Instant Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk Substitute from Powder


Evaporated milk is a shelf-stable canned milk product with about 60% of the water removed. It’s used in all types of recipes, from pies to casseroles. And this instant dairy-free evaporated milk recipe works as a great substitute that you can whip up in minutes! We originally shared this recipe nearly fifteen years ago, but I’ve since made some updates to the formula and added some FAQs and tips!

Instant Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk Recipe - easy vegan and allergy-friendly substitute for recipes! Equals 1 12-ounce can.

Instant Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk Substitute FAQs

To make your life easier, I’ve got answers for some of the most commonly asked questions about this instant dairy-free evaporated milk recipe.

What’s the Benefit of Using Dairy-Free Milk Powder?

Unlike other methods, you can quickly whip up this recipe any time you need it and in any amount. Dairy-free milk powder is shelf-stable, so it lasts for quite a while, and helps to prevent emergency trips to the store. This recipe also comes together in just minutes, and doesn’t require cooking.

Can I Simply Cook Down a Dairy-Free Milk Beverage?

Yes, you can! In fact, I have that recipe here. But, as mentioned above, this instant method with dairy-free milk powder is much quicker. Milk beverage has to be boiled down to “evaporate” more than half of the liquid, which can take quite a while. And some milk beverages don’t bubble down nicely.

Will Coconut Milk Powder Work?

In general, yes. Coconut milk powder doesn’t thicken as much as some other dairy-free milk powders, but it is richer. You might need to adjust the amount of powder used, but you won’t need to add any buttery spread. Since this is a higher fat option, it is a bit more like half and half or light cream than evaporated milk.

Can I Use Dairy-Free Protein Powder?

No, I don’t recommend it. Protein powders are typically protein extracts. They will be denser in protein, and not balanced enough to create a milky consistency.

Are There Any Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk Products I Can Buy?

If you are looking for a coconut option, then there is canned evaporated coconut milk. Two well-loved brands are Nature’s Charm and Nature’s Greatest. But I have a little secret for you. You can just buy lite canned coconut milk. It’s cheaper, easier to find, and is essentially evaporated coconut milk. Lite coconut milk is a slightly bigger can, so you will have a little leftover if your recipe calls for 12 ounces or less.

Instant Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk Recipe - easy vegan and allergy-friendly substitute for recipes! Equals 1 12-ounce can.

Special Diet Notes: Instant Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.

Instant Dairy-Free Evaporated Milk
Prep time
Total time
This simple blend replaces one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk in recipes. The buttery spread isn't 100% required, but it does add a little richness that is more similar to evaporated milk.
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Serves: approximately 12 ounces
  • 1¼ cups boiled hot water
  • Scant 1 cup (15 tablespoons) dairy-free milk powder (like rice milk powder or soy milk powder; see post above for other options)
  • 2 teaspoons dairy-free buttery spread (optional)
  1. Pour the hot water into your blender. Add the dairy-free milk powder and buttery spread, if using. Blend until well combined.
  2. Remove the center piece from the lid to let any steam escape before opening.
  3. Use as directed in recipes. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For More Fabulous Dairy Substitutes, Get Go Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Shirley Theriault on

    I am looking for a substitute for half & half cream (10%). Would it work to cook down cashew beverage? What other suggestion might you have?
    Much appreciated.

  2. if you are mixing soy powder and water your making soy milk right so can you use just soy milk and add water to it to make the evaporta milk

    please reply back to me

    • Hi Sandy, that won’t work. Soymilk is made with a ration of 1 cup powder to 4 cups water. This is a much higher concentration of powder to make it thicker. If you opt to use soymilk, you will need to boil it down (takes a while and it can “curdle”).

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