4 Best Condensed Milk Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Homemade condensed milk substitutes can be just as delicious as the original, and will also save you a trip to the store!

Condensed Milk Substitutes

Condensed milk substitutes may not possess the exact same flavor as the original, but they can do in a pinch! Sweet and creamy condensed milk is often the ingredient that makes a dessert stand out. Luckily, if you do run out of it at home, there are some excellent alternatives such as cow milk, powdered milk, non dairy milk, and coconut cream among others. Let us take a look at them. [1]

Cow Milk

Considering that condensed milk is essentially milk that has been reduced down, the simplest way to recreate condensed milk is to make it yourself using regular cow’s milk. Bring one cup of cow’s milk with half a cup of sugar to a steady, low simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let the milk boil. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, put the mixture on the lowest heat possible until the total amount of liquid is half what you began with. Once the liquid has reduced down to the same consistency as condensed milk, take it off the heat. For flavor, add two tablespoons of butter and a few drops of vanilla essence and whisk. 

Jar of thick white creamy liquid

Jar of creamy goodness. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Milk Powder

Milk powder can be as thick as you like. Add just a little water to milk powder until you reach the consistency of condensed milk. Then heat the liquid and sugar together in the same way as above; add butter and vanilla essence for flavor once it is off the heat.  [2]

Non Dairy Milk

A range of non-dairy milk can work in dairy-free alternative recipes for condensed milk. If you have time on your hands, try almond, soy, oat, and coconut milk and see which you prefer. A good ratio is 1 cup of non-dairy milk, one cup of sugar, and one tablespoon of corn flour. Heat the milk and sugar together in the same way as cow’s milk (see above). Make the cornflour into a thick paste with a little water. Take the reduced milk off the heat, add the cornflour paste, and stir until the mixture thickens. [3]

Coconut Cream

Another dairy-free alternative, coconut cream can be a rich and delicious substitute for condensed milk. Be sure that you account for the slightly different flavoring that coconut milk might bring to a dessert, and add sugar to taste. [4]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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