Homemade Sweet and Condensed Milk

I wanted to make my pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year and being lactose intolerant, I set out to make my own sweet and condensed milk for it. After trying a couple of recipes it looks like this ratio of milk and sugar works well. (As I’m merely lactose intolerant and not casein allergic, I used lactose-free milk. I have not tried it with coconut or nut kinds of “milk.”)

Note that all the recipes I viewed claimed to have this thick beautiful sweet and condensed milk in 20 minutes. I call poppycock, as to limit the risk of boil over or burning, you have to simmer it low and slow. I mean really slow, like an hour slow.

In the below instructions, I mention that it’s almost ready when it reaches the foamy stage. This short video shows what I mean. The video shows not only what the “foamy” stage looks like, but what happens when you don’t keep your eyes on the pot (the residue higher up on the inside of the pot.) And since there are no mistakes, only learning opportunities, and I’m a firm believer in Julia Child’s words, I offer proof of what happens.

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”

I think that the work is worth the reward in making your own sweet and condensed milk. I have tried the canned coconut milk version and found it downright disagreeable. It firms up quite a bit in the fridge, so just give it a quick shot in the microwave to pour out of the jar.
Homemade Sweet and Condensed Milk

Homemade Sweet and Condensed Milk


  • 4 cups 3% milk
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  • Place a stool beside the stove and get comfy because you aren't moving for the next hour or so!
  • Place the ingredients in a thick-bottomed pot, and bring to a simmer on low to medium heat.
  • Do not leave the pot and stir frequently! (I use a whisk to combine the ingredients until the sugar is melted, then switch to a wooden spoon.)
  • For the first 45 minutes or so, let it come to a bubbling simmer, and gently stir until the bubbles disappeared, then repeat.
  • As it begins to turn golden, it will start to get foamy, almost like when you're making candy. At this point, stir constantly so the bottom doesn't burn.
  • It will begin to thicken soon after and you'll notice that the spoon will leave a path in the mixture.
  • As soon as it begins to thicken, pull it from the heat and pour into a glass jar.
  • Let cool before putting a lid on the jar and then set into fridge to keep.
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