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Pumpkin pie is usually made with evaporated milk. But, if you have none or no longer use it, you might be wondering if there are ways to substitute for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie. Thankfully, there are many ways to do so and, in today’s post, you can learn how with simple ingredients you likely have in your kitchen.
Pumpkin pie is a dessert pie made with ingredients like pumpkin puree, egg, butter, salt, ground spices, sugar, milk, and pie crust. While many other types of milk can be used to make pumpkin pie, it is traditionally made with evaporated milk.
However, not many people keep evaporated milk on hand. Therefore, if you’re making a pumpkin pie you may benefit from knowing other good ingredients that can take the place of evaporated milk.
What does evaporated milk do in pumpkin pie?
Evaporated milk is a type of milk that is made from cow’s milk that has 60% of its water content reduced over heat. The results are thicker less watery milk that can be used in cooking.
Evaporated milk is used in a pumpkin pie for quite a few reasons. It is used mainly because it can help to thicken pumpkin pie without adding extra sweetness. It is also used because it makes a creamy, smooth, and rich pumpkin pie that isn’t too rich to the point of being too mushy.
What to substitute for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie
The best substitutes for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie are:
- Heavy cream plus milk
- Half and half
- Almond milk
- Oat milk
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Whole milk
- Sweetened condensed milk
These replacements will work because the evaporated milk is used to add thickness, richness, and creaminess to a pumpkin pie. Therefore, great substitutes like those mentioned above will work effectively in place of evaporated milk as they can provide some of, or all of those same qualities.
Evaporated milk substitutes in pumpkin pie
Heavy cream + milk
If you have no evaporated milk, that does not mean that you cannot enjoy a very delicious pumpkin pie. This is so because you’re able to use a combination of heavy cream and regular milk to make a smooth, creamy and luxurious pumpkin pie recipe.
To make it, you will need 4 parts heavy cream and 1 part milk. Using the heavy cream on its own isn’t ideal as it will be too thick, too rich, and make for a gloppy pumpkin pie. Check out this recipe for a pumpkin pie with heavy cream and milk here.
Half and half
Another great way to replace evaporated milk in pumpkin pie is with half and half. Half and half works because it’s made of equal parts milk and equal parts cream. Therefore, it makes for a creamy, smooth, and silky pumpkin pie that is not too rich.
Substitution: For a pie of the average size (9 – 10 inches) about 1 ¼ cup of half and half is ideal.
Not everyone likes to use evaporated milk in their pumpkin pie recipe. If you’re one of those, a simple substitute for evaporated milk in this kind of pie is whole milk. While whole milk has a thinner consistency compared to evaporated milk, it does make for a velvety pie and you most likely have it in your kitchen.
To turn whole milk into evaporated milk, place about 3 cups whole milk into a saucepan and simmer on medium heat for 40 minutes. The whole milk will reduce by half. Once this happens remove from the heat and strain. Use in any recipe that calls for evaporated milk including pumpkin pie at a 1:1 ratio.
It is a less popular ingredient for this type of recipe, but, buttermilk makes a pretty good alternative for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie too. Buttermilk will add a bit of tanginess to the pie and, it will also help to balance out the sweetness of the pie. To see how to make pumpkin pie with buttermilk, check out this recipe from Pillsbury here.
Sweetened condensed milk
Another option that can be used if you do not have evaporated milk on hand is sweetened condensed milk. It makes for an easy, flavorful, and silky pumpkin pie.
Use sweetened condensed milk like you would use evaporated milk in a pumpkin pie recipe, but, simply omit any extra sugar or sweeteners as sweetened condensed milk is sweet enough on its own.
Almond milk is another ingredient that can be used to make pumpkin pie. It’s great for making dairy free pumpkin pie recipes. So, if you’ve recently gone vegan, or dairy free, then this is a great way to still enjoy a delicious pumpkin pie with a plant-based milk option.
For best results simmer the almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes stirring occasionally until the almond milk is reduced in half.
Cool, then strain to remove any excess film that may have formed then use in place of evaporated milk on a 1:1 ratio.
Substitution: 1 part evaporated milk = 1 part homemade evaporated almond milk
Another vegan or dairy-free option you can use as an alternative to evaporated milk is oat milk. Oat milk is thick and rich and can be easily swapped for evaporated milk or it can be made into a vegan substitute for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie by way of reduction.
Oat milk is made from oats and water and is rich plant-based milk that is creamy, smooth, and slightly sweet with a full-bodied flavor. It is unlike evaporated milk but can be used to make a more nutritious pumpkin pie without any dairy, soy, or gluten.
To make your very own evaporated oat milk, pour some oat milk into a saucepan and simmer on medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes or until it reduces by half. Make sure to stir occasionally. Strain to remove any film and use this homemade evaporated oat milk to make your own dairy free pumpkin pie.
Substitution: 1 part evaporated milk = 1 part homemade oat milk
Full-fat coconut milk
Last but not least, full fat coconut milk also makes an ideal stand-in for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie. Not only is full fat coconut milk a good choice if you’re looking for a dairy free milk option, but it also works because it is richer and thicker than other non-dairy kinds of milk like almond milk. Therefore, its consistency is closer to that of evaporated milk and can be used at a 1:1 substitute ratio.
This means it blends well into baked goods like pumpkin pie and is a good vegan substitute for evaporated milk in pumpkin pie.
Related: How to substitute milk in cakes
FAQs about using evaporated milk in pumpkin pie
Is evaporated milk the same as condensed milk?
Evaporated milk and condensed milk are not the same. Evaporated milk is made from cow’s milk that is gently heated to remove 50 – 60% of the water it naturally contains. Evaporated milk contains no extra sugars or sweeteners. On the other hand, sweetened condensed milk, also called condensed milk is made by removing about 60% of its water, but also it is sweetened before it is canned.
What kind of milk is used in pumpkin pie?
Evaporated milk is traditionally used to make pumpkin pie. However, there are many recipe variations that use milk options like whole milk, 2% milk, full-fat coconut milk, oat milk, almond milk, and more.