Are you looking for a Sweetened Condensed Milk substitute? This Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk is made with fresh whole milk and sweetened with either raw sugar, honey, or sucanat.
Homemade sweetened condensed milk is the only substitute if you are looking for a healthier alternative to store-bought!
After all, even if you are decreasing the amount of processed sugar you consume, why deprive yourself of those delicious desserts if you don't have to!
I ran into this exact dilemma as I began preparing 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 sweetened condensed milk substitute using honey.
Condensed milk is just cow's milk in which the water has been removed. Sugar is also added to the mix in large quantities, making sweetened condensed milk.
While I found many recipes for homemade sweetened condensed milk, most started with powdered milk and used sugar.
There were references to the possibility of using honey, but I could not find a homemade condensed milk recipe in which honey had actually been used.
I wanted to see how a recipe would work, not only with honey but, also with sucanat and raw sugar. The following recipe is the result!
Making homemade sweetened condensed milk is easier than you would think! With only a few steps it's a great healthier alternative to the store-bought version.
- 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. When the steam from the milk starts rising, reduce the heat to low.
- Allow the mixture to reduce in volume by half. You can use a clean kitchen ruler to measure the amount. This step took about 2 ½ 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.
The final color of the sweetened condensed milk will change based on the sweetener you use. 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). Finally, the lightest colored is the raw sugar (on the right).
The one made with the sucanat in the middle jar, actually started out darker than either of the other two while the honey-sweetened version became darker as it cooked.
A homemade sweetened condensed milk recipe is worth the investment of time because there are so many uses for it.
Why not make a wholesome version of it and avoid unnecessary additives?
Recipes that use homemade sweetened condensed milk:
- Orange Fruit Dip - A fun dessert that is made with only three ingredients!
- Sweet Potato Pie (Grain and Dairy Free) - A delicious pie with hazelnut crust that is great for Fall.
- Coconut Cream Poke Cake - This is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers. Perfect to serve for a BBQ during Spring and Summer.
You can make this condensed milk recipe with your preferred sweetener. There are subtle differences depending on which one you use, but they will all turn out delicious and better than the store-bought version.
- Stir frequently when cooking.
- The recipe made with sucanat sticks to the bottom of the pan much more quickly than the other two versions. So be sure to watch and stir!
- Use a milk-flavored honey if using honey as the sweetener.
- Strain the final product for a smoother consistency if needed - I only had to strain the honey-sweetened one.
Since one can of sweetened condensed milk is 14 ounces and I always at least double any recipe for our large family which would use condensed milk, I doubled the following recipe with great results!
We do not normally use so much at one time, 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, I stored the unused cans in the refrigerator. They keep like this for several months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Condensed Milk Good for You?
If you were to eat condensed milk with a spoon, it probably wouldn't be the best option. In fact, you would probably get sick because it is so sweet!
However, condensed milk that you make for yourself using this recipe does not have large amounts of concentrated refined sugar.
This recipe allows for a healthier way to enjoy delicious recipes.
How Long Will Condensed Milk Keep?
Whether you're making your own condensed milk or buying the store-bought version, it may have different expiration dates.
When you buy condensed milk, it's already in a can, which means it's going to last longer.
Making your own condensed milk and putting it in the fridge, means it's only going to last a few weeks. Make sure you mark the container with a date, so you know when you made it.
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Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute with Honey, Sucanat or Raw Sugar
Honey Sweetened Condensed Milk
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 2 ½ 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.
A Few Tips For Making Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
- The final color of the sweetened condensed milk will change based on the sweetener you use.
- The sweetened condensed milk made with the sucanat actually started out darker than either of the other two while the honey-sweetened version became darker as it cooked.
- I used raw wildflower honey which does not have an exceptionally strong taste to begin with. Also, I strained the honey-sweetened condensed milk for a smoother consistency.
- Sucanat sweetened condensed milk sticks to the bottom of the pan much more quickly than the other two versions. So be sure to watch and stir!