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Cooking with Shelf-Stable Milk

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2016

While popular in Europe, shelf-stable ultra-high-­temperature (UHT) milk is rarely used in the United States. We tried it in chocolate pudding and macaroni and cheese.

While popular in Europe, shelf-stable ultra-high-­temperature (UHT) milk is rarely used in the United States—if anything, it’s stashed away in the back of the pantry for emergency situations. Wondering how it would fare in recipes, we tried it in chocolate pudding and macaroni and cheese.

UHT milk has a “cooked” flavor that many tasters perceived as sweet (the high-heat processing causes the milk’s sugars and proteins to undergo the Maillard reaction, both changing the flavor and giving it a slightly tan color), which came through in both recipes, but they were both perfectly acceptable. Some tasters also noticed a slightly muted chocolate flavor in the pudding and a slightly creamier texture in the mac and cheese.

The bottom line? UHT milk is an acceptable substitute for pasteurized milk when cooking but, depending on the dish, you may notice a slight difference in flavor or texture.