This DIY sweetened condensed milk recipe requires only 2 ingredients and less than an hour of your time. It’s a delicious sweetener to use in coffee drinks and a variety of different desserts.

a bottle of sweetened condensed milk

This ingredient is known across many cultures around the world for its ability to add a signature sweetness and creamy smooth texture to just about any dish.

Here at Salima’s Kitchen, we’re using it in many different Puerto Rican recipes, like this chocoflan, this more traditional flan, and in this tasty Puerto Rican shaved ice topping.

measuring cups of milk and sugar

Ingredients

Similarly to this homemade evaporated milk, this recipe requires just a few super simple ingredients. It’s easy to make at home when you don’t have a pre-made can on hand.

  • whole milk
  • white granulated sugar

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

milk and sugar being whisked in a pot

Whisk together ingredients and bring to a simmer. Whisk the milk and sugar together in a saucepan, bringing to a light simmer over medium heat.

Hint: Make sure to whisk every few minutes while it simmers for the 45 minutes. This prevent clumping of any milk solids or burning of the sugar.

milk and sugar simmering in a pot

Keep an eye on it to make sure the milk isn’t simmering on medium for too long, to prevent it from curdling.

The end result will continue to thicken as it cools and in the fridge, so look for a texture that coats the back of a spoon to determine when the milk has thickened enough.

sweetened condensed milk in a pot

Reduce and simmer. Adjust the heat to a low and continue to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, whisking regularly until the mixture has reduced by half and is thick and light yellow in color.  

Tip: If concerned about the texture, run the final product through a mesh strainer to remove any solids and ensure a smooth creamy end result.

Easy Plant Based Substitutes

While sweetened condensed milk sounds almost impossible to find plant based, it’s actually surprisingly easy to make.

These are some easy, plant based substitutes you can make to the short ingredient list:

  • Sugar – it’s up to you whether sugar fits into your plant based diet or not, but feel free to swap this for 3/4 cup of maple syrup.
  • Milk – you can swap out the whole milk for just about any kind of plant based milk, my personal favorite being coconut milk.

You can also find a plant based version of traditional sweetened condensed milk at the store, I usually find this sweetened condensed coconut milk in the baking section at my local grocery store when I don’t have time to DIY it.

a spoon with sweetened condensed milk in a glass jar

Tasty Additions

The fun thing about making this pantry staple from scratch is the ability to take it in many different directions.

Depending on how you’re planning to use it, there are some really tasty ways to amp up the flavor.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Vanilla extract – a dash of vanilla extract can really round out the sweetness in this ingredient and give it that signature vanilla flavor we all know and love. Add a teaspoon or two when it’s fresh off of the stovetop.
  • Butter – add a tablespoon or two of unsalted butter to the sweetened condensed milk once it’s finished and watch how the creamy texture is instantly enhanced
  • Extracts – there are some really fun extract flavors on the market (I like using strawberry or coconut in this recipe) that can transform this ingredient and give it a fun twist of flavor. Add a teaspoon or two when it’s fresh off the stovetop.

Sweetened Condensed Milk vs. Evaporated Milk

It’s easy to confuse sweetened condensed milk with evaporated milk. Both are made with a similar technique of simmering milk until it condenses.

The main difference between the two is the addition of sugar.

As suggested in the name, sweetened condensed milk requires a significant amount of sugar, while evaporated milk is made with just milk.

Where to Use It

The sky is truly the limit when deciding how to use this DIY ingredient. It’s a staple in many of my favorite Puerto Rican recipes.

Here are some of the most popular ways we use it at Salima’s Kitchen:

It’s also really tasty used as a sweetener in coffee drinks!

a cup of coffee and sweetened condensed milk

Ratios

Because this recipe is so simple in ingredients and steps, the most important rule to remember is how much milk you will need to start with, versus how much evaporated milk will be yielded.

The ratio goes as follows: you will need to start with twice the amount of milk to make the appropriate amount of evaporated milk.

In other words:

  • if you need 1 cup of evaporated milk, start with 2 cups of milk
  • if you need 2 cups of evaporated milk, start with 4 cups of milk
  • if you need 3 cups of evaporated milk, start with 6 cups of milk, and so on
sweetened condensed milk in a glass jar

Storage

This DIY version will keep in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days. It does not stand up well to freezing.

While this recipe is super simple to make at home, it’s important to note that it will not last as long as it’s canned alternative. This is because there are no added preservatives.

How to Not Mess this Recipe Up

My top tip in making this recipe is to keep an eye on the stovetop, checking your milk every 5 minutes or so. Doing this and whisking things around prevents milk solids from clumping and delivers a creamy smooth end result.

Enjoy,

Salima written in cursive
Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a bottle of sweetened condensed milk

2 Ingredient DIY Sweetened Condensed Milk

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce, Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Puerto Rican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This DIY sweetened condensed milk recipe requires only 2 ingredients and less than an hour of your time. It’s a delicious sweetener to use in coffee drinks and a variety of different desserts.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar


Instructions

  1. Whisk together ingredients and bring to a simmer. Whisk the milk and sugar together in a saucepan, bringing to a light simmer over medium heat.milk and sugar in a pot over on a stove
  2. Reduce and simmer. Adjust the heat to a low and continue to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, whisking regularly until the mixture has reduced by half and is thick and light yellow in color. a whisk stirring sweetened condensed milk

Notes

My top tip in making this recipe is to keep an eye on the stovetop, checking your milk every 5 minutes or so. Doing this and whisking things around prevents milk solids from clumping and delivers a creamy smooth end result.

The end result will continue to thicken as it cools and in the fridge, so look for a texture that coats the back of a spoon to determine when the milk has thickened enough.