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Evaporated Milk Cookies

Evaporated milk cookies are a soft and delightful treat, with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb and sweet, milky frosting. They are subtly spiced and have a fluffy, cake-like texture. Yum!

Evaporated milk is so versatile! You can create delicious desserts like evaporated milk cake, banana pudding, rice pudding, and vanilla fudge.

top shot of evaporated milk cookie recipe with frosting.

Can you make cookies with evaporated milk?

The answer may surprise you, but yes, you can bake the most fabulous cookies with evaporated milk!

They are wonderfully soft and delicious cookies that just melt in your mouth.

With their tender texture and rich evaporated milk frosting, they will become a new favorite.

If you love cakey cookies and regularly cook with evaporated milk, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll fall in love with these cookies.

We bake them at least once every holiday season, and everyone is always amazed when I tell them the secret to these cookies is evaporated milk.

For more holiday cookies, try our ginger cookies, snickerdoodles, and sugar cookie blossoms!

evaporated milk cookie ingredients.

Please refer to the recipe card below for exact ingredient measurements for these evaporated milk cookies.

  • Evaporated milk: You couldn’t possibly have evaporated milk cookies without evaporated milk, right? Evaporated milk is milk where 60% of the water content has evaporated. As a result, it’s thick and creamy and gives the cookies their unique, soft-baked texture.
  • Sugar: We need light brown sugar and granulated sugar for the cookies. Powdered sugar goes into the frosting.
  • Butter: I always bake with salted butter, but unsalted butter plus a pinch of salt will work just as well. Let the butter soften for 15 minutes on the counter.
  • All-purpose flour: Be sure to use a kitchen scale or the spoon-and-level method when measuring the flour.
  • Baking powder is responsible for the soft, fluffy texture.
  • Egg: 1 large egg binds the dough together.
  • Vanilla extract creates that classic cookie aroma and pairs well with the milky taste of the evaporated milk.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon and nutmeg give the cookies a warm, homey taste.

How to make evaporated milk cookies

Evaporated milk cookies are a breeze to make – no chilling the dough or cutting out shapes. Here’s how to make them:

step 1 combine dry ingredients.

1. Combine dry ingredients

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
step 2 cream butter and sugars.

2. Cream butter and sugars

  • Beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
step 3 add liquids.

3. Add liquids

  • Next, mix in the egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the evaporated milk until just blended.
  • The dough may seem to curdle. Don’t worry; it’s totally normal and will be remedied when you add the flour in the next step.
step 4 incorporate dry ingredients.

4. Incorporate dry ingredients

  • Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the flour into the butter-milk mixture until combined and you no longer see streaks of flour.
step 6 bake cookies.

5. Scoop cookies

  • Scoop out heaping tablespoons full of dough and drop them onto lined cookie sheets.
  • Space them 2 inches apart as the cookies will expand while baking.
step 5 scoop cookies.

6. Bake & cool cookies

  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies are ready when they have puffed up and look set.
  • Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to fully cool.
step 7 frost cookies.

7. Frost cookies.

  • In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the powdered sugar, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. Whip for 5 minutes.
  • Spread the frosting onto the cookies and garnish each with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

Tips for the best Evaporated Milk Cookies

  • Measure the flour with a scale for the most accurate results. If you don’t have one, fluff up the flour in the bag. Then sprinkle it into your measuring cup and level off the excess.
  • Chill the cookie dough: No chill time is necessary. Still, you can chill the dough if you want to make it ahead. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days before baking. I also recommend chilling if your kitchen is very warm and the dough becomes too soft to handle.
  • Keep the cookies the same size for even baking: A small or medium-sized cookie scoop works well. I recommend dunking the scoop into a bowl of cold water between scoops so the dough releases better.
  • For evenly shaped, round cookies: Dip your finger in a bowl of water and gently press any dough that’s sticking out from the dough ball back in.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies: Err on the side of slightly underbaking, and remember that the cookies will continue to bake for a few minutes once you take them out of the oven.
a cookie with evaporated milk on a cookie shoot.

Variations

  • Flavor extract: 1/2 teaspoon rum extract or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract is excellent to enhance the flavor of the cookies.
  • Mix-ins: Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, cranberries, raisins, or chocolate chips.
  • Sugar coating: Feel free to skip the frosting and simply sprinkle the cookies with sugar before baking.
  • Glaze: Another idea is to whisk 1 cup of powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of evaporated milk until smooth. Then, drizzle the icing onto the cooled cookies.
  • Sprinkles: I love to decorate my evaporated milk cookies with Christmas sprinkles for an extra festive look.
two cookies with evaporated milk.

Storage

How to store evaporated milk cookies

You can store the frosted cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

To stack the cookies on top of one another, add a layer of parchment paper between the layers.

Freeze evaporated milk cookies

  • Cookie dough: You can freeze the cookie dough in a freezer-friendly container for up to 1 month. Defrost the dough in the fridge the night before you plan to bake the cookies.
  • Baked, unfrosted cookies: You can also freeze the baked, unfrosted cookies for 2 to 3 months in an airtight container. I recommend frosting them after they have thawed. Let the frozen cookies sit out for a few hours before frosting them.

Other evaporated milk recipes to love

evaporated milk cookies.
Yield: 22 cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes

Evaporated milk cookies are a soft and delightful treat, with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb and sweet, milky frosting. They are subtly spiced and have a fluffy, cake-like texture. Yum!

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups / 270 g / 9.5 oz all-purpose flour (scooped and leveled)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 3/4 cup / 170 g / 6 oz salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup / 100 g / 3.5 oz packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup / 100 g / 3.5 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup / 115 ml / 4 fl oz evaporated milk

Frosting (optional)

  • 1/2 cup / 1 stick / 115 g / 4 oz salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups / 180 g / 6.3 oz powdered (confectioners’/icing) sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Prepare for baking. Preheat oven the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.
  2. Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugars. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. You can do this step with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  4. Add liquids. Next, mix in the egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the evaporated milk until just blended. The dough may seem to curdle. Don’t worry; it’s totally normal and will be remedied when you add the flour in the next step.
  5. Incorporate dry ingredients. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir the flour into the butter-milk mixture until combined and you no longer see streaks of flour.
  6. Scoop cookies. Scoop out heaping tablespoons full of dough and drop them onto the prepared cookie sheets. Space them 2 inches / 5 cm apart as the cookies will expand while baking.
  7. Bake cookies. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes. Each oven bakes differently, so your baking time might be shorter or longer. You can tell the cookies are ready when they have puffed up and look set.
  8. Cool. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to fully cool.
  9. Mix frosting. In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. Whip for another 5 minutes.
  10. Frost cookies. Spread the frosting onto the cookies and garnish each with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 22 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 147Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 94mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

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