Did you know that you can make homemade sweetened condensed milk in your own kitchen? That’s right, it only takes 4 common ingredients to make your own liquid gold!
Have you ever wanted to make a recipe but it called for a can of sweetened condensed milk and you didn’t have any? Or maybe you have some milk getting close to the expiration date and you need a way to prolong it for a bit.
Perhaps you are just trying to do away with canned products. Or maybe you just really like making things completely from scratch.
No matter the motivation, making your own sweetened condensed milk is pretty easy. It does take a little bit of time, but not much effort.
If you can simmer some milk and sugar, you can make your own liquid gold. Then use it for baking, stirring into your coffee or tea, or eating with a spoon. We don’t judge around here!
How to make condensed milk
The biggest key to this recipe is to pick a large enough saucepan. The mixture will foam as it simmers, so you need plenty of room to avoid boil overs and the following mess.
Past that all you have to do is bring sugar and milk to a light boil, then drop it to a simmer and let it do its thing. Reduce the mixture until you have one cup of thick sweet milk.
If you are looking to use your sweetened condensed milk in a baking recipe, you want to make sure you get it reduced to as close to a cup as possible. If you are wanting to use it for a less finnicky purpose, the precision matters less.
Once your milk is condensed, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. That’s it!
Now all you have to do is let it cool. Then put it in the refrigerator, it will thicken up quite a bit as it cools and chills.
Because of the sugar content, your homemade sweetened condensed milk will last several months in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it for even longer storage, up to a year.
Tips and Tricks
If your milk starts to curdle a bit, don’t despair. Just skim off those solids and keep going.
You can use dairy free milk if that’s your preference. You can also use maple syrup or honey in place of the granulated sugar. Just reduce the mixture to that one cup mark and you should be good.
You can omit the butter if you desire, but I find it helps to give that rich thickness that we are used to from the can. Either way, it is sure to be delicious.
If the butter starts to separate out, just stir it back in before using it. Or give it a few stirs as it cools to help it incorporate more fully.
What is the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk?
Both of these products are made by reducing the amount of water in the milk. Evaporated milk is just that, with nothing added so it can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet.
Condensed milk has sugar added into the mixture, which makes sense as it is commonly called sweetened condensed milk. It is lightly caramelized and perfect for using in a variety of drinks and desserts.
Recipes that use sweetened condensed milk
Now that you have your sweetened condensed milk, what can you use it for? Well the possibilities are endless!
A popular way to use it is to make no churn ice cream. I have a few suggestions for flavors like peanut butter chocolate chip no churn ice cream or yummy birthday cake no churn ice cream. That is just the tip of the iceberg though, type no churn ice cream in the search bar of this site to find more ideas and make your favorite.
Sweetened condensed milk cookies are soft and chewy. They are a lot like soft sugar cookies, but even better!
And of course you can make frosting with sweetened condensed milk. I have a collection of everything from 3 ingredient Russian buttercream to rich chocolate sweetened condensed milk buttercream and everything in between.
I used this batch of homemade sweetened condensed milk to make the instant pot rice pudding pictured above. Don’t worry, the recipe for that is coming soon!
The only question is which of the recipes using sweetened condensed milk will you make first?
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Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Put sugar and milk in medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, then reduce the heat to medium low. The mixture will foam up, so be sure to have room for the mixture to grow in the pan.
- Simmer over medium-low heat until the volume is reduced to 1 cup, this should take between 30 and 45 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
- Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Stir before using.