Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk Recipe

Discover the magic of creating your own sweetened condensed milk from scratch. This simple yet transformative process turns everyday ingredients into a luscious, caramel-hued delight that surpasses any store-bought version.

Sweetened condensed milk is a prime example of culinary alchemy. By gently simmering milk and sugar, you’re not just removing water – you’re unleashing complex Maillard reactions that impart a rich, toffee-like flavor impossible to achieve from a can.

Why Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk Reigns Supreme

While canned options offer convenience, nothing beats the depth and customizability of homemade sweetened condensed milk. By controlling the dairy, sugar, and cooking process, you unlock a world of flavor possibilities. Imagine infusing your milk with vanilla bean, cinnamon, or even lavender – the options are endless!

Don’t let the 45-minute cooking time deter you. This hands-off process requires only occasional stirring, making it the perfect background task while you catch up on your favorite show or tackle other kitchen prep. The result? A velvety, intensely flavorful condensed milk that will elevate all your baking projects.

Crafting Your Sweetened Condensed Milk

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity: milk, cream, sugar, and a pinch of salt. The addition of cream serves two crucial purposes – it amplifies the lactose content for enhanced browning and prevents curdling during the extended cooking process. This means you can use any type of milk you have on hand, from skim to whole.

As the mixture simmers, you’ll witness a mesmerizing transformation. The bright white liquid gradually deepens to a warm ivory hue, signaling the development of those coveted caramel notes. Gentle stirring with a flexible spatula ensures even cooking and prevents scorching.

Precision Is Key: Using a Digital Scale

For foolproof results, employ a digital scale to monitor the reduction process. When your pot weighs 26 ounces less than its starting weight, you’ve achieved the perfect consistency. This equates to a 60% reduction in water content, yielding exactly two cups (19 ounces) of luscious sweetened condensed milk.

Accidentally over-reduced your milk? No worries! Simply top it off with fresh milk to reach the 19-ounce mark and blend until smooth. Remember to remove any whole spices or herbs before blending to avoid bitterness.

Unleashing Your Homemade Creation

Once cooled and thickened in the refrigerator, your homemade sweetened condensed milk is ready to revolutionize your desserts. From classic key lime pie to decadent tres leches cake, this versatile ingredient adds unparalleled depth and richness. Don’t forget to bring it to room temperature before use in most recipes.

Feeling adventurous? Experiment with flavor infusions like fresh ginger, cardamom, or even goat’s milk for a unique twist. The possibilities are truly endless – if you can resist eating it straight from the jar with a spoon!

Sweetened Condensed Milk


  • 32 ounces milk, any percentage (4 cups; 910g)
  • 6 ounces heavy cream (3/4 cup; 170g)
  • 7 ounces plain or toasted sugar (1 cup; 195g)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
  • Optional aromatics: vanilla bean (split lengthwise) or cinnamon stick


  1. In a 5-quart stainless steel saucier, combine milk, cream, sugar, salt, and your chosen aromatics (if using). For precise tracking, weigh the pot with ingredients. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heat-resistant spatula until the mixture begins to simmer (about 12 minutes).
  2. Maintain a gentle simmer for 30 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom continuously to prevent scorching. When the thickened syrup suddenly turns foamy, you’re nearly done. Continue cooking and stirring until the foam subsides and you’ve reached exactly 2 cups (19 ounces) of condensed milk. If using a scale, the pot will weigh 26 ounces less than at the start.
  3. Troubleshooting: If you’ve reduced too far, simply add milk to reach 2 cups (19 ounces). Remove any whole aromatics and blend with an immersion blender to ensure a smooth consistency.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month. For best results in recipes, bring to room temperature before use.


Cooking times may vary based on your stove’s heat output and the characteristics of your cookware. If simmering takes longer than 12 minutes, increase heat to medium-high. Conversely, reduce heat to medium-low if the milk simmers too quickly. The goal is to achieve the proper reduction within the specified time frame.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Your homemade sweetened condensed milk will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
116 Calories
5g Fat
15g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 116
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 49mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 96mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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