Evaporated and condensed milk are both shelf-stable, concentrated forms of milk that have been cooked at a high heat to remove about 60 percent of their water content. Although, they have oddly similar names, the two products are not the same.

Condensed milk is made up of approximately 40 to 45 percent sugar, cooked down and mixed with whole milk until it becomes a gooey, sweet substance with a caramelized flavor and a light brown color. It's frequently used to make desserts such as flan and dulce de leche.

Evaporated milk is condensed milk without the added sugar with the water content cooked off until it has a consistency that is similar to cream. Available in whole, low-fat, and fat-free varieties, evaporated milk is used in lieu of regular milk to add body and richness to a recipe.

Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk cannot be used interchangeably in cooking, because one product contains much more sugar than the other. Since sugar in sweetened condensed milk is cooked down and caramelized, merely adding sugar to evaporated milk would be an insufficient substitute.

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