Quantcast
Search the Site

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Have you ever noticed how expensive sweetened condensed milk is? Here, I’ll show you how to make sweetened condensed milk at home. There’s even a dairy-free option, and it’s all so easy!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk made with evaporated milk, whole milk or coconut milk. Make it at home and save!

Sweetened condensed milk is the nectar of the gods. It’s something about that combination of milk and lightly caramelized sugar that just sends me. One of two essential ingredients in my favorite no-churn homemade ice cream, it’s actually relatively expensive to buy ready-made (usually at least $3.50 for 14 ounces in my local grocery store). But did you know it can be made rather easily at home? That, and there are any number of ways to make it. Here, on this week’s D.I.Y. Friday, we’ll make it three ways: from fresh whole milk, from evaporated milk, and dairy-free from canned coconut milk. I used granulated sugar, but you can use unrefined sugars if that’s your preference (see the ingredient lists for suggestions). Keep in mind that, if you use maple syrup, it will take longer to reduce as maple syrup has a very high liquid content. In the photo above, the variety in the foreground is made with evaporated milk (my favorite kind, as it’s by far the easiest).

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk made with evaporated milk, whole milk or coconut milk. Make it at home and save!

For my dairy-free friends, today’s recipe is especially important since you can’t buy dairy-free sweetened condensed milk. If you want it, you’re gonna have to D.I.Y. Keep in mind that the dairy-free variety never really turns any more amber in color. Even though the sugars begin to caramelize, the canned coconut milk is just.so.white. Use it to make my recipe for Really Nice Dairy Free Fudge.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk made with evaporated milk, whole milk or coconut milk. Make it at home and save!

Of course, you can also use regular whole milk, but as you heat the mixture it will develop curds that must be skimmed off, and it will take a significantly longer time to reduce and thicken. The end result is certainly worth it, though! Without it, how would we make homemade Gluten Free Red Cherry Licorice??

Links:
Lemon Cream Ice Pops using sweetened condensed milk
Vietnamese Iced Coffee Recipe using sweetened condensed milk

Share on FacebookShare on YummlyTweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest
Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

Whole Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 cups (24 fluid ounces) whole milk

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar (can be replaced with 1 1/4 cups (420 g) maple syrup, or 1 cup (336 g) honey)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Evaporated Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cans (24 fluid ounces) evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar (can be replaced with 2 cups (670 g) maple syrup, or 1 1/2 cups (505 g) honey)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 can (about 14 fluid ounces) canned (not low-fat) coconut milk

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar (can be replaced with 1 1/4 cups (420 g) maple syrup, or 1 cup (336 g) honey)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Directions

  • The three lists of ingredients (Whole-, Evaporated-, and Dairy-Free- Sweetened Condensed Milks) above are alternatives. Choose the ingredient list that best suits your needs, place all 3 of the ingredients in that list in a medium-size heavy bottom saucepan, and whisk to combine well. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.

  • Whole Sweetened Condensed Milk. Only the whole milk variety will begin to develop curds that accumulate on the top of the liquid. Skim those off and discard them. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by about 5/8 (more than half, less than three-quarters) and has begun to thicken (about 1 hour). Skim off any remaining curds, and transfer to a heat-safe container until cooled completely. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator and use within 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Evaporated Sweetened Condensed Milk. This variety is significantly easier to work with, as it will not develop curds and will thicken much more quickly. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by about 1/2 and has begun to thicken (about 30 minutes). Transfer to a heat-safe container until cooled completely. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator and use within 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk. This variety is perhaps the easiest to work with, as it will not develop curds and thickens very quickly. Continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by about 1/2 and has begun to thicken (about 12 minutes). Transfer to a heat-safe container until cooled completely. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator and use within 2 to 4 weeks.

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Don’t forget the Gluten Free on a Shoestring cookbooks! They are the engine that keeps the blog running (and vice versa)!

If you liked this recipe, you'll love my new book!

Gluten-Free Small Bites

100 irresistible one-bite recipes—for everything from parties to portable meals

Learn More

  • Lucy

    This is great Nicole!
    Ever since we watched “Seeds of Death” I have been scrambling looking at non-GMO companies and organic milk etc.
    We are doing a whole pantry makeover. I started with cereals and then flours, I only started yesterday and I’m sure I opened a huge can of worms.
    Going non-GMO is a huge task and knowing I can make DIY condensed milk and others with wholesome ingredients will give my family options I didn’t have before.
    Thank you so very much Nicole.

    • I’ve never heard of Seeds of Death, Lucy, but I can imagine the information in it if you started such a dramatic pantry project as a result!

      • Lucy

        Nicole, if Canadians and Americans only knew the whole story behind GMO’s and how it affects everyone. I’m sure most people would choose non-GMO, if you haven’t watched it, I recommend it.
        As well as “GMO OMG”
        I think youtube has them both.

  • Mare Masterson

    Nicole I really love this new DIY Friday segment; and, I am thrilled at what you have chosen to present to us so far for these DIY blog posts! I feel like a kid waiting to open my present on Christmas right before I come here on Fridays!

  • Lauren

    Like Mare, I’m really enjoying your new series as well! I grew up predominately making heavy, traditional American meals with very few side dishes–the way my dad preferred. Now that I’m married to a guy who loves veggies, fish, spices and sauces, I’m loving getting to explore these areas where I feel woefully inadequate. I’m not sure if you have any offshoot ideas from those topics that would fit with your current series, but they’re the areas where it seems like recipe writers don’t want to (or feel it’s unnecessary) to give many details, so I’m learning by a LOT of trial and error. Thank you for giving plenty of photos and instructions when you present us with a recipe!!!

    • That’s an interesting perspective, Lauren. In the past, I have tended to bury recipes for these sort of basics in other recipes, as I assumed they weren’t worthy of their own post. If you have any requests for more in this series, I’m all ears! :)

  • Susan

    This is so awesome! Not to have rely on store bought, thank you

  • Peggy

    I was just wondering if there was a recipe for Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk and then I opened my email first thing this morning and there was an email from you with a link to your blog for not one but three versions! Looking forward to making the non-dairy version to use when baking for my dairy-free friends!

  • carol

    Would you be able to use splenda instead of sugar?

    • I can’t see how that would work, carol, but feel free to experiment!

      • carol

        Oh ok thanks, im a diabetic and was just wondering

  • Amber

    could you use agave nectar or stevia?

    • I’m sure you could use agave, Amber, but I don’t see how Stevia would work at all. Sorry!

  • Stephanie

    Could you use almond milk instead of coconut milk? I hate the taste of coconut.

    • No, Stephanie, you really can’t. Almond milk is just too thin. You really need canned full fat coconut milk.

  • Dianna Moore

    Would 2% milk work or is it too thin ?

  • Potona

    I wonder if you can use almond butter instead?

    • Potona

      On the chocolate shortbread that is… Sorry

  • Amy Degler

    Just made my first non dairy version of this, and wow! I used local honey instead of refined sugar. It took me a little longer to get the reduction, but the taste is fantastic. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

  • Panj Tai

    Very pleased to get this week’s email – I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but I’m going to make the whole milk one, as I get my milk raw from a local dairy farm. I will use white sugar first, but later I will try honey, as we produce our own.
    You know one of the best things about these condensed milk recipes is that they are not made by Nestle. In New Zealand that is the only company to produce sweetened condensed milk – and I have not bought Nestle products since the early 1970s. In those days it was because they were promoting infant milk formula in African countries, and their morals have not improved – today they take water from third world countries, to sell in bottles in the West. This makes life even more difficult for women in eg Pakistan who must walk greater distances to fetch water as village wells run dry.
    You’re my hero now – thank you so much!
    Janet in New Zealand

Subscribe
Back to Top