Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk for Your Coffee

As a coffee lover, you may have wondered about the differences between using condensed milk and evaporated milk as a creamer in your coffee. While both types of milk can add a unique sweetness and richness to your morning cup, they are actually two quite distinct dairy products. In this post, we’ll explore using condensed milk and evaporated milk in coffee, so you can make an informed decision about the perfect addition to your daily coffee drink.

What is Evaporated Milk?

Evaporated milk is basically normal cow’s milk that has 60% less water in it because of an evaporation process. It is a wonderful coffee creamer and a great substitute for heavy cream in your coffee. The reason for this is that the fat content of evaporated milk is much lower than that of cream. This makes it a popular ingredient in coffee for those who love a creamy cup of coffee but still would like to limit their calorie intake.

How is Evaporated Milk Made?

To make evaporated milk, fresh milk is heated in a vacuum-sealed chamber until about 60% of its water content has evaporated. The resulting liquid is thicker and creamier than regular milk and has a slightly caramelized color.

Evaporated milk has a longer shelf life than regular milk and can be stored in a cool, dry place until it is opened. Once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a few days.

Evaporated Milk Uses

Evaporated milk is commonly used as a substitute for regular milk or cream in recipes that require a richer, creamier consistency. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes, such as desserts, soups, pasta, and even sauces. For most coffee lovers the best use is of course in a delicious cup of coffee.

What is Condensed Milk?

Like evaporated milk, condensed milk is a type of concentrated milk that has had most of its water content removed and is sweetened with sugar. This is why it can be used, not only be used as a sweet treat but also as a sugar substitute in your coffee if you have a sweet tooth. Many people take it along when they go on a camping trip because it doesn’t go bad as easily as regular milk and they have the added benefit of not having to take sugar along too.

It has a long shelf life and can be stored in a cool, dry place until it is opened. Once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a few days.

How is Condensed Milk Made?

Similar to evaporated milk, condensed milk is made by heating fresh milk until about 60% of its water content has evaporated. Then, sugar is added to the mixture and it is heated again until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. The resulting liquid has a much thicker consistency and is much sweeter than regular milk, with a creamy, caramel-like flavor.

Condensed Milk Uses

Condensed milk is commonly used as a topping for desserts such as key lime pie, as an ingredient in baked goods, or as a base for making ice cream. It can also be used as a sweetener in coffee.

Differences Between Condensed and Evaporated Milk


While the key ingredient in both of these is milk, condensed milk has added sugar. Because of this many people refer to evaporated milk as unsweetened condensed milk.


Because of the slight differences in how they are made and the high sugar content of condensed milk they have significant differences in taste. Condensed milk is much sweeter and thicker. In fact, it is actually quite sticky.

Evaporated milk, on the other hand, not only has a creamy texture but also a very rich texture.

Shelf Life

As I mentioned earlier, evaporated as well as condensed milk is a shelf-stable product. They have a much longer shelf life than regular milk. As long as they are left in their unopened cans, they can live for quite a long time in your pantry. It is just a good idea to keep an eye on the expiration date for your own safety.

However, as they are milk products, they can still go bad and should be stored in the refrigerator after you have opened them.

“Recipes” for Using These in Your Coffee

Normal Hot Coffee

There is no perfect recipe for using either of these in your coffee. If you are using either of these in place of regular milk in I’d start with a little bit. You can always add more later.

For evaporated milk, I suggest maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons. You can buy the evaporated milk that I used om Amazon.

If you want to try condensed milk in your coffee, because of the added sugar, only 1 tablespoon. Here is a link for the condensed milk that I used. (The packaging on Amazon is different from the ones that I used, but it’s the same brand.)

From there on you can adjust it to personal preference.

Cold Brew

You can use either of these in cold brew as well. In fact, I tried both and wrote an article about how to sweeten cold brew.

Evaporated milk in a can in front of cold brew in a double walled glass.

You can use evaporated milk to dilute your cold brew. I found that a 1:1 ratio is quite tasty. You can then also add some flavoring such as caramel essence, which is my favorite.

Condensed milk also goes well with cold brew, however, because it is so thick I wouldn’t recommend using it to dilute the coffee. I first dilute it with a 2:1 water-to-coffee or milk-to-coffee ratio. I like milk best.

Then I add about a tablespoon of condensed milk to the drink (about 250ml).

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Coffee was brought to Vietnam in 1857 by a French Catholic priest. However, during that time, fresh milk was not widely available. This is why they started to use sweetened condensed milk with their coffee.

You can make your Vietnamese coffee using a phin filter and add condensed milk to taste. You can of course also use a French press or any kind of coffee that you normally drink and add condensed milk if you do not have a phin filter.

Phin filter for Vietnamese coffee.

Final Thoughts: Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk for Coffee

Both of these are great alternative creamers for coffee. In taste, there is a major difference between them, but both are a concentrated form of milk, and condensed milk has some additional sugar added too.

Evaporated milk will give you an extra creamy cup of coffee and is a good substitute for cream in your coffee.

Condensed milk, on the other hand, will also give you that creamy experience but will some sweetness too if you are more into sweet drinks.

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