


Key Differences

Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk are both dairy products derived from milk, but they differ significantly in processing and taste. Condensed Milk is milk that has had water removed and sugar added, giving it a sweet and dense consistency. On the contrary, Evaporated Milk has about 60% of its water content removed without any added sugar, resulting in a creamier, unsweetened texture.
In terms of usage, Condensed Milk often finds its way into desserts and sweets due to its sugary content. Its thick and sweet nature makes it an ideal ingredient for recipes like fudge, caramel, and certain pies. On the other hand, Evaporated Milk is more versatile. Its neutral flavor means it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, from creamy soups to custards.
From a nutritional perspective, Condensed Milk is notably higher in calories and sugar compared to Evaporated Milk. This is due to the significant amount of sugar that is added during its production process. Meanwhile, Evaporated Milk retains more of the natural nutrients found in milk, given that it's essentially just milk with reduced water content.
One might be tempted to think Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk are interchangeable due to their similar appearance in canned form. However, using one in place of the other in a recipe can dramatically change the outcome because of the distinct taste and sugar content. It's essential to know their differences to achieve the desired result in cooking and baking.
If one were to consider the history, both Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk were developed as methods to prolong the shelf life of milk. They were particularly popular before refrigeration became widespread, allowing people to store milk for extended periods without it spoiling.

Comparison Chart



Water Content

Reduced, with added sugar.
About 60% removed.

Usage in Recipes

Typically in desserts and sweets.
Versatile; sweet and savory dishes.

Nutritional Content

Higher in calories and sugar.
Retains more natural milk nutrients.


Thick and sweet.
Creamier, unsweetened.

Compare with Definitions

Condensed Milk

A key ingredient in many dessert recipes.
She used condensed milk to make the caramel sauce.

Evaporated Milk

Developed to extend milk's shelf life before refrigeration.
Before refrigerators, people relied on evaporated milk for storage.

Condensed Milk

Milk with water removed and sugar added.
Condensed milk adds a sweet touch to coffee.

Evaporated Milk

A concentrated form of milk without added sugars.
The recipe calls for one can of evaporated milk.

Condensed Milk

Popular in sweets, like fudge and candies.
The fudge was made with condensed milk, making it very rich.

Evaporated Milk

Milk with about 60% of its water content removed.
Evaporated milk made the soup creamier.

Condensed Milk

Dense milk with a sweet and sticky consistency.
The pie requires a can of condensed milk.

Evaporated Milk

Unsweetened and has a slightly caramelized flavor.
She added a touch of evaporated milk to her tea.

Condensed Milk

Offers a longer shelf life than regular milk.
She stocks condensed milk for baking emergencies.

Evaporated Milk

Common in both savory and dessert recipes.
The custard's main ingredient was evaporated milk.

Common Curiosities

What's the primary difference between Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk?

Condensed Milk is sweetened and thick, while Evaporated Milk is unsweetened with 60% of its water removed.

Can I use Condensed Milk in place of Evaporated Milk in recipes?

They aren't directly interchangeable due to taste and sugar content; substituting can alter the recipe's outcome.

Which milk is better for savory dishes, Condensed or Evaporated?

Evaporated Milk, being unsweetened, is typically better for savory dishes.

Is the caramelized flavor in Evaporated Milk due to added sugars?

No, the caramelized flavor in Evaporated Milk comes from the heating process, not added sugars.

Why is Condensed Milk sweeter than Evaporated Milk?

Sugar is added to Condensed Milk during processing, making it sweet.

Why were Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk developed?

Both were created to prolong milk's shelf life before widespread refrigeration.

Is there a lactose-free version of Evaporated Milk?

Some brands offer lactose-free versions of Evaporated Milk.

Can I make my own Condensed Milk at home?

Yes, by simmering regular milk with sugar until it reduces to a thick consistency.

Are there any non-dairy alternatives to Condensed or Evaporated Milk?

Yes, some brands offer coconut or almond-based alternatives.

How long can I store opened cans of Condensed and Evaporated Milk?

Once opened, both should be refrigerated and used within a few days.

Can I use Condensed Milk to sweeten my coffee?

Yes, many people enjoy adding Condensed Milk to their coffee for a sweet and creamy flavor.

Can I whip Evaporated Milk like heavy cream?

Yes, when chilled, Evaporated Milk can be whipped, though it may be less stable than whipped cream.

Is Condensed Milk the same as sweetened condensed milk?

Yes, in most contexts, Condensed Milk refers to sweetened condensed milk.

Why does Evaporated Milk have a slightly caramelized taste?

The caramelized taste results from the heating process during its production.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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