How To Make Condensed Milk

If you’ve ever read the ingredient list on a can of condensed milk, you may be wondering how to make condensed milk yourself at home with healthier ingredients. Try this healthy condensed milk recipe instead.

One of the toughest recipe conversions for me, aside from recipes that are heavily reliant on butter, are those recipes that call for condensed milk. After reading the ingredients on a can of condensed milk, I just knew I’d never be able to convert anything that would even come close. But life has a funny way of proving me wrong on a fairly consistent basis. In this case, I didn’t mind one bit.

A small white pitcher filled with condensed milk in this post on how to make condensed milk.

You can make this with dairy-milk, or alternative milk. The choice is yours. While this won’t be as thick as some canned versions, it’s close enough to get the job done and will even double as a delicious coffee creamer.

What Is Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk is a thick, sweet milk product that has had much of the water content removed, resulting in a dense, syrupy consistency. It’s made by heating milk and sugar together until it evaporates enough to leave behind a concentrated mixture.

How To Make Condensed Milk With Regular Milk

Although I haven’t tried it with whole milk, I read that using whole milk and raisins will thicken this up into an almost yogurt-like consistency. With low-fat milk, it gets only slightly thicker.

It’s very important to know that if the milk is not used within 24 hours, it should be discarded. I tried it a few more times as an experiment, leaving it in the fridge for 48 hours, and it turned into this nasty-looking, smelly liquid. The time needs to be fairly precise.

How To Make Condensed Milk With Dairy-Free Milk

If you prefer to make a non-dairy version, here’s how:

Soy milk will pretty much maintain its thickness, no matter how long you soak it. I left the raisins in for about 36 hours and while it didn’t really thicken, it was amazingly sweet.

For almond milk, the milk will thicken nicely, pretty much to the consistency of soy milk, maybe just a slight bit thicker.

Note: With non-dairy versions, you can reuse your raisins to make sweetened milk. Just be aware that the milk will not thicken at all with recycled raisins. Also, you don’t need to worry about spoilage after a certain amount of time, though with almond milk, there will be a small amount of separation.

Also note: For extra sweetness, blend in the raisins using a blender or hand blender. You won’t believe just how sweet it can get.

Can I Make Caramel With This Condensed Milk?

No, unfortunately, the refined sugar needed for making a true caramel just isn’t present in this recipe.

Other Uses For Condensed Milk

  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee creamer (just add vanilla or another extract for flavoring)

About The Ingredients

Milk – Use any kind you like. Just make note of the differences mentioned above.

Raisins – All of the different trails of this recipe used dark raisins, not golden raisins. Although it could potentially work with golden raisins, too. I just haven’t tried it.

How To Make Condensed Milk The Healthy Way

In a storage container, combine both ingredients and set in the fridge for 24 hours.

Strain off the milk from the raisins and use the way you would use regular condensed milk!

Storage

For dairy-based condensed milk, store for a maximum of up to 24 hours, then discard.

For non-dairy condensed milk, store it in the fridge for up to four or five days.

Freezing

Freezing is not recommended for this recipe.

More Milk Recipes

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Clean Eating Condensed Milk

How To Make Condensed Milk

Have a recipe that calls for condensed milk? Make it yourself for a much healthier approach.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings (1 tbsp. each)
Calories: 22kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup raisins

Instructions

  • In a storage container, combine both ingredients and set in the fridge for 24 hours.
  • Strain off the milk from the raisins and use the way you would use regular condensed milk!

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbsp. | Calories: 22kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 57mg | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted on 6/14/11.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel

Bio:

Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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58 Comments

  1. graciouspantry says:

    To the best of my knowledge, so long as there is no added sugar, they are clean.

  2. Pingback: Clean Eating Recipes | Clean Eating Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer
  3. graciouspantry says:

    To the best of knowledge, they are all clean. But the only way to be sure is to read the ingredient list. You should only see raisins listed.

  4. Hi there! Just wondering if anyone has tried using coconut milk for this recipe? Does it thicken well?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      I haven’t, but I’m sure it would work fine.

  5. Hi this is awesome! Do you know whether it’d work in jelly slice?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Aliki – I’m sorry, I don’t know what jelly slice is…

  6. Ja Ignacio says:

    Hello! This is a very neat idea since my mom LOVES to use condensed milk as much as how people go crazy over peanut butter. Not a fan of both, sad to say. But anyway, I’d like to ask if it’s possible to use something else rather than raisins? Because raisins are very high in sodium and our family is slowly cutting on the sodium intake (since our livers and kidneys are very sensitive, leading us to easy cancer… a family thing on a negative side). I’ve seen other people make their own condensed milk but so far, yours has the least ingredients and very easy to make! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ja – Sorry, no. The only other recipes I know of contain tons of refined sugar.

  7. Hello! I was wondering, if I made this condensed milk and used it to make the clean eating coffee creamer, does this mean that the coffee creamer itself is only good for 24 hours? Based on the comment above that exceeding 24hrs the milk becomes rather nasty. Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nancy – Sadly, ya. I don’t recommend doing that. I would either use just the condensed milk as a creamy, or make one of my other creamer recipes with those ingredients.

  8. Josephine says:

    This is super amazing. Thanks for sharing this. I think I may try this with my coffee. I’ve been using almond milk that’s been slightly sweetened but I can try this and see what happens. Sounds super yummy!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Josephine – It’s good in coffee! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. In case anyone was wondering, it doesn’t really work with coconut milk. ๐Ÿ˜› Canned lite coconut milk was the only milk in the house, so I gave it a shot. Steeping the raisins for 24 hours didn’t seem to do much, so I left them in for another 24. At that point, the milk got nice and thick and creamy, and it did get sweet… but it had a weird sharp aftertaste, too. I tried it in Earl Grey and Irish Breakfast tea, and my husband tried it in coffee. None of them were undrinkable, but we weren’t impressed. Blending the rasins in might work better, I’m not sure. On the plus side, coconut-soaked raisins are delicious, and they make a great addition to Irish soda bread!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Fal – Haha! Thanks for the input! I’m happy you at least enjoyed the raisins!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Evelyn – I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is. But feel free to post the ingredient list here and I can tell you.

  10. trying this tonight! FYI most Fat free milk or 1/2 and 1/2 has loads of sugar or the other bad stuff. I like that it is a natural alternative as we can hardly ever find organic condensed milk anyway. thank you

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sara – My pleasure! I hope you enjoy it!

  11. Daniele Robbers says:

    So.I am a bit.confused after soaking do you strain the raisins or do you leave them in? I am so co.fused and can I use golden rasins?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Daniele – The raisins are only for thickening and sweetening. Unless you want to blend them in for a super sweet milk, you would remove the raisins from the milk by straining. I haven’t tried golden raisins, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Maybe try a very small sample batch before diving in to be sure.

  12. 5 stars
    Hi! Thanks for the recipe.

    Question about calorie calculation: how many calories do you calculate are added to the milk by virtue of the raisins soaking (and adding sweetness to it)?

    I know you provided estimated calories for your recipe, but Iโ€™m wondering how I would adjust the calculations for regular coconut milk? How many additional calories beyond the coconut milk itself do you think the final drink might have?

    Thanks,
    Susan

    1. Susan – I’m not sure, to be honest. I would think it’s pretty minimal, but I have no way to knowing for sure without sending the milk off to a lab for nutrition data. All my data is a ballpark figure. None of it is exact. I’m sorry, I wish I could be more help.