Condensed milk and evaporated milk are two canned milk products that are often used in cooking and baking. While they look similar, there are distinct differences in how they are made, their consistency, sugar content, and how they function in recipes.

Production Methods

Condensed milk starts with fresh milk that has approx. 60% of its water content removed through heating until it’s thick and syrupy. It is sweetened with sugar.

Evaporated milk also removes about 60% of water by heating, but has no added sugar. It has a thicker consistency than regular milk but not as dense as condensed.

Sugar Content

Sweetened condensed milk contains 40-45% sugar, which is added before condensing to preserve the milk and add a sweet flavor. Evaporated milk has no added sugars – just natural milk sugars.

Shelf Stability

The high sugar content in condensed milk enables it to be shelf-stable unrefrigerated until opened. Evaporated milk requires refrigeration like fresh milk since it contains no preservatives.


The extra sugar in condensed milk gives it a noticeably sweet, syrup-like flavor compared to the unsweetened and slightly cooked flavor of evaporated milk.

Uses in Baking and Cooking

Condensed milk adds rich sweetness to desserts like pies, fudge, candies, ice cream, and sauces. Evaporated milk provides creamy texture without making recipes overly sweet.

Nutrition Profile

Thanks to the added sugar, condensed milk is much higher in calories and carbs than evaporated milk. Evaporated milk retains more vitamins from fresh milk since it’s unsweetened.

Making Substitutions

For most recipes, you cannot directly substitute condensed and evaporated milk. Adjustments are needed in sugar and/or water to balance the differences.

Cost Comparison

Both canned milks are relatively affordable at around $2-3 per can. Condensed milk may cost slightly more than evaporated milk on average.

In summary, while the two canned milk products look similar, condensed milk is sweetened and evaporated is not. Condensed milk provides richer sweetness in desserts, while evaporated works better in savory dishes.

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julia jane

Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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