I think we have all used sweetened condensed milk out of a can in our baking. Did you know you can make it yourself at home? It is rather easy with this recipe for Easy Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk. All it takes is some milk, sugar, and a little time!
I love to bake once in a while, and sweetened condensed milk is one of those things I always had in my pantry, just waiting for the next recipe. Since it is really just milk and sugar I thought why not make it myself?
If you have the time and inclination, you too can make this pantry staple right in your own kitchen. When possible, I love doing things like this because there is such a sense of accomplishment that comes with the extra effort.
I also like being able to do this myself for those times that it really is easier to make this at home than go to the grocery store to buy it. Especially if it’s around the holidays, who really wants to drive to the grocery store for just one thing? I sure don’t!
This really is just milk and sugar in the right ratio cooked down and reduced in a saucepan. You must be saying to yourself well, isn’t sweetened condensed milk only 2 ingredients to begin with? It should be, but sometimes the canned version will have additional thickeners or other things added. When you make this yourself you can avoid all that.
I have seen other recipes for making your own sweetened condensed milk that call for additional ingredients such as butter or canned evaporated milk, but I really wanted this to be as simple as possible with few ingredients.
I used whole milk, but you can use 2 percent if you like. It is best not to use 1 percent or skim, because I don’t think the results are quite as good. I have not tested this recipe with any non-dairy milks, but I may give it a try at some point.
I used that old standby we are all familiar with, granulated white sugar. There are a few types of sugar I have not tried this with, such as turbinado sugar or any sugar substitutes such as monkfruit, stevia, or any others. I may test this in the future and see how it turns out.
I don’t recommend using brown sugar for this recipe at all because of the molasses in the brown sugar. White granulated sugar is the best option here.
- This is not something you want to leave unattended while cooking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk away for a moment if needed. Just stay close by and give it a peek and a stir every couple of minutes.
- Watch the heat level and be sure it does not boil over, or reach a boil. A nice gentle simmer is all you need.
- You don’t need to simmer this until it gets to the thickness you are used to from the canned version. It will finish thickening in the refrigerator. Once it’s done simmering it should have a nice pale creamy yellow/caramel color to it, just like sweetened condensed milk from a can.
- Once it’s finished simmering be sure to remove it from the heat by placing it in the container you plan to store it in. Let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Be sure to make this the day before you need it, as it will need adequate time in the refrigerator to cool and finish thickening up.
- This makes about 1 ½ to 2 cups, so you should have the equivalent of one can of sweetened condensed milk at the end, maybe a little more.
Uses for Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
You can use this in all the same recipes where you would use the canned version. Baked goods, fudge, or cheesecake. Sweetened condensed milk is also one of the key ingredients in no churn ice cream. In fact, it is also commonly found in many of your favorite no bake desserts. If you are looking for another great recipe for a homemade version of a store bought item, my do it yourself creme fraiche is easy and great to have around!
This is a really useful item to keep in your kitchen, and it really isn’t hard to make it yourself. I hope you give this a try! If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment and share with friends on social media. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get all the latest updates to your inbox, and Happy Cooking!
- 2 1/2 cups Milk (whole or 2% is best)
- 1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk on medium low heat for two to three minutes to warm up the milk.
- Next, add the sugar and turn the heat up just a little and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Once the milk and sugar reach a low simmer (you should see bubbles form around the outer edges of the milk in the pan, and small bubbles toward the center) turn the heat down a little and watch to make sure it does not boil, stirring occasionally. Be sure to check on it frequently to avoid scorching. If it boils or boils over, you know the heat is too high.
- Keep stirring and simmering for about an hour and a half, until the milk and sugar reach a pale yellow/caramel color.
- You will know it's ready when it's the right color, and it has thickened a bit and it easily coats the back of a spoon.