Evaporated Milk

My nephew has asked me to make mac and cheese for him. Looking at recipes (I've seen the genius recipe on the site), but was wondering the difference between milk (or the like) vs. evaporated milk. I've never used it before. This dish will be make-ahead, since I need to travel with it if that makes a difference. Any insight into the culinary use of evaporated milk would be appreciated. Thank you.



sexyLAMBCHOPx September 5, 2013
cookbookchick September 5, 2013
Thanks, SLC!!
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 5, 2013
I disagree June because I took a chance and actually made, tasted and served the recipe to mac and cheese lovers- you did not. You should try it, as I believe even old dogs can learn new culinary tricks. FWIW- Added two cans evaporated milk, with 2 eggs, dry 1 teaspoon dry mustard, salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper - whisked while 1lb of Pipa Regate, boiled away until al dente. Drained pasta and added 1 stick of butter, the pasta went back into the pan and then added the evaporated milk-egg mixture. Proceeded to mix and on low heat added 2 1/2 cups Cabot extra sharp white shredded cheddar and approx. 3/4 cup of gruyere grated cheese. Placed the entire mixture into a deep, large casserole dish and baked at 350 for 10 minutes, stirred, then back again in the oven for approx. 25 mins. Mixed a cup of panko with 1/4 cup of parm and 1/2 stick of melted and broiled for 5 mins. The results? Incredible Creaminess, "velvety", "true fabulousness" and damn good. I'm well experienced with making mac and cheese a roux/béchamel, etc...blah, blah, blah... The question I posed was bout evaporated milk and how it works in this dish (which you failed to answer) I wasn't looking for a "shortcut", rather a new and widely used approach to make this variation of an American classic. Quick, inexpensive serves a crowd.

@CBC and others that may be interested. Will post a basic link to the evaporated milk/ egg variation and you can try for yourself with your own tweaks, as I did.
ChefJune September 4, 2013
I think evaporated milk is a way some folks take to avoid making the bechamel that will make your mac and cheese its creamiest. There really is no shortcut if you want true fabulousness. Having made bechamels since I was a little kid who didn't know what they were called, I don't think twice about it. If I'm going to make a dish, I want it to be all it can be -- that is, the best. For my topping, I prefer making breadcrumbs from day old baguette or challah and mixing them with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 50/50. I think that makes the best topping. Pecorino Romano is good, too..
harriet September 3, 2013
I'm going to start the sauce as a bechamel; cook the mac in the diluted evaporated milk; when the mac is cooked I'll add a variety of shredded cheeses and keep it warm in a crock pot.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 3, 2013
I don't have time now to share but will later. I
It's a creamy mac and cheese and I think its very tasty. Usually my dish is a bit al dente with a more pungent cheese profile. Simple and delicious!
amysarah September 3, 2013
Interesting. I tend to buy evaporated milk only to make pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving (yes, from the recipe on the canned pumpkin puree. If it ain't broke....) But I do recall my grandmother having it around as a staple - I think it was more common before refrigeration was a given. I usually do a bechamel for mac & cheese, but may give this a go...I definitely would not pooh pooh its intrinsic creamy magic.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 3, 2013
Update: Just finished baking off my macaroni and cheese using evaporated milk. Definitely is creamier, which is a good thing because that's what I was looking for. Used 3 parts white sharp chedde and 1 part gryere. When I get to my final destination, I will reheat in the oven and finish off with my topping - panko, butter and parm cheese broiled until brown. Thanks for the insight all, I really appreciate it.
cookbookchick September 3, 2013
Thanks for the update, sexyLAMBCHOPx! I'll have to try it next time I'm in a mac n' cheese mood! Would you recommend the recipe you used and if so, can you share a link to it?
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 2, 2013
Thanks so much CBC! I may try it, I agree with all that cheese it will be gobbled up.
cookbookchick September 2, 2013
sexylambchops, you are an experienced cook, thus I have a feeling that whichever way you go, it will turn out fine. I have not tried evaporated milk in mac and cheese, but I have a feeling it will not make much of a difference. The cheese flavor will dominate. But I have used it, undiluted, in a simple egg custard in place of fresh milk and quite like the way it tastes. Give it a try and let us know what you think! In any case, I'm sure it won't be a bad thing!

Voted the Best Reply!

cookbookchick September 2, 2013
(The egg custard made with evaporated milk tastes sort of velvety.)
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 5, 2013
This is the recipe I used and adapted. http://www.marthastewart.com/348566/john-legends-macaroni-and-cheese
harriet September 2, 2013
I use evaporated milk all the time to make mac & cheese. Are you cooking for kids or adults? Kids don't care one way or the other; if you are cooking exclusively for adults with a more refined palate, then you might want to use whole milk and/or cream.

I'll be making six quarts of the stuff tomorrow evening and will use a variety of shredded cheeses and will be simmering the mac in the diluted evaporated milk to cook it. I've found that by doing the mac in this manner (like not cooking lasagna noodles ahead of time, just making a soupier sauce) the mac keeps it shape better, when the mac is combined with the cheese sauce, and then reheated in the crockpot.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 2, 2013
Cooking for 8 adults, 2 toddlers, a 4 year old and two six year olds. Looking for cheesy, creamy goodness that I can make ahead and not re-create the wheel. I think I will try out the evaporated milk this time. Thank you very much!
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 2, 2013
If I use evaporated milk instead of milk will the mac and cheese be creamier or set better while baking? Is there an advantage of using the evaporated milk over milk/cream besides EM's extended shelf-life? Does it improve the taste at all? Should I just find a recipe without it? I'll be using white sharp cheddar & gruyere cheese with some parmesan reg.
pierino September 2, 2013
I make mac and cheese all the time. The starting point is always a bechamel sauce (made with scalded whole milk). Once the sauce is smooth and creamy add your first two cheeses (it's now sauce mornay). Parmigiano is not a good melting cheese so think about grating it over the top when it's still sizzling hot.
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 2, 2013
I was going to mix pankp, butter and a few tablespoons of parm on the top and broil.
cookbookchick September 2, 2013
Sweetened condensed milk is not an alternative to evaporated milk. Each has its own uses, but they are not interchangeable.
harriet September 2, 2013
I use evaporated milk all the time. The regular size cans are 12 ounces. Just add one can of water to the milk, and you have 3 cups of whole milk. I used it for cooking/baking as it is easy to keep on hand and I don't have to worry about not using it up. I also freeze any left over that has not been mixed with water.
irinaleibo September 2, 2013
sweet condensed milk is fantastic in morning coffee! LOL
pierino September 2, 2013
Evaporated milk is milk which has had its water content reduced by half. The flavor is different although not in a particularly good way. Condensed milk is another alternative sometimes it's sweetened with sugar as a preservative.
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