Our Test Kitchen's 2-Ingredient Swap for Sweetened Condensed Milk

Skip a trip to the store with these easy Test Kitchen substitutes for sweetened condensed milk in your favorite fudge, pumpkin pie, and poke cake recipes.

The holiday baking season is right around the corner, which means rich and delicious fudge, festive bar-shape treats, and decadent hot chocolate. These sugar-filled treats often require one common ingredient: sweetened condensed milk. If you're a baker like me, you probably try to keep the pantry stocked with a few cans of condensed milk to whip up some quick chocolate fudge for the family or a weekend Christmas movie binge. But what if you don't have any on hand or the grocery store ran out? Or maybe you go to the pantry only to find evaporated milk (yes, there's a difference). Never fear, you can still complete your favorite candy recipe. Use our Test Kitchen's easy DIY substitute for sweetened condensed milk the next time you're in a pinch.

sweetened condensed milk substitute

BHG / Ana Cadena

How to Make Sweetened Condensed Milk

This homemade sweetened condensed milk makes enough to substitute one 15-ounce can. Multiply based on your recipe needs.

  1. In a medium saucepan ($20, Target) combine 2 cups whole milk and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered without stirring, for 45 minutes or until reduced to 1⅓ cups. Remove and cool.
  3. Use once cool or transfer to a storage container. Chill up to 1 week (mixture will thicken as it chills).
making sweetened condensed milk substitute with milk and sugar

BHG / Ana Cadena

Substituting Evaporated Milk for Sweetened Condensed Milk

It can be confusing to remember which of the two canned milks you need for your recipe. They come in similar sizes and are usually on the same shelf in the baking aisle. Both types of shelf-stable dairy milk have 60% of the water removed through evaporation. The unsweetened version is what's known as evaporated milk. Once you add sugar, that's canned sweetened condensed milk. It's important to note sweetened condensed milk is synonymous with the term condensed milk. If you accidentally grabbed the wrong can or only have evaporated milk in the pantry, follow the Test Kitchen directions above, except use one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk and ¾ cup sugar. Cook for 30 minutes.

Vegan Substitute for Sweetened Condensed Milk

For a vegan substitute for sweetened condensed milk, you can use this coconut milk recipe on our sister site, Allrecipes. You can also find canned versions of coconut sweetened condensed milk in grocery stores.

Now that you know how to make a substitute for sweetened condensed milk, go ahead and try it out in this silky pumpkin pie recipe, some mango-horchata rice pudding, or this tres leches bread pudding. And of course, you can always resort to making fudge.

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