If you have been looking for an easy homemade condensed milk recipe that doesn’t take hours to make, then you absolutely must try this 15-minute sweetened condensed milk recipe! You can make delicious custom homemade ice cream or 3 ingredient Raffaello with this condensed milk. In my family, we love to serve it with pancakes and crepes!
What is Condensed Milk?
Condensed milk is milk that has been boiled with sugar to the point where water evaporates just enough for the texture to be thick but not solid like, for example, caramel. If you boil your sweet condensed milk long enough it will caramelize leaving you with a delicious dessert (maybe not the one you were aiming for!). So, as you see, it is pretty difficult to mess condensed milk up completely (unless you forget it on the stove and come back to a black pot!).
You might be wondering, though, whether condensed milk and evaporated milk are the same. Glad you asked!
Are Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk the Same?
Condensed milk is sweetened with added sugar while evaporated milk is just thickened by boiling and letting the water out. You can use evaporated milk in recipes to add a milky and creamy texture to baked goods without adding too much sugar.
Is Condensed Milk Just Milk and Sugar?
Yes, but you can add a bit of butter to the pot for extra fat and creaminess. However, this step is totally optional!
Can I Make Dairy-Free Condensed Milk?
Apparently, you can! In Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking she explains that making condensed milk dairy free is as easy as using dairy-free milk. Coconut milk or almond milk should work great for this recipe! Just boil the milk with sugar long enough for the water to evaporate and you will get dairy-free plant-based condensed milk to use in your recipes!
Ingredients for Easy Homemade Condensed Milk Recipe
- 4 cups of milk (2.8%, 3.5% fat)
- 1 ½ cups sugar (you can use powdered sugar to make the process quicker)
- 20 grams (1.5 tbsp) butter (optional)
How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk
Step by Step Recipe
STEP 1 - Melt Sugar and Butter
Add the milk to a heavy-bottomed pot (heavy bottomed means that the bottom is thicker than just 1 layer of aluminum). I use a dutch oven for mine. It can work in a pot that doesn’t have a thick bottom but you will have to be very careful not to raise the heat too much to where the milk would burn.
Add butter and sugar to the milk and let the sugar dissolve while keeping the milk on low-medium heat.
STEP 2 - Bring to a Simmer and Boil
Bring your milk to a simmer and start raising the temperature slowly. Make sure the milk doesn’t flow out from the pot. You can control the temperature by adjusting the heat level. If you leave your milk on simmer it might take 1-2 hours for it to thicken. Boiling your milk will make the process way quicker!
Boil your milk for 10 minutes stirring continuously to avoid burning, then take the heat down to where you can actually observe the texture of the milk. If it starts to thicken, then you can take it off the stove, if it is still very thin then bring up to a boil and check again in 3 minutes. Remember, that sweetened condensed milk will harden as it cools!
STEP 3 - Cool the Milk
Let the milk cool down and then transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge for about two weeks. You can use your homemade sweetened condensed milk in plenty of recipes, such as homemade Raffaello or 2 ingredient ice cream!
Tips and Tricks
- Use high-fat milk for better results! I used 2.8%, but you can use 3.5% as well!
- You might see some recipes call for as much sugar as you have milk (1:1 ratio) but when I tried making it this way it just did not turn out well. It is better to use less sugar for less crystallization and a creamier texture.
- After your condensed milk is done boiling, take that thick layer off the top to avoid lumps in your milk.
- Keep in mind that condensed milk will thicken as it cools, so take it off the heat when it is a bit thinner than you would like it to be at the end.
- You can continue boiling your milk until it is really thick and brown if you want to make caramel! This is what happened when I cooked my condensed milk for too long:
- If you don’t have powdered sugar you can use granulated sugar or just grind it in your coffee or spice grinder. Ever since I bought a coffee bean grinder I never buy powdered sugar anymore since I can easily make it at home in no time!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Condensed Milk Used for?
You can use condensed milk in baking for pies, cakes, cookies, even ice cream, and much more! Check out this list of desserts you can make using sweetened condensed milk.
How Does Condensed Milk Turn into Caramel?
Caramel is made of sugar, so when you boil condensed milk to the point where sugar starts browning, you get caramel. If you have canned condensed milk then all you need to do is boil the can in water for a few hours, or if you are making condensed milk on the stovetop, you can just continue boiling until you see browning. Then take off the heat and let it cool! Practice makes perfect, so if your caramel turns out too thick at first, just add some water and try again!
Is Condensed Milk Bad for You?
Hmm. Well, if you think about it, condensed milk is just a bunch of sugar mixed with some milk. Some would say that sugar is not good for you in any amount, but some would agree that you can enjoy sugar in moderation.
However, grabbing a bowl of condensed milk as a snack for your movie time might not be the best idea! I had my days when I would conquer half a can at a time, but it is definitely not good for you! So, self-control and moderation are your best friends when it comes to sweetened condensed milk!
How Long Does Condensed Milk Caramel Last?
It should keep well covered for about 2 weeks in the fridge!
How to Make Caramel with Condensed Milk and Brown Sugar?
Super easy! Just take your condensed milk and brown sugar, melt them together, and whip in butter and milk until incorporated and you are ready to go. Check out this recipe for more details.
What is a Good Condensed Milk Substitute?
If you don’t have a can of condensed milk at home or don’t want to make your own, you can buy cream of coconut in a store. It is different from coconut milk as the cream of coconut is sweetened and is much thicker than regular canned coconut milk. However, if you are looking for a condensed milk substitute because you need a dairy-free ingredient, you can totally make your own condensed milk at home using plant-based milk in less than an hour!
Another good substitute is evaporated milk. You can substitute both 1:1, just make sure to adjust sugar levels since both substitutes have lower sugar levels.
Can I Use this Recipe in Place of Store-Bought?
Absolutely! Store-bought condensed milk is essentially the same as homemade condensed milk.
How Long Does Homemade Condensed Milk Last?
Homemade condensed milk will last for about 2 weeks in the fridge covered, while canned can be kept for months or even years (check the expiry date on the can). After opening though, you will need to use it within a week or two.
Why Use Homemade Condensed Milk?
Condensed milk is a great sweetener for baked goods, and since 60% of the water has been taken out from the milk, you can add a lot of milky flavor without all the extra liquid regular milk brings. If you don’t want to add all the sugar that comes with sweetened condensed milk, then just substitute it with evaporated milk which is essentially the same thing as condensed milk just without added sugar. You can make evaporated milk at home by following the same process as the recipe above describes without adding sugar or butter.
Can You Freeze Condensed Milk?
Yes, you can, however, sweetened condensed milk will separate as it freezes. When you thaw your condensed milk, you can mix it with a whisk to get the consistency of what it was before you froze it!
If you have made condensed milk at home, then feel free to share your experience! I would love to see your results, just tag the pictures as #natashashome on Instagram. If you have any questions I did not address in this article, then please do share in the comments below!
Easy Homemade Condensed Milk (3 Ingredients!)
- 1 heavy-bottomed pot
- 4 cups of milk 2.8%, 3.5% fat
- 1 ½ cups sugar you can use powdered sugar to make the process quicker
- 20 grams (1.5 tbsp) butter optional
- Add the milk to a heavy-bottomed pot (heavy bottomed means that the bottom is thicker than just 1 layer of aluminum). I use a dutch oven for mine. It can work in a pot that doesn’t have heave bottom but you will have to be very careful not to raise heat too much to where the milk would burn.
- Add butter and sugar to the milk and let the sugar dissolve while keeping the milk on low-medium heat.
- Bring your milk to a simmer and start raising temperature slowly. Make sure the milk doesn’t flow out from the pot. You can control the temperature by adjusting the heat level. If you leave your milk on simmer it might take 1-2 hours for it to thicken. Boiling your milk will make the process way quicker!
- Boil your milk for 10 minutes stirring continuously to avoid burning, then take the heat down to where you can actually observe the texture of the milk. If it starts to thicken, then you can take it off the stove, if it is still very thin then bring up to a boil and check again in 3 minutes. Remember, that sweetened condensed milk will harden as it cools!
- Let the milk cool down and then transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge for about two weeks. You can use your homemade sweetened condensed milk in plenty of recipes, such as homemade Raffaello or 2 ingredient ice cream!