What Can I Substitute for Evaporated Milk in Pumpkin Pie?

No evaporated milk on hand? No problem.

a close-up, low angle view of a single slice of perfect pumpkin pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Photo: Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

No one can argue that the beloved pumpkin dessert is an absolute must at any fall gathering or Thanksgiving meal. Here's what to do if your last-minute decision to make a pumpkin pie recipe is perceivably ruined because you're short on evaporated milk.

While many recipes call for it, you can absolutely make an outstanding pumpkin pie without evaporated milk. If your recipe calls for one can of evaporated milk (as most do), you can substitute 1 ½ cups of cream or half and half, or a combination of the two.

You can also use milk (any kind from whole to skim). However, when doing so, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch along with the sugar and spices in your recipe to help the pie set up.

If you need a dairy-free or lactose-free option, you could use one of the lactose-free milk options, vanilla almond milk, or oat milk in place of the evaporated milk. But again, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch. You may also want to cut back a little on the sugar in the recipe because vanilla flavored alternative milks and some of the lactose-free milks are sweeter than evaporated milk.

For more information on substitutions, see our guide to Common Ingredient Substitutions.

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