Try this homemade recipe for condensed milk with 7 different sweetener options! An easy DIY that you can make ahead for the holidays, or any time of the year. Use it to make this outstanding peanut butter fudge. Also try my dairy-free & lactose-free option!
The temptation to buy canned goods and pre-packaged items tends to come in waves for me. Right now, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a tsunami!
My half of the Thanksgiving menu is nailed down: smoked turkey, slow cooker cranberry sauce, healthier sweet potato casserole, homemade cloud rolls, vanilla bean cheesecake apples, and pumpkin pie. With six dishes to make within a 3-day window, taking the easy route and NOT making everything from scratch sounds really nice…
But this tugs a bit with my real food, make-things-from-scratch side. I want to take shortcuts, but I’m learning more about those mystery ingredients. And what I do know scares me more than what I don’t. So I thought this would be a good time to create a homemade recipe for condensed milk.
While preparing for the holiday and having company coming into town, now is as good as time as any, right?
Reasons To Make This Recipe for Condensed Milk
- Making food from scratch is often the best way to save money on real food. However, you also have to factor in whether it’s worth your time to make it. I don’t typically make homemade pasta because I can buy it for cheap and it takes way too long to make from scratch.
- Consider the ingredients in store-bought vs homemade foods. Like coffee creamer. We quit coffee creamer a long time ago because the ingredients are just too processed to be considered food. The cost to make homemade vanilla bean creamer is about the same or more than if I bought it at the store. But the health benefits weigh out the time and cost.
- You have COMPLETE control over the ingredients you use and can make it yourself based on where you are in your real food journey, what you have access to, your dietary restrictions, and what you can afford.
That’s why I prefer to make this recipe for condensed milk!
Here’s What You Need
- Whole milk
- Salted butter
- Vanilla extract (Here’s how to make your own)
You only need a few tools:
Notes on Ingredients
Condensed milk is essentially milk and sugar. When you make this recipe for condensed milk, you have the choice of what kind of milk and what kind of sweetener you want to use!
You can use whatever milk you have for this recipe for condensed milk:
- Raw milk
- Non-homogenized milk
- Organic milk
- Conventional milk
- Powdered milk
- Dairy-free or lactose-free (here’s how I made it with coconut milk and almond milk!)
You can use whatever sweetener you have (I tried all of these!):
- Maple syrup
- Coconut sugar (aka palm sugar)
- Sucanat (aka Rapadura, Demera or Jaggery)
- Evaporated cane juice (aka organic sugar, evaporated cane sugar)
- Granulated sugar (aka white sugar, we like turbinado)
- Brown sugar
After experimenting with 7 different types of sweeteners the conclusion is, the color changed with different sweeteners. But it won’t affect the look of your final dish.
The taste, oddly enough, didn’t differ much. You can taste a little difference between maple syrup vs honey, or brown sugar vs. evaporated cane juice, but in the end, they all taste like sweetened milk… and delicious!
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1. Combine milk and sweetener in a medium saucepan. Whisk stirring constantly to dissolve sweetener over medium heat.
Step 2. When the milk begins to steam, lower the temperature to as low as possible for this recipe for condensed milk.
Step 3. Dip a straw into the milk and use a permanent marker to draw a line on the straw, just above where the milk hit.
Step 4. 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 30 minutes for me.
Sweetened condensed milk is basically slow-cooked milk. This makes the excess water content evaporate but doesn’t scald the milk. Sweetener is added to make it ready for recipes. It doesn’t take a long time to make, but it does take longer than it does to open a can.
If you find that your condensed milk hasn’t thickened, that means that the pan was removed from the heat too early. This can be corrected by returning your mixture to a pan and carefully continuing the heating process.
Yes, you can overcook condensed milk if you’re not too careful. Make sure to stop once your condensed milk has reached the desired consistency and color.
How to Use Homemade Condensed Milk
The first thing that comes to mind is peanut butter fudge. But there are other desserts like DIY ice cream (without a machine) and homemade granola bars. If you need a dairy-free substitute for sweetened condensed milk, use this homemade version. Or skip the recipe for condensed milk and try a healthier pumpkin pie!
More DIY Recipes
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Watch How to Make Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
Try this homemade recipe for condensed milk with 7 different sweetener options! An easy DIY that you can make ahead for the holidays. Plus a dairy-free & lactose-free option!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
- Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
- Category: Make it yourself
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sweetener
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (Here’s how to make your own)
- Combine milk and sweetener in a medium saucepan. Whisk stirring constantly 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 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 30 minutes for me.
- When milk is reduced by half, remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
- Pour into a clean glass jar and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.
The honey and coconut sugar thickened up considerably more than the other sweeteners, but they also seemed to separate a bit while reducing in size. When using these sweeteners, whisk the milk periodically instead of just stirring.
In general, these milks were thinner than conventional sweetened condensed milk. If this concerns you, allow milk to continue to reduce in size until all the water is removed.
- Calories: 951
Keywords: recipe for condensed milk