Learn how to make Sweetened Condensed Milk with just 4 ingredients in less than one hour! This thick, sweet, velvety smooth milk is a pantry staple and the base for all your favourite dessert recipes including cookies, cakes, milkshakes, brownies, ice cream and more.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
This homemade sweetened condensed milk has a distinct caramelized flavour that makes it the perfect addition to sweet treats and desserts. Use it to bake, add it to beverages and so much more! It’s incredibly easy to make and uses simple ingredients so you won’t ever buy the canned stuff again.
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Easy to Prepare – this homemade version is as simple as adding all ingredients to a pot and simmering for about one hour, stirring frequently. It is that easy!
- A Kitchen Essential – once you realize how many recipes require this, you’ll be so happy to know how to whip it up without needing to make a trip to the store.
- Better than Canned – skip the grocery store aisle for homemade condensed milk because this tastes so much better and uses simple ingredients!
- Perfect for Holiday Baking – many sweet treats and holiday faves call for this ingredients so if you’ve never made your own condensed milk before, now’s the time to try it!
What is Sweetened Condensed Milk?
Condensed milk is sweetened cow’s milk boiled down to remove the water content until the consistency is syrup-like.
Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk
Many people wonder, “Is evaporated milk the same as condensed milk?” They are not interchangeable in recipes. Although both include processes that involve reducing the water content, condensed milk is sweetened and evaporated milk (canned milk) does not contain sugar.
While condensed milk is used for desserts, evaporated milk is better suited for savoury recipes. Condensed milk is also thicker than evaporated milk.
What’s Needed to Make This Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)
- Medium Saucepan – use this to cook the sugar and milk mixture.
- Wooden Spoon – use this to constantly stir the mixture as it cooks.
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- Full-Fat Milk – use full fat for a creamy consistency. Low-fat milk and 2% milk won’t yield the same results.
- Granulated Sugar – this sweetens the fresh milk, use about 1 cup and a half.
- Butter – this is the secret ingredient that enriches the mixture and makes it even creamier.
- Vanilla Extract – this adds vanilla flavour, which is perfect for all your sweet treats. Some prefer a stronger or milder vanilla extract flavour so adjust as needed.
How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk
In a small saucepan, combine the milk and sugar and bring to a rapid simmer for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, stirring often for another 60 to 75 minutes.
When the mixture has reduced by half, add in the butter and the vanilla and continue stirring until thickened and reduced to a syrupy consistency around 15 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon with a brown hue. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Finally, transfer to an airtight glass jar and enjoy as needed.
How to Make Condensed Milk from Coconut Milk
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and sugar and bring to a rapid simmer for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, stirring often for another 40 minutes to 45 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it cool before transferring to an airtight glass jar and refrigerating.
How to Make Condensed Milk from Evaporated Milk
Combine one can of evaporated milk (12 ounces) with 1 ½ cups of sugar in a small saucepan. Boil it for about 5 minute and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Consistently stir until the sugar dissolves (about another 5 minutes). Then remove it from the heat and allow it cool before transferring it to an airtight glass jar and refrigerating.
How to Use Sweetened Condensed Milk in Recipes
Here are some of my favourite recipes to use homemade sweetened condensed milk in:
- Porridges – enrich your breakfast meals by adding this to Peanut Porridge, Hominy Corn Porridge and Jamaican Green Banana Porridge.
- Beverages – add some creamy sweetness to your coffees, milkshakes and smoothies. I use it for my Peanut Punch, Jamaican Guinness Punch and Jamaican Carrot Juice recipes with yummy results!
- Desserts – add it to your cookies (especially the kinds with chocolate chips), brownies, caramels, fudge, pie fillings, dulce de leche, tres leches and more!
- Ice Cream – make your own homemade ice cream by combining heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and any add-ins. Then whisk until formed into whipped cream (smooth), freeze and enjoy!
Sweeteners for Condensed Milk
There are many sweetening options to choose from. Pick your favourite!
- Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar
Recipe Notes and Tips for Success
- Don’t Watch the Time – don’t try to speed up the cooking process. This is a labour of love. Cooking it low and slow and consistently stirring yields a luxuriously creamy texture. Also, cooking it on high will only make the milk curdle.
- Doneness – if the mixture is still runny, then you haven’t cooked down the water content enough. You can tell it’s done when the colour darkens and the mixture thickens.
- Let Cool – allow the mixture to completely cool before adding it to the fridge.
- Low Heat – keep the stove temp level fairly moderate to low heat to ensure no curdling, burning, or overflowing of liquid.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
Vegan Condensed Milk – try your hand at coconut condensed milk, which replaces regular milk (cow’s milk) with full-fat coconut milk for a vegan and dairy-free option!
Type of Milk – try using almond milk or soy milk as an alternative to regular milk (cow’s milk)
Dry Milk Powder – also known as milk powder is a more convenient with a longer shelf-life variation of milk made by evaporating it to powdered form that can come back together with water.
Sweetener – as mentioned above, consider using brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar or keep as is using white sugar.
Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
Absolutely! The milk lasts up to one week in the fridge and even longer when frozen.
Ensure the mixture cools completely to room temperature then store condensed milk in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to one week. For longer storage, freeze it for 3 months.
An airtight container, preferably glass ensures maximum freshness is preserved.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It’s a healthier alternative to processed sugar because it contains calcium and protein. However, it is high in calories and still contains sugar so enjoy in moderation.
No. Condensed milk is sweetened and thicker than evaporated milk.
Try heavy cream and sugar as a substitute.
Yes. Both names refer to the same thing.
If the mixture becomes too thick, or not thin enough to pour, add about a tbsp or more of boiling water and mix to incorporate.
Interested in More Recipes that Use Sweetened Condensed Milk? Check These Out!
- Peanut Porridge
- How to Make Soursop Juice
- Caribbean Chocolate Tea (Cocoa Tea)
- Hominy Corn Porridge
- Peanut Punch
- Jamaican Banana Fritters
- Jamaican Guinness Punch
- Jamaican Green Banana Porridge
- Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge
- Jamaican Carrot Juice (Blender and Juicer Method)
- Caribbean Chocolate Tea (Cocoa Tea)
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How to Make Condensed Milk
- Medium Saucepan
- Wooden Spoon
- 4 cups Full-Fat Milk
- 1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk and sugar and bring to a rapid simmer for about 5 minutes. Then, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, stirring often for another 50 to 60 minutes.
- When the mixture has reduced by half, add in the butter and the vanilla and continue stirring until thickened and reduced to a syrupy consistency around 15 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon with a brown hue. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Transfer to a an airtight glass jar and enjoy as needed.
- Don’t try to speed up the cooking process. This is a labour of love. Cooking it low and slow and consistently stirring yields a luxuriously creamy texture. Also, cooking it on high will only make the milk curdle.
- If the mixture is still runny, then you haven’t cooked down the water content enough. You can tell it’s done when the colour darkens and the mixture thickens.
- Allow the mixture to completely cool before adding it to the fridge.
- Keep the stove temp level fairly moderate to low heat to ensure no curdling, burning, or overflowing of liquid.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.