Use these shelf-stable milk products when you're short on regular milk.

The pantry is stocked with canned goods galore and non-perishable dinner ingredients, but as you're making fewer trips to the grocery store due to the coronavirus pandemic, your supply of milk may be running low. Don't worry—here are four shelf-stable types of dairy and non-dairy products that are a seamless substitute for milk.

Jug of Milk
Credit: Sidney Bensimon

Nonfat Dry Milk Powder

Keep powdered milk on hand in case you run out of regular cow's milk—it's shelf-stable for up to 18 months. Milk powder is made by evaporating milk to the point where it becomes completely dry. Just like regular milk, you can find whole, two percent, one percent, nonfat, buttermilk, and even goat dry milk powder on the market; however, nonfat dry milk powder is the most commonly available. Milk powder can also be used as a standalone ingredient in some recipes, such as this pillowy Japanese Milk Bread (Shokupan) or blended into a Peach-Strawberry Shake.

Evaporated Milk

This unsweetened milk product is made from regular dairy milk (whole, two percent, or fat-free), which is slowly simmered over low heat in order to remove approximately 60 percent of the water content. Evaporated milk is then homogenized, which integrates all of the fat molecules, packaged, and sterilized, making it shelf-stable. Evaporated milk has a shelf life of 12-15 months, but should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and used within five days once opened.

To cook with evaporated milk, use it anytime you need a thick and creamy milk product. An entire can of evaporated milk is used in our Slow Cooker Queso and makes super spreadable Chocolate Blender Frosting. We also love baking with it in some of our all-star pumpkin pie recipes—this Perfect Pumpkin Pie and our latest and greatest Five-Spice Pumpkin Pie with Phyllo Crust are two delicious options.

Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is an even thicker, richer, and (you guessed it!) sweeter product than evaporated milk. Like evaporated milk, condensed milk also has approximately 60 percent of the water content removed in order to make it shelf-stable. Unlike it's milk-mate, however, condensed milk contains added sugar, which makes it a better fit for sweet recipes.

When it comes to baking with sweetened condensed milk, you're probably most familiar with it from making five-layer magic bars (known as Hello Dollies in the South), but it has a myriad of other culinary applications, too. It helps to thicken No-Churn Raspberry Frozen Yogurt (it's the perfect work-from-home baking project) and is used in the filling of these Lime Sandwich Cookies. Need a boost? Use sweetened condensed milk to make Vietnamese Iced Coffee, a creamy, sweet caffeinated beverage.

Dairy-Free Milk

From almond to oat, many non-dairy milks are shelf-stable and can last for months unopened. In addition to adding non-dairy milk to a cup of coffee, you can bake with alternative milks, often using them as a one-for-one replacement for dairy milk. Try using unsweetened oat or cashew milk for our Vegan Baked Banana Donuts, which are sure to bring sweetness to your morning. If you're running low on regular cow's milk, substitute creamy almond milk for dairy in this Sweet Rice Porridge (or any hot morning cereal).


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