Making your own sweetened condensed milk is as easy as blending three ingredients together in a saucepan. Read how you can use natural sweeteners such as honey and coconut sugar and find out what the secret ingredient is that makes this so creamy and rich! Check out this easy 3-ingredient tutorial on how to make sweetened condensed milk!
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With baking season in full swing, bakers and chefs alike are ambushing the grocery stores stocking up on sweetened condensed milk for that homemade fudge, or cranberry cream bars, or eating straight out of the can.
But if you only knew how easy it is to make sweetened condensed milk at home!!
What is Sweetened Condensed Milk?
Traditionally, condensed milk is made using cow’s milk but I’ve had success with coconut milk and I read that nut milks typically work well also.
Condensed milk is just that. You gently boil it so as much of the water content is evaporated as possible. The difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk is the sugar content. As the title suggests, sweetened condensed milk has sugar added, making it a luscious, rich heavenly concoction of sweetened condensed milk. That’s why it’s often used in baked goods.
What is the best sweetener to use in Sweetened Condensed Milk?
The main ingredients in sweetened condensed milk is sugar and milk. The secret ingredient that makes this rick and creamy is butter but let’s talk about sweeteners for a bit.
Typically, regular cane sugar is used in sweetened condensed milk. Admittedly, that is what I’ve used for years until I learned that this creamy staple can be made with honey or coconut sugar. And although I have not attempted to use wholesome sweeteners, I can almost bet that it would work just as well as regular sugar. The only thing to be mindful is the finished product may be a reflection of the sweetener you use (i.e. coconut sugar is a deep brown color).
Note: I have notes in the recipe card for substitutions. But please note, I’ve not personally tested these alternative sweeteners. I have no reason to believe that they would NOT work, but the only tested recipe by me is using organic cane sugar. I will update this post if I do try alternative sweeteners in sweetened condensed milk. Likewise, if you used other sweeteners, please drop a comment here to let us all know!
Want to read more on wholesome sweeteners? Check out this post on Alternative Natural Sweeteners!
How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk
The key to making the perfect batch of sweetened condensed milk is to cook it at low steady heat and for long period of time, reducing the quantity by half. And butter. Adding butter is what makes it creamy and decadent. I promise you, it will be just like the store-bought thick and smooth texture and flavor that we all remember from our childhood. I remember licking every bit of the condensed milk from a can as if it was the last can on earth.
How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk
Make this baking staple with 3 ingredients!
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2/3 cup organic granulated sugar see notes for substitutions
- 3 tablespoons real butter
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk milk and sweetener together.
Whisking often, bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Watch the milk closely so it doesn't boil over.
As soon as the steam starts lifting off the milk and sugar is dissolved (about 13 minutes), reduce heat to the lowest setting and continue to gently boil.
Add butter and continue to cook for about another 1hr 15 minutes, stirring the milk approximately every 15 minutes.
Once reduced to about 1 cup, pour into a pint size jar.
Allow to chill and it will thicken just like the stuff in the jar ready to be used in your favorite recipes.
To use alternative sweeteners, follow this guideline:
- use same amount of coconut sugar but please note, the color of the finished product will be darker than in photos
- to use honey or maple syrup, use 1/2 cup instead of 2/3 as per recipe. Use light colored honey. If using maple syrup, the color of finished product will be darker than in photos.
This recipe works great when doubling.
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