Condensed milk is whole milk that has had about 60% of its water content removed. It is then mixed with sugar, which makes up about 40% of its volume. When heated, condensed milk thickens, turns a golden color and takes on a caramel-like flavor. Very sweet and sticky, it's often used to add richness to candies, custards, bars, and puddings. Condensed milk is also a key ingredient in Key Lime Pie.
Varieties and Buying Tips
There are two varieties of condensed milk: sweetened and unsweetened. Most recipes calling for condensed milk are referring to sweetened variety.
Unsweetened condensed milk is also processed to remove water, but it has no added sugar. It is similar to evaporated milk, and is often referred to as such, but it is actually a different product. Evaporated milk is heat-treated for sterilization.
For best results, use the exact product required for your recipe.
Unopened condensed milk can be stored at room temperature for up to six months. Once opened, transfer any unused milk to an airtight container. Refrigerate and use within five days.
- Use sweetened condensed milk as a luscious creamer for coffee or tea.
- Drizzle over baked apples 15 minutes before they're done for a delicious glaze.
- Brush the tops of pie crusts with sweetened condensed milk instead of eggs.
- Add a dollop to a bowl of canned fruit for a sweet dessert.
- For a quick cake filling, blend one can condensed milk with two 8-oz. blocks of cream cheese until smooth.
- Caramelize condensed milk to make an old-fashioned dessert topping.
- One 14-oz. can = 1 1/3 cups condensed milk.
- Don't substitute condensed milk for evaporated milk, or vice versa.
- If you're out of canned condensed milk, try a homemade sweetened condensed milk recipe.
Try one of our favorite condensed milk recipes: