Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
Homemade sweetened condensed milk can be made from scratch with simple ingredients. Use in baking, candies and ice cream!
There have been more than a few times that I’ve returned from the store with a can of what I thought was sweetened condensed milk, only to see that it was actually evaporated milk! The cans look so similar and its an easy mistake to make.
This mix-up led me to learning that you can easily make homemade sweetened condensed milk with only two ingredients: milk and sugar.
What is sweetened condensed milk?
Sweetened condensed milk is a common pantry item that is used to make many no-bake sweets including custards, cheesecakes, and classic fudge, and glazes. It often comes in a small can and is shelf-stable. Condensed milk is simply concentrated milk where the water has been evaporated off leaving a creamy, thick substance. Sweetened condensed milk has added sugar.
If you look at the ingredient label of a can of sweetened condensed milk you will see that there are only two ingredients: milk and sugar. Which means recreating it is actually quite simple!
How to Make Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
The process of making sweetened condensed milk from scratch involves heating milk and sugar together over low heat until the milk has reduced and the sugar starts to caramelize slightly. This is what gives it a light tan color and a bit more flavor.
Sweetened condensed milk vs. evaporated milk
Evaporated milk is the same thing as condensed milk. It is dairy milk with most of the water removed. Sweetened condensed milk is evaporated milk with sugar added.
Recipes using Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is one of the best-kept baking secrets for making perfect smooth and easy homemade fudge, tangy key lime pie, and no-churn ice cream. Because the sugar in the milk is heated and turned into invert sugar, it functions differently than solid sugar and works beautifully in these applications.
- 568 grams (2 1/2 cups, 600 milliliters) milk, preferably whole milk
- 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, add the milk and heat over medium-low heat. Stir frequently with a silicon spatula or a whisk while the milk heats up to prevent a film from forming on top.
- Once you see steam coming off the milk and it is starting to bubble just slightly, pour in your sugar while stirring. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. You can check by carefully rubbing a bit between two fingers to check for grittiness.
- Once the sugar has completely dissolved, keep cooking the mixture at a very low simmer. You should be seeing small bubbles but you do not want an active or rapid boil. Depending on your stove, you may need to turn the heat down to low for this. Also, take note of how high the mixture is in the pot as we are aiming to reduce this by about half.
- Stay by the pot and stir the mixture frequently, making sure to stir down the foam on the sides of the pot for about 30-45 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half and it is noticeably thicker and slightly golden in color.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof container. Allow to cool completely before using or storing.
- The milk can be store in an airtight container for 1 week.
- Lower fat milk can be used, but it will not be quite as thick as with whole milk.