Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe

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Make this easy sweetened condensed milk from home! For this homemade recipe, all you need is 2 simple ingredients, whole milk and sugar. You’ll never want to buy store-bought sweetened condensed milk again. This recipe is not only easy, but it has better ingredients than the small cans sitting on your local grocery store shelves.

What is Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Sweetened condensed milk is basically a thick sugary-sweet milk product. It is made by taking some fresh milk and sugar and cooking it on medium-low heat to reduce the water content of the milk. As the milk cooks, water evaporates, leaving behind a richer, more condensed milk. Mixing in sugar contributes to the thickened consistency and intense sweetness of condensed milk.

What You’ll Need

Crop anonymous person with bottle pouring milk into ornamental transparent glass on wooden table at home

Whole milk

I prefer whole milk, but you can use whatever milk you prefer. Note that it may change the taste and consistency, depending on the milk of your choosing.

Close-Up Photo of Sugar Cubes in Glass Jar

sugar

I like to use regular organic sugar, but you can also use honey, maple syrup, or other sweeteners you like. I just stick with sugar because I like the flavor it brings.

What is Sweetened Condensed Milk Used For?

Sweetened Condensed Milk has many uses. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be found in many desserts and even drinks around the world. Here are some of the most common uses:

Sweet Treats: It’s a key ingredient in many pies (think key lime pie, or pumpkin pie), custards, and candies, homemade ice cream, and even candies, adding sweetness and a creamy texture.

Fudge and Sauces: It can be cooked down further to create homemade fudge or rich sauces for ice cream or other desserts.

Beverages: In some cultures, it’s even used in sweetened drinks like Vietnamese coffee. You can even use it in hot chocolate, yum!

My Top 3 Favorite Recipes Using Sweetened Condensed Milk (and they all happen to be drinks):

1. Horchata – a cinnamon flavored rice milk

2. Brazilian Lemonade – a creamy lemonade, that’s actually made with limes

3. Vietnamese iced coffee – a strong iced coffee – sweetened with the sweetened condensed milk

I highly recommend trying all of these drink recipes. If you’re a drink person like me, you are going to love these. They are all so exciting and refreshing in their own ways! Plus, they all originate from different parts of the world, so that makes them even more special.

Can I make this recipe dairy-free?

Yes, you do NOT have to use regular milk for this, non-dairy milk will also work. That’s what’s best about this homemade version, you can make it how you need. The most common alternative is almond milk, but oat milk, or coconut milk will work also.

Can I make this recipe sugar free?

Yes, you can also make this homemade sweetened condensed milk recipe sugar free. Most common alternative is maple syrup, but honey, or your choice of sweetener should also work. 

It’s important to note that if you are replacing the cow’s milk with nut milks, or coconut milk, the flavor and texture can very. This also goes for the replacements of sugar. Just keep that in mind when making an alternative to the original recipe!

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk, or milk of choice

1 cup of sugar, or sweetener of choice

Instructions:

Combine milk and sugar: In a medium saucepan, whisk together your milk and sugar over medium heat.

Dissolve the Sugar: Keep whisking constantly until all the sugar dissolves. This should take a few minutes.

Bring to a Simmer: Once the sugar dissolves, raise the heat slightly and bring the milk mixture to a low simmer. You’ll see small bubbles simmering around the edges of the pan.

Reduce Heat and Simmer:  Reduce the heat to low and let simmer (stirring occasionally, to prevent scorching).

Milk will Thicken with Time:  Continue simmering for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the milk mixture reduces down to 1 cup.

Consistency: As the mixture reduces, it will become thicker. You will know your sweetened condensed milk is ready when the consistency is not only thick, but will be slightly yellow in color. 

Cool and Store:  Once thickened, remove the pan from heat and let the condensed milk cool completely at room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.

Storage and Shelf Life:

Storing in the Refrigerator: If stored properly, sweetened condensed milk should last up to a month in your refrigerator.

​Freezing: You can freeze in an airtight container for up to three months, but don’t let it stay any longer than that, it will begin to freezer burn after that point. After, you take it out of the freezer you will want to either defrost in the fridge, or leave it out on the counter and let it come up to room temperature.

Shelf Life: The shelf life will be shorter than store-bought because it does not have all of the preservatives, my general rule of thumb, is that as long as it looks good, smells good, tastes good, then it is good! If you’re not comfortable with that, then follow the suggested time frames above.

​Additional Tips:

​Add Flavor: The best part about making anything homemade, is that you get to customize it to your liking. With this sweetened condensed milk recipe, you can get creative with it. Try adding vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, mint, fruit purees, zests, spices, etc. There is so many ways to make this yours and add an abundance of flavor to any dessert or drink you’re making. Truly, my favorite part.

If you want to make evaporated milk – leave out the sugar. 

If you want to make dulce de leche – cook longer until it gets to the dulce de leche consistency you need

Conclusion:

This Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe can be used in so many different recipes, and you can get so creative using it. It’s such an easy recipe that requires minimal ingredients and a little bit of time. I think it is so worth the flavor, and the better ingredients. Let me know in the comments how you decide to use your sweetened condensed milk, the possibilities are endless, and I’m so excited to hear what you’ve created with this recipe! 

jar of sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Make this easy sweetened condensed milk from home! For this homemade recipe, all you need is 2 simple ingredients, whole milk and sugar. You'll never want to buy store-bought sweetened condensed milk again.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups whole milk or milk of your choice
  • 1 cup sugar or other sweetener

Instructions
 

  • Combine milk and sugar: In a medium saucepan, whisk together your milk and sugar over medium heat.
  • Dissolve the Sugar: Keep whisking constantly until all the sugar dissolves. This should take a few minutes.
  • Bring to a Simmer: Once the sugar dissolves, raise the heat slightly and bring the milk mixture to a low simmer. You’ll see small bubbles simmering around the edges of the pan.
  • Reduce Heat and Simmer:  Reduce the heat to low and let simmer (stirring occasionally, to prevent scorching).
  • Milk will Thicken with Time:  Continue simmering for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the milk mixture reduces down to 1 cup.
  • Consistency: As the mixture reduces, it will become thicker. You will know your sweetened condensed milk is ready when the consistency is not only thick, but will be slightly yellow in color.
  • Cool and Store:  Once thickened, remove the pan from heat and let the condensed milk cool completely at room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.

Notes

Storing in the Refrigerator: If stored properly, sweetened condensed milk should last up to a month in your refrigerator.
Freezing: You can freeze in an airtight container for up to three months, but don’t let it stay any longer than that, it will begin to freezer burn after that point. After, you take it out of the freezer you will want to either defrost in the fridge, or leave it out on the counter and let it come up to room temperature.
Shelf Life: The shelf life will be shorter than store-bought because it does not have all of the preservatives, my general rule of thumb, is that as long as it looks good, smells good, tastes good, then it is good! If you’re not comfortable with that, then follow the suggested time frames above.​
Add Flavor: The best part about making anything homemade, is that you get to customize it to your liking. With this sweetened condensed milk recipe, you can get creative with it. Try adding vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, mint, fruit purees, zests, spices, etc. There is so many ways to make this yours and add an abundance of flavor to any dessert or drink you’re making. Truly, my favorite part.

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