How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk

published Sep 25, 2022

How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe

Homemade sweetened condensed milk can be used as a replacement for canned in any recipe. It requires a little time, but it's 100% worth the effort!

Makes1 1/2 cups

Prep3 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A photo of a glass of sweetened, condensed milk in a small glass jar.
Credit: Perry Santanachote

With only a few ingredients, you can make delicious homemade sweetened condensed milk. It takes a little time, but after just a taste, you’ll know it’s worth it.

To make sweetened condensed milk, milk is heated long enough for much of the water to evaporate. That water content is replaced with sugar, so what’s left is a concentrated milk with ultra-rich texture and sweet flavor. Use it in any recipe that calls for the luxurious ingredient. (See below for some ideas.)

The History of Sweetened Condensed Milk

According to Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas, the process of canning food arrived in the United States in the early 19th century and revolutionized the dairy industry, which could now make and sell shelf-stable milk — a necessity during the Civil War. The sweetened variety was actually created by Gail Borden as an alternative to breast milk but today is used in all kinds of dishes.

Credit: Perry Santanachote

Sweetened Condensed Milk Versus Evaporated Milk

Sweetened condensed milk has even less water content than evaporated milk. And a dose of sugar boosts its shelf life by twice that of evaporated milk.

What Can I Make with Sweetened Condensed Milk? 

The sweetness and enhanced creaminess of sweetened condensed milk is ideal in baked goods that can’t handle much liquid. The milk adds sweetness and intense milky flavor. The concentrated dual nature of sweetened condensed milk is also perfect for sweetening bitter beverages like tea and coffee. Here are some ideas.

How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe

Homemade sweetened condensed milk can be used as a replacement for canned in any recipe. It requires a little time, but it's 100% worth the effort!

Prep time 3 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups

    whole milk

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Medium saucepan

  • Pint-sized heatproof storage container

  • Wooden spoon or flexible heatproof spatula

Instructions

  1. Heat the ingredients. Place 2 1/2 cups whole milk, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form along the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture come to a boil.

  2. Simmer until thickened. Simmer, reducing the heat as needed and stirring and scraping the sides of the pan often, until thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 50 to 60 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon.

  3. Cool and store. Pour into a heatproof airtight container and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge and shake or whisk well before using.