Homemade sweetened condensed milk made with fresh whole milk and sweetened with either honey, sucanat or raw sugar is the only substitute to use in the many recipes calling for sweetened condensed milk! After all, even if you are on the GAPS diet or another diet in which you are decreasing the amount of processed sugar, why deprive yourself of those delicious desserts if you don’t have to!
I ran into this exact dilemma when it was time to prepare for our son’s 16th birthday. For 16th birthdays at our house, we have a luau complete with a grass skirt (for the birthday person). One of the traditional dishes I serve is a fresh fruit tray with a pineapple filled with an Orange Fruit Dip. The main ingredient besides orange juice is sweetened condensed milk. So began my quest for a homemade sweetened condensed milk recipe using honey.
While I found many homemade sweetened condensed milk recipes, most started with powdered milk and used sugar. There were references to the possibility of using honey but I could not find a homemade sweetened condensed milk recipe in which honey had actually been used.
I also wanted to use our fresh, raw whole milk. I do realize that the heating required to make homemade sweetened condensed milk destroys the enzymes of raw milk, but with our own family milk cow, raw milk is what I have. Experimentation began! I wanted to see how a recipe would work not only with honey but also sucanat and raw sugar. The following recipe is the result!
Since one can of sweetened condensed milk is 14 oz and I always at least double any recipe, I doubled the following recipe with great results! We do not normally use so much sweetened condensed milk so, as soon as each batch was finished cooking, I poured it into sterile pint jars and capped them. Placed on the counter to cool, it did not take long before the “pop” of the cans sealing was heard. Then, just to be safe, store the unused cans in the refrigerator.
In the picture below, you can see the color variation between the different sweeteners – the honey (on the left) is the darkest followed by the sucanat (in the center) and finally the lightest colored is the raw sugar (on the right). The sweetened condensed milk made with the sucanat actually started out darker than either of the other two while the honey sweetened condensed milk became darker as it cooked. The honey I use is raw wildflower honey which does not have an exceptionally strong taste to begin with. The sucanat sweetened condensed milk was also much quicker to stick to the bottom of the pan so be sure to watch and stir! One final note, I strained the honey sweetened condensed milk for a smoother consistency.
- 1¼ c whole milk
- ½ c honey
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1½ c. whole milk
- ½ c sucanat or raw sugar
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Mix the honey, sucanat or raw sugar and milk in a saucepan. Bring it to a low simmer over medium heat - stirring often to prevent burning and to dissolve the sweetener. Watch for steam to begin rising from the milk. When the steam begins rising, lower the heat to as low as possible. A skim may form on top - just scoop it off.
- Allow the mixture to reduce in volume by half. You can use a clean kitchen ruler to measure the amount. I could not find mine so I used a wooden popsicle stick, marked the level in the beginning and checked periodically until the level was half of what I started with. This step took 2½ hours.
- When the amount is half of what you started with, whisk in the butter and vanilla.
- Cool the sweetened condensed milk and use as desired or place in sterilized canning jars, put the lid on and place out of the way to allow it to seal. Finally, refrigerate any unused cans - they keep for several months.