“Drink your milk!” That’s a command that most children hear often as they’re growing up. Why? Milk contains calcium and other nutrients your body needs to grow healthy and build strong bones.

Do you drink milk each day for lunch? Many school cafeterias serve several types of milk, including chocolate milk and maybe even strawberry milk. Many kids also have milk for breakfast if they eat cereal.

Today’s Wonder is about a special type of milk called evaporated milk. Have you ever had evaporated milk? Chances are you probably have. Even though few people drink evaporated milk, it’s used often in many different types of recipes.

The future scientists among you may be wondering how there can even be such a thing as evaporated milk. After all, evaporation is the process of a liquid turning into a gas. Is evaporated milk just a gas?

Not at all! Evaporated milk — sometimes called dehydrated milk — is just regular fresh milk that has about 60% of the water removed from it. After the water is removed, the liquid that remains is cooled, sterilized at high heat (around 240° F) and then canned. Vitamin D is also usually added to boost the nutritional value of evaporated milk.

The heating process gives evaporated milk a darker color and a slightly sweeter, caramel-like taste. Evaporated milk also has a higher concentration of nutrients and energy. This means that one cup of evaporated milk will have more nutrients and provide more energy than one cup of fresh milk.

Evaporated milk is sold in cans and does not need to be refrigerated because of the sterilization and canning process. This made evaporated milk very popular long ago before refrigeration became widely available.

Evaporated milk was also popular because it could be shipped long distances to areas that could not safely produce or store milk. Evaporated milk has a shelf life of over a year, if it does not contain added fat and sugar. Evaporated milk usually comes in whole, low-fat and fat-free varieties.

Today, evaporated milk is used most often as an ingredient in various recipes. It is particularly useful for baking desserts, since its unique flavor adds a rich flavor to many desserts. Some people also use evaporated milk as a substitute for cream in coffee drinks.

If you look for evaporated milk in your local grocery store, you’ll usually find a similar product nearby: sweetened condensed milk. Are these two forms of milk the same? Can they be used interchangeably in recipes?

Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are similar, yet different. Sweetened condensed milk starts out as regular whole milk. It is mixed with about 40-45% sugar and then heated until about 60% of the water evaporates. The end result is an extra-sweet liquid that’s a popular ingredient in dessert recipes.

Cooks know that you can’t use evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk interchangeably in recipes. Because of the difference in sugar content between the two, mixing them up in a recipe will result in a dish that’s either too bland or way too sweet.


74 Join the Discussion

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  1. Today’s story was really good and it provided some good tips about how to use evaporated milk when cooking. We think evaporated milk would taste good in desserts and certain drinks like you said! We’ll have to go home and try some of the recipes with our families.

    • Hello, Mrs. Newland’s Class! We’re glad you guys learned some FUN new facts about evaporated milk by exploring today’s Wonder of the Day® together! Please do let us know if you try some of the recipes…we want to know what you think! :-)

    • Thanks for taking a guess at what you think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about, Rayden! We think you might be pretty close! We’ll all have to check back tomorrow to see for sure, though! :-)

  2. I love to bake with my mom. When I grow up, I want to be a baker. So, when we use Evaporated Milk, I love to take a little bit on my finger and lick it off because it is so delicious. I wonder why it tastes so yummy to me. Although, I still like it.

    • Hi, Cassidy! We think it’s AWESOME that you enjoy baking with your mom! Baking up treats in the kitchen is a great way to spend time together and make great memories, too! :-)

  3. Why is it different? I thought it just was milk, until I read this. How do you guys make these? These are so interesting.

    • We’re glad you think Wonderopolis is interesting, Jocelyn! We appreciate you letting us know that! Each Wonder of the Day® starts out as an idea or suggestion from a Wonder Friend just like you! Sometimes we get to hear ideas from friends who click on the “nominate” link at the top of every page in Wonderopolis (that’s an easy way to tell us what you are WONDERing about). Sometimes, our Wonder Friends just leave us comments and share their ideas for future Wonders of the Day! :-)

    • We bet you can make LOTS of great after-school snacks using evaporated milk as an ingredient, Barbara! That’s a WONDERful idea for sure! :-)

  4. Evaporated milk looks like spoiled milk, but it’s good for cooking, deserts and coffee. Evaporated milk looks yellow. Thanks, wonderopolis, for the great wonder of the day.

    • Well, thank YOU for the great comment, Josh! We’re proud of you for all the super things you learned about evaporated milk! Way to go! :-)

    • That’s such a GREAT question, Malcom! Evaporated milk manufacturers have special high-tech equipment and monitoring devices that help them test the milk before, during, and after the evaporation process! They make sure that the percentage of water that’s evaporated stays consistent from batch to batch so that consumers who buy the finished, canned milk product receive the same quality each and every time! :-)

    • It’s great to hear from you, Autumn! We’re so glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today and learned some interesting facts about evaporated milk! :-)

  5. I didn’t know you could make evaporated milk by heating up milk. I think I will like the pralines she made in the video. I could try to make some with my mom.

    • That sounds like a yummy plan, Brittany! Be sure to comment back and let us know how your pralines turned out, OK? We might try to make some today, too! You’ve inspired us to try our best! :-)

  6. I want to know how long you cook the mixture for the pralines. I liked that the recipe was given for us to make the pralines.

    • Hello, Carly! The video says to cook the mixture for 11 minutes (or until a candy thermometer placed in the mixture measures 228˚ F.). Make sure you get a grown-up to help you make the pralines if you are going to try them…we wouldn’t want you to get hurt, plus cooking up sweet treats TOGETHER makes memories that will last a lifetime! :-)

  7. This is what you said:
    first white sugar
    then brown sugar
    last evaporated milk

    This will make pralines and they look WONDERful!

    • Pralines are a very WONDERful candy treat, Skyler! We know some Wonder Friends who use dark brown sugar in the recipe instead of light brown sugar to give the finished pralines a richer taste! Yay, PRALINES! :-)

  8. I like how the video showed us how the pralines could be made. We found out that Eagle Brand milk is different from evaporated milk.

    • Hi, Lucas! Eagle Brand Milk is sweetened condensed milk, and BOY! Is it ever sweet! It is also an ingredient that is used in many delicious dessert recipes! :-)

  9. I love how the woman put all of the recipe in the pot. Also, it was good when the cookies were done. I have one more question, why didn’t she eat it? When she finished the recipe, it made me hungry. Also, what is brown sugar?

    • We think the lady in the video had tried so many pralines on the day she was making the video, that she was probably full by the time she was done with the final product, Mason! GREAT question!

      Brown sugar is very similar to the white sugar you are probably used to seeing and using, except it has molasses in it to give it a darker color and a richer flavor! :-)

    • We think pralines are the sweet star of today’s Wonder of the Day®, Mrs. Messmer’s class, don’t you? So many Wonder Friends have commented to say they were going to try to make pralines! Please let us know if you guys make some, too! We’d LOVE to hear about your praline adventures! :-)

  10. I’ve been wondering how fabric is made and thread. I also like sewing, knitting and crocheting. I like coming to your website!

  11. Hi. I loved today’s wonder of the day. I love pralines they are awesome. They make the BEST super bowl snacks!!! Thanks for sharing all of that info about pralines. Oh by the way, my daughter is in Mrs. Messmer’s class. Have a good day!!!!

    • Hi there, Emily! Thank you so much for leaving us this comment today! We think pralines would make a GREAT Super Bowl snack! We appreciate you letting us know that your daughter is in Mrs. Messmer’s class. It makes us SUPER happy to know that families are sharing Wonderopolis at home, too! :-)

  12. It is neat to make pralines and they look delicious.
    So to make milk powder basically we need to get rid of the water completely.

    • That’s super smart thinking, Rickii! Yes, powdered milk has had all of the water removed. It has been REALLY, REALLY dehydrated! :-)

  13. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Wow I never knew what evaporated milk was or that it existed until today! Thanks!!! I think tomorrow’s wonder is about the ocean.
    Paige ;)

    • We really appreciate your awesome comments, Paige! Thanks for leaving us another one! We’re glad you learned about evaporated milk by exploring today’s Wonder! :-)

    • What a SUPER, AWESOME, AMAZING, SPECTACULAR thing to say about Wonderopolis, Kayla! You just made our day! Thank you for being such a WONDERful Wonder Friend! :-)

  14. I loved today’s wonder of the day, and it helped my mom learn how to use evaporated milk when cooking. I have tried it before in ice cream, and it may taste good in certain foods…like you said. Sometimes I sneak it from her cupboard… it tastes awesome!!!! My mom found a recipe with evaporated milk and I will try it out this weekend. I think tommorow’s wonder of the day will be about kitchens. I love to bake with my grandma. She used to be a professional baker.

    • What a GREAT comment, Kate! We’re so happy that you explored this Wonder with your mom and that you guys are going to try some evaporated milk recipes…that is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing you personal connections to this Wonder, too! We think it’s cool that your grandma used to be a professional baker! We bet she bakes up some super yummy treats! :-)

  15. Awesome! Evaporated Milk Sounds Yummy And The Recipe Sounds Delicious! Me And My Mom Are Going To Try Out The Recipe This Weekend. Until Then…



    • We think YOU rock for leaving us this comment today, Joaquin! Please let us know how your recipe turns out, OK? It’s awesome that you and your mom will be cooking up some treats in the kitchen this weekend! :-)

  16. Do you know what evaporated means? I forgot what it means, when I remember, I will tell you, then I will post for will I wonder about the next WONDER.

    • Thanks for leaving us an AMAZING comment today, Tomiya! We sure appreciate hearing from great Wonder Friends like you! “Evaporated” milk is just a kind of milk where 60% of the water has been removed, that’s all! :-)

    • We think it’s super cool that you learned about evaporated milk by exploring this Wonder, Paige! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

  17. This seems really cool!! I honestly don’t really know how they would do this, but I know my mom is a great cook and my whole family would love this!!!! Thanks.

    • It’s AWESOME (and super sweet) that you said your mom is a great cook, Abigail! We bet she would be super proud of you for sharing that fact with your friends in Wonderopolis today! Moms have a WONDERful way of making any day better with their cooking, don’t they? :-)

  18. I wondered that if you could drink evaporated milk. I thought that is bad for us. Can you do a new wonder on Friday? Keep making great super duper wonderopolis for everyone.

    • We have a new, fun Wonder of the Day® every single day, Noah! We think people could drink evaporated milk if they didn’t have regular milk, but we don’t think they’d like the taste! Because it has some of the water removed, it tastes different than the cold milk we use in our cereal or to make chocolate milk. It’s really good to use in recipes, though! :-)

    • We’re sorry you didn’t care that much for the video for this Wonder, Claire. There are LOTS of people who work here in Wonderopolis, so we have LOTS of different names! :-)

    • That’s OK, Claire! We like it when our friends WONDER about the Wonder of the Day®! We really prefer to focus on the names of all of the AWESOME Wonder Friends who visit Wonderopolis each day (like YOU!)! It’s because of them (and YOU) that Wonderopolis is so much fun! :-)

    • We really appreciate that you visit Wonderopolis every day and leave us awesome comments, Claire! Thanks for being an AMAZING Wonder Friend! :-)

    • We think you are a WONDERful Wonder Friend, Claire! Thanks for always leaving us AWESOME comments…have a GREAT day! :-)

    • We sure hope you had fun visiting Wonderopolis today, Claire! Thanks for being such an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

    • It really is getting close, Claire! We hope you have the best birthday ever this year…a SUPER WONDERful one! :-)

  19. The recipe on the video looks really good.
    My grandma makes cookies that are similar to this recipe because you have to cook them in a pot. :-)

    • We think cookies that grandmas make are extra WONDERful, Julie! We bet your grandma’s cookies are SUPER YUMMY! Thanks for sharing your comment with us and also for letting us know you stopped by this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  20. Hey this is a wonder that I submitted but no one answered it. I was wondering why do they call hush puppies hush puppies? It dosen’t make sense to me. Could you answer please?

    • It sounds like you’ve been using your AWESOME imagination and have been doing some GREAT WONDERing of your own, Paige! We are so glad you posted a comment about your own Wonder. Thank you!! :)

      We are always receiving SUPER Wonders from great Wonder Friends like you! Once we receive an idea for a Wonder, it takes a good bit of time to turn it into a Wonder of the Day® that we can share with everyone in Wonderopolis! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is evaporated milk?
  • How are evaporated and sweetened condensed milk different?
  • What types of recipes require evaporated milk?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to try out a recipe using evaporated milk? First, you’ll need to look in the kitchen cupboards to see if you already have evaporated milk on hand. If not, you’ll need to ask an adult to help you make a quick trip to the store to get some.

Check out the recipes below before you head out to the store. Choose a recipe and make a list of any ingredients you don’t have on hand, so you can get everything you need with just one trip to the store.

You also might want to ask your friends and family members if they have any favorite recipes that require evaporated milk. You never know when you might discover a recipe that’s been passed down through the family for generations. If not, here are some easy, kid-friendly recipes to consider:


Still Wondering

In ReadWriteThink’s A Recipe for Writing: Fairy Tale Feasts lesson, children research a recipe related to their favorite story, book, or fairy tale.


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