What Can I Use Instead of Evaporated Milk to Bake Chicken?

by Alexis Jenkins

A whole baked chicken sits on a serving plate atop a table.

robynmac/iStock/Getty Images

Evaporated milk is milk that has been concentrated by 60 percent, ranging in amounts of butterfat from 8 percent in whole evaporated milk to .5 percent in evaporated skim milk. Evaporated milk is often used to boost texture and flavor when it is added to baked chicken recipes. Whether you have no evaporated milk on hand or are looking for a low-fat or dairy-free substitute, there are plenty of ideas for replacing evaporated milk.

Substitute Suggestions

You can substitute other household ingredients for evaporated milk, such as light whipping cream, to yield a creamy, flavorful dish. You can also combine whole milk with half-and-half to yield an evaporated milk replacement; for example, for 1 cup of evaporated milk, use ¾ cups whole milk and ¼ cup half-and-half. If you don’t have a replacement, make your own evaporated milk by simmering 2 ¼ cups of regular milk in a sauce pan until it becomes 1 cup, making sure that the milk never gets to the boiling point. To get the same texture as evaporated milk, take powdered milk and prepare it as directed, but only use 40 percent of the liquid.

Reduced-Fat Suggestions

If you are baking, roasting or broiling chicken that calls for evaporated milk, you can substitute the evaporated milk in the same amounts with fat-free options like chicken broth, chicken stock or condensed soup with water. You can also use the equivalent of low-fat or skim milk or evaporated skim milk, but keep in mind that each of these ingredients will likely make your final product noticeably less rich and not as flavorful.

Cream-Based Ingredients

Whether you are baking chicken breasts, roasting a fryer chicken or making a chicken casserole, you can use a number of different cream-based liquids to replace evaporated milk. Sauce suggestions include: 1 can of cream of celery with milk, cream of chicken with buttermilk, cream of mushroom with whipping cream, cream of potato with sour cream or cream of broccoli with broth. You can also substitute coconut milk in the same amount, but keep in mind this will add coconut flavor to your dish, so this option may not always be suitable.

Fried and Baked Chicken

In the absence of evaporated milk, you can make oven-fried or baked chicken by replacing the required evaporated milk with buttermilk during the breading process. Ochef, a cooking information website, explains that buttermilk is the most ideal replacement for frying chicken because it has the right consistency for allowing the breading to adhere to the meat, and boosts the flavor of the food.

Dairy-Free Alternative

If you are looking for ways to make your dish safe for individuals with a dairy allergy, you can still use evaporated milk by making your own replacement, according to the website Food.com. Shake a 12-ounce can of coconut milk and combine it with 12 ounces of rice milk in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Allow the mixture to simmer, being careful not to scald it. Stir occasionally until the liquid amount has reduced by half. Let the evaporated milk cool before storing in the refrigerator. As the milk may separate after it is cooled, quickly whisk the mixture before you cook with it.


While evaporated milk is often used as a replacement for heavy creams because it only contains 7.9 percent fat, you may be looking for ways to reduce the total fat in your recipe. As you cook, keep in mind that evaporated milk provides some of the texture, thickness and flavor of your food, and by replacing it, you may be compromising some of your food‘s characteristics, possibly yielding a runny, bland or curdled product.

Photo Credits

  • robynmac/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Alexis Jenkins writes to motivate others in areas of health including nutrition, fitness training and improving lifestyle choices. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in health science from Brigham Young University-Idaho.