Evaporated Milk Is The Secret Ingredient For Creamier Potato Salad

Potato salad is one of those comforting yet sometimes controversial classics that a lot of people seem to have an opinion of or a unique recipe for. Although you may be dedicated to your potato salad technique, it's worth considering that there is almost always room in the kitchen for experimentation. Furthermore, creativity is a gateway to culinary improvements you won't see if you stick with the old. You could open one of these gateways the next time you make potato salad by using evaporated milk in the dressing. 

It's not uncommon for evaporated milk to be used in savory dishes as a replacement for regular milk, from adding it to creamy soups to using it to make a batter for toasted ravioli, and we recommend using evaporated milk in macaroni and cheese. When you give your potato salad the evaporated milk treatment, you might decide the results are too good to pass up.

To make a truly delectable potato salad dressing, evaporated milk and other ingredients such as eggs and cornstarch are heated together before adding any mayonnaise. This allows the flavors to bond and the sauce to achieve a thick, silky texture. It's rich, irresistibly creamy, and somewhat daring. 

Why does it work?

What makes evaporated milk so effective in the potato salad dressing is its texture. Evaporated milk has had approximately 60 percent of its water content taken out, which is why its consistency is so thick and concentrated. Consequently, this adds richness and density to the potato salad dressing and is why evaporated milk is a good thickener for soups, casseroles,  and even your next bowl of queso.

Creating a creamy texture with evaporated milk is a straightforward process; however, you might want to consider ways to counterbalance its heavy richness. You can blend finely diced onions with the evaporated milk and mayonnaise to impart sharpness, or add one teaspoon of mustard and/or red wine vinegar to add a tang that cuts through the rich, concentrated milk flavor, or give your potato salad a spicy bite by including a dash of cayenne pepper. You can also consider thinning the evaporated milk by diluting it with equal amounts of water.

Evaporated versus condensed milk

Don't confuse evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk, which contains 40 to 55 percent sugar. Evaporated milk is typically unsweetened and contains only natural sugars from fresh milk, equating to around 10 percent. So using evaporated milk ensures your boiled potatoes won't be drowning in a sea of sugar. A bonus is that evaporated milk has a beige hue, giving your potato dressing a little extra color.

However, on the chance you can't find evaporated milk at your local grocery store, you can use condensed milk in your potato salad. Usually, condensed milk is not recommended as a substitute for evaporated milk because its flavor is just too sweet. However, if you find yourself in a predicament, you might need to find a way to cut the sweetness of the condensed milk, such as by adding seasonings like mustard powder or roasted garlic.

All in all, opening that gateway to creativity by adding evaporated milk will not disappoint you, or your potato salad.