Thanksgiving Day without pumpkin pie isn’t anything worth celebrating in my book.
Might as well be a plain and normal Thursday in March where Mom happened to buy a bird two sizes too big, leaving enough leftovers to feed the entire neighborhood for a week.
With all the butter-laden veggies, breadcrumb-topped casseroles and warmed rolls on the menu, there’s plenty to avoid at the dinner table if you have food allergies. Pumpkin pie doesn’t have to be one of them!
Last week I made homemade sweetened condensed milk. Granted, I don’t need eight cups of this milk for my side dishes and desserts this week, but I was curious how sweetened condensed milk would turn out if it were made with maple syrup, honey or raw sugar. (It comes out pretty darn good, in case you’re curious too!)
But then I started wondering if it would turn out with coconut milk or almond milk… and if it was possible to really make sweetened condensed milk with any milk.
Dairy-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
One batch of homemade coconut milk, tried two different sweeteners (organic coconut palm sugar and organic evaporated cane juice) and got to cooking. The results?
Yum, sweet yum.
The coconut sugar came out really dark, and the evaporated cane juice came out a light mocha color. Both are equally delicious and don’t taste much like coconut at all!
If you’re dairy-free, don’t skip out on pumpkin pie. Instead, volunteer to make it yourself and sub your own homemade sweetened condensed milk instead!
Dairy-free Sweetened Condensed Milk
Are you looking for an alternative to the canned stuff? Try this dairy-free sweetened condensed milk. It’s a delicious homemade substitute for cooking and baking. Try my other dairy-free alternative recipes Coconut Milk and Peanut Milk.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup (equal to a can of condensed milk) 1x
- Category: Make It Yourself
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used homemade coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup sweetener (I used this coconut sugar and this evaporated cane juice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine milk and sweetener in a medium saucepan. Whisk to dissolve sweetener over medium heat.
- When the milk begins to steam, lower the temperature to as low as possible.
- Dip a straw into the milk and use a permanent marker to draw a line on the straw, just above where the milk hit.
- Allow the milk to reduce to half in size from what it first was, periodically checking with the straw and stirring. This took approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes for me.
- When milk is reduced by half, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
- Pour into a clean glass jar and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.
- The milk sweetened with coconut sugar got much thicker than the one made with evaporated cane juice.
- I did not strain either milk, but you might want to do this if you’re looking for a super-creamy consistency. The remaining pieces of coconut and/or sugar were not large and would likely not be noticeable in pumpkin pie, but probably would be in a pudding.
- Calories: 170
Keywords: dairy free sweetened condensed milk, non dairy sweetened condensed milk, dairy free substitute for condensed milk, dairy free condensed milk, dairy-free condensed milk, condensed milk dairy free
Additional Recipe Notes
This recipe makes about 1 cup of condensed milk which is about equal to a can of condensed milk. (Measuring by volume not weight.) Most pumpkin pie recipes I’ve seen use one can of condensed milk, so this recipe will replace that can.
You can also try other sweeteners too like honey and sucanat. And other dairy-free milks. Here are the super easy recipes for non-dairy milks:
Making your own dairy-free milk is a great way to cut down on unnecessary additives and cut costs. One of the main principles I teach in Grocery Budget Bootcamp covers why making from scratch is so beneficial!
When I was a kid, my mom used to make me my own pumpkin pie. I simply cannot imagine a holiday without it. But I know lots of recipes call for sweetened condensed milk. This dairy-free alternative means you don’t have to miss out on your favorite dessert!
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Here are some other dairy alternative recipes you might enjoy:
- Pumpkin Spiced Creamer
- Ghee and Clarified Butter
- Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
- White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
How long does the condensed milk las?
Hi, I’m glad you’re posting recipes for people with dairy allergies but lab grown food is perfectly healthy and allows us to feed the growing world population. Lab grown beef is a miracle that is amazing for the environment and doesn’t have animal ethics issues. Most GMOS are about using less resources to make food and to speed up the process used for all of history to create the product you want.
We’re going to have to agree to disagree Amanda. Lab-grown food isn’t food in my opinion. 🙂
Hi. Will store bought almond milk work for this recipe?
Hello! Yes, it should!
Made with homemade almond milk and coconut sugar, finished with Mexican vanilla once reduced. Delicious! It was thick and sweet, though not quite as thick as the canned stuff. I use it to make nondairy coffee creamer so the thickness wasn’t an issue. I haven’t used it to make caramel yet but I’m hopeful it will work for that as well (fingers crossed).
One note: canned sweetened condensed milk is 14ounces BY WEIGHT. One can is equal to about 1 cup by VOLUME. This recipe, as written, will produce close to the equivalent of one 14 ounce can.
Thanks for sharing Cat!!
I start with making condensed milk – I save lots of time by mixing 1 cup hot water with 1/2 cup coconut, then straining and adding the sweetener. I figure that way it’s already condensed and it saves me all that time waiting at the stove. 🙂 When it’s done, I measure to make sure I have the proper amount called for in my recipe. I can then drink the rest, mix with a quart of regular nut/coconut milk, or just drizzle it over some fruit or oatmeal the next morning for breakfast. I do the same for evaporated milk – just don’t use the full amount of water when I make my milks.
I may try this with Almond milk with a drop or two of Amaretto.
Thank you for offering a sweetened condensed coconut milk for alternative diets like Vegetarian and Vegans! It tastes great and I had to reblog your post on my blog because it’s such a good recipe. Thank you.
Could you use a slow cooker? It seems like it would be easier to control the temperature that way especially if it takes 2 and a half hours.
I haven’t tried it with a slow cooker Karen, so I’m not sure.
Hi! Im going to try this recipe later this week i was just wondering- when you make it does it thicken in the pot or should i expect a pretty liquidy mixture even after it reduces when i take it off the flame?
It needs to reduce and thicken in the pot. Once you take it off, it won’t get any thicker. 🙂
Hi, I am trying to come up with a homemade version of sweet cream coffee creamer for my beloved iced coffee. I’m trying to make it cheaper and healthier than the store stuff. Coconut milk with honey was gross to me, (personal taste I guess), but I just tried almond milk with raw sugar and it was great tasting! But after the cooking, I had a lot of separation of the almond milk and was wondering if you had any advice on helping that. It just is yucky to end up with chunks. Love your recipes!
Can I use honey as the sweetener?
Yes, you can!
Hi, we make our pie with out the sweetened condensed milk we follow the recipe on the canned pumpkin but I use almond milk or soy. I don’t use as much as the recipe calls for though I only use 8 – 10 oz.
Thanks for the tip Christina!!
If I wanted to use coconut milk couldn’t I just skip all of the evaporation process by using canned coconut milk? I keep lots of organic canned coconut milk in the house as it’s so yummy in my coffee 🙂 It’s really think to begin with so it seems like it should work. What do you think?
You might be able to Jessica. Canned coconut milk is thick in comparison to the drinkable kind, but I’m not sure it’s quite as thick as sweetened condensed milk. You’re looking for near honey (the real kind) of consistency, where it barely pours, but you have to scoop. I bet though it wouldn’t take long for canned coconut milk to condense on the stove!
This sounds great! My newly diagnosed milk allergy 7 year old was worried that she wouldn’t get to have snow cream this winter ( our recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk). I was wondering though, have you tried it with soy milk?
I haven’t tried soy milk Caren because I’m not convinced soy is good for us, but given the properties of liquid in general, I don’t see why it wouldn’t! Cook anything long enough and it’ll eventually disappear. 😉
I tried making this with almond milk and the mixture separated. Boo. Is there anything I can do to fix it?
Was the almond milk homemade or store-bought?
Mine separated when I used coconut milk, but I didn’t strain it before hand. I think if I had strained it well before condensed, the end would be better. Although when I re-heated it to condense a little more before cooking, it wasn’t a big deal. It won’t be noticed in the end result if you’re baking with it.
I receive your newsletter, but I missed reading several of the 7 ways to save for Christmas in the kitchen. Number 7 was so good I wanted to go back and read all of them! Is there a way I can do that?! I’m fairly new to your blog and I love it!
Absolutely Alice! I’ll forward them to you this morning. 🙂
Did you test it without the butter? That would be considered dairy for most people.
You caught me Nikolia! I left that in by accident. Editing the post to correct my mistake. The milk is delicious without the butter. 🙂
So how does this recipe compare to a “can” for recipe purposes (size wise)?
This recipe makes anywhere from 6-8 ounces, depending on how long you let the milk evaporate. I think one can is 14 ounces? I’d double the recipe to start, then let it cook twice as long, or as long as it takes to get it to the thickness you want. For DF, I’d use the coconut sugar too since that helped with the thickness.