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Everything You Need To Know About Using Condensed Milk Substitutes

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Why do you need a substitute for condensed milk? While most people love to use condensed milk for foods like coffee and cakes, others prefer using condensed milk substitutes.

This is not because condensed milk is bad or poisonous. It is because some people cannot tolerate the high lactose content of it. Some are allergic to lactose or just don’t like it and thereby can’t use it, even just a drop.

But then again, the need for a condensed milk substitute isn’t just health-related. In some parts of Denmark, for instance, there is no condensed milk. So it’s very important to know that there are ways to get substitutes for this. You wouldn’t want to hinder the possibility of making something delicious just because you ran out of condensed milk.

The motivation to find a substitute for sweetened condensed milk varies from person to person. Some people prefer the substitute to the real deal when making specific food, while others want nutrients which they feel sweetened condensed milk does not offer.

The rest of us just want to try all the alternatives out there. We’re not searching for any substitute in particular—just on a culinary adventure. And trust me, culinary adventures are the absolute best. This is how most people happen upon some delicacies they now can’t live without. So, it is normal to want to try a new taste in whatever you usually put sweetened condensed milk in.

Condensed Milk – Different from Evaporated Milk?

Condensed milk is basically just cow’s milk. The thing is that cow’s milk has a lot of water on its own. To get condensed milk, which is just absolute milk, you have to heat milk from a cow until all the water evaporates out and you are left with just the, er, “condensed” milk.

What we see most times is sweetened condensed milk which has been made by adding sugar to evaporated cow’s milk. It’s as simple as that. But sometimes we can’t even find this kind in the store.

Maybe you’ve run out of the usual one you keep at home and you don’t want to have to go out to get more. There is a way you can make it by just simmering milk and sugar together over low heat. What you will get is a thick, syrupy kind of milk that you can use straight away in place of sweetened condensed milk.

Some people see evaporated milk and condensed milk as one and the same, but this is not right. Technically, both are achieved through the same procedure. They are both from cows and in both cases are heated to remove the water. The difference happens at the end of the production. Where the production of evaporated milk stops after the heating, condensed milk goes one more step, where the sugar is added.

This is why condensed milk is usually called sweetened condensed milk. Some people mistake one for the other easily. They both taste different though, so it is easier to identify correctly after tasting.

What Can You Do With Condensed Milk?

There is a lot you can do with sweetened condensed milk. You can add it to your iced coffee or tea to make one hell of an afternoon drink. In Vietnam, it is regarded as a perfect, creamy antidote for their dark coffee beans. When added to some other drinks, it brings out a really amazing taste you could never have imagined. It is also a very important ingredient in baking.

Why?

If you have ever tasted fudge in which it was used, you would taste its creaminess there. And if, by chance, you have had the magic that is a coconut macaroon, you would understand why it is called one of a kind.

When you add a tablespoon of it as a marinade for pork or chicken, just believe you are about to taste something really heavenly. If you add it to ice cream, you will get a taste of its creamy brilliance. The fact is that you can add it to almost anything and it will transform that thing into something extraordinary in taste. It is perfect in whatever way you decide to make use of it. You can rub it on the flat side of a slice of bread and it will still taste good.

But like every good thing, condensed milk has its good and not-so-great features. While it tastes great, it also has a lot of lactose and a large number of carbs, which some people can’t handle in their system. This is why there are substitutes.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitutes You Can Easily Prepare

The best thing about the substitutes you can use in place of sweetened condensed milk is the variety of needs they cover. The texture, taste, health benefits, and other boxes are all checked. It just depends on what you want and what you are trying to make.

For instance, if the reason you have been looking for a substitution for sweetened condensed milk is that you are lactose intolerant, then you can make the dairy-free condensed milk alternative that is as safe as can be for your health. Another good thing is that these substitutes are all easy to make and use. This is good because you can trust what you make by hand more than what you get from the store or the market.

There is the probability that what you want to make would not be as good with real sweetened condensed milk. Some people want whatever they are baking to have a certain texture or taste to it, and as a result, they can’t trust the normal sweetened condensed milk. They have to make their own substitutes that will help them attain that perfect feel they want.

Whatever your reason for needing a substitute for condensed milk, here are a few substitutes you can make easily and in no time at all.

Non-Dairy Sweetened Condensed Milk

For those who are lactose intolerant, you will need non-dairy condensed milk. The reason you can’t have sweetened condensed milk is that sweetened condensed milk contains a whole lot of milk sugar, which we both know ain’t good news. It is believed that about seventy percent or more people in the world are lactose intolerant, so you can see why it’s very important to know which side of the scale you’re on and what type of milk you should consume.

The truth is that being lactose intolerant does not completely hinder you from having condensed milk. But it is advised not to consume condensed milk due to its high lactose content. Sometimes, you do not experience the consequence until you have consumed too much of it without knowing. This can be helped by dairy-free condensed milk. It doesn’t take much effort to make and does not take more than five or ten minutes until it’s ready.

To make your non-dairy condensed milk, you’ll need 2 eggs, 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of flour, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. To make it, all you have to do is mix all the ingredients together. Use it as an ingredient for pies and desserts. You should note that this contains raw eggs, so it may be ideal to use for baking or in cooked food.

Sugar-Free Sweetened Condensed milk

This is for those who do not want sugar in their condensed milk. They want to taste just the creamy texture it gives to their drinks or what it gives to their baked food. For this, you do not need too many ingredients either. You need 3 teaspoons of melted butter, ⅔ cup of any sugar substitute of your choice, ⅓ cup of boiling water and a cup of instant milk powder.

How to make: There is no real work in the preparation of sugar-free condensed milk. All you have to do is put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat them until they are thick and smooth. Put the mixture in a sealed container and keep it in the fridge. It can be stored for just twenty-four hours before you have to get rid of it. Thus, it is advisable to make only the amount that is required for your recipes so there is no waste.

Dairy/ Egg/ Gluten-free Sweetened Condensed Milk

Another awesome substitute you can make with 3 cups of soy milk or almond milk, 3 cups of white sugar, and 3 teaspoons of cornflour.

How to make: You have to heat up the milk and the sugar together in a saucepan. Then you have to stir. This is to let the sugar in the milk dissolve while it cooks on a low heat for a while (maybe fifteen to twenty minutes). In a cup or bowl, add a little cornflower to water and mix that until you have a thick paste with no lumps at all.

Pour the cornflour into the milk while it’s still heating, then you turn off the heat and stir. Make sure to stir until it is thick, then you can use it. You can keep it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days. This is a perfect gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free substitute… 3 in 1 awesomeness.

Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk

It is very difficult to find a substitute for sweetened condensed milk that fits the vegan diet, and the one below doesn’t take anything huge to make—it’s simple and fast. With this absolutely fantastic vegan sweetened condensed milk, you are sure to get a blend of rich texture and taste when it is included in your cup of coffee! That, or anything you love to use condensed milk for.

How do you make this vegan condensed milk? 

Simple: as mentioned above, to make this particular sweetened condensed milk substitute, you do not need many ingredients…you only need two. All you need is a can of full-fat coconut milk and some organic cane sugar (or any sweetener of your choice). I definitely recommend the cane sugar.

To get the absolute best result you have to be conscious of the timing—when to turn the heat down and things like that. To achieve this is actually very easy. All you have to do is let the sugar and the milk boil, then let them simmer together for about forty to fifty minutes. Then you can turn the stove down. See? Pretty easy. Now you can enjoy it. Just stick to that time range and you’ll have a great substitute.

More Replacements for Sweetened Condensed Milk

You can use sweetened condensed milk for basically everything—from the pie you eat as a morning snack, all the way down to your coffee. It gives you that creaminess in your drink, which is why everyone seems to gravitate towards it. But as you already now know, it has the issue of carbohydrates (sugar) for some people.

This makes it difficult for those who have a no-carb or low-carbohydrate diet to use it, and thus, it has pushed some people to either take the risk or deprive themselves of meals they really wanted to try. The good news is that apart from the substitutes listed above, there are additional ways to replace condensed milk.

There are other things you could use in its stead and still get the result you want. And it doesn’t matter if you wanted it in a recipe or just to add on top of something to get a distinct flavor or texture.

Evaporated Milk

Since both evaporated milk and condensed milk are made with concentrated milk, they get mixed up quite a lot, but you don’t have to confuse them anymore. The difference is that after heating, sugar is added to the condensed milk.

But without that step, they are almost just the same.

This is why evaporated milk serves well when some people need low sugar concentrated milk. If you want that creamy and tasty feel in your coffee drink, you could just grab a can of evaporated milk and a pack of low-carb sugar (there are a lot of options out there). You’ll get the same result in creaminess and flavor.

Table Cream

Most people don’t know that table cream is one of the best options for a low-carb diet. It has the same creamy consistency as sweetened condensed milk. The one big advantage it has is the fact that it’s not sweetened.

This means that it is really low-carb, making it a great choice for desserts and a perfect choice as a substitute for condensed milk in baking. You could even make it without any sweetener or with a low-carb sweetener.

Heavy Whipping Cream

This will come in handy if you don’t want any of the other options. You can make this in no time at all. You just have to be able to put the things needed together and be careful not to mess things up. As you perform the process of making whip cream, you should be conscious of three things: timing, quantity, and timing.

To make a whipped cream substitution, you will need about two cups of really heavy whipping cream and maybe four to six eggs. You will put these in a saucepan over low heat which you will then whisk until it is as thick as you think it should be.

The best part of using heavy whipping cream is that it is a relatively healthy sweetened condensed milk substitute. It is made from fresh milk, so it can be used for pies, soups, and homemade ice creams.  It is perfect and reliable for people hinging on low-carb diets, and a perfect condensed milk replacement.

Conclusion

Sweetened condensed milk is one of the biggest gifts in the kitchen world. It makes everything taste better, and that’s not to mention the amazing texture. Drinks, cakes, pies—all become better with sweetened condensed milk.

Basically, this is trying to provide you with healthy options that will help you make good choices on how to stay safe while getting the taste of the food you want. You don’t have to risk your health to get what you want, nor do you have to deprive yourself of some really delightful food choices.

Really, you can still enjoy those meals which are made with sweetened condensed milk. You don’t have to run to the grocery store and get more if you run out of it. And if your motivation to find a substitute is due to health or dietary restrictions, then no worries! These substitutes have got you covered.

One good thing about these substitutes is that you don’t have to go far to get them to use. You probably already have the ingredients, and if not, they’re not really difficult to get. With these condensed milk substitutes, you are just a few steps away from achieving a healthy, tasty meal.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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