10 Best Substitutes for Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is a sweet creamy ingredient that is commonly used in cooking and baking like pies, fudge, or caramel sauce. But if you do not have any on hand and are in need of something similar, these top 10 substitutes will help in a pinch!

sweetened condensed milk in a jar with caramel and eggs in the background

What is Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Sweetened condensed milk is made from cow’s milk by removing the majority of the water and adding additional sugar to the milk. The result is a thick, creamy, sticky consistency with a sweetened caramelized milk taste. It is a common ingredient found in a can in the baking section of the grocery store. The sweetened milk becomes shelf-stable from the sugar and can last for many years in an unopened can.

What Is It Used For?

Many baked goods like lemon icebox pie, key lime pie, or chocolate fudge are made with sweetened condensed milk. It also adds a rich sweetness to drinks like hot chocolate or creamy lemonade and is tasty in homemade ice cream. Once heated for an extended time, it becomes a thick and sticky caramel that can be used for various dishes like topping on ice cream or as a dip for apples. It is a very versatile and delicious ingredient for all types of recipes.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Homemade sweetened condensed milk is a simple substitution and delicious alternative to store-bought versions. To make this homemade sweetened condensed milk recipe, combine 2 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce to a low heat and simmer the mixture for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until it thickens and reduces by about half, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, let it cool to room temperature, and then transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to two weeks, and use this delicious homemade version of sweetened condensed milk in various recipes.

lemon pie with sweetened condensed milk and lemons in the background

Substitution List

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is thick and creamy, with a sweet, nutty flavor that can be used as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk. It is made from simmering full-fat coconut milk, which is strained to remove any solids. Use an equal amount of coconut cream in your recipe as you would sweetened condensed milk.

Evaporated Milk 

Evaporated milk is fresh milk that has had 60% of its water content removed. It has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor, making it a good substitute for sweetened condensed milk. When replacing sweetened condensed milk, use an equal amount of evaporated milk in your recipe, and add white sugar to taste.

Cashew Cream

Cashew cream is made by blending raw cashews with water until smooth. It has a rich, creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor that can be used as a vegan substitute for sweetened condensed milk. To use it as a substitute, use an equal amount of cashew cream in your recipe.

Soy Milk Powder

Soy milk powder is made by dehydrating soy milk, resulting in a powder that is light in flavor but without any sweetness. To use it as a substitute, mix 1/2 cup of soy milk powder with 1/2 cup of warm water. For best results, add sugar to taste.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a non-dairy milk substitute that is made from almonds. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a thin, watery texture. As a substitute, use an equal amount of almond milk in your recipe, and add sugar to taste.

pouring sweetened condensed milk in a bowl

Cream of Coconut

Similar to coconut cream, cream of coconut is a sweet, thick liquid made from coconut milk, sugar, and other flavorings with a creamy consistency. It has a tropical flavor that would bring a fruity flavor to the dish. Substitute with an equal amount of cream of coconut in your recipe.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a sweetener made from the sap of the agave plant. It has a mild, sweet flavor that has some similarities to sweetened condensed milk. Use 3/4 cup of agave nectar for every 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk.


Honey is a natural sweetener made by bees from the nectar of flowers. It has a rich, sweet flavor with a thick consistency that is similar to sweetened condensed milk and a dairy-free alternative. The best substitute is to use 3/4 cup of honey for every 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is another natural sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. It has a rich, sweet flavor with a thick syrup consistency. For this easy substitute, use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk in your dish.

Date Paste

Date paste is made by blending dates with water until smooth. The flavor is sweet with hints of caramel notes.  Replace sweetened condensed milk by using an equal amount of date paste in your recipe.

sweetened condensed milk in a jar with caramel and eggs in the background

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