You’ve seen them sharing space on grocery store shelves, both flaunting the name ‘milk’ on their labels, but neither tasting quite right in your Cheerios. Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are both technically milk, with a few modifications.
Both are the result of removing about 60% of the water content from whole milk — think milk concentrate. With evaporated milk, you can reconstitute it by adding an equal amount of water and use it as you would regular milk. You’ll likely notice a different taste and darker color if you try this, as evaporated milk is heated slightly to extend shelf life and prevent bacteria growth. Survivalists everywhere will appreciate the fact that evaporated milk doesn’t require refrigeration until it’s opened.
In addition to having 60% of its water content removed, sweetened condensed milk has added sugar, giving it a darker color, sweeter flavor and thicker consistency. It can’t be reconstituted and used like regular milk, but is usually reserved for adding richness or creaminess to desserts. Like evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk must only be refrigerated once opened.
And there you have it, the difference between evaporated and sweetened condensed milk.