What can I substitute for sweetened condensed milk?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for sweetened condensed milk?”. We will elaborate on different substitutes for sweetened condensed milk.

What can I substitute for sweetened condensed milk?

If while making a recipe, you have run out of sweetened condensed milk and are searching for a solution, then no need to worry, we have prepared a long list of substitutes that you can use as a replacement for sweetened condensed milk. 

Sweetened condensed milk can be best substituted with: 

  • Heavy cream and sugar
  • Whole milk and sugar
  • Powdered milk
  • Cream of coconut
  • Coconut milk and sugar
  • Almond milk and sugar

In 2015, the EU farm milk accounted for 155.3 billion liters,  by 10.92 % more than in 2013 (140.1 billion liters). About 83 % of this milk production in the EU is achieved by the main producing countries: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark. Germany and France together carried out 39 %, meaning 54.2 billion liters of the total EU milk production (1).

What is sweetened condensed milk?

Sweetened condensed milk is used in various recipes to add thickness and sweet flavour. It is used in ice cream, custard, and the most favourite Vietnamese iced coffee.

In baking and cooking, it is used in combination with dairy and sugar.

Concentrated milks are liquid milks preserved by reduction of water contents to extend the shelf life and/or to improve its value. To achieve these aims, water is removed by evaporation, leading to a product called evaporated milk, or by creating conditions that do not allow the growth of microorganisms. The addition of a large quantity of sucrose and exclusion of oxygen result in a product called sweetened condensed milk (2).

In sweetened condensed milk, water is evaporated to make a sticky thick liquid. It looks like syrup. Due to the presence of sugar in its milk, it becomes more shelf-stable. 

Substitutes for sweetened condensed milk

If you don’t have sweetened condensed milk in your kitchen or your nearby stores, then you can use its substitutes. They give the same texture, same flavour, and some creaminess.

Heavy cream and sugar:

If you want to get the same texture and flavour of sweetened condensed milk, you should mix heavy cream with sugar. This combination can be used in any recipe for baking but if you use it in ice cream, fudge cakes, and pies, it will give the best results.

One cup of heavy cream can be used to replace one cup of sweetened milk with 1/4th cup of sugar.

Heavy cream contains a fat amount of 36–45 % and therefore, provides many health benefits related to the milk lipids, including anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic, antidiabetogenic, immunomodulating and bone growth–enhancing properties related to the bioactive component in milk fat is conjugated linoleic acid (3).

Health benefits of heavy cream:

  1. It consists of crucial fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K
  2. It consists of healthy fat
  3. It helps in the growth of body tissues

Whole Milk and sugar:

If you mix whole milk with sugar, you can also get consistency just like sweetened condensed milk. It gives the same texture and flavour. On low-medium heat, you should slowly simmer 2 cups of whole milk. Once it is reduced to 1 cup, add 2/3 cup of sugar and mix it well.

You can use it for making ice cream, fudge, custard, pies, or frosting. 

You can easily replace it because milk is easily available in every kitchen or store.

Health benefits of whole milk (4):

  1. It consists of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B, potassium, and vitamin D
  2. It is highly rich in protein
  3. It helps in preventing osteoporosis and bones fracture
  4. It helps in maintaining a healthy weight.
  5. It plays a role in preventing several chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases, some forms of cancer, obesity, and diabetes

Powdered milk:

Powdered milk is dehydrated milk, and it is lightly sweetened. You should add a cup of dry powdered milk and mix it with 1/3rd cup of hot water. It contains low fat. You can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter to the mixture. 

It is easily available around your kitchen or stores. It can be used in making custard, fudge, and pies. To make it sweeter you can add sugar according to your needs.

The composition of powdered milk is similar to milk, except the water, because it is produced by removing water from fluid milk through evaporation processes. During the evaporation, some of the nutrients may be lost, due to heat degradation, however, the health benefits related to powdered milk are many (2).

Health benefits of powdered milk:

  1. It is rich in bone-building nutrients
  2. It contains protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin A
  3. It gives an extra amount of protein to those who are efficient with proteins.

Cream of coconut:

If you are looking for a tasty sweetened condensed milk substitute, then cream of coconut is the best option. You can use it in sweetening drinks like smoothies, pina Coladas, and Vietnamese iced coffee. 

It can also be used in making desserts like cheesecake, banana bread, and key lime pie. It is easily available in grocery stores. 

It can be used in the same ratio as sweetened condensed milk. You should keep in notice that this will add a coconut flavour to your recipe. 

The fat content of coconut cream is about 34 %. It contains, as coconut oil, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as saturated fats. Nevertheless, the possible negative effects of the saturated fatty acids and the absence of the essential fatty acid linolenic acid from all coconut constituents suggest that the cream should not be used on a regular basis in adults (5).

Health benefits of cream of coconut:

  1. It is rich in medium-chain triglycerides. 
  2. It promotes weight loss. 
  3. It helps in increasing energy.

Coconut milk and sugar:

This is the substitute that also gives the same texture, and flavour to the recipe as sweetened condensed milk. You can use 2 cups of coconut milk and reduce it to one cup by heating on a low-medium flame. After reducing it to one cup, add 2/3 cup of sugar and then mix well.

Coconut milk is an oil-in-water emulsion, in which continuous phase is water and oil is dispersed phase. The composition of coconut milk is generally dependent on that of the coconut meat used for extraction (6).

You can use this combination for baking cheesecake, cookies, key lime pie, and sweetening beverages, like Vietnamese iced coffee. It is easily available in every grocery store. It gives coconut flavour in the recipe. 

Health benefits of coconut milk (6,7):

  1. It helps in losing weight.
  2. It is rich in antioxidants.
  3. It helps in balancing electrolytes.
  4. It helps in strengthening the immune system.
  5. It helps in preventing anaemia
  6. It helps in making hair and skin healthy.
  7. It is nutritious; it is rich in fiber, vitamins (Vit C, E. B1, B3, B5 and B6) and minerals. 
  8. It is lactose free so lactose intolerance patients can use this milk.

Almond milk and sugar:

It is another substitute for sweetened condensed milk. It adds thickness and sweetness. It is low in calories and fats. It is easily available in grocery stores

Health benefits of almond milk (8):

  1. It helps in promoting heart health.
  2. It contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids
  3. It has a balanced composition in terms of proteins, fats, fibre and vitamins and minerals and does not contain lactose
  4. It helps in maintaining a healthy weight.

Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.

Can you boil soy milk?

Can vegetarians drink milk?

Can you freeze milk?


In this brief article, we have discussed all the possible substitutes for sweetened condensed milk with an in-depth analysis of their health benefits.


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  3. Huppertz, T., A. L. Kelly, and P. F. Fox. Milk lipids—Composition origin and properties. Dairy fats and related products, 2009.
  4. Pereira, Paula C. Milk nutritional composition and its role in human health. Nutrition, 2014, 30, 619-627.
  5. Pehowich, D. J., Aldrin V. Gomes, and J. A. Barnes. Fatty acid composition and possible health effects of coconut constituents. West Ind Med J, 2000, 49, 128-133.
  6. Patil, Umesh, and Soottawat Benjakul. Coconut milk and coconut oil: their manufacture associated with protein functionality. J food sci, 2018, 83, 2019-2027.
  7. Zubair, S., et al. Evaluation of effect of coconut milk on anxiety. J Anal Pharm Res, 2017, 6, 00182.
  8. Al Tamimi, Jozaa Zaidan. Effects of almond Milk on body measurements and blood pressure. Food Nutr Sci, 2016, 7, 466.