Cream, whole milk mixed with half-and-half and buttermilk are all possible substitutes for evaporated milk. Whole milk can also be reduced to create homemade evaporated milk.
Cooking down regular milk to allow some of the water content to evaporate produces a heavy-tasting milk with a toasted caramel flavor profile. Commercial varieties of evaporated milk have about a 60 percent reduction in water. Recipes call for evaporated milk to add richness and creaminess. Making 1 cup of evaporated milk at home involves simmering down 2 ¼ cups of regular milk to 1 cup of liquid. Alternatively, a mixture of ¾ cup of whole milk and ¼ cup of half-and-half serves as a substitute.